Blog  /  Parenting  /  Orphan Sunday: What a Real Family Looks Like (Part III)

Orphan Sunday is Nov. 7th. It is a day when we remember the commandments given in James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction….”

Here is the third part of a series about orphans by our guest blogger, and dear friend Peter Bartolini:

What a Real Family Looks Like | Part III

We no longer use the word “orphanage” in our modern vernacular.  It has such a bad connotation.  Instead, we say “group home.”  It cleanses the whole concept of abandoned kids.  We tuck them into these “homes” and we don’t have to see them or deal with their reality.  But a group home is the worst place for any child to live.  There they receive all the care the state deems necessary, implemented by 8-hour shift workers whose main goal is to prevent anything bad from happening.  It’s an oppressive environment.  Someone needs to take these kids into their home and, instead of goal tending against bad things, they should be making good things happen.  Someone needs to give them a picture of what a real family looks like.

Most of us, if asked how we knew our parents loved us, would share in general terms all the things their parent or parents did for them and with them as they grew up.   We wouldn’t share that “one time when my dad….”  It wasn’t that one time, it was all those little times that make up the entirety of our childhood.  Today’s orphans don’t have that experience.  They miss out on the face time given to small babies (which is why they have a hard time looking into someone’s eyes), they are speech-delayed because their birth parents didn’t make baby noises with them, they are not given the secure love deep in their hearts from which to draw on later in life when things get hard (see Tim Kimmel’s Grace Based Parentingfor an idea of what these kids are missing).  They won’t get that in a group home from the 8-hour shift worker.  However, if we put them into a great home it won’t take a lifetime, it just takes those important moments to show these kids what a real family looks like.  These kids will be given a goal to strive after when they start building their own families.  With that we have a chance to change the face of our culture on behalf of Christ and stop the cycle of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

So what’s your role in obeying James 1:27?   What part will you play in meeting orphans in their affliction?  Are you willing to give of yourself, your time, your money, your possessions for these kids?  It may be as a respite family giving a much needed break to a foster family in your church.  Maybe you have been thinking about becoming a foster family.  What’s holding you back?  When I’m out recruiting new foster parents, I often joke that there are a few guarantees for foster families.

1) Your stuff may be damaged or stolen, but that’s okay because it’s just going to be burned up when Christ returns.

2) You’re going to learn new uses of the same old cuss words, but that’s okay because you’re going to be able to take their pain and show them Grace – just like you were shown by your adoptive Father.

3) It will break your heart when they leave, but that’s okay because it was never about you.  We’re about the work of our Father in heaven and He’s in the “hope business.”

In Arizona, there are 10,000 churches.  And 10,000 kids in the Arizona Foster Care System. 10,000 kids and 10,000 churches.  Why hasn’t the church in Arizona taken the lead role in these kids’ lives?  It would be amazingly easy for God’s people to make sure that each of these kids are given the chance to see what a real family looks like.  The one thing the church has proven is that we are waiting for someone else to do it and no one is.  So why not you?  Someone has to take care of these kids.  I pray for the day when we have more foster families than foster kids, when we no longer need group homes – modern-day orphanages to hide these forgotten children.  Please consider what role you can play to see that goal come to fruition.

For more information on Orphan Sunday click HERE.

Peter Bartolini

Peter Bartolini is a member of Family Matters\’ board of directors and is part of our Speaker Team. He and his wife Julie have been foster parents since 2004. They have 3 children, Natalie- age 9, Morgan- age 8 and Sammy- age 6. They currently have the blessing of an 11 month old foster care placement living in their home and bringing them joy daily. Since they became foster parents, they have had 19 foster kids in their home and look forward to many more! Peter blogs at http://peterbarto.wordpress.com/

Comments

comments