A Family for Every Child at the Holidays


When MLJ Adoptions first opened its Congo program, I traveled to Congo and, during a visit to a Congolese orphanage, I was told by the orphanage director that the one thing that all orphaned children hope and wish for is a family. At the time I thought, “What a sad and profound statement.” Recently, I heard this again from one of our own MLJ Adoptions’ team members here in the United States who is adopting through foster care; when the child was asked what she wanted this year for Christmas, her response was simply “a family.” Hearing this brought me to tears and reminded me of what the Congolese orphanage director told me many years ago. These children all wish for the same thing, a family, and it is one thing that those of us who are blessed with families take the most for granted.

Regardless of the country an orphan hails from, whether from Burkina Faso, Nicaragua or Bulgaria, seemingly the universal wish of these children, if they could have only one wish, is that they be given a family. A family to love them, protect them, feed them and nurture them. Even at such a young age in their early lives they know a family is important for their own well-being and self-preservation.

Every child deserves to grow up in a family and this becomes particularly obvious during the holidays. We emphasize the importance of family during the holiday season, yet millions of children worldwide will celebrate this holiday season alone, cold, hungry and without a forever family. It is easy for us to forget these children and to think someone else will take care of the worldwide orphan crisis, but it only takes the action and commitment of a family to offer the answer to one of these children’s prayers.

The wish for a family is the central theme of a Steven Curtis Chapman song titled “All I Want”:

Well I don’t know if you remember me or not
I’m one of the kids they brought in from the home
I was the red-haired boy in an old green flannel shirt
You may not have seen me – I was standing off alone
I didn’t come and talk to you, ‘cause that’s never worked before
And you’ll prob’ly never see this letter anyway
But just in case there’s something you can do to help me out
I’ll ask you one more time

All I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose
Shoulders to ride on if I win
There’s so much I could ask for
But there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

The song concludes with:

All I really want for Christmas is a family

Just a family

That’s all I really need

So while we all celebrate this holiday season, whether you are celebrating the Christmas holiday or Hanukkah, with our families, in our warm comfortable homes, with full bellies and an overabundance of gifts, please remember the orphaned children whose only wish this holiday season is simply for a forever family.

Photo Credit: Cathy Stanley-Erickson

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.