Two Ways Your Family Can Help Vulnerable Children


Most will agree that all children deserve to grow up in a loving and protective family. All children deserve to be fed, receive an education, clothing and sleep in a warm and safe bed at night. All children deserve the warmth and love of a parent or parents. Yes, we agree. Most however, do not know the number of children worldwide who are parentless or forced to grow up in an institutionalized setting not having access to things we all agree every child should have access to.

It it estimated that there are 160 million children worldwide who have lost one or both parents. Consider this, 81.5 million Americans have considered adoption. If just 1 in 500 of these adults adopted, every current waiting child would have a permanent family. But seemingly as with everything else, we become distracted or think someone else will take care of that and we go about our days or we just turn a blind eye and choose to ignore that a child somewhere is suffering. And while we look away or get distracted, more children suffer and some die while in institutionalized care. While we look the other way, more children age out of institutionalized care to fend for themselves with little to no education or training and without the support of a family. Most who age out are forced into criminalized behavior, such as prostitution and theft, simply to survive. This impacts not only the child, but society at large. Each child that we lose whether through death or talents lost due to criminalization, we lose another potential gift to the world and society loses as a whole. We have a responsibility to these children to care for them, to nurture them and to ensure they grow into loving, educated functioning adults who can contribute to society.

Sadly, however, we have seen a dramatic drop in international adoptions. The number of children adopted to U.S. families from other countries peaked at 22,884 in 2004. In less than 15 years, the numbers now are just under 5,000 adoptions annually, and continue to drop. Yet despite the decline in adoptions, the number of children in need and the need for adoptive parents continue to rise. What a sad state of affairs for our children. They say a society is judged by how it treats its elders and children. What does that say for us when we sit by and allow so many children to go parentless?

There are children suffering worldwide every day. You hear about them in the news, you see them on TV. While many of these children cannot be adopted, such as the children of Syria, there are many who can be adopted and are in desperate need of a family, such as the children in Haiti. Whether you are hoping to adopt a younger child considered to be “healthy”, an older child, a sibling group or a child with special needs, there is a child out there waiting for his or her own family to call their own. A child waiting for the love and protection of a family.

If you feel you are being called to adopt, MLJ is currently looking for families with an interest in adopting from Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Peru, and Ukraine. MLJ also provides primary provider services to additional countries, such as Bangladesh. If you are unsure about adoption and want additional information, schedule a free initial telephone conference at your convenience to explore your options.

If adoption isn’t the way that your family wants to care for the orphan, there are other ways you can be involved. MLJ Adoptions is a non-profit organization. Making a tax-deductible donation provides assistance to families adopting and unparented children in the countries where we serve.

For more information on international adoption, contact us.

Photo Credit: Feed My Starving Children

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.