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For a very long time, there has been a soft spot for children in my heart. In fact, for as long as I can remember, there has been. I love not only their innocence and purity, but their ability to love with abandon and their hope for the future. It is so striking to me that these children are our future and the way we raise them up now when they're young is a very strong determining factor for who they will be when they grow up. We are raising the leaders of tomorrow. We're raising the doctors and the teachers and the mayors and maybe even the prime minister. If you knew you were raising the next leader of Canada, would you raise him differently? Sadly, we're also raising the homeless and the criminals. How would we parent differently if we knew in 10 years our child would be robbing a bank?
When Q was in kindergarten, I was able to volunteer in his class almost every day. It was a wonderful experience for me to interact with my son, but also with the other children in his class. What I saw amazed me...the children who acted out the most were almost always the children who's parents were absent - the parents who never picked them up from school, never came to the after school events, never showed for parent/teacher interviews. Children learn from a very young age that any attention is good attention, so if they were getting in trouble, well I guess they thought it was better than being invisible. It was remarkable what a little bit of positive attention did to their behavior. The whole year Q was in kindergarten I thought, teachers plant a seed. They plant an "I believe in you" seed that they hope grows and grows and grows in these leaders of the future.
Having a child of my own has only made my desire to help children more. Every night (or every night Q is with me) I get to kiss him good night, tuck him in, tell him I love him, and I'm proud of him. It breaks my heart that children go to bed at night alone, hungry, scared, homeless, orphans. It breaks my heart that children go to sleep without hearing, "I love you."
Q really, really, really enjoys being an only child. He tells me so almost daily. Lately I've been planting a seed in Q's heart for the children of the world who are homeless and have no parents at all. Somewhat reluctantly, he is realizing he may have a very large family one day, with brothers and sisters from around the world.
I stumbled upon this blog called kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com recently and it has opened my eyes to a whole world of orphans yes, but also people trying to do something about it. Katie is a mother of 13 adopted orphan girls from Uganda, where so many children are left either abandoned or orphaned due to AIDS or poverty or both. Katie has started a non-profit organization that helps the poorest of the poor go to school, have clothes, and feeds them two meals a day. Her ministry and her organization has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. I started reading her book, "Kisses from Katie" and I had goosebumps the whole book. This young woman is amazing. Katie is 22 and has done more for the 'least of these' than most of us will ever do in our life time. She is raising up the leaders of tomorrow for Uganda, and inviting the world to help.
November 4 is Orphan Sunday. It's purpose is to:
- Educate people about the plight of millions and millions of orphans around the world
- Involve people by sponsoring children so they can go to school, eat and learn about God
- Get donations that go towards assisting people who want to adopt internationally. These adoptions can go anywhere from $10, 000 to $45, 000. Organizations create grants so this becomes a reality for families who do not have the money, but have the heart to adopt orphans
- Finally, it educates and encourages people who want to adopt orphans internationally
If you want to donate to either of these causes, all you have to do is click on these links on the side of my blog. They will take you directly to the websites. If you have a church congregation and want to take the plight of orphans around the world to people, click on the Orphan's Sunday button. It has all the resources, ideas, and contacts that you will need to successfully host an event.
Think of the future of our world. What do you want it to look like? What do you want to do to ensure it looks like your vision? When you tuck your babies into bed tonight, remember the ones who sleep on a mat in an orphanage praying for a mommy to kiss them goodnight.