National Orphan Awareness Month

Tornados.

They are disastrous. Sometimes deadly. They tear through a community, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

Now let’s imagine for a second that someone–a meteorologist, let’s say–invented a technology that allowed us to stop tornadoes before they formed.

Only instead of putting our time and resources into this technology, we let it linger in the shadows while we focused the majority of our efforts on tornado clean-up. It’s sad, of course, when a tornado destroys a community. But there’s something so tangible about going into a neighborhood, rolling up our sleeves, and helping these people who have lost so much.

Um … that would be ridiculous, right?

We just wouldn’t do it. If there was a way to stop the traumatic thing from happening, we would opt for that route 100% of the time. Preventative care is the way to go. Maybe that’s why our insurance is so great about covering preventive care. It not only makes sense, it’s cheaper, too. 

And yet, when it comes to the orphan crisis, our efforts seem to focus on clean-up instead of prevention.

November is National Orphan Awareness Month, and according to UNICEF, there are 153 Million orphans around the world. It’s a staggering, jaw-dropping number. It’s a number that inspired my husband and I to adopt.

What we didn’t know at the time? A statistic that isn’t as familiar? 83% of those orphans have at least one living parent, many of whom are vulnerable mothers born into the cycle of extreme poverty. Desperate to feed their children, they take their children to an orphanage, where they will most likely receive one meal a day. Those children are then classified as orphans, and many get swept into the adoption industry, a billion dollar industry.

I don’t know about you, friends, but this wrecks me more than a little. I cannot fathom being in this situation. I’m not okay with it. I’m not here for it. No mother should have to make the choice between keeping her child or feeding her child.

And so, I have become passionate about a very specific, very powerful form of orphan care:

Preventative Orphan Care. 

How does this work?

We care for orphans by caring for vulnerable mothers. We attack the orphan crisis by targeting one of its biggest, ugliest roots: Global Poverty.

This is why I started The Lokumu Project, friends. When we give a mother employment, when we empower her with entrepreneurship so she can care for her children, we are validating her God-given dignity and we are keeping. families. together.

Look, I’m not saying adoption doesn’t have its place. Obviously, I wouldn’t say that. My husband and I adopted. It is most certainly a piece of this puzzle. What I am saying is that there are ways to care for the orphan that have nothing to do with adoption and everything to do with family preservation.

Family preservation prevents the trauma that inevitably occurs when a child is separated from his or her birth family, and its way more cost effective, too. For $1000, a vulnerable mom is able to go through our entire year-long program. A program that educates, trains, mentors, and provides capital (with accountability) so this vulnerable mom can successfully launch her own small business. And with this small business, she can support her family. 

The average international adoption (for one child) costs anywhere between $20,000 to $40,000. Friends, with that money we could help twenty to forty women. Families. Through viable employment and sustainable income, these women can afford school tuition for their children. And if anything has the power to stop the cycle of poverty in its tracks, it’s education. Not to mention, when pour into local, impoverished economies, we can change entire communities.

Right now, The Lokumu Project has six women waiting and ready to enter the program. We just need to get them fully sponsored. In an effort to do so, we are running an Orphan Awareness campaign in the month of November. Our goal? Raise $2000. Once we hit $2000, our incoming cohort will be fully sponsored (and I can take a nice, long break from all of this fundraising and everybody, including myself, said AMEN 😝).

If you’re looking for a way to fight for the orphan, if you’re looking for a way to keep families together, if you know anyone whose heart aligns with the work we’re doing, please share. And please consider donating to our campaign. Every little bit helps. TRULY. Every little bit. Also, I’m a volunteer. I don’t take any payment. Ryan and I are going to Congo in February to meet these women and check on the program on our own dime. Which means all of your money goes to the Congo to help the vulnerable families we support, and all of it is tax-deductible. 

Your donation means the world. So do your prayers. Together, we can make a difference in this world. <3

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. – James 1:27

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