Thursday, February 14, 2008


Yesterday we received the quarterly newsletter from a local ministry called The Shepherds Crook. This ministry serves waiting children and adoptive families by advocating for the children's adoption, supporting the adoptive families during the adoption processes, helping with fund raising, and also serving the children with much needed medical help. The newsletter started with statistics I was aware of but hadn't thought of recently.

114,00 children in the US are currently living in the foster care system.

2.1 Million children become orphans in Africa each year.

143,000,000 is the current estimate of the number of orphans world-wide.

Honestly, these are numbers I can't even really get my mind around. I know that the number of children in foster care in the U.S. is nearly the same as the population of Dayton, Ohio. It's more than 4x bigger than population of the city in which I grew up, Warren, Ohio. Just the number of children in foster care is more than enough to populate a city!

The population of Chicago is only slightly larger than the number of children that become orphans in Africa in one year's time.

Estimates suggest that there are probably more orphans, world wide, than 100x the population of New York City.

Here are some other statistics that come to mind:

The average cost of an international adoption: $15,000-$30,000 (with a $10,000 tax credit bringing the price down further). The cost for a US foster-to-adopt: in most cases, $0.

The average cost of a new car in the U.S.: $28,000

Over 1 million new cars are purchased, on average in the U.S., each year.

About 20,000 orphans are adopted internationally each year.

People spend thousands of dollars on cruises (even "Christian" ones), boats, new clothes, vacations and that's in addition to the thousands of dollars now often spent to send 1 teenage girl to prom! Christians are buying movies that will only be watched once or twice, spending thousands of dollars annually on Thomas Kincaide kitsch, and who-knows-how-much on Christian Romance Novels. Christians buy bigger houses than they need, have larger wardrobes than necessary (especially compared to Jesus' wardrobe!) and do silly things like pay hundreds of dollars to send their kids to circus camp.

At what point is the church in America going to wake up to the crisis that the world is facing? At what point are we going to stop justifying our materialism and come to grips with the fact that we might be so blessed so that we can bless others (not our daughter who wants the $2000 prom dress).

As Scott Rosenow, director of Shepherd's Crook, wrote in the newsletter, "Christian, will you look at these [sic] numbers, like the man with the mirror, turn away and forget? Or will you look and remember, remember the call of God to minister to the needy; remember that God's expectation for His followers is not that they will seek comfort and the status quo, but that they will seek to serve Him in ways that defy explanation, ways that appear foolish to the perishing (italics mine)... remember that there are roughly one hundred and forty-three million other children out there waiting for their families. You can't help one hundred and forty-three million children any more than I can, but you can help one or two. I urge you, I implore you, to bring this before the Lord and ask Him to lead you as you consider this. I can promise that your life will never be the same, and your walk will be strengthened and challenged and rewarded" -- Scott Rosenow "Reflections" The Shepherds Crook Issue 14, January 2008

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