Without loving care and attention from an early age, orphaned children may experience physical, mental, and emotional delays in development. Children with any variety of special needs often do not receive the attention required to help them overcome their obstacles. The future is bleak for young adults as they face aging out of the orphanages to a life on the streets. A life of poverty, crime, prostitution, and/or depression is common, and most tragically, many of these children face their difficult world without having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The numbers mentioned can be daunting, but you can be a part of God's plan to minister to these children.
Consider Matthew 25:35-40:
"35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"
"How blessed is he who considers the helpless."
We believe that Christian orphan ministries are needed because of these realities and for statistics such as these:
In our world today it is estimated that there are more than 143,000,000 orphaned children. Often sick and medically fragile children are left to die. In some orphanages, the death rates are as high as 20% (1).
In CHINA, there are more than 40,000 orphanages with an estimated 3 million orphans. Two in five babies entering the system die. In response to concern of over-population in China, the government enforced a "one child" policy. Compounding the problem is the cultural response to boys and girls. The birth of a boy is celebrated, while the birth of a girl is not acknowledged.
INDIA has more than 18 million children living on the streets. Orphanages are filled with the abandoned.
In RUSSIA, 1 in 3 orphanage "graduates" are homeless. One in five commits a crime. One in ten commits suicide. In 1993, of the 15,000 orphans who "graduated" from Russian orphanages, 1,500 committed suicide that year.
In UKRAINE and RUSSIA, 60% of the girls are lured into prostitution, and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals (3).
According to a government census, nearly 2,500 ROMANIAN children are living on the streets and in sewers. Over 100,000 are wards in state orphanages. (This was before Romania closed adoption. The numbers must be astronomical now since Romania closed its doors to foreign adoption.)
Every 15 seconds another child becomes an AIDS orphans in Africa (2).
The spine-chilling statistics on African orphans estimate that there are 170,000 orphaned children in Mauritania, 710,000 in Mali, 800,000 in Niger, 600,000 in Chad, 1.7 million in Sudan, 280,000 in Eritrea, 48,000 in Djibouti, 4.8 million in Ethiopia, 630,000 in Somalia, 560,000 in Senegal, 710,000 in Burkina Faso, 370,000 in Benin, 64,000 in The Gambia, 100,000 in Guinea-Bissau and 370,000 in Guinea.
Nigeria has 8.6 million orphans, Ivory Coast 1.4 million, Liberia 250,000, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic 340,000 each, Ghana and Cameroon one million each, Equatorial Guinea 29,000, Gabon 65,000, the Republic of the Congo 270,000, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) 4.2 million, Rwanda 820,000, and Burundi 600,000.
Uganda and Kenya are home to 2.3 million orphans each, Tanzania to 2.4 million, Angola and Zambia 1.2 million each, the Comoros 33,000, Malawi 950,000, Namibia 140,000, Botwsana 150,000, Zimbabwe 1.4 million, Mozambique 1.5 million, Madagascar 900,000, Lesotho 150,000, and Swaziland and South Africa 2.5 million each (4).
There are approximately 500,000 children in the foster care system today. Of those children, 118,000 are currently available for adoption.