Options For At-risk Children

boy-walkingI recently wrote about the United Nations pushing to close orphanages, and why I felt that it was a well-intentioned but bad move. I touched a nerve, and a few people really pushed back (which I love by the way). I wanted to share more on orphanages, and their part in caring for at-risk children. Continue reading

“Hey, Let’s Close Orphanages.”

sadgirlRecently the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to encourage the closing of orphanages around the world. They didn’t say what would happen to the eight million abandoned or orphaned children currently in care facilities somewhere. Closing orphanages is a reasonable goal only if there are good alternatives. So far, very few viable options have been forthcoming, I doubt there will be. The UN is the same organization that has shut down international adoptions. It seems they are slowly taking away options from the ones who need options the most. Continue reading

Just Be Quiet!

pexels-photo-374832
There is a new Tom Hanks movie out called “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood“, about the life of Mr. Rogers. There is one scene that’s being mentioned over and over again in reviews. While sitting in a diner during an interview, Mr. Rogers asks a reporter to be silent for one minute. Mr. Rogers doesn’t speak, the reporter doesn’t speak, for one full minute. A full minute to just listen. There are no flashbacks, no inner-dialog, only silence. Two men are just sitting in a restaurant booth. A minute of silence with no action in a movie feels like an eternity. It’s something we all need to practice. Continue reading

A Firestorm VS Juan and the Hand of God

 

73417737_10157687247533698_3209093731282059264_n
The wall of fire above the town of La Mision, Baja.

This blog is not like most of my posts. Oct 25, 2019, is a day that people will remember for a long time in our town. It might be too soon for this, but here is a short take on a terrifying night that has changed many lives.

Thursday night, a firestorm tore through our small valley, leaving miles of destruction in its wake. The orphanage was saved, and no one can explain how other than the hand of God. I write this with the acidic scent of burnt brush, trees, plastic, and wood in the air. Ash is still in piles and swirls around my living room, blown through any random crack or window seal during the firestorm. As I write this, it’s pre-dawn on Sunday morning, looking out my window at large dark swathes of our town where homes once stood. I still feel the rush of adrenalin as I remember standing with friends and family and watching much of our town burn just 48 hours ago. Continue reading

The Selfie With the Poor Kid

pexels-photo-1125850The idea of social media and short-term missions was brought up to me three times in the last week. It also comes up a lot when you run an orphanage as to how much exposure the children should get online. When and how do we post to social media? What are we saying when we do? It’s a complicated issue. How do you engage people back home and not use photos of cute poor kids or needy areas? Continue reading

So You Want to Open an Orphanage…

child-face-rajasthan-smile-46259

Do you feel called to open an orphanage? Trust me on this, lay down until the feeling goes away. If you still want to open an orphanage, continue reading.

I wish orphanages didn’t exist. The first choice for caring for abandoned children should be extended family. If the extended family is not an option, then children at risk should be placed with healthy families. Unfortunately, placement with a family is just not an option for many children. Most orphanages are filled with children who, for one reason or another, are not adoptable or are very difficult to place. Orphanages care for children with multiple siblings, children with physical or mental challenges, children with an extended family that cannot care for them but still hold parental rights, etc. So if orphanages have to exist (and they do), they should be great, and run by people with vision and the skill sets to make them a fantastic place for children to heal and grow into healthy adults.

Regularly, people contact me who feel lead to open orphanages. My first question is always: “Who is going to run it?” Putting up buildings is easy(ish), on-going funding is harder, but living at, and running an orphanage can be hugely challenging and is not for the faint of heart. Continue reading