Thanks for all the wonderful comments on "I feel misled". Great discussion.
Time to clarify. 143 million children were identified by UNICEF as needing extra services. They put the label "Orphan" on those children. Technically, many are not orphans. But they still need services of some type and need help. But MOST do not need a new family. (This was all news to me as I'd only heard it as 143million kids need a new home.)
Meanwhile. The Bible tells me to take care of the orphan. Now the Bible doesn't clearly define orphan so I will not either. But it also urges me to take care of the poor, the needy, hungry, sick, etc. And it tells me to take care of my neighbor. And it tells me to help those who ask for help. (I could cite verses for all of these but I'm not really trying to do a Bible Study here.)
Therefore, 143 million children need some type of help. True. The TYPE of help is what is in question for me.
When I speak about adoption now, I will make sure to use the right data. It's not 143 million who need to be adopted. In fact, it's a relatively small number (which is actually GREAT news). It's still a huge need. Of those that need to be adopted, MOST (estimates are 95%) are above the age of 5 and many are in sibling groups. Most are not Caucasian but are African, Asian, Hispanic. So as I help people identify the need, THIS is the clearer picture. (And Yes, there are still little ones needing a home.)
Next, as I speak, I will be sure to include the need for services right where the kids are. That emphasis needs to be a part of the story. To help the child who is living with his grandmother and they are not eating every day. The child who cannot go to school because he does not have clothing or shoes to be able to go. The child who drinks from polluted water every day. The child who is sick and has no access to medical care. THESE are among the 143 million children - whether they have parents/relatives or not.
I was among those giving out misinformation. Now, I am on the track of giving the right information. I'm hoping that I can better identify the actual needs and help meet THOSE needs, not the ones we "thought" or were "told" were the needs.
My heart has not changed. My personal mission has not changed. ("Speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves" from Proverbs 31:8.) The mission of S.H.O.E.S. will change but only slightly. We have a lot of work to do.
What will YOU do to help these children?