The Cry of the Orphan

Though a mother forsake her child, the LORD will never forsake you.

It is difficult to think of a mother forsaking her child, but children are forsaken for many reasons. Some are for selfless preservation as in the one-child policy China or a very young mother who is unable to care for her child but loves him too much to keep him, so she makes the ultimate sacrifice.  Orphans are created through war, disease, famine, and oppression. Worldwide, there are an estimated 153 million orphans waiting for a home.  That number is staggering, but considering that there are an estimated 133 million housing units in the United States alone, it is not an insurmountable problem, if secularist fond a way to cut through the barriers and get the waiting children to eager families.

The cost of adoptions and governmental red tape leaves most orphans without a forever family.  That is the sad reality.  An adoption can cost as much as $70,000 after years of waiting and paperwork. I have always hoped to adopt but the shear cost of doing so has never permitted it.  So, I continue to support charities like Show Hope and pray that my turn will come.

More disturbing, though, than the children who have been abandoned by desperate or dying parents, are the emotional orphans who are not cherished as the gifts they are.  The availability and acceptance of artificial birth control and abortion has created generations of would be parents who think they should be able to have it all their way, like Burger King’s catch-phrase “Have it Your Way.”  However, parenthood and life in general does not work that way.  We are now facing a crisis of children emotionally abandoned because they did not fit their parents’ ideal or willfully killed so they do not interfere with well laid plans.  This is true poverty of spirit.

Parenthood requires sacrifice, a true dying to self.  It is not for the faint of heart, yet we are all born with the capacity to become a parent.  It is through daily letting go of your wants for another that the beauty of parenthood is revealed.  God designed marriage to bear the fruit of children not only to sustain the population and allow us a brief glimpse of the intimate, creative workings of God, but more importantly as a path to sainthood, a development of our deepest self.  Marriage is a vocation, because just as the consecrated do, we lay down our lives at the altar rail and rise up a new person, with a new mission, and name.

We must find a way to teach the next generations the power of sacrifice, how in giving it is that we receive.  Yes, life is easier and seems happier when you get all that you want when you want it, but it is also intensely shallow.  True beauty and peace comes from a relinquishing of earthly desires for an eternal reward.  Let us all pray that the art and joy of devoted parenting will be resurrected in our home, parishes, and world at large.

If you are looking for a read-aloud this month, let me suggest The Secret Garden, which is about a young girl who is emotionally abandoned by her parents, then orphaned, but through love and trust unlocks the keys to a garden of happiness for her adoptive family. Let us all commit to praying for future parents and families that they may be filled with grace and joy. Let us also strive to teach our children the beauty of a family and the gift of sacrificial love.  God bless!

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