Earlier today I returned a book to the library here at the guesthouse, and just happened to see a book which I'd never read, and the title of which caught my eye. The book tells the story of two Cambodian girls who were officially adopted by American parents. The story tells how these parents, who were empty nesters, were invited to consider adopting first one, and then another Cambodian girl. They share how God led through the whole process, and the love they have as a family is wonderful. Even after they discovered that the birth mother of one of their "daughters" was still alive, but had relinquished all rights to her child, they still gave the girls opportunity to know their Cambodian families as well as being part of an American family. God's grace is shown again and again through this story. As the girls, at different times, revealed how they had been abused over the years, and as their adoptive parents showed Christ's unconditional love to them, this story was a reminder of how much He loves each one of us, and each and every child in the world, and wants the best for every one of them.
Reading this story did however highlight again for me some of the issues surrounding some Cambodian orphanages. Many of the children placed in these orphanages are not true orphans, in that they still have at least one surviving parent, but who does not feel able to provide adequately for their children. Not having been a parent myself, I can only imagine what it costs them emotionally to do this. The orphanages mentioned in this story had very primitive living conditions for the children, with limited food, and medical care, although obviously better than the situations many of the children had come from.
God tells us to care for the widows and orphans in this world. There are no "buts" to His command. My queston is how can we best do this with the limited resources we have available. Are orphanages the answer? I believe that more and more other options are becoming available to provide adequate care for children while keeping them within their families. Over the years, I have longed to be a mother, and yet I've sensed that God said no. Biologically, it's highly unlikely that I will ever give birth to a child of my own. I've considered adoption, especially living in a country with so many orphanages and so much need, but I know that parenting is not an easy task. I believe God's plan for children to have two parents is a wise one, so He would need to make it very clear before I could move any further in that direction as a single. Be assured, I'm not saying it is wrong to adopt children, and even for singles to adopt, but I am saying God hasn't directed me to move this way at this time, and so I leave this topic. I'm happy for these girls. Their story is a precious and happy one, and I know there are many more happy adoption stories. It's just not for me right now.