Friday, November 2, 2012

143 Million...Minus 1?

For those of you unfamiliar with the worldwide orphan crisis, this may be a shocking post for y'all.  In the last eight years as I have entered the world of international adoption, I have witnessed the orphan population climb. Contributing factors include wars, the HIV/AIDs crisis, drug and alcohol abuse, famine and drought as well as poverty.  Today the orphan population hovers around 143 million to as high as 210 million. These numbers do not include children sold into slavery or trafficked. I don't know about you but 143 million is a number I can't wrap my brain around. The current population of the United States is just a little over 300 million… to give you an idea of the enormity of the numbers… (The current population of Russia is 141 million) I'm sure many folks would reply with "why bother?" We know we can't save them all. We know we can't find homes for every child. We know that in this world we will always have famine, disease and injustices toward our most vulnerable...So why bother?  

This reminds me of a famous story.  I'm sure many of you have heard it but it is one of my favorites...

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions. 
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, ”Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

I challenge you, don't give up on all the starfish.  We may not be able to save 143 million but we can make a difference for one

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  1. I know, isn't he? Can't wait to see him with a forever family!