Years ago, I asked our parish faith formation children to pray for children who were seeking to be adopted into a loving family. I received the first names and pictures of children in foster care in our area and gave each class a different child. In the month of stewardship of prayer that we were observing, they were to pray for these children each day of the month. It was a moving experience for the children and me. To even contemplate the reality of so many children in the world who had no place to truly call home-made us emotional. After some time had passed, I contacted the service that had supplied the names to me. About 70% had found permanent families! What a tremendous use of prayer!
We have been given many wonderful things in this life, including the ability to pray. But there are more people who can pray than there are children who live in stable families. According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, nearly 400,000 children in the US are living without permanent families. In 2011, UNICEF stated that there were close to 18 million orphans who had lost both parents and were living in orphanages or on the street. I can only assume that with the events of the past few years, particularly in the Middle East, that staggering number has only increased. To think about it is truly devastating.
The Holy Family were refugees, having to flee their land to avoid persecution and death. But thankfully, they had each other. The Son of God already had to be born in a stable. Imagine what welcome this world would have had for the newborn King if not for his earthly parents.
Not all of us can adopt a child. But we can all use our gift of prayer to pray for those who long for love. Everyone deserves love.
To find out more about adoption, contact your local Catholic Charities office.