(Today’s #10outof10 post is from Emily Ryan, one of our child advocates serving the children in Uganda.)
The term “orphan” is complicated. Statistically, the majority of children living in orphanages are not orphans; almost all children have at least one living parent. Most kids on the street have families; most of the kids in the prisons have families; the majority of kids at M3 have a family.
However, we do serve orphans. Are the majority of children we serve true orphans? No. Are there orphans in our care? Yes.
Research proves time-and-time-again that the best place for a child to grow is in a family. So what does Sixty Feet try to do? We help set the lonely in families.
Meet Pastor. His father died at two, and now has been the father (by adoption) of hundreds of abandoned children. He has been abandoned, excommunicated, exiled, compelled by Christ to harbor children he didn’t have the space to keep, and through all of this, and by all accounts, he has loved one wife and many many children deeply.
Meet Boaz. He is our service coordinator for our foster homes in Bwerenga. He shuttles children to get ARVs, immunizations, school supplies, and so much more. He helps coordinate our work at the church, the school, and everything in between. All the while, fathering 10 kids (one of which is just a few months old). He laughs, plays, and treats every child as his own.
Meet Rebecca. She grew up in Pastor’s home. She moved from Tanzania to Uganda with Pastor, her family. And now she has felt the Lord’s call to extend the same love, grace, and acceptance to orphaned children that she received as a child. God’s work is big; His plans are amazing. (oh, and did I mention she is a GREAT cook!).
The Lord changes lives through these incredible servants. Amy was found on the street, rounded up, and taken to M1. We had no information on her; her family was nowhere to be found. Our nurse team treated her with malaria, worms, and malnutrition. We then were given permission to take her to Bwerenga. She now runs around joyfully shouting “daddy” and “mommy” in Boaz’s home.
We met Sammy at M3. Unable to find any relatives, we took him to Bwerenga to live with Pastor. He immediately gained weight, became healthy, and now runs around with all the other babies. He is in a family.
Children who have no other family grow up in Bwerenga with a loving, rock-solid Christian family. They have brothers, sisters, and friends. They go to school, do homework, complete their chores, sing in the church choir, and play in the water.
As I mentioned, the term “orphan” is complicated. But we know one thing is not. That these children truly need the love, care and attention that a family brings.
And today, they are loved, they are chosen, they are treasured…they are in a family.