We walk into orphanages and joke how we "want to take them all home," without stopping to wonder whether they already have one. When we hear a child is being adopted internationally we tear up at the new wonderful life they are going to have, without stopping to mourn the country and culture they are losing.
Some of us even go as far as to take children from their homes and fly them off to America. We justify it because the parent agreed or the family is too poor or the mother is HIV+. We don't wonder, did the parent agree because they didn't see any other choice? Did we even think to offer them one? We take the child away instead of helping the family out of poverty. We take the child away instead of getting the mother on ARV treatment.
But Adoption is ALWAYS okay we argue... just look at James 1:27. We love the first part- the caring for the orphan. Because we all love to cuddle cute babies. But what about the widows? How are our actions caring for the widows? How is adoption caring for the widows?
It's not. Adoption is good. Adoption is necessary. But if we as a society, as a church, as a country, as a generation, really want to address the orphan crisis we better stop putting all our eggs in the adoption basket. We better start creating and supporting programs that reach the ENTIRE family. Programs that prevent orphan status. Programs that re-unite families.
Because the truth is God didn't just command us to care for the orphan. A majority of the caring for orphans scriptures are followed by a command to care for the widow or the poor as well. So let's go out and serve the orphan but let us remember that we cannot effectively address any problem unless we look at the whole picture... and for orphans that means their families too.