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Why Are We Still Building Orphanages in 2016?

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“As Christians, we should be the ones out there supporting families. Instead we are destroying them.”

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Can I be honest with you for a bit?

I’m so tired of this conversation.

Everything should have changed when the evidence against orphanages began mounting up several years ago. I’ve personally been advocating on this issue for 15 years.

We haven’t had orphanages in Western countries for decades, and NONE of the major humanitarian organizations like Save the Children or World Vision have supported the placement of children in orphanages for years.

For good reasons.

So why is it taking so long to sink in for the average missionary or church ministry? Seriously, why is anyone still building and supporting orphanages in 2016?

Perhaps you are not up to date with the main arguments. So I’ll outline a few of them briefly for you here.

1. Most children in orphanages are not orphans.

That’s right. A large number of children in orphanages still have at least one parent still alive, and virtually ALL of them have extended family—grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins … Even if these children have lost both their parents, why take them away from everyone else they know and love, as well?

We have this romantic notion of orphaned children that they have miraculously lost every single person on earth that they are related to, and therefore need us to rescue them. Frankly, that is hardly ever the case. In reality, children are placed in orphanages for one overriding reason:

2. Children are in orphanages because of poverty, not orphanhood.

Poverty. That is why we have orphanages. They meet a need in poor communities for schooling, housing and nutritious food.

People are poor. They struggle to feed their own families, let alone any extra kids that come along if a relative dies. And so they turn to the next best solution—an orphanage.

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