Amy White is a member of the CRF Blogging Network. Check out her blog at Great Expectations and follow her adoption journey.


Did you know that there are different types of orphans? I didn’t, either. I don’t remember where I first heard the term “social orphan”, but it makes me sick to know there are so many kids who don’t have parents or other adults in their lives who can look out for them, take care of them, and provide for them. We don’t know why the parents, with one or both still alive, can’t care for their children… disease, poverty, the list could go on.

A “social orphan” is an child who has at least one living parent, but experience life as if they do not. These children rarely see their parents or live life as a family.

A “double orphan” has lost both parents, and a “single orphan” has lost one parent. Obviously, losing one or both parents increases the child’s vulnerability greatly.

And then there is the “zero child”. Families can become large in other parts of the world, and when there isn’t enough food to go around, a child is picked to neglect in order to reduce the family size. We see this in Haiti. One child is singled out for neglect when it comes to food, clothes, and other kinds of help.

Can you imagine?

And can you imagine how hard it would be to choose which child for which you’ll not care?

There are many ways to help orphans and children who are vulnerable. Christians can foster, mentor, and adopt children within the foster care system. Christians can adopt children internationally or domestically. Christians can engage in finding ways to serve in orphanages worldwide, or children’s homes in the US.

We, as Christ-followers, can also participate in preserving families. We can sponsor a child. We can buy fair trade items; our purchases support mothers who can earn a fair wage, make an honest living, and have enough money to help support a family. Lives are changed when women (and men!) learn a trade and no longer have to forage for food among trash or prostitute themselves in order to survive.

We, as Christ-followers, can work to reunite families. This could include mentoring parents who have lost custody of children with the time period being available to meet court requirements in order to regain custody. This can mean child sponsorship, so that the child is in school, the fees are provided, and the parents or parent can work to provide other needs of the family. This can mean finding another living relative to care for a child. This can mean providing emergency foster care placements.

It just takes a willing person who will listen to God’s calling.

Please visit Christian Relief Fund’s website for many ideas on how you can help “the least of these”.

“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” James 1:27