Hundreds of Christian-sponsored events nationwide will take place Sunday to draw attention to the half million children in the U.S. foster system today.
The national Orphan Sunday campaign, led by the Christian Alliance for Orphans, is an annual grassroots event calling Christians to be involved in adoption, foster care and the global orphan ministry. Local events across the country seek to raise awareness about the orphan crisis and infuse passion into the church to tackle the problem.
"While everyone may not be called to adoption, we are all called in the body of Christ to do something on behalf of the orphan," said Kelly Rosati, senior director of the Sanctity of Human Life Division at Focus on the Family, in the video program called, "Answer the Cry."
Rosati, who oversees the FOTF adoption and orphan care initiative, and her husband, John, have adopted their four children from the foster care system.
The "Answer the Cry" DVD program was made by Focus on the Family, Show Hope and Family Life to be used by churches and individuals as a resource tool on Orphan Sunday. The program is hosted by bestselling author Francis Chan and features music performances by award-winning artists Steven Curtis Chapman, who has adopted three children from China, and Mark Schultz, who was adopted himself.
"Orphan Sunday calls the Church to make the Gospel visible," said Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, in a statement. "When Christians open their hearts and homes in adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry, we mirror the God who did the same for us."
Besides various local events on Sunday, a national concert was simulcast live from Colorado Springs, Colo., to college and high school groups nationwide on Friday. The event challenged American Christian youth to put their faith into practice and make real sacrifices for the "least of these," including orphans.
November is National Adoption Month. In honor of the month, the National Association of Evangelicals issued a statement saying adoption honors the centrality of the family in human society and displays respect for the gift of life.
"Adoption is a blessing from God," said Galen Carey, NAE director of government affairs. "It is a courageous act of sacrificial love on the part of both birth parents and adoptive parents. Churches should honor and support these individuals."
More than 75 national organizations have joined with Christian Alliance for Orphans to promote the 2010 Orphan Sunday campaign.
"The need of orphans is so vast that no government, no nonprofit can overcome it," commented Jodi Jackson Tucker, national coordinator for the Orphan Sunday campaign. "There's only one potential source of the love, nurture and belonging that every orphan most needs: that's the Church."
In the United States alone, nearly 130,000 children are waiting to be adopted. Globally, an estimated 15 million children have lost both parents. The Orphan Sunday campaign invites Christians to be God's answer to these needs.