For the last couple of weeks, we have been casting our vision before you with the hopes of helping you understand what we’re doing and why. Our work in Togo will be three-fold:
Each week, we’ll focus on one of these aspects before painting a picture of how they’ll work together and guide our work and time abroad. So, our third area of focus (and this week’s topic) is:
Intentionally Caring for Orphans
One of our favorite verses is James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
The Lord placed a burden for caring for orphans on our hearts and lives while we were expecting our second child, Clara. We just kept thinking about those mamas who chose to carry their babies to term, just to put them up for adoption. We decided that, in 2018, we would begin the application process to pursue international adoption. Instead, God opened our eyes and hearts to see the need to provide orphan care on a larger scale in Togo.
So that’s what we’re doing.
This model of orphan care is different than most other models: we believe that a baby should be with his or her biological parents. And in the cases where that is not possible, we believe the child should be placed with adoptive parents who can and will care for that child as their own. A baby should not grow up in an institution, regardless of how “nice” that institution is.
In Togo, we will work to place infants ages 0-2 with believing Togolese families. These families will adopt the children, raising them as their own, teaching them the word of God, and training them in right living so that they can truly be the next generation of Christian leaders. By putting babies into families, they have the opportunity to flourish under the loving care of two parents who are committed to their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
ABWE was gifted the above-pictured facility in Kara, Togo by another missions agency. This building will serve as the home-base for Isaiah 54 Ministries (the name given to the orphan care project by another missionary).
As the Lord leads, we plan to hire some national women to provide care for the infants. These women will assist with raising them in line with Togolese culture and customs so that as the children transition into their forever families, they will not be transitioning from an Americanized life into a Togolese life. This will include carrying the babies on their backs (as I did with Clara, below), feeding them food similar to their diets at home, and providing them opportunities to appropriately explore their environments.
Our hearts are still for orphans, and within the last couple weeks, we’ve begun talking about how the Lord could still expand our family through adoption. Whether our personal adoption path takes us to a child in Togo or elsewhere, we are excited to be used in this ministry.
Next week, we will explore the relationship between our three ministry focuses in Togo and how they all work together. Any questions about them so far? Comment on this post and we’ll answer!