There is a crisis happening in our country, our province, and our community; right now, in our backyards, and it is growing. There are currently more than 10,000 children in foster care in our province alone. Let that number sink in for a minute – 10,000 children who are being cared for by a bureaucracy instead of in whole, healthy families. It’s absolutely mind-boggling, that a nation as rich and developed as Canada has allowed itself to get to a place where there are 10,000 children who do not know the love and stability of a stable family, and sadly, that number is growing every single day.
It would be foolish to suggest that every family should take in a child. Not everyone is gifted, equipped, or called to be a foster or adoptive family, and that’s okay! However, hold that sigh of relief, because this doesn’t let you off the hook. Even if you are not called to take in one of these children, you are still called to be a part of the solution in one way or another.
One of the simplest ways is to become a prayer warrior for a child who has none. And I don’t mean that you can offer up a prayer or two for a child and then you can pat yourself on the back and move on. I mean that you need to commit to getting on your knees and asking God what His heart and plans for this child are, and then interceding on this child’s behalf.
In 1997 at the age of 21, I traveled to Romania to work in a baby orphanage following the fall of communism. The orphanages were a heart-wrenching place; warehouses for tiny little souls who had been abandoned and forgotten by the rest of the world. The children there faced a bleak future, particularly the infants who were handicapped or disabled in any way. Once those children graduated from the baby orphanage at the age of two, they would be destined for the Handicapped Children’s Orphanage, where they would be doomed to a life spent in a tiny iron cot with no love and little human interaction. As I spent my days cuddling these forgotten infants, there was one little girl who captured my heart. Goofy grin, fuzzy red hair, she was absolutely precious – and with her heart defect and deformed feet, she was doomed for the Handicapped Children’s Orphanage. I tried to help her the best I could, but as I was barely out of my teens myself, there was little I could do, aside from pray.
And so I prayed – I spent the next 18 years begging God to watch over her, protect her, and somehow, someway, find a way for her to be raised not in the Handicapped Children’s Orphanage but in a family who loved her. I petitioned Him to claim this little girl as His own and let her grow to know and love Jesus. I had no way of knowing if my prayers were being answered, and resigned myself to the fact that I might never know this side of heaven. In all honesty, with all her medical problems, I had no way of knowing if she was even still alive.
In the fall of 2015, I found this little girl, now 19, on Facebook, and contacted her and the Christian Dutch missionary woman who had taken her at the age of five from the Handicapped Children’s Orphanage and raised her and four other girls in a small apartment. My Dutch friend confided that when they went to pick up the pre-selected girls from the orphanage, they were shocked to see “my” little girl in the group, as she was not one of the ones they felt they could care for based on her physical care needs. They took her home and never regretted it, but they puzzled as to how she came to be among the group they took home. The mystery remained unsolved for years, until I made contact and shared what my prayer for her had been. What a powerful God we serve! As the Dutch missionary filled me in on the details of my girl’s life, recounting many miracles that she witnessed over the years regarding her medical needs, I realized that each and every miracle that they had experienced was something I had specifically and intentionally petitioned God for on this girl’s behalf. God showed me the powerful impact that prayer can have, and I can’t help but wonder, where would my girl be today had God not impressed on me that I needed to be interceding for her in prayer?
Every child needs an adult to pray for them, to intercede for them. Prayer is a powerful tool, but here’s the key – someone must actually pray! Every child must have a spiritual mentor, someone to step in and cover them in prayer. Someone to guide them, to teach them, to show them the way. Be that person for a child today!
Michelle Peters is a social worker with the Winnipeg Authority. She loves Jesus and the kids who she works with! She is married with four children.