David Platt said, “Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”
Orphans face incredible life challenges. Orphans are more vulnerable to slave labor, suicide, violence, homelessness, lack of education, health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, and sex slavery.
HOMELESSNESS: A study in Russia showed 40% of orphans who age out of the system were homeless. There are an estimated 150 million street children worldwide, who are not counted as orphans, most of whom may be double orphans.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Alcohol and drug abuse is estimated at 60% among street kids. Russian orphans are 9-60 times as likely to have pre-natal alcohol exposure. 80% of kids in Ukraine are “social orphans,” abandoned by parents, often due to alcohol and substance abuse.
LIFE SKILLS: Two essential life skills that orphans typically lack are critical thinking and decision-making skills. The state makes all significant decisions for them and orphanage directors rarely solicit their opinion on matters concerning them. The only thing required of an orphan is obedience.
SUICIDE: With all these hurdles, it’s no wonder that a huge number of kids don’t make it into adulthood. In Ukraine and Russia, 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18. When there are no adults to show you the way, and plenty of adults to exploit you, sometimes life just isn’t worth living. Those who don’t end up in prison, slavery, or dead by drugs or violence, sometimes bring about their own untimely end.
If these statistics seem overwhelming to you, remember we have an overwhelming God. He can reach those we can’t even see.
This week, as you consider all your blessings, say a prayer for those children who may be running out of hope.