I have to admit that it was years after I first got involved in adoption that I heard the term “poverty orphan.” It was even longer until I truly understood and accepted it as a reality.
I think that part of the reason it took so long is because it is painful and it is messy.
What’s a poverty orphan? Very simply, a poverty orphan is an orphan who became an orphan, not through the death of his or her parents but through the inability of his or her parents to provide the necessary care to keep them alive. Not to keep them in luxury like even the middle class in America lives, but to keep them alive.
That means that his/her parents were faced with an excruciating choice…….
- Do I give up my child so that another family can raise them and do what I can’t – provide for them and make sure they live to see a future?
- Or do I continue to attempt to care for my child(ren) and keep them with me and run the very significant chance that they won’t survive?
That’s a choice that is messy.
It’s painful. Painful for the parents – they will forever be wondering if they made the right choice.
Painful for the children – “my mom gave me up because she didn’t want me.” I know first hand (actually 2nd hand) how difficult those questions can be for an adopted child.
If you had asked me 15 years ago, “what’s the definition of an orphan?” I would have told you that it was a child who had no parents.
Unfortunately, this world is a lot messier and more painful than we’d like. Many of the children in orphanages and in foster care are indeed orphans in the true sense of the word – their parents are both dead or gone. But many of them are there even though they have biological parents. However their biological parents can’t take care of them.
And in many cases it’s because the parents are in a hard place and just don’t have the means to care for them.
Poverty orphan – a glimpse at the sad fallen state of this world and how sin has made life so much of a struggle.