Dec 092014

Obviously, the name of this site is, “The Vulnerable Project.”    But who are the vulnerable?    I think it helps to have some criteria in terms of what you mean when you talk about the vulnerable.    So, with that being said, here are 5 things (in random order) that define who could be considered vulnerable:

  • Where – where you live has a big impact on whether you could fall into the category of vulnerable.    Someone who lives in Middle Class suburbia in the United States isn’t necessarily going to be vulnerable.
  • Health care – do you have access to adequate health care?   Is there a significant risk that you  could fall ill with a disease that is potentially curable given adequate health care but is fatal in areas that don’t have it?   An example?   Malaria.   For someone with adequate healthcare, malaria is (so I’m told) a really bad time but is rarely fatal.    For people who don’t have access to medical care, malaria is highly fatal.
  • Family – is the family unit together?    Is there sufficient income in the family unit to keep the family alive?
  • Dysfunction – is there dysfunction in the family unit?   Is there abuse?   Is there a fear for the physical safety of one or more family members due to abuse?
  • Social Justice – are there systems in place to protect the innocent and deter or punish those who do wrong?


So, using those as guidelines, who potentially qualifies as “Vulnerable?”

  • Obviously orphaned children all over the world do.
  • Children in foster care do.
  • Parents of children in foster care – those who are really trying – do.
  • People like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others do.   People who might or might not have been violating the laws of society but who, from many viewpoints, were treated differently and treated less well because of their skin color – they do.
  • Women and their children suffering from abuse and domestic violence do.
  • Christians in Syria who are being persecuted and killed by ISIS do.


So, given those thoughts and those “guidelines,”  what is The Vulnerable Project going to do?   I’m in the process of reworking some of my thoughts on that, in light of Ferguson, in light of New York and in light of conversations I’ve been having with many people who I respect very highly.

The need to protect and assist the vulnerable has never, in my eyes, been greater.

God’s call to care for the orphan and the widow and to do justice and love mercy are or should be front and center.  (James 1:27 and Micah 6Alien

The Vulnerable Project is working on ways to do that.

I hope you’ll stay tuned and join us as we venture down this path and see what God wants us to do.



Sep 102014

My dream has changed over the years.

I used to think that finding a new adoptive family for every child in an orphanage was the answer to all of the problems in the orphan crisis.    I was wrong.   That is part of the problem and part of the answer.   But not the complete answer to the complete problem.

Instead of that, I’d like to share with you the dreams that I have for the Vulnerable Project:

  1. The Elimination of the Poverty Orphan  Syndrome –  There are too many children all over the world who are not living with their biological family, not because their family didn’t want them but because their family couldn’t afford to feed them.    That must stop.    There must be systems in place so that families who want to and are able to care for their children, rather than having to give them up for adoption, are able to get the assistance they need to be able to make it through the tough times and keep their family together.
  2. Improved understanding and knowledge of all areas of adoption – so many of the problems in the adoption world stem from a deep rooted misunderstanding of many of the realities of adoption.    We aim to address and improve that.
  3. The proper way to help – there are many ways to “help” in the 3rd world.    Many of them do a lot of good.   Some of them do a little bit of good.   Some of them actually hurt more than they help.   Most people don’t realize it and would do things differently if they knew better.    We aim to pull back the curtain and talk about those issues and help people do “it” better.
  4. Jobs – “What the Whole World wants is a good job.”   Jim Clifton – CEO of the Gallup Organization.    Many of the problems in places like Ethiopia, Uganda and Haiti could be drastically reduced if there was a significant increase in the availability of jobs so that people could support their families.     See Elimination of the Poverty Orphan Syndrome above.
  5. Churches – The church in the first world could and must do so much more to battle the forces of evil.   We aim to expose those weaknesses, encourage those who want to pray and be involved to do it well and battle the forces of evil through the efforts of the brothers and sisters in Christ who live here in the comfort of the first world.

Through book sales (see #2), online sales (see #4) and speaking opportunities (#1, 2, 3 and 5), we also aim to very quickly eliminate the need for traditional fundraising.

I’ll be going into these in greater detail in the coming days and weeks but I wanted to share with you what The Vulnerable Project is and how we can work together to help the vulnerable children and families of the world.

Thanks for reading and thanks for caring.

Tom Vanderwell