The Many Faces of Vulnerable

Just a week and a half ago, I was speaking at a conference to a group of adoptive families.   All of them were there because they wanted to learn more about how they can help others walk this adoption road.   During the time I was talking, I told them that when I look now at what I knew 12 years ago when we started the process, my first thought is,  “Boy was I naïve’!”

I still run into that feeling as I talk to people, read about issues and try to remain as knowledgeable as possible on all of the issues facing children, particularly vulnerable children in this world.

The many face of vulnerable can be truly overwhelming.

  • They can be parents attempting to help their children heal from trauma they suffered before joining their family.
  • They can be siblings attempting to heal from the trauma they suffered after a new family member joined their family.
  • They can be the poverty stricken – literally all over the world.
  • They can be the victims of sex trafficking and their families – I can’t even imagine what the girls from Nigeria and their families have and are going through.
  • They can be the victims of injustice.
  • They can be the victims of racial discrimination.
  • They can be the victims of trauma and abandonment – and the struggles that leads to which many of them will heal from but will never fully get over.
  • and the list could go on and on for pages and pages.

The many faces of vulnerable can almost be paralyzing.   There’s so much and the problem is so big and we’re so comfortable in our middle class homes and our middle class lives.

The Vulnerable Project is going to be adjusting it’s focus a bit.   Our goal is going to be to not only motivate people to do something about the vulnerable of the world but to provide specific structures, specific contexts, specific ideas that people can do so that if you want to “do something,” you can do something.

And together, if we all do something, and we all do it in a focused, coherent and relatively organized manner, we can make a difference.

So, stay tuned, there’s a lot of stuff happening and a lot of ideas “in the mix.”

Thanks for caring about the vulnerable.   Thanks for caring about the children of the world.


Who are the Vulnerable?

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.