International (MNN) — Throughout Africa, millions of
children have been orphaned because of HIV/AIDS, war, or the effects of
poverty. Previously, Every Child Ministries and other aid groups have helped
these orphans through foster care, adoption or group homes.
However, many African governments now want to eliminate one of the
"We are facing a big move in most African countries where
the governments want to go away from group homes and want to place children
into families through adoption or foster care," said Lorella Rouster with
She said this would create a problem, though, because of the
vast amount of orphans. Without these homes, organizations would never be able
to help each and every one of these children find a foster home or adopted
"Removing one option would be devastating," Rouster said. "Every
form of care possible is needed."
Not only does the vast amount of orphans who would go
unaided present a problem, but certain children simply could not be placed in a
"We see children who have been living on the street for a
considerable time. They have learned behaviors and attitudes that make it very
difficult for ordinary families to take them in," she said. Without orphanages,
this large amount of children would be placed back on the streets and "fall
through the cracks" of the system.
Rouster said while ECM realizes God ordained the family unit
and a nuclear family is ultimately the best option, they have been successfully
running foster care, adoption and group homes for many years now.
In addition to this, Rouster said these children are not
usually placed in traditional families. Instead, they are placed with a
relative they have never met or a complete stranger, who simply views them as another
mouth to feed and often treats them as a second-class citizen.
Also, if a woman loses her husband and remarries, her second
husband often does not want the children from her previous marriage. If the kids
do stay in the home, they are often subjected to abuse and neglect.
ECM does not know what has brought about this sudden
pressure to close down group homes, but Rouster said she does not think they
are at risk of being shut down yet.
"The truth is, they keep sending us their children," she
said. Therefore, Rouster and ECM are hoping the governments will realize what a
mistake it would be to close group homes and how many children it would affect
Pray for these governments to have a change of heart and see
the benefits of every option. Pray also for every ministry in the area to provide
the best care they can for the kids. Pray that these kids will be affected by the Gospel
as these ministries help them.
Visit ECM's Web site to learn more about their ministries and
what you can do to help orphans in Africa.