Bethany steps into overwhelming orphan problem in Uganda

By February 21, 2012

Uganda (MNN) — As a result of poverty and other factors, 50% of Uganda's total population is 14 years of age or younger.

Even more staggering is that 10% of the nation is made up of orphans, according to Orphan's Heart. With a population of over 35 million, that means far more than 3 million of Uganda's children are fatherless.

The sad imagery doesn't stop there. Many of those hundreds of thousands of orphaned children face continual trauma, even in "safe" orphanages. The Brisbane Times reported last year that an Australian woman discovered the orphanage she had been sponsoring in Uganda was corrupt. Despite money flowing into the system, children were starving and mistreated.

Ethical ministries and orphan care programs are desperately needed to ensure that Uganda's millions of children receive nourishment, care, and the hope of a Savior who loves them.

Enter Bethany Christian Services. A few months ago, Bethany launched a program in Uganda.

"We saw a need to develop more of a structured inter-country adoption program, as currently there are some ethical issues with completing Uganda adoptions," explains Bethany's Kim Batts. "So we want to come in and develop a better system."

It's difficult work. Weeks have gone by as the ministry works with the Ugandan government to get a better adoption system in place. "We are just processing our first case now," says Batts.

Besides the time commitment, navigating the waters of values in a sometimes-corrupt system has been hard, as well. "I think that the biggest challenge we face is just ensuring everything is done in a very transparent, very ethical way," says Batts.

Thankfully, Bethany is making headway. Batts says the ministry is working with an experienced law firm and has contracted a social service worker. They plan to move into foster care and domestic adoption later down the road, which will involve the local church in a significant way.

In the meantime, the ministry continues to shine Christ to government officials and adoptive families via a godly staff committed to rescuing God's children. Pray for this work to be fruitful and for Christ-focused families to adopt these hurting orphans.

If the orphans of Uganda have touched your heart, learn more about adoption with Bethany here.

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