I have typed and edited this post a few times. Trying to find the right words—the ones which don’t offend people or stir up a hornet’s nest when it comes to tough issues–is hard. I am not the most eloquent person when it comes to sharing what’s on my heart. Sometimes words escape me. Like today.

This is going to be one of those posts. The kind that’s hard, raw, emotional, and difficult to put into words. So if you are the kind of person who can’t handle seeing the hard things, it would probably be best if you stopped reading now. This post is not for you. Be warned before you read any further—the images in this post are hard to look at! They will almost rip your heart out. If you feel that you cannot handle it….stop here!

That’s my little disclaimer.

There is no way to share what is on my heart in a watered-down, peaches-and-cream kinda way. There just isn’t. And even if there were, I totally couldn’t be bothered with trying to find it. Perhaps it’s just the frame of mind I’m in these day. You see, this week I have watched in utter amazement as the world has been in a complete frenzy of grief, emotion, pain, and sadness over the loss of Whitney Houston. The pop icon overdosed. And the world went into deep mourning. Millions and millions of people grieved the loss of the singer while our televisions, social networks, and radio stations spoke of not much else. We were bombarded by her legacy, her talent, her fortune and what will happen to it, and the sad loss to the world.

Yes, it is sad.

But today almost 30 000 people died of extreme poverty. And we never heard a single word about it.

Today over 160 000 000 orphans lived in appalling, filthy conditions and went to bed hungry [again]. And we never heard a single word about that either.

Today children were confined to cribs like caged animals—left to lie in their own waste for hours and hours, banged their heads on the bars of the crib to self-soothe, bit their fingers until they bled, rocked endlessly just for something to do, and consumed a diet of not much more than cabbage broth. But it’s too hard to speak about this reality—so we don’t.

Today children who turn five throughout Eastern Europe will be given a death sentence—also known as a transfer to a mental asylum for children and adults. There they will spend the rest of their [numbered] days confined to beds or cribs and will never feel the warmth of the sun on their faces or the cool breeze blowing. Shhhhh….we don’t want to talk about that either.

Sadly, even those of us who do know about the atrocities that happen to orphans in faraway lands, we too don’t want to talk about it. We’re afraid of what people will think if we share too much. We shy away from posting graphic and tough images and stories on our social networks just in case it offends a friend–can’t be ruffling any feathers, now can we?

Sometimes it’s just so much easier to get on with our lives and pretend that this stuff doesn’t really exist.

I guess it’s easier to talk about the things that don’t hold us accountable to actually DO something. It’s easier to talk about other people’s “issues” when there is not a single thing that we can do to make a difference. That gets us off the hook.

But how vastly different it is when we come face to face with calamity that we CAN do something about. That, my friends, is a whole different story. Why? Because the Scripture is as clear as daylight.

Proverbs 24:12 tells us, “Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act.”

God holds us responsible to ACT!

I know how it goes. I used to be that person. I never wanted to see the hard things in this world. I was happy and content within my cushy four walls. The hard things made me feel so darn uncomfortable. Pain and suffering were something I did everything I possibly could to avoid for most of my life. After all, conviction would mean I would actually have to do something about it…and that was just too hard, required too much time, there are too many things on my plate…yada, yada, yada.

That was until the day I prayed a simple prayer…not really knowing or fully understanding that God would take my words at face value and He WOULD do as I asked. Because He’s God—the Almighty Father, the creator of the heavens and the earth—and He loves to answer our prayers.

“Break my heart for the things that break yours, Father!”

That was all it took. God rocked my world! He turned it upside down and inside out. He opened the eyes of my heart and I began to see…truly SEE!

I shared earlier in the week that something occurred to me as I was praying over the 119 children who got quickly added to this list. I remembered that there was a time in my own life when I just had absolutely no idea about what the word “transferred” meant next to a child’s name. I was completely clueless…until God began to break my heart for the things which shattered His. I began to do research. All of a sudden I wanted to know what happened to orphans. I needed to know.

The more I learned, and the more my heart broke, the more I came to realize how very little the orphan crisis was spoken about in churches. I could not remember a single time in all my years of being a Christian and sitting in church faithfully every Sunday that I had heard a sermon taught on their desperate plight. Not once. I realized that the ones who did know the truth were like an army being sent into battle with very little reinforcements—facing a giant far bigger than anyone was talking about—yet with very, very little help to gain any significant victories.

I do think that things are getting better. I do think the message of the orphan crisis is starting to be shared in congregations more now than it did even five years ago. But what a long way we still have to go! I am always shocked when people write to me after I share something on my blog and say, “I had no idea!”  Even with all the social media, the internet, and continuous news channels–people still do not know.

We have work to do! The Body of Christ NEEDS to know. The world is not called to care for the fatherless. We are! It’s as simple as that. We’re the ones who are meant to be going, giving, supporting, bringing them home, advocating, praying, and doing everything we possibly can to make a difference. We’re the ones who are meant to be getting our hands dirty and getting uncomfortable (Lord forbid!) for the sake of the Gospel.


You know what I think? I think we need a massive awakening! I think the sleeping church needs to wake up and start talking about the hard things. We need to be talking about the catastrophes which happen not very far from where we live. This is reality, friends. It is not some made-up, Photoshopped picture someone did as a sick joke! This is real life.

This is the face of desperation–of abandonment, neglect and poverty!

These are HUMAN BEINGS we’re talking about—with feelings, hurts, pains, needs, emotions, and desires.

Did you know that this sort of thing even existed?  I am going to keep this post always, so that I can send it to the next person who writes to me and protests, “But isn’t an institution in a child’s home country better than bringing a foreign child to this country?”  You have GOT to be kidding me!

These are the Father’s beloved chosen people! Created in His image with a purpose and a destiny—each one of them with the potential to become so much more than what they currently are. Every precious child is a gift from His hand. Why can we not see that? Why do we turn away and refuse to get involved? Why is getting the next best gadget on the market so much more important than the life of a child who will certainly perish if he remains where he is?

Why is it so easy to mourn Whitney…but not shed a single tear for the ones such as these?

When people ask me, “What can we do?” I always respond, “What can’t we do?”

We need an awakening, friends! A movement which ignites a fire and a passion in each one of us that makes us want to jump in and do anything we possibly can to help.

Some will read this and say, “Not my calling! Not my problem!” I have news for you today…IT IS! James 1:27, Psalm 83:3, and many, many other Scriptures tell us in no uncertain words that it IS our problem. It’s non-negotiable—it’s not a calling, it’s a COMMAND. Big difference.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am so out of excuses. I am completely over myself! As I sit writing this I cannot think of one good enough reason as to why I should NOT do everything I humanly can to try and help. Those 119 children with the word “transferred” next to their name? They are living on borrowed time. I was once told that 95% of them will die once they are transferred to a mental asylum. For some of them, when that day of transfer comes, so does the word “unadoptable.”  Their time to find a family has run out. They will literally spend the rest of their days confined to a crib, bedridden!

It IS our problem!

credit: all photos from google

AWAKEN US, Lord! Stir our hearts, ignite passion in us, show us where we can get involved, shift our priorities.  Challenge us, show us what truly matters in this life, make us uncomfortable so that the only place we find true contentment is not in the things of the world, but in relationship with You…doing Your will, obeying your commands!  Convict our hearts, Lord Jesus!

Wake us up for the sake of the millions who wait…and wait…and wait!



36 comments on “if not us…then who?”

  1. this is absolutely gut renching. And totally needed to be said. My heart aches for those kids. Thank you for writing this in such an amazing way and not being afraid to say the hard things.

  2. Your words are Jesus’ very heart. I have to look Him in the face One day and give Him a reason for why my comfort was more important than their lives. There is no reason that could ever be good enough. Now is not the time to think about action. Now is the time to move. God is longing for His people to move. Let’s get up and GO. These children are waiting.

  3. Amen! Amen amen amen.
    I am sharing this post now. Thank you. God help us all wake up! Can’t stop the tears… thank you for writing this.

  4. God has give. Tom and I a very rare and amazing privilege! Please pray as we have been given the opportu ity to speak about this very thing—our responsibility to reach out to the fatherless and no longer shut our eyes! We will have 4 min in 3 services to have the Holy Spirit speak through us. Ha e your way Lord!

  5. I couldn’t keep reading it cause my heart hurt too bad. But I will be pray and I will seek God for what I can do! I wish I could adopt them all. Maybe I can adopt one of them. Thanks for sharing. Maybe I will grow the strength to finish reading.

  6. Wow…I think your blog is amazing…I saw it on a friends facebook and thought I would take a look. Thank you for being so brave and standing up for your faith and what you truly believe! You have surly gotten to my heart and opened my eyes. I hope this does the same for many more people! -Stephanie

  7. Well spoken…I want to share this post with others. We are beginning our adoption journey & filled with fear at what “issues” will rock our family but your post was a reassurance we have to act & leave the rest up to God. Time to shake things up!!!

  8. Thank you for writing this. I am praying for my family and other families that are being stirred to do more… To be more. For His glory. Read every word. Thank you again for writing this.

  9. Thank you. This issue has weighed on my heart for a while now. Maybe now just a few more will understand.

  10. Those pictures brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps. I have a passion like yours for children. I am currently working in a crisis pregnancy center, trying to do what I can for the unborn. I also just started writing a screenplay on the topic of life. The information you gave here will definitely fit into my screenplay. People DO need to know what is going on. It’s so easy to turn the blind eye and think, well, we have it good… Oh how wrong we are when we act that way as Christians!
    Is it because of government regulations that these children aren’t adopted when so many couples wait to adopt? Or is it the fact that they have special needs? Oh, my heart breaks for these precious children who really aren’t given a chance at life. I wish I could adopt each and every one of them!


  11.  “be fruitful and multiply” (and no, it’s not talking about grapes or oranges). 47 scriptures about orphans. Are the ten commandments only obeyed based on convictions?

  12. Thankyou for posting this. As an adoptive mother to 6 and a guardian to another you have said what I long have felt. Most folks think we are crazy. My husband and I are currently inour early 50’s and we often hear that if we had just stuck with our 2 birth children we would have an empty nest now. REALLY?  I could not imagine one second of one day without my Wild Bunch. They make life and Homeschooling challenging and fun and fulfilling!  They have been diagnosed with every letter of the alphabet and more.  Varying levels of Autism, ADHD, OCD. FAE, CP,Noonans syndrome etc.  Life is short and we must make a difference while we are here. My husband and I are not stupid we realize we will never have an empty nest. Whats so great about an empty nest anyway?
    Thankyou for what you have done and what you are doing and for posting this. It needs to be seen and heard.

  13. We don’t want to forget we have kids in the USA going through the same thing !!!!!
    The foster care system is in DIRE need of loving family’s willing to care about children and there parents while they recover from hard times in there lives. 

  14. Thank you for being real and honest about these amazing kids. I have been to some of the same orphanages and have pictures of these same kids!! It saddens me that people are unaware of the conditions they are living in. One of the guys who went with me on the first trip shot a short documentry while we were there and posted it on you tube. I guess it was to raw and truthful because it was quickly blocked. I’ve been there several times and I am always so blessed by these kids. I can’t wait till God opens the door for me to adopt. Again thank you for being their voice!!!! God Bless you and your family…… Crystal C 🙂

  15. I doubt if we know each other, but we should.  My daughter told me about your blog.  I read the latest post, and then the one titled “If not us”.  While reading,I kept thinking, “she had been to Ladizhen”.  And then I saw it.  Sasha’s photo.  You HAVE been there.  And you love some of the same kids I love.  Including Sasha.  He called me Mama.  I was there to meet some kids, and I ended up eventually adopting two of the unadoptable out of that level 4 orphanage in Ukraine.  One boy, then age 14, has spina bifida.  The other boy, then age 13, has cerebral palsy.  None of the kids there were schooled (they were not worthy) except occasionally by an American missionary.  My boys and one other girl were the only children EVER adopted from that orphanage as of 2005.  Our youth pastor called it half orphanage/half hospice.  My son with spina bifida was in kidney failure when we arrived in the USA, but I had no idea.  He had a kidney transplant at age 17.  He is alive, well, and serving up chicken sandwiches at our local Chick-fil-A.  He just went to prom.  Both boys are thriving.  But they were not even on the adoptable kids rosters.  We had to pay attorneys to get them registered for adoption.  It was worth it.  But I miss Artur.  And Tolya.  And Sasha.  And Oleg.  Thank you for being an advocate for them.  God bless you.

  16. You have used one of my pictures! Thank you. This is my first time reading your blog.  It was forwarded to be by my friend in Ukraine.  Together her and I have been doing an “option to adoption”.  My husband’s advice was to take all the time, money, and energy it would take to adopt and put it into changing the whole orphanage so all the kids now and for the future would benifit.  Thus we extablished a non profit that is a catalyst for other folks who have listened and responded.  We pay locals to provide learning, activities, therapy, and extra care in these type orphanages in Ukraine.  One of which is talked about by commenter ‘Suzi’ who adopted two of the “unadoptable”.  More and more local businesses, youth, and even politicians within these countries are also waking up and making a difference!  I’m just a dishwasher at a nursing home, here in the US. but God has allowed me to work together with other like “burdened” people and together we have and are changing individual lives and more importantly the attitudes in countries where such conditions exist. 

  17.  Totally NOT into arguing, but maybe my opinion is different.  Being a former foster parent for years…..although the above pictures are disturbing to say the least- good it helps open eyes!!!  There are children daily in these situations and WORSE in the U.S.  TRUE!  Now if those children are “found” do they usually go to a better situation -ummmmm……sometimes.  Like obviously if we were the foster family- YES!  But, the sad truth is the shortage of foster parents!!!!

    True conversation with foster advocates who find foster homes for children- here in Tampa, FL.  We had to send the 8 children back to a KNOWN ABUSIVE FAMILY!  We didn’t have any room for the children in foster care homes.  It happens A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously not a joke!!!  We have worked with the foster care system in IA, LA, and although we are not foster parents anymore (our “large” family prevents this because you know- large families can’t handle more children??)  FL we are in constant contact with agencies that help place foster children (through a foster/adoption ministry). 

    ALSO, let’s be REAL about it.  Before becoming a foster parent I had NO IDEA that there were foster parents who were…..ummmm…how to put this. HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  AS IN JUST AS BAD AS THE HOME THE CHILD WAS TAKEN FROM!!!!!  I didn’t believe it….no way???  You can not be serious, and yet…..after opening my eyes and in many conversations with child advocates and social workers- it is true!  Children in foster placements with no food to eat, locked in closets, being abused in every way possible, …..one story of a child locked in the bathroom……left in their junk for several days……only water from the toilet to drink – they couldn’t reach the sink.  YES- TRUE!!!! 

    So YES- this kind of thing happens EVERYWHERE!!!!  It may look different.  It may be a mom that is getting high with other men while some of those men are sexually or physically abusing all the children in the home.  It may be a child that is scared to go to bed at night because when dad comes home he will beat everyone in the home.  HAPPENS EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR!

    I REALLY DON”T THINK THAT IS THE POINT OF THIS POST!!  Really the whole point is- if not YOU THEN WHO????  WHO WILL LISTEN TO GOD’S COMMAND TO HELP???  Ummmmm….here – next door, across the state, another state, another country- ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!!!!!!!  ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN DESERVE LOVE!!!!!!  EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE! 

    I am pretty sure we can agree on that 🙂

  18. I struggle with the idea of even pointing out that children in one place are better or worse off than another.  I am not sure that argument is consistent with the intent of the blogger’s post.  

    God did not create borders.  Humans did.  There are no borders on kindness, no borders on love, no borders on charity.  The “there are just as many starving/abused/orphaned children in America” argument separates God”s children from one another by synthetic borders.

  19. Hi Mrs. Adeye! I definitely believe this is my calling! I plan to adopt one day, but well, as of now I am 15! lol! 🙂 

  20. This is to Dawn Wright…I am Cate and I am 19 years old. I was adopted from Ukraine 5 years ago. I was in a orhanage for 13 years. I seen alot of bad things happening to the kids. I went to Bulgaria with my parents to bring home my brother and a sister. My brother Andrew is almost 8 and he acts like he is 1 year old. He was left in his crib for five years with nothing. He ate 2  bottles a day mostly milk. Remember he was 5 years old. When we brought him home he was 5 and weighed under 17 pounds. My brother Luke who is from Ukraine was adopted in 2005 who almost died. If we didn’t bring him home he would have died. I can go on and on. My mom has a blog if you would like to read it

     My parents did fostercare in US. They have trusted God and brought 30 kids home from 5 diffrent countries. I do not agre with you about USA is verser than other countries. I KNOW that other countries are very bad nobody cares about kids in other countries. I know that becouse nobody cared about me for 13 years. Like Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Mexico and more. I can tell you some pretty awful things that happend to kids and if it was here in US someone would go to jail for it. There people got away with murder. Sorry I just don’t agree with you – having lived thru it.

    Adeye I loved your post. I agread with all you have said. Thank you so much for writing it.
    As you might have read I have 30 sisters and brothers. I don’t know if you know mommajeaneb she is my Mom. I have been blessed to be an American. I pray and hope alot of those kids would find there forever family like I did. Thank you again so much for your post.

  21. Thank you so much, Adeye.  Reading this was NOT by mistake today.  It was something the Lord knew I needed to hear.  You see, my husband and I are in the process of adopting a precious little one from China (our 1st adoption); we just received our LOA and have been receiving emails from our Agency regarding how much money will need going further.  This process has moved really fast for us – our little one needs heart surgery YESTERDAY – but starting this journey I thought and, to be honest, expected my car accident settlement to be in my hands by now – BUT it is not coming anytime soon.  Satan seems to keep putting up road blocks and I have to keep “bulldozing” my way forward.  I know we were lead to this little girl – to bring her to a loving, forever family and the medical care she so desperately needs.  My husband took “years” to finally admit that we had child in another country – that we couldn’t “deny” the 163 million orphans in the world.  But my reluctant husband looked at me one day, out of the blue, and said “we need to look into that adoption thing again”.  The Lord spoke to my husband’s heart and he finally listened.
    I’m sorry for babbling…but I wanted you to know how that this post spoke to my heart – it told me that I “am” doing the right thing – that we will find a way to finance our adoption – that this is what we were called to do.  And, no, it isn’t an easy road, but a road that more of us need to take. 
    May I post a blog referring to your’s?  I really want my friends and family to open their eyes and hearts to what it happening under our nose.  Most of my family doesn’t support our decision to adopt.  They don’t understand why we would go into financial debt for an orphan, well maybe they will understand after reading your blog. 
    Again, thank you for all you do for the orphan.  You are an inspiration to all of us – many blessings to you!!

  22. Adeye…I follow your blog faithfully, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted to you. As a fellow adoptive mom, lover of Jesus Christ, and advocate for the fatherless, I thank you for this post. I also cannot be silent. The enemy has tried and tried and tried again to take down our family and each time, it energizes me even more to refuse to be silenced. My husband and I just discussed the other night that until our dying day, we will continue this fight. Until we are told “no” by every country everywhere, we will continue to rescue as many as we can, reclaiming them for the only One who can truly save them. Please continue to fight. There are many who stand with you….Amy P

  23. This post has prompted us to begin the process to adopt a precious boy from Reece’s Rainbow. Do I have your permission to share this post on my blog? Thank you so much!

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