It's not the brightly painted walls, the nourishing food, or the gazillions of diapers which are hand-washed every day.
It's not even the caregivers who whole-heartedly love the children, or even the scads of volunteers who make the orphanage a happy place for kids who have lost almost everything.
The best part about Forever Angels is that they don't just love children, they love families.
It seems like a no-brainer, but this is something that many, many orphanages get wrong. Often, orphanages are only focused on the children. Honestly, it is a lot easier that way. Orphans are cute. They are, in many ways, pathetically cute. Their pathetic-ness just makes them cuter. Am I right or am I right?
This is where Forever Angels shines. First and foremost, FA desires to get kids back with families. When a baby shows up whose mother died in childbirth, they keep the child only until she is strong enough to go home. When a starving toddler arrives, they get the little one healthy again, but also supply his mother with capital so that she can start a small business. When an albino child needed protection during the election season, FA admitted the child, but also gave his mom a job at the orphanage so she could see him daily.
Forever Angels helps HIV patients (parents and children) get on ARV medication. They provide temporary housing to families who need to get on their feet, and sometimes permanent housing when it's really needed. They train orphaned (often homeless) teenagers in job and life skills. They seek out pregnant girls living on the street, in hopes of preemptively helping them to keep and care for their babies.
And then, of course, there's adoption. Two of our kids came from Forever Angels, which is how we became acquainted with it. Not very many children are adopted in Tanzania each year, but most of them that are come from Forever Angels, because it's easy to recognize what a great place it is. Forever Angels loves adoption, but only as a last resort. Which is exactly how it should be.
This Giving Tuesday, if you have a heart for African orphans, remember that the best place to start is by helping their families. Supporting Forever Angels is a outstanding way to do that.
Click here to support their December fundraising campaign.
Click here to read their wonderful stories of re-building families. (Some pages will need the password of "Tanzania.")
Click here to read about their volunteer program.
I could write about a lot of great causes you could support today, but this is one I especially love. We happily support Forever Angels. I hope you will too.