This is George. George is almost six years old, and has been at Forever Angels since he was a newborn.
When Gil and I went to Forever Angels to pick up Johnny last week, Gil told me about a conversation he had with George.
Why did you choose Johnny? George asked Gil. What did Johnny do to make you choose him? I want a Daddy too.
Oh, Child. Rip my heart out of my chest. And then jab a knife into it.
How do you possibly answer that question?
Well, George, we were looking for a child who is younger than you. It just sounds lame.
What did Johnny do to make you choose him? From our first trip up to Forever Angels, it was obvious that George was doing everything possible to get chosen. He tries hard to be happy and charming, all the time. He smiles fetchingly. He poses for the camera. He wants to be the first to hug you. He gives kisses to strangers.
When we were saying our good-byes, in the midst of the din of dozens of noisy children, George whispered to me, I want to go too.
Just go ahead and twist that knife.
Forever Angels is only licensed for kids up to age 5. So just this week, George is being transferred to a long-term orphanage. A sponsor is paying for his school fees, so he will get to go to school. He tries to be excited about this.
But it's still an orphanage, not a family. And George knows there is a difference.
I know that not everyone is called to adopt. There are many good reasons not to adopt, and I would never encourage anyone to go into it out of guilt. Because let me assure you--adoption is tough, especially with older children. It's a arduous process to bring home a child, and then it's even more arduous to help that child adapt to your family.
I know not everyone is called to adopt. But there needs to be more who are. I don't know if it's you; I don't have anyone specific in mind while I am writing this. But there needs to be more who are.
There are thousands, millions of Georges out there. There are about 30,000 children in the United States alone who "age out" of the foster care system every year. That's 30,000 children each year who turn 18 and have no one.
In a country that is one of the richest, most Christian in the world, this should not be. Among churches who are exhorted to care for the fatherless, this should not be. Among people who say they are pro-life, This Should Not Be.
Unless you live in Tanzania, there's not much you can do to help George get a family. But remember that there are thousands of others out there who, if given the chance, would look you in the eye and say,
I want a Daddy too.
How will you respond?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans...in their distress. James 1:27
Update on 4/21/19: Tragically, we received word that on Easter Sunday, George suddenly passed away. George was living at a Christian orphanage where he was loved and cherished, but he never did get a Daddy. May his story inspire many others to consider fostering or adoption.