Thursday, October 7, 2010

Advocacy


Origin of ADVOCATE

Middle English advocat, from Anglo-French, from Latin advocatus, from past participle of advocare to summon, from ad- + vocare to call, from voc-, vox voice - First Known Use: 14th century
 
noun \ˈad-və-kət, -ˌkāt\

Definition of ADVOCATE

1 one that pleads the cause of another; specifically : one that pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court
2 one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal
3 one that supports or promotes the interests of another

Troy and I discussed recently how we sometimes find it difficult to advocate for a cause without coming off arrogant or judgmental. We don't want to be 'that guy'. So often I'd like to write more boldly about certain topics that are near and dear to our hearts but I shrink back for fear of offending. 
The more I think about shrinking back to avoid offending, the more I recognize that only a weenie would do that.  If God puts a cause on my heart it is my responsibility to advocate and to do it with humility and love. 

After attending the T4A Conference we talked about what it means to "advocate for the orphan". If I am being honest, I wish more people would seriously consider adoption.
I don't think everyone should adopt, that is a ridiculous notion, but I do think everyone should be praying and ask God what they can do.   I think if the Bible is true, we are ALL supposed to do something.   Adoption is one option; there are many others.


Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. -Psalm 82:3-4


I sat in the dark auditorium in Austin, TX last Saturday listening to insane and horrific statistics about the global orphan crisis. I listened to the statistic that 19,000 kids a year will age-out of the U.S. foster care system without ever finding a family.  I heard that orphan girls are far more likely to be exploited and sold into the sex-trade.  I heard so many heavy things that I felt like my head might explode.

Statistics dehumanize humans.  As I listened I thought of the little restavek girl down the street from our house in Haiti.  She is not a number. She is a person created in God's image, just like you and just like me. I thought about how lame our excuses are. I thought about how easy it is to get overwhelmed and look away.  I don't want to think about little girls being raped night after night. I'd rather not picture hundreds of little ones who have lost their parents to AIDS waiting year after year for someone to love them. I do not want to consider or deeply examine what it would feel like to be in foster care for a decade only to be cut loose with no one to call "family".
Whether I think about them or not -  they exist.  My choices are pretty straight forward. So are yours.

1. We find something we can do. 
or
2. We plug our ears and close our eyes and pretend there is no problem.

Only one choice reflects the heart of our Father.

I could not write a better post than this one written by Mary Ostyn a lovely woman we met at the Together for Adoption conference last weekend. Another friend shared great thoughts here. Please read them. After that, please pray, please ask God what He would have you do to love and defend the fatherless and oppressed.


Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility. 
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer