Last year at this time we wanted a baby. We were planning to adopt. We hung this Hope ornament on the tree.

Turns out it WE weren’t in charge.

This year I bought a new ornament. Joy.

What a difference a year makes.

While my heart is full this Christmas season, it is also heavy for the child that we didn’t adopt. For the child that doesn’t have a family this year. For the 163,000,000 (that’s 163 million) orphans of the world.

While I’m not sure that adoption is in our near future, I do know that some form of orphan care is. I’d love to bring home a child and give it a family. A sister. A home. But could the $30,000 that it would cost to do so be used in other ways? Ways that could save the life of more than just one child?

$30,000 = a family for 1 child or clean water for 1,500 people through Charity Water. Clean water for each of those 1,500 people for 20 years! “90% of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are to children under five years old.” – Charity Water. How many lives would be saved by all this clean water?

$30,000 would run the Mercy House for 8 months. From their site: The Mercy House exists to provide alternative options for pregnant girls living in the streets of Kenya. The Mercy House will aid them in nutrition, housing, prenatal care, counseling, Biblical teaching and job skills for sustainable living. What’s that saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure? How many children won’t become orphans because someone cared enough for their mother to give her the means to care for herself and her children?

$30,000 = 1,500 cooking stoves for women in Haiti. Check out The Adventure Project.  $20 provides a family in Haiti with a charcoal-efficient cooking stove. From the founder of The Adventure Project: In Haiti, mothers bend over small cooking fires, 4-6 hours everyday. Such fires–nice on an occasional camping trip–actually emit toxic levels of smoke when used every day. Babies tied to their backs or playing nearby actually inhale the same levels of smoke as someone smoking two packs of cigarettes each day. Sadly, the resulting respiratory infections are becoming a number one cause of death in these children. Mothers desperately trying to prepare the very thing needed to sustain their children’s lives actually threaten their lives—unknowingly, unwillingly.

There are countless other ways to help. Compassion. Food for the Hungry. I don’t even know where I’m going with all this. How to choose? Save one child? Help thousands of children?

How would you use $30,000 to impact lives around the world?

    • Kali
    • December 19th, 2010

    This made me cry – truly a hope realized with abouding joy!

    • Katie B
    • February 18th, 2011

    Ali — you know I adore you guys and this is coming from the heart and not meant to sound confrontational at all… But as someone who did spend that 30,000 to save “just one” child… I will tell you that I would have spent triple that to keep that one child from ending up homeless and, even worse, dead which so often happens to older children that are not adopted. I am soooo happy for you guys that you did not have to spend money to have a family. But, believe me, for those who are not blessed biologically the options are not always ideal. And because it is not those orphans’ fault that adoption costs so much, I would spend that again with no hesitation for him to have a mommy and a daddy and the blessings that Amelia has just by her good fortune of being naturally born to parents like you. Said with love…but with a firm belief that impacting one child’s life is not to be underestimated.

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