When new mother, Dayna Mager, poured out the broken pieces of her heart on social media, the masses responded. Her story quickly went viral. Dayna attended a worship conference, where a missionary spoke about visiting an orphanage while in Uganda. The orphanage, filled to the brim with 100 babies, was eerily silent. She was crushed when she learned that the babies are conditioned to stop crying. A small staff against 100 babies that become hungry, tired, and dirty at varying times throughout the day is a tough scenario.

Dayna relays the missionary's story, "They stop crying when they realize no one is coming for them."

Infants (aged 9 to 18 months) with responsive parents learn how their own behavior can impact their environment. This “call and response” process builds the infant’s sense of self-efficacy [...] But this virtuous learning cycle breaks down if the caregiver fails to respond adequately.
— Edward Rodrigue and Richard V. Reeves, The Brookings Institution

Dayna continues by sharing about the change in her maternal perspective, no longer frustrated or inconvenienced by the sound of her newborn baby's cry, but thankful for that cry. That cry means her child is learning that Mama will come when she's hungry, tired, dirty, or discomforted in any way.

Babies need to cry. We need them to cry. Crying means proper development is taking place.

Stories like these offer a glimpse into why we approach orphan care in the way that we do.

Our Home Based Care Program (HBC) is a family-based program that both addresses and prevents the rise of the orphan population by caring for children in a home environment. Administered through our Church Partnership model, World Orphans partners US churches with international churches that wholistically care for orphaned and vulnerable children. These children are being raised by single mothers, extended family, neighbors, friends, or church members.

The goal of the program is to equip, inspire, and mobilize the local church to build relationships with at-risk families in their communities. Relationships grow through frequently visiting these families in their homes to offer prayer, Gospel training, counseling, and overall encouragement. To empower this wholistic approach to orphan care, World Orphans and US churches connect relationally with international churches to provide Gospel-focused training and funding. The funding for the HBC Program ensures that these children are being cared for wholistically.

Wholistic Care meets:

  • Physical Needs – Protection, shelter, food, nutrition, access to clean drinking water, and medical care.
  • Mental Needs – Access to, and support of, education and vocational training.
  • Emotional Needs  – Ongoing care through counseling and home visits.
  • Spiritual Needs  – Discipleship towards a relationship with Christ, transformation, and a restored image of dignity and true identity in Jesus Christ.

A child who has faced tremendous loss needs to know that his cries will be heard. A baby who has experienced tragedies untold needs to know she will be answered.

Orphan care will never be an ideal, flawless, beautiful operation because the very word "orphan" speaks to the loss, neglect, or abandonment that a child has faced. Though it will never be perfect, we should be pursuing excellence.

Let's create and support environments where a baby's cry is answered by loving arms. While we do this, let's continue hoping, praying, and dreaming of the day they all have homes.

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