Orphan Care Isn’t Sexy

We live in a high gloss world.

We want beauty. We crave attractive things.

We have cute handbags, pretty paper, and desire gorgeous houses. Our society is consumed with superficial loveliness.

Sex appeal is a hot commodity.

The ugly truth in our pretty world:  *attractive people earn more
money and are generally viewed as more successful.

And while God created true beauty, it isn’t found in home decor or luxury cars. It’s not really about perfect figures or chiseled

True beauty is found in the least of these.


But orphan care doesn’t sell. It’s not attractive or appealing.

There’s nothing desirous about poverty so devastating it chokes the very breath out of you. The stench of living without simple resources
makes you want to run. I’ve touched the heads of sick children, living in the streets of Africa’s slum. I shuddered as death rattled with every breath. I only offered them silent tears that fell to the rot beneath my feet.

Poverty isn’t pretty.

It’s forgotten in our world. We pretend there aren’t thousands and thousands and thousands of children dying everyday,
while we shop for an upgraded life. We ignore the forgotten because it makes us uncomfortable.

We forget the orphan because they make us feel ugly.

Not our carefully manicured facade, but the inner self that is deteriorating with selfishness and apathy.

I met orphans- Susan and Vincent and a host of others in the poorest part of the world. I have touched the faces of orphans in our foster care system. Their beauty shined a light on my ugliness. I will
never be the same. Jesus used their plight to change me.

It’s still difficult to stare down the enormous beast of poverty. I question if we can really make a difference, really change the world? But how can we not at least try?

We are excited to join the voices and wrestle out these challenging questions at The Idea Camp focusing on the global orphan crisis
and the church.

Orphan care (foster care, adoption) aren’t sexy, but they are beautiful.



  1. 1

    Crystal says

    I agree, and I would add to that list. Foster care and adoption aren’t sexy, though TV and Hollywood make them seem glamorous and fairytale-like. Yet at the same time, being molded into the person God wants you to be through those unsexy things — that is also beautiful.

  2. 2

    kelly says

    “do for one what you would love to do for them all.”

    thanks for living life REAL kristen.
    God is using His girl–you!–for His glory.

    thank you for giving us a front row seat to the transformation in your heart, in your family–through your words.

    bless you.

  3. 3


    Thank you, Kristen. I love your heart. Thank you for not shying away from that which is hard, looked down upon, and misunderstood. You will never know how much your story has touched our story.

  4. 4


    This is a great point. Thank you for shedding light on this topic. It is true that it is so very hard to look at – it brings shame, guilt, along with fear and it’s easier to look away than to engage it. You have done the harder thing. Keep doing the hard things – your leadership inspires us all!

  5. 6

    Jamie says

    As I read this I thought of James 1:27, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. 7

    AmberK says

    It isn’t pretty. But I’ve noticed more joy in the people reaching out to His children, the least of these children, than I see in the faces of the people spending their money at the mall. Even more joy than the faces I smile at at church. I am hurting right now because I see all the need…but I don’t know where my calling is. At all! I feel all the tugs-it’s overwhelming. I feel like I need to be everywhere and therefore am getting nowhere. And my sweet hubby, he’s just not there yet. And this is a “FAMILY” thing. You can’t do it without the support of your family. I mean, imagine trying to do this without your husband’s and your children’s support! Yikes. We sponsor a compassion child…and we donat to the pajama program…but my heart is hearing ‘do more’. I just don’t know where to start.
    I know this is a challenging time for you with the money and what-ifs but you know in the very depth of your heart that this is it! You’re doing what He’s asked of you…what a magnificent feeling that must be. Scary, yes. Terrifying in fact, yes (ha) but also heart-satisfying, yes!
    I am supporting you in my prayers, Kristen! And I am praying for each baby and girl you come in contact with. And for Maureen, sweet precious Maureen.

    Hugs & Prayers

  7. 8


    Kristen, what a beautiful post. Read this while I was waiting for church to start…such a reminder of what is important in life…it really struck a chord when you wrote”while we shop for an upgraded life”. Working on investing in eternal THINGS instead of earthly. Thank you for reminding me of that.

  8. 9


    Hey K — how does beauty really factor in here? I totally understand the impulse to separate the superficial from the truly beautiful in God’s Kingdom, and I think it is SO IMPORTANT and so hard to do that here in America. But I also get nervous about dividing the world so starkly — some of my most beautiful memories include material beauty from working & living among the poor in Cambodia — a flower a friend made for me from tissue paper, the decorations in a slum, the clothes a friend’s sister was sewing to start her own business. Even though they were material, they were so lovely, and they were a very humanist & human approach to being surrounded by ugliness (corruption, neglect, hunger) — my friends in Cambodia wanted their space to be beautiful. Actually, materially beautiful! And serving them meant participating in that desire somehow, even as I did what I thought was “really” beautiful — washing the hair of orphans, or sweeping the church floor — I also found myself doing what I thought would feel superficial — trying on a Cambodian outfit that Chan Leng’s sister had made with her sewing machine, putting up pictures in the Sunday school.

    It makes me wonder how we deal with desires for beauty in our own lives, and where to see God in it. Is it the same impulse that my friends at the orphanage had that motivates you & me to decorate our houses? When/how are we buying in to America/capitalism/our culture, and when are we mimicking the beauty God bestowed on us by already creating so much beauty in the world? I think justice and beauty might be linked more closely than we think, but I don’t know how to live it out without veering too far in one extreme (forgetting about beauty or getting too materialistic).

  9. 11



    Thank you for talking about the real need of unparented children and the legitimate, good work of the orphan care movement. I talk about this in my blog post, “How Evangelicals are REALLY Failing Orphans (or, The Delegitimization of Orphan Care).” I analyze attacks against the orphan care movement, and I offer 10 suggestions to turn things around. This is the link to my blog: http://childrendeservefamilies.com

    Children Deserve Families

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