Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 23, 1956

"The Orphan Has Some Rights You Know"

Ira B. Sandusky, Culver City, California

The above is the title of an editorial in the Firm Foundation, February 14, and since Reuel Lemmons is editor, it is his writing. He goes ahead and wants to say a few words in defense of the orphan child that does not want to be adopted, or that doesn't want his little brothers or sisters adopted out into anybody's home! "Even a little orphan child is human," and has 'inalienable rights.' So far as I know there is not a person who would deny that statement: but does that ALTER THE WORD OF GOD? Since when does Reuel think or advise parents not to insist that their children do anything that they do not wish to do. Does his boy always want to wash his neck and ears and stay clean? Does his girl always know what rights are best for her? Does God not hold parents responsible for 'rearing and training their children?' Does it not seem sensible and reasonable that when childless couples want to take some child or children and rear and train them and keep them in these days of high living that there must be a sense of LOVE there which will be good for the child or children?

Reuel says: "I have seen the problem from the standpoint of the child — not from standpoint of editor or writer from viewpoint of no personal interest." "I have shared their problems and their plight." Well if my memory serves me right, his father and mother lived at Tipton, Oklahoma for years and even after he was out of college and preaching and had his own home: then how could he have shared these things with orphan children and seen them from their viewpoint? No, he has allowed his soft heart to run away with common sense in this article.

"I have seen wonderful, Christian, well-meaning, people come and look them over and decide it was a shame to rear them in the orphanage, when the brotherhood is full of couples who would adopt most all of them." Well is that wrong for couples who do not have children, or who want more than they have, to want to adopt some more children and rear and educate them in a 'home as God would have it to be'? He says they were trying to 'fill a great empty void in their own lives.' Does he not realize that the 'orphan child' has a MUCH BIGGER EMPTY VOID IN ITS LIFE? I do not know what it means to be able to go to a father and talk to him and get his advice and have him teach me the many things a young boy should know, for I was but a boy when my father passed away — but I do know that many are the nights I have cried my self to sleep wishing and hoping that I could only have a dad to go and talk to and receive instruction and help for problems facing me. Thank God Reuel had such in his life and did not have to face that side of life. Yes, I had a mother, and she was wonderful, but she had to leave home and nurse to keep food and shelter for 'us kids.' "Not all children want to be adopted." True perhaps, yet the children in our homes did not have anything to say about what kind of parents or homes they would have. Then the couples wanting children would in most cases be good to them, and love and care for them and show them the affection a child so much needs.

"But maybe a 9-year-old sister of a group doesn't like the idea, she is afraid — bewildered — helpless." I wonder if that is not common in most homes today that the child of 9-12 is not afraid at times, bewildered — yes helpless — but does that change the word of God? God will hold parents responsible for "rearing and bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Any couple who wants to go to the expense and trouble to rear someone else's child or children would give them what would be good for the child and try to be good parents for them. Our daughter is grown and has her own home and happily married, but our only regret is that we did not; when we were much younger, take some orphan children into our home and rear them and educate them.

One member of the church here at Culver-Palms said in regard to this editorial: "Yes I do know that girls of that age want something and want it more than anything else. I was reared in an orphan home. We were well dressed, much better than outside children, had good food and were always warm, and the workers loved us, BUT WE DID NOT HAVE A DADDY OR MOTHER TO LOVE US AND CARE FOR US, AND THAT WAS WHAT WE WANTED MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN LIFE AT THAT AGE."

James 1:27 tells us that pure religion is to "visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction." Such an admonition can better be done by taking the child into private home and giving the parents the rights to do that. Such action is much better in the eyes of the juvenile judges and courts of the land today, than rearing them in an orphanage. Dr. M. I. Levine, Associate Professor, Clinical Hospital, Medical Center, Cornell University, New York, says: "Between 80,000 and 100,000 children are legally adopted each year in the U. S. and there are 11 couples waiting for each adoptable child. The average waiting period is about one year. This does not include those who are adopted by illegal means and taken otherwise." No doubt but that there is much to be said in regard to adoption — but when CHRISTIAN couples beg for children and want them in order to fulfill their God given rights and responsibility and the "so-called orphan homes" will not allow them to be taken out and adopted, it seems there must be something wrong with the set up from reason, even if it did not violate the Word of God. Brother Gayle Oler wrote to me after I criticized him for his "match my dollar" idea and wanted the scripture that this idea violated. Well I tried for some years to justify the musical instrument in the worship of God on the same ground, but THERE IS JUST NOT A PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE THAT JUSTIFIES THE ORPHAN HOME AS IT IS TODAY AMONG US. Why will we try to justify anything that the WORD OF GOD DOES NOT GIVE US AUTHORITY FOR? II Timothy 3:16-17 is still true and will "furnish the man of God complete unto every good work" so why try to go outside and beyond the word of God.