Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 19, 1957
NUMBER 20, PAGE 4-5b

Do You Want A Family


Nearly two years ago we were asked to help find a home for five boys, aged five to twelve, whose mother was dying of cancer and whose father was serving a life term in the penitentiary. A brief notice of the matter was inserted on this page, asking if any of our readers could take one or more of the boys. We stated that it would hardly be likely that anybody would be able to take the entire family, although such would be highly desirable. We underestimated the attitude and ability of our readers. In response to that one request a full dozen families offered to adopt all five boys; and enough others offered to take one or more that, had they been available, more than eighty orphan children could have been placed in Christian homes from this one article.

Subsequent events revealed that even though the father was in the penitentiary, he still had legal custody of his children (after the death of the mother). When it came to a final show-down he refused to permit the children to be adopted, and instead placed them with various members of his family — some of whom were members of the Catholic church and some of whom were members of no church. We were thus thwarted in our desire and effort to place these boys in Christian homes and under the care and control of faithful Christians.

But we shall never forget the thrill that came to us when we saw how generously and how quickly sympathetic Christian people were willing to respond to the needs of these helpless children. Not a single person wrote in suggesting that these unfortunate boys, robbed of their mother by death and of their father by something worse than death, be placed in an institution — regimented, regulated, indelibly stamped for life with the fears, frustrations, and life-long feelings of insecurity which are the inevitable heritage in a greater or lesser degree of every institutionalized child, no matter how great the efforts made to make the institution "homelike".

Once again, we come to our readers with an appeal in behalf of helpless children. This case is similar in some respects to the one of two years ago: a Christian mother is dying of cancer, and before she crosses over she is extremely anxious to see her four sweet children in the home of some Christian father and mother who will love them, shield them, protect them, and care for them as their own. She is not interested merely in knowing that her children will have food and clothes and shelter; there is little chance that any child in America need suffer for lack of these essentials: But it is the other and more important factor that weighs on her heart — the matter of love, Christian teaching, and the normal, happy, secure home life which permits a child to develop into the mature Christian man or woman a devoted mother desires.

Both the mother and the father (who is incapacitated and unable to provide for the children) have already signed the necessary papers, committing the children into the custody of the elders of the congregation where they live to find a proper home. The children are four in number: two boys, aged eleven and six, and two girls, aged seven and four. Once the elders are satisfied as to the ability and character of the prospective parents, the adoption can be arranged legally and swiftly. The children are normal, healthy, and bright. They deserve a home — a home with a loving and tender mother, and a father who is a "father" and not a "superintendent."

Let this fact be clear — the purpose of this article is to seek to find a home for all four children, where they can be kept in a unit, and grow to maturity as a family. There are several faithful Christian couples in the home congregation who are eager to take one or two of the children, but it is desirable, if possible, to keep the family together. At least, the elders are going to make an effort to find some Christian family able to take the entire group. If they fail in that, they will put the children in different homes right in their own congregation, thus allowing them to grow up knowing and associating with one another, even if they cannot be in the same family. If you cannot, therefore, take all four children, do not write!

Have you ever visited an "orphan home"? You ought to do so one day. It will wring your heart unless you are made of stone. The sweet, eager children will swarm around you, clinging to your hands and arms, talking to you, competing for your attention, crawling into your lap when you are seated, putting their little arms around your neck, and squeezing with all the strength they can muster. They are usually shy and timid at first, but once you display even the slightest sign of friendliness and interest, they will swarm all over you. They are starved, literally STARVED, for the normal love and affection that is a child's natural heritage. No matron on earth, be she ever so warm-hearted and loving, can take the place of a "mother". And these words are in no sense intended as a criticism of any matron in any orphan home. The matrons we have known are, for the most part, truly consecrated, and are giving their very best for the unfortunate children under their care. The fault lies not with them but with the system under which they are trying to serve. An "institution" is not a home, and never can be. No child in an institution, even the best and finest institution on earth, can have the normal home relationships, the love, the security and feeling of "belonging" that go with a family.

How monstrous the cruelty of a man who would deny to an innocent child the tender love of a mother's kiss, the strong security of a father's arms to protect him — and would place him instead in the impersonal and regimented custody of an institution! His must be a heart that is cold and merciless. We have yet to see one word from any superintendent, matron, or worker in an orphan home (anybody with first-hand experience) who has dared to claim that the institution is better than a Christian home. (We have heard of this incredible and preposterous claim being made by a few fanatical supporters of "our" institutions — but, never, NEVER, by anyone with first-hand knowledge and experience.) Unanimously the people who work with children in the institutions realize and understand the limitations of those institutions. They simply can NOT provide the care, teaching, love, and understanding of a Christian home.

And now what about these four young lives? Shall they be kept together? Is there some family among our readers who will take these fine youngsters, and give them a chance to grow to healthy happy womanhood and manhood? We believe such a home can be found.

Because of the fact that meddlesome interference by determined "institutional advocates" was involved in the adoption attempt of two years ago, we are asked to keep the name and location of this present family in confidence, turning over all letters of inquiry to the elders of the congregation who have the children in custody. If, therefore, you are interested in adopting all four children, you may write, wire, or call this editor — Box 980, Lufkin, Texas: telephone: 3-3426.

— Fanning Yater Tant