Most Americans are surprised to learn that there are more than 100 million1 abandoned and orphaned children in our world today. Most of them do not live in institutions or foster care homes, but struggle to survive alone on the streets of the world’s cities. They sleep under bridges and in abandoned vehicles or buildings. They drink contaminated water and eat discarded food from waste containers and garbage dumps. Because of this their bodies are sickened by parasites. In their endless search for food, water, safety and warmth they acquire slow-to-heal injuries that further weaken their bodies.
These children, exceedingly precious in the eyes of our Lord, are preyed upon by those who seek to destroy them in various ways. Drug gangs recruit them for crime and addiction. Islamic militants find an abandoned child to be easily converted to hate-filled violence and extremism. The police, pressured to keep begging children away from the tourist, often brutally beat them back into hiding places. The child sex industry thrives wherever abandoned children can be found. In the developing world sweat shops employ children and even enslave them.
These are the means by which the abandoned children of the world are destroyed. But worse than all of these is the constant, penetrating pain of loneliness, despair, and abandonment
1 Source: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) http://www.unicef.org/