The time has come – back to school again.  Summer vacations are over and another year of learning is about to begin.  Here in the US parents are taking their kids shopping for back to school supplies, moms are kissing their babies goodbye after moving them into the college dorms, dads are kicking around soccer balls with their sons getting ready for the fall season, and sisters are helping their freshmen brothers find their way around the new high school.  Not all students love returning to school, but it can be exciting as the seasons change in the lives of families.  It’s a time of growth and new beginnings. 

That’s far from the reality for thousands of orphans in Eastern Europe.  There is no one there to help the kids at this important time in their education. Even more than that, there’s a greater tragedy happening.

This is the time, all across Eastern Europe, that beds are vacated to be filled by a new class of young orphans.  How are those beds vacated?  The kids who are 15/16 or have completed 9th/10th grade, are sent out.  They are sent out, even more alone than they were within the orphanage walls.

Last year, on this day, the New Horizons for Children interview team witnessed this firsthand.  They saw about a dozen children outside of the orphanage building looking like they were headed on a camping trip.  Much to their dismay, they were told that it was their time to go.  The young orphans packed what they could that was theirs in a duffel bag and were sent to find their way in the world (photo).   No mom, no dad, not even a teacher to help them find their way.  They had a list of trade schools or shelters that may take them in, but the choice was up to them. 

Completely alone. At 16. This was not a solitary situation.  All across Eastern Europe school starts on September 1st, so the same thing happens at every orphanage at this time.

And that time is this week.  Please, if you are a praying person, think and pray for these kids this week.   For all of those kids who have not been chosen by a forever family, and no longer have that chance since they have ‘aged out’.  Starting this week, they are out to face the adult world with little to no life skills.  They may have a chance at a trade school, but will likely live in deplorable conditions, struggling to support themselves, surrounded by temptations of alcohol, drugs, and a life of crime or prostitution.  Forever stigmatized as an orphan. Forever without a family.

Please say a prayer for them.  Each and every one of these kids has a Heavenly Father who will defend, hear, comfort, and give hope to them.  They are His.

“The helpless put their trust in you. 
You defend the orphans…
Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. 
Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed”
Psalm 10:14,17-18 (NLT)

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