His name is Maxim. He is my neighbor. He calls me "KK". He gives me great hugs and winks at me. His face lights up when I see him and my heart fills with a special childlike joy. And until 22 months ago, he was living in a Russian baby home as an orphan.
My dear friends Teri and Ryan (Maxim's parents above) have a heart for orphans and have educated me on their plight, both locally and globally. Teri is amazing. She works tirelessly at her full-time job, then volunteers her "extra time" to CAFO and Hope 1:17 trying to educate others and unite efforts for orphans globally.
Sunday, November 3rd is Orphan Sunday. Not just here in Tennessee, but worldwide. There are more than 400,000 children in the foster system in the U.S. today, with over 100,000 waiting to be adopted. Globally, an estimated 17.8 million children have lost both parents. The Orphan Sunday campaign invites the world to answer these needs.
Makes my heart break.
Our local group, Hope 1:17, hopes to promote this awareness and find couples willing to help children both in the foster system and those who are waiting to be adopted.
In the past I created this piece in honor of the children worldwide living in garbage dumps, no parents, just each other as "family" after several friends came back from Africa and Nicaragua with stories of hundreds of children living in garbage dumps, looking for food daily.
I created this piece as a special tribute to my little friend Maxim and a mission fundraiser to Russia to help the orphans there.
And this year, I've created a piece of art again this year for Orphan Sunday 2013. Here it is.
I painted in some irises to represent the local children in Tennessee in need of homes (our state flower). I added in the "I am Loved" to echo the sentiments in the CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans) theme ~ orphans and adopted children ARE loved. And I added in the biblical verse Matthew 18:5 which says, "And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me".
Here is the video:
I AM LOVED from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.
I hope this piece will be meaningful for many years to come.
If you would like to buy a print (8x10 for $20) or an ornament ($10), your money will go to help local children waiting for foster families and orphans waiting to be adopted. You may email me or message me through Facebook and I will invoice you through Paypal.
Thank you to all of those who have opened your homes and hearts!