At 10 years old, I stood in front of the large metallic gate. The gates opened and they herded me into the strange city. For the millionth time, I looked around for my parents. For the millionth time, my heart screamed in pain. My parents weren’t there. They’d never be there. They died on the voyage over. I’m all alone – very, very alone.
I begged from the first person I saw. “Hey mister, can you help me?” Nothing. I asked a second person. Still nothing. I asked a third, nothing. No one understood me. What do I do now?
I searched desperately for something to eat. I searched for a place to sleep. I guess I have to find a job. What can I do? All alone, no friends, no relatives, I don’t speak the language, hopeless.
“How did I survive? I slept in alleys. Found warmth in cardboard boxes or metal drums. I stole what I could. Caught rats to eat when I couldn’t find anything in the garbage cans. Not much of a life.”
Think this was an isolated case? Nope. This 10 year old boy represents one of 30,000 children who found themselves orphaned in 1850 in New York City. That’s 30,000 orphans in a city with a population of about 515,547 people. That’s one orphan for every six people. Amazing.
No one had any time, or resources to look after so many children. Hopeless? Charles Loring Brace came up with an ingenious idea – The Orphan Train.
From 1850 to 1929 the Orphan train steamed west from town to town finding new homes for the orphans. Children with no hope and who were barely surviving were adopted into new homes filled with great hope. Some of these children grew up to be governors, United States Congressman, and even Supreme Court Justices.
The orphan train ended with the beginning of organized foster care in America. And as of September 30, 2013 in New York City, 4,487 children were awaiting adoption out of a population of about 8,405,837 people.
I can definitely identify with that 10 year old – from utter despair to incredible hope and a brilliant future. Remember that as you read Ephesians 1:3-6. We are all in the same position as that ten year old. Now, God has adopted us as His children.
Ephesians 1:3-6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
With our adoption by the Creator, we all can have 100% confident exceptions of a great future with a father who wants us to “bear much fruit.”
See also Romans 8:15-17 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “ Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”