The Oak Life Journal
May | Jun 2023
From the Editor
"Building Family In A Shelter"
By Cameron Talbot
2 minute read
Is it possible for an orphanage to look like a family?
There are varying opinions on this complex question. How we answer that question, though, directly impacts our alternative care solutions and strategies.
Fundamentally, some argue, children’s shelters are not families. All efforts should be made, then, to get kids out of shelters and into kinship or foster care…”real families.”
Of course, children do need a family! No one is disagreeing there.
But a more holistic, realistic and positive solution comes forward when we recognize this fact—a good shelter can be a good home. The miraculous and precious institution of “family” is more vivacious and adaptable than we know. And it is our responsibility to give life to family within the homes of our orphanages.
This edition of The Oak Life Journal is dedicated to each of you who understands this principle of the miraculous family and its power in your shelter. While we always hope our children will find their forever home in the arms of a loving mother and father, you have taken up the mantle of family-building right where you are.
And that’s important work, because orphanages will always be needed, no matter how developed our kinship, foster and rehabilitation systems become. You can read more about that in this edition’s article, “Should We Cancel Orphanages?”
There will always be a need for orphanages to ask themselves, “How can I connect deeply and emotionally with my kids?” Ann Houck delves into that important question in her article, “Connecting is Everything.”
And as we improve our homes and implement changes that will bring healing instead of harm, we can actively assess our impact, and see what’s working, and what isn’t. Our newest writer, Aarin Talbot, talks about that in depth in her article, “Orphanages: How to Start Your Own Quality Assessments.”
And finally, Ysabel Rodriguez reminds us this month that we are called to wage war on behalf of our kids in shelters, in her article, “Write Out the Vision.”
We don’t deny that our children need a family. Instead, we recognize that, at least for now, we are that God-given family.
And that is holy.