What would you do if you went to your local church Sunday and as the preacher spoke about the many Bible verses about taking care of the orphans and fatherless, a real-life orphan stood up at the pulpit and asked you, the congregation, to be his family, for one of you—any one of you—to adopt him?
This actually happened in St. Petersburg, FL. Where Davion Henry, a 15-year old orphan, with permission of the church—stood and, as The Blaze reports, said:
”My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born … I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either.”
The story says, “That was the beginning of Davion’s desperate plea during a sermon one Sunday to local Christians” and that “after consulting with his caseworker, Connie Going, in hopes that he would be able to find a permanent home among the hundreds of congregants.”
The Rev. Brian Brown of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church congregation in St. Petersburg, invited him to the pulpit and allowed him to address the church, an unusual but touching moment, that so far has also proven ineffective, which may be the greatest tragedy of all.
The story details his history:
He hoped so fervently that his birth mother, whom he had never met, would one day come back to retrieve him, but his outlook changed when he finally learned that this would no longer be possible.
Davion’s mother passed away in June — a detail he learned after stumbling upon her obituary. After that tragic revelation — one that shattered his dreams of reuniting with her — the teen decided to change his ways.
The tenth-grader lost 40 pounds, tempered his rage and began earning A’s in school, The Tampa Bay Times reports. Now, he’s hoping to bring about yet another change: A permanent placement in a loving home.
Sadly, that hasn’t happened yet, though the plea before the congregation was last month. Initially, the story appeared in a local paper and a couple of families inquired about the boy, but thus far, he is still in a group home where someone has to unlock the bathroom if he wants to use it. The story says:
Like other children, he wants a family to care for him, love him and tell him that he’s worth something.
The story makes for good press, a human interest story that is making its way around social media as people repost. Everyone love a good orphan story, right? Annie, Oliver, Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princes. Our fairy tales and movies have glamorized the life of the orphan but in reality, there are more Davions than we in the pro-life community may admit to seeing
Often accusations against those who are “anti-abortion” are that we just want to stop abortion but not care for the baby. But a true pro-lifer must account for what happens after the abortion doesn’t.
The question lingers: Are we pro-life or anti-abortion? If the answer is that we are pro-life, then the focus must become on the dignity of all life, including the orphans who are 15, or 12, or 8, the ones who aren’t babies, the ones who need to know they are loved and valued, not just saved from abortion. Our focus must reach beyond saving a baby in the womb to modeling for a new generation what parenting and family is. If it doesn’t reach beyond our bloodlines, it is unrealistic for us to expect it to be a value embraced by others to such a degree we can see abortion end.
What goes through the mind of a young person who lives in a group home or a foster home and is surrounded by pro-life sentiment? Would he wonder if the point of his life was only to be born? The dignity of life is beyond the womb, though it can’t start if it’s terminated in the womb. If the church is truly a pro-life church, it is, arguably, a place that a 15-year-old should not have to address a church and plead—without result—to be adopted.
The original story about Davion in the Tampa Bay Times observes:
In church, Davion scanned the crowd. More than 300 people packed the pews. Men in bright suits, grandmoms in sequined hats, moms hugging toddlers on their laps. Everyone seemed to have a family except him.
Surely among 300 people there must be a couple who wanted him.For an orphan, family is everywhere, for an orphan family is the answer.
It’s easy to make comments such as “family isn’t my answer” or “just having a family doesn’t make life okay” and whether that’s reality or not, the kid sitting in church, visiting from his group home where cameras record everything, where he longs, as the paper reports, to play football but has no one to take him to practice, from that perspective, family is all that matters. Family is the foundation of society, of the pro-life culture.
Many have said that being pro-life means being pro-family, that being pro-life means being willing to adopt the children that are “unwanted.” If that’s true, Davion should, at the very least, have a ride to football, he should experience the family of God even before the day he is adopted into his own family.
Being pro-life is about far more than adopting the newborn baby we choose; it’s about being family to those to whom we teach the value of life. The book of James in the Bible, after saying in chapter 1 that pure religion includes caring for the orphan, says in the next chapter:
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what goodis that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.that faith without works is dead.” -James 2:14-17 (ESV)
Our works must be to foster life, to model life and nurturing for children of all ages who need a family. If every Davion were given a chance for home and a family, even at 15, even when it’s harder, imagine what that would reap in his adult life and in the lives he influenced.
Adoption looks quite hopeful for Davion as Cynthia Coney, a secretary at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, said they have been getting phone calls as far away as Utah and that the response was an “awesome outpour.” There are other Davions out there and this story should server as a reminder that pro-lifers should be doing everything that we can to see that every child has a family.