The children that the Iraqis refer to as bastards are truly left without hope. There are no extended family or community care possibilities for them. There is nobody waiting to rescue and foster them. They are stigmatized, despised and alone.

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During a group conversation concerning the work of World Orphans in Iraq, I was asked by a meeting participant if World Orphans would only be focusing on orphaned children, or would we be including the bastards, the abandoned kids. My reply was instant and unwavering: "We will be helping churches to rescue all children that have no family to raise them."

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A pastor that was recommended to us as one that would be worthy of consideration for a children’s home on his church property immediately piped in and said, "But if we have the bastards on the grounds, the community will think of us as the church where the bastards are."

This particular pastor was willing to take in ‘true orphans,’ but wanted no part of abandoned children and the societal shame attributed to them.

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Deeply disappointed, I emphatically replied, "That is a requirement for our funding. It doesn’t matter what you think that people might construe or say, we have to be Jesus to these children. We have to do what He would do!"

The person who originally posed the question was grinning from ear to ear in delighted agreement.

The pastor sat in silence.

As Rick Warren is fond of saying, "There are many accidental parents, but there are no accidental children."

We serve them all.

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(Images: School children we have visited in Iraq. Many are orphaned or abandoned)