In 1998, my family began to explore international adoption. Until we did, we were simply unaware of the overwhelming number of children in need of a family. We quickly began to realize the problem is greater than we imagined. We are not alone. Most people are shocked to discover there are 153 million orphans worldwide. According to UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), if orphans were a country of their own, the population would rank 9th in the world—ahead of Russia. How can this be? And why is nobody is talking about it? Part of the answer lies in the definition of the word: orphan. When most people hear the word, orphan, they think of children with no parents. This is certainly true. However, children with no parents comprise only 17% of the total number (26 million). More precisely, these children are referred to as “double orphans.” They have lost both parents to any number of possible reasons: war, disease, poverty, natural disasters, abandonment, and accidents are among the leading causes. The vast majority of orphans (83%) are classified as “single orphans,” denoting children who have lost at least one parent. They generally live with a remaining parent or a member of the extended family (grandparent, aunt, etc). Here in America, and other Western countries, we don’t regard children with one parent as an orphan, so why do UNICEF and other organizations use this classification? The broader definition of orphan began to be used in the mid-1990s. As AIDS began resulting in the deaths of millions of parents around the world, an increasing number of children were left without one or more parents. To help draw attention to this vulnerable group of children, many of whom lack support, resources, or opportunity, the terminology was created. But it has certainly caused confusion among the general public. At The Hope Effect, it is our desire to see every orphan helped. However, at this time, we are committed to changing how the world cares for double orphans. While this group is smaller in size, the number is still significant (approximately the size of Saudi Arabia) and they are the most vulnerable. We are providing solutions that mimic the family: two-parent, family-style homes offering opportunity for each child to flourish. Coupled with access to health, dental, and social care, each child is being prepared for the future through education, responsibility, support and the structure that parents were designed to provide. We invite you to join this movement to give every child the opportunity to be a part of a loving family! Get informed, get involved, be generous, and spread the word. Together we can see lasting change.