August 30, 2020

Our Five Favorite Books

Over the years, we’ve collected quite the library of books related to orphan care. Since we know you’re passionate about orphans, but may not have the time to plow through all the resources available, we thought we’d share our absolute favorites with you. Click the book covers for more info.

Our favorite for gaining global perspective of the orphan problem:

The Global Orphan Crisis by Diane Lynn Elliot

A primer on orphans around the world, The Global Orphan Crisis explores the causes and realities of the global orphan crisis and what we all can do about it.

This book engages with the roots of the global orphan crisis all over the world, from low-income countries to high-income countries, the overwhelming size of orphan injustice, and the dangers that orphaned children face on a daily basis. It is packed with valuable and enlightening information, all backed by research and studies.

The second half of this accessible book explores God’s heart for orphans and practical solutions to the large and frightening problems that plague them, from large-scale systemic changes to small lifestyle changes we can all incorporate into our lives. How will you respond?

Our favorite for understanding a child’s need for attachment and how to create it:

The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis

When asked to recommend just one resource to parents of children from traumatic backgrounds, children who appear unable to attach, or children with behavioral issues, I always choose The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, Ph.D., David Cross, Ph. D. and Wendy Lyons Sunshine.

This gem of a resource is a breath of fresh air for parents in the midst of the firestorm that often follows adoption, especially adoption of children from institutions. With a compassionate tone, the authors explain the science behind many of these children’s behaviors and give practical, proven techniques for dealing with them.

The book candidly addresses topics many adoptive parents are hesitant to admit they’re dealing with, such as hoarding, lying, and even violent outbursts.

By helping parents identify the root cause of certain behaviors, this book helps parents turn their children’s tantrums into opportunities to connect. Used consistently, these strategies often help children begin to feel safe. Only then can they connect with their new parents.

I personally recommend this book not only to the parents of children from hard places, but also their grandparents, teachers and friends!

Our favorite for understanding how orphan care reflects God’s heart toward each of us:

The Orphan’s Abba by April Jurgensen

Written by The Boaz Project’s executive director, The Orphan’s Abba is a beautiful and inspiring work containing moving illustrations about orphan care as a reflection of the gospel. Her message rings clear: We are all chosen by God. April’s love and passion for orphan care is evident inside every page. ..Her inspiring words ultimately leap from the page and into a reader’s heart.

After reading The Orphan’s Abba, you can’t help but walk away with a greater sense of God’s wonderful love for each of His children.
—Adrian Collins
Writer, Adoption Advocate, Editor for Hope’s Promise Adoption and Pregnancy Blog

Our favorite for understanding childhood trauma and how to overcome it :

Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Childhood Disrupted is an insightful and fascinating look at the groundbreaking ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study and how childhood wounds can affect your health for the rest of your life, as well as what you can do about it.

Weaving together neuroscience, personal stories, and the power of one’s own past, this accessible and insightful book can help you understand both the struggles that orphans face as they grow up, as well as those of your friends and family…and maybe yourself. More importantly, it tells us all what we can do to reverse the damaging effects of early trauma, so as not to fall prey to the many physical, mental, and emotional issues often faced by those who suffered trauma.

Our favorite written from the perspective of an orphan:

The Boy from Baby House 10 by Alan Philps and John Lahutsky

The Boy From Baby House 10 is the harrowing story of a Russian boy’s first 9 years of life spent in the state-run orphan-care system.  Alan Philps helps John Lahutsky tell his story of sheer determination and will to survive.

Born prematurely and with cerebral palsy, then abandoned by his mother at 18 months, John (known as Vanya) was diagnosed by the state authorities as an “imbecile” and “ineducable.” He was assigned to a bleak orphanage for those with physical and mental disabilities called Baby House 10.

The rest of the book is a detailed picture of the nightmarish orphanage system through the eyes of a little boy who, despite his dire surroundings, did not lose his spirit and intellectual curiosity.  It is also the story of…

those who found him in the orphanage and sacrificially fought to help him escape a life of confinement.

This emotionally draining book fulfills the stated purpose of bringing awareness of the neglect and cruelty to children in the Russian orphanage system.  It is also an amazing, miraculous example of God’s divine intervention through people committed to coming to the aid of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

What books have you read that have shaped your thinking about orphans? Which are your favorites and why?

Believing in Miracles,

1 Comment

  1. Mitul Patel says:

    I am so excited to read The Orphan’s Abba! I have it, I’m just waiting for that chance to crack it open

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Read more from our blog.

Because God knew that abandoned children would need help to survive, He tells us to actively meet the needs of orphans in James 1:27.

If you also feel the weight of this responsibility and the desire to make a real difference, consider partnering with us. Through our innovative in-home care model, specialized caregiver training, and humanitarian aid, you’ll help children not just survive—but truly thrive.

When you choose to partner with The Boaz Project, you'll restore hope, ensure a brighter future through education, and share the love of Jesus with children who desperately need it.

Just imagine the impact you can have—from saving a child from the horrors of the streets to helping them become community leaders, educators, and nurturers of the next generation.

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Orphan Advocate Training Certification Levels

Level 1

Learn about the mission and vision of The Boaz Project through activities such as watching an Encounter webinar, exploring our website, and following us on social media. You will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with your Orphan Advocate Training Coach, who will help you as you go through the levels.

Level 2

Gain more insight into the realities of the orphan crisis through reading "The Orphan’s Abba" and visiting The Boaz Project YouTube page. You will also meet The Boaz Project staff.

Level 3

Grow in your understanding of the orphan crisis, meet some houseparents by reading their stories, and create your own "Pick 2" with options like watching a movie and completing a creative project utilizing your unique skill set.

Level 4

Enhance your knowledge of healthy attachments for orphans, watch a webinar about Eastern Europe’s institutional orphanage system, and visit the Boaz office virtually or in person.

Level 5

Utilize all of the knowledge you have gained throughout training to develop methods based on your personal experience to share the mission and vision of The Boaz Project with others. Read a portion of our first level Houseparent Trauma Training and use your unique skills to impact orphans with a special project. Completing Level 5 gives you the option to apply to become an OAT Coach and/or a Regional Coordinator for The Boaz Project.


Do I have to live near Greenwood, Indiana to complete the training?

No! This certification is intentionally created to allow opportunities for anyone in any location to fully participate.

How much of a time commitment is it?

This is completely up to you. The entire process is self-directed. There are no deadlines, and you may take as much or as little time as you need to complete each course.

Can I do this training with my spouse? Or a friend?

Yes! Going through the training with a spouse or friend can provide accountability and motivation. As you progress, you may be able to accomplish more together!

How much will it cost?

All Orphan Advocate Training courses are free to join! While you may choose to spend money while completing some projects, there are only minimal costs involved (such as a book or a few supplies) depending on which course you choose to do.

Is there an age requirement to become a Certified Orphan Advocate Trainee?

This would be answered on a case-by-case basis. This would also be open to middle schoolers or high schoolers looking to complete volunteer hours (i.e. National Honor Society) or build college applications. We always encourage young people to be involved if they feel led by God to do so!

What if I don’t have any social media accounts?

We will adjust your requirements to accommodate you and provide different opportunities to engage.

If I complete the five-level Orphan Advocate Training Certification, can I put it on my resume or LinkedIn profile?

Yes! When you complete each level, you will receive a certification that you can use to enhance your professional profile and to show involvement in community service.

Will I be able to get a signed letter to verify my volunteer hours?

We are sorry that we cannot verify volunteer hours that are done outside of the office or an event due to the fact that these hours are not supervised. However, we can write about the quality of work that was done, your commitment level, and the training courses achieved. We can also say that your self-reported, unsupervised hours fit into the typical number of hours that are usual for that course.

How do I get started?

If you think you would like to begin Orphan Advocate Training, please complete the form below, and you’ll be assigned an OAT Coach. Once your coach reviews your information, he/she will send you an email with your next steps!

Who do I contact if I have any other questions?

Please complete the form below or contact with any questions.

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