Orphan Justice Interview

In Book Review by Chris Marlow21 Comments

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Last year, I had the honor of endorsing Johnny Carr’s new book, Orphan Justice. If you care about the gospel, orphans and justice, you need to read this book. Below, Johnny answers some key questions about the book.

Oh, and if you want to win a free copy, see below.

1) Why did you write the book?

I felt like we had unique idea and approach that might cross over and expand the idea of orphan care to be more than just an area of ministry for a fringe group of people. I wanted to show the connection between orphan care and so many others areas of everyday life. When I first started learning these things for myself, I realized that I could not separate the orphan’s plight from so many social justice issues. Then I realized that I had never really taken these issues seriously because I chalked them up to issues that “liberals” dealt with. I saw it as an “either/or” scenario instead of “both/and”. It is clear from Scripture that we should care for orphans, what I am hoping to show in the book is that caring for orphans means that we also have to care about these social justice issues that we conservatives have not dealt with effectively in the past.

2) What are your thoughts on international adoption?

I have adopted two children through international adoption. I can’t imagine my life without my two kids that came to us from another country. I also can’t imagine what their lives would have been like had they not been adopted. I consider myself to be a very strong advocate of international adoption.

Most people are now aware that international adoption has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Now, the vast majority of children adopted internationally are older or special needs children. Many of these kids will have significant challenges. However, the challenge of growing up without a family will be far greater than the challenges that come through adoption.

But, international adoption is only part of the solution when looking at the global picture. For kids that need a family, we need to be just as passionate about promoting adoption within their own country. This will include everything from preaching and teaching, addressing cultural issues, training, and supporting domestic adoption. In some cultures there will be significant issues to address and may take a long time to really see culture change. We must be committed and we must be convicted to seeing this type of change all the way through. Working through the local churches, we can see this happen.

3) Do you hate orphanages?

Yes and no (I should have been a politician). I am thankful that many of orphanages are feeding, clothing, providing shelter, and sometimes even providing spiritual nourishment for children. I recognize that it is better for child to have these things than to live on the street. I know that there are many orphanages that do good things and are run by good people with pure motives.

However, what I do hate is the fact that we have seen orphanages become a long term solution for children and that we (as the Church) have become satisfied. I show a lot of research in the orphanage chapter about children who live their lives in orphanages. Beyond the secular research, as Christians, we should be appalled that children are not living in a family. It’s is simple biblical principle that children belong in families.

Orphanages are built as a reaction to a problem. Family based and community based care is built on the principles of being proactive. It’s not easy and it’s not done overnight. I don’t think churches should leave an orphanage without support that they have been supporting. I am hoping that Orphan Justice will start a new conversation about how we do orphan care and the role of orphanages.

To answer your question more directly – I don’t hate orphanages. I do hate the fact that the must exist. I also hate the fact that so many of us have become satisfied with them being a long term solution for children.

Free Book Giveaway

Thanks Johnny for taking time to share and also for writing this book. I hope and pray it challenges readers to care for orphans on a much deeper level. You can buy the book here. (Affiliate Link)

Johnny is also giving away two copies of his book. All you have to do is leave a comment to be entered to win. I will select a winner next Tuesday.

UPDATE: Congrats to Melissa Baldwin and Crystal Rucker for winning Johnny’s book. Email me (see comments) your address. If I don’t receive an email by this Tuesday, I will choose another winner. Thanks to everyone for leaving  a comment. I hope you purchase a copy of the book.


  1. Daniel Alexander

    Great thoughts. I especially appreciate the comment on hating that orphanages exist. Strikes me that the same can be said for local homeless shelters that have the danger of turning into “long term solutions.” Often, in the church we point people to a shelter and leave it at that – sticking with the symptom solution rather than the underlying issues. We were designed for so much more.

    1. Chris Marlow


      Thanks for the comment and I agree about the local homeless shelters. My kids have classmates that live in shelters. So frustrating!

  2. Crystal Rucker

    Thanks for the insight. I am reading your book right now and really enjoying it. I got a copy of it from our local library in Columbus, Ohio. I appreciate your honesty. I have been in the adoption process for over 2 years. We are trying to adopt through Honduras. We are on the wait list. The adoption process is definitely a spiritual journey and God’s hand has to move mountains to bring children into forever homes. It breaks my heart to think our future child may be in an orphanage. Honduras has so-o many orphanages. I pray daily that God will help the process to move faster so children are not Stuck in orphanages and without families.

    1. Chris Marlow


      Thanks. Also pray that God raised up local leaders in Honduras who will do the nessessary work of development and long term job creation.

  3. Brent Moore

    Can’t wait to read this! My wife and I are adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia. We have been “officially” waiting for 18 months, and in the last few months we God has called us to change direction of our non-profit and focus on the plight of the orphan and how we can be more active internationally and locally.
    Love what you are doing Chris! If you ever come through Lexington, NC look me up and we can go grab a bbq sandwich and Cheerwine!

  4. Caroline

    I can’t wait to read this. I really believe that we’re all called to adoption, some to be parents and some to help support those adopting.

    1. Chris Marlow


      Thanks for the comment. I know we are all called to seek justice for the orphan. So many “good” ways to that.

  5. Denae Veldhouse

    I’ve spent some time serving in Ethiopia and came in contact with many orphans who are now my friends. Knowing their names and faces makes it even more urgent that we find solutions and ways to care for the orphan. It’s God’s heart and I pray that more and more it becomes my heart also. Can’t wait to read this book and be challenged again!

  6. Duane Scott

    I have this book pinned on Pinterest as one I’d like to read. So yes, I’d like to win a copy.

    Great thoughts, here!

  7. PJ

    thanks for sharing this Chris, I think it’s best to wrap your head around “both/and” when approaching justice. I look forwarding to reading this book

  8. Diamond

    My friends discovered an orphanage in Haiti called Children
    of the promise. They shared the information with me and wanted me to consider
    going on mission. Orphanage? Mission? Serving? Haiti? 2 years? I thought they
    were crazy. How could I leave the comforts of home? What about my family? What
    would I do with my dog? How would I pay for this?

    That is how my journey began….

    It’s been a little over a year now and God is leading me
    down a path I never thought I would be. He has provided so I can sponsor
    children in orphanages. I followed His calling and also committed to serving
    locally here in Austin. I continue to pray for God’s guidance as He prepares me
    eternal mission, wherever that may be. I hope to visit Haiti soon, as it has
    become a passion to share the country’s needs with the world because another voice
    is never enough. I want to shout from the rooftops to let everyone know there
    is more to life than comfort. Walking with God is not easy, but the rewards out
    way any sacrifice I could ever make. My God given ability to work with children
    has consumed all aspects of my life. I will not attempt to predict the future,
    but I dream of owning a large home, filled with rooms, and laughter throughout.
    I hate the fact that orphanages have become a long term solution but there are
    people who are willing to do God’s work – I am one of them. I continue to pray
    for every child across our nation, that God may reveal himself and that more
    families like my friends, continue to adopt internationally. I hope to join
    them one day, but for now God is pleased with my efforts to share His word and
    an orphan’s story.

    I look forward to reading Johnny’s book. 🙂

  9. Ami

    I have already bought three copies of this book and plan to give away more. I have worked in China on orphan/disabled children’s issues for years. It is a complicated problem with an enormity that makes it difficult to face let alone try to do something about. Orphan Justice is an excellent guide for getting a birds eye view of the problems and practical steps for getting involved in ways that will make a lasting impact.

  10. Melissa Baldwin

    I am in the process of adoption our third child, 2nd from China (we have five total; 2 are homegrown)… he has very severe heart defects that can’t be treated in China. I would love to win a copy of Jimmy’s book!

  11. Jodie Tosh

    I would love to win a copy of this book! I have served in several developing countries working with orphans and vulnerable children for many years. In recent years we have needed to return home due to my daughter’s medical needs. However, we will very soon be travelling as a family to Ch*na to adopt our precious son who also has medical needs. Hopefully, one day, we will be able to serve fulltime, once again, overseas. Until then, I am in the process of developing a vulnerable children/adoption/fostering ministry at my church.

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