"Like a Hole in the Head"

Bill Cavender
Port Arthur, Texas

Last week two boys, ages 2 and 4, were abandoned in Longview. A newspaper article told the story. The paper got into the hands of the public about 3 p.m. The telephone of Domestic Relations Judge Oscar Jones began ringing. At 11: 00 p.m. he took his phone off the hook so he could get some rest. Over 120 calls came to him offering to care for these children. Next morning the calls continued. That day the children were placed in a nice home with an excellent family. The boys may eventually be adopted by this family. Judge Jones commented that "we need an orphan's home here in Gregg County like we need a hole in the head."

Several years ago the Procter St. church of Christ in Port Arthur, Texas, decided they'd keep up with the Broad Way church in Lubbock, so they got a charter from the state, set up a board of directors, bought property, hired a man and wife to run the "home" but they had no orphans. They scoured the country for orphans. They found none. They put notices in the 'brotherhood papers' begging for orphans. They found none, finally they found a widower with five children and they persuaded this man to let them have his children. He did. After a short while the oldest child left the "orphan's home." Then the directors fired the man and his wife who ran the "home" for they were too close to and too affectionate to the four remaining children. The man remarried and took his children back.

Several years ago a rich lady in Palestine, Texas, died. Her will authorized her mansion and estate to be turned into an orphan's home. She appointed the superintendent. At her death her wishes were carried out. BUT she stipulated that children received into the home must be orphans, or must have at least one parent dead. All things were ready to receive children, matrons were ready, the superintendent was being paid and food was bought. Newspapers carried the story. Public appeals were made for orphans. Several months went by and there were no takers. The woman's mansion was turned into a nursing home.

There is no orphan problem. Waiting lists are found in every state and private adoption agency of families who will care for and/or adopt children of any age. States have gone out of the orphan home business in favor of foster home care of children. The states only operate homes for crippled and retarded children are the very kind of children our brethren WILL NOT take into their so-called "orphan homes." The denominational churches are getting out of the orphan home business. Physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, and those who deal first-hand with problems of children, with one voice proclaim that institutional care of children--mass rearing of children which lacks the personal touch, attention, love and care is detrimental to any normal child.

My institutional, liberal brethren have been sold a bill of bad goods! They have been told and led to believe that some of us oppose caring for orphans. This is not true! They have been told and led to believe that orphans are standing in the cold, begging for food and a home. This is not true! There is no orphan problem anywhere in this country. They have been told and led to believe that "orphan homes", like Tennessee Orphan Home are paradise on earth. This is not true I The brethren who operate these institutional homes must have children for their operation, just like Oral Roberts must have cripples and afflicted people for racket and fakery. Both work a racket--one with unfortunate children and the other with unfortunate afflicted people. My gullible brethren have fallen for this line. Children are the victims. Church treasuries are the source of ready cash for all good promoters who have a racket to work. And. institutionalism has become a racket among churches of Christ.

(from Imhoff Avenue Messenger of Truth Port Arthur, Texas.)


October 8, 1970