Book Puts Searing Spotlight on Global Orphan Epidemic

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(DGIwire) We hear of a missing child, and the nation goes on alert—literally.  The Amber Alert is just part of the massive search that ensues.  In 2013 there were 462,567 entries for missing children under the age of 18, reports the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.   The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funds ongoing research about “Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children.”  Unquestionably we need to do all we can find and save these children.  But it is also important to note that these numbers pale in contrast to the global orphan epidemic.

That is where Stephanie Fast’s new book comes in.  The global advocate for orphans has just published a unique memoir, entitled, She Is Mine: A War Orphan’s Incredible Journey of Survival.  She is Mine is written from the viewpoint of the child she once was.  What she endured, and what she is dedicated to doing for other orphans, will first break your heart and then—open it, motivating you to become even a small part of the solution to this blight on humanity

Worldwide there are now 143 million to 153 million orphans, a good proportion under the age of 5.   Stephanie Fast was 5 years old when she became a thrown-away child.  Her story begins in post-war Korea. Stephanie (she has no idea what her birth name was) was the product of a brief liaison between her mother and an American soldier, who was deployed home with no idea that he had fathered a child.  Pregnant and alone, the young woman goes back to her village, and although they take her in, she is warned that if she wants to continue living there she must get rid of her child.  Finally, when the little girl she birthed passes her fourth birthday, the mother takes her on a train ride:  and leaves her at a railroad station far from home, telling her an “uncle” will soon come to claim her.  Of course, there is no uncle—there is only the confusion and hunger and fear, and the longing for her mother to return.

Imagine that bi-racial child, hardly more than a tot, unwanted by her mother’s people, left to fend for herself like a stray dog, to wander the countryside, nameless, homeless, and utterly defenseless. Imagine her persecuted and tortured, discarded and left to die on a garbage dump, covered with boils and dirt, lice infected, worm ridden, and also cross-eyed from malnutrition.

Through a series of “divine interventions” this child eventually caught the attention of a childless American couple, who adopted her.  However the then 9 year old was so dead emotionally she initially rejected their compassionate love.  This is another terribly tragic characteristic common to today’s orphans, whether institutionalized or living hand to mouth on the mean streets, in every country on earth.

Today Stephanie Fast is a wife, mother, young grandmother and an internationally-sought-after public speaker. Her compelling life story has impacted countless lives, as have her efforts advocating for orphans everywhere, and helping to find homes and families for as many as possible.  As painful as it is to re-live it, telling her story means everything to her, if it can help turn a spotlight on the plight of orphans here and abroad as well as the multi-billion dollar “business” of sex trafficking around the world.  Her book and website also detail what each of us can and must do about this escalating situation.

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