When you travel outside the U.S., would you rather lose your phone or your passport? Now that’s an unpleasant question. I would not want to lose my phone, but losing my passport would be even more painful. Why? Because it’s tangible evidence of my “official” identity. On a different level, my identity is as a Christian, a husband and a father. But when I get off the plane and see the wonderful words “Welcome to the United States of America”, none of that will get me through Passport Control. I need that official document.

    How does my passport relate to orphans in the world’s poorest countries? Of course, they don’t have passports. They often don’t have any evidence of their identity. And if they do, it is very unlikely to be an electronic record. Why does this matter?

    Consider the impact of the Haiti earthquake in 2010. The devastation was massive. Hundreds of thousands of children became orphans. That tragic scenario was made worse by the reality that any record of their life, any data about them (because it was paper) vanished in the earthquake. And their hope for a future vanished as well. This is the problem Both Ends Believing, in partnership with Tyler Technologies, is confronting around the world.

    When BEB talks about the Profile Module of Children First Software and registering children, what we are really accomplishing in conjunction with our foreign government partners in this foundational phase of the software is giving these children an identity, something you and I probably take for granted.

    This identity, this comprehensive electronic record, then becomes the basis for government social workers to make well-informed decisions on the best path to a family for each child. That leads us to the Planning Module, the subject of our next post.

    In the meantime, as I leave the country later this week, my passport will be glued to my stomach. Well, maybe not literally. My faith, family, country identity is who I am. It’s critical, but in a different way, so is my official identity. By BEB providing this official identity, let’s give these orphaned children a chance to discover their true identity in the setting of a loving and caring family.