Archives for category: church and adoption

Grammy 80th Birthday photo McMinn Family with Grammy, PoppyAfter taking a year and a half hiatus, I am back to blogging about Christian adoption success! Life gets in the way of our dreams and desires, and the Lord teaches us things while we take a break from our activities. What I have learned in almost 18 months of not writing on this blog, is that Orphan Care is still very important to me and my husband, and we want to be encouragers to Christians who feel God’s call to provide foster care and/or to adopt.

This year I am homeschooling only my adopted children, with the departure to college of my youngest biological child.  Although I miss her and our other grown children who live and work on their own, I must say that things have settled down nicely and my adopted kids are all at really wonderful points in their lives – which means they are easier to parent, and a blessing to be with.  The ups and downs and hard-work of the last 11 years have been tiring, and sometimes terrifying, BUT God is good and He has brought all of us to a great place.  Each of our 5 adopted kids profess faith in our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, are bonded strongly to our family, are doing well in school, and most important, have developed love, joy, and character.  There are a few things we are all still working on, but I can say I look forward to getting up in the morning to be with my kids all day long.  This is a tremendous encouragement to me, my husband, and all those folks we try to encourage regarding adoption.

Our good friends have taken in a 2 year old boy and we are tickled with his progress. Of course it has been a huge change for their family, very tiring, and at times chaotic, but when I see that little guy, I know the Lord is doing an amazing thing for him and his new forever family.

I have also become friends with a woman who does foster care. She inspires me that at our age, we can still make a difference in the lives of kids, whether for a short time, or on a permanent basis.

Cary, my husband, and I have decided to start a local support group for orphan care providers, that will be based on Christian principles. God has orchestrated all of the details, and our first monthly meeting will be in May. We have a facility, have received some grants we applied for, and have promotional materials we designed and had printed. We have been sharing them with adoptive, foster and kinship families, and are excited to be used by the Lord in this way.

At the end of this month, I will be giving a presentation at a local gathering of child care providers, including foster, adoptive, and kinship parents, regarding our new support group.  I have put together a powerpoint as an outline, and will upload it onto this blog for interested readers.

We had the opportunity to host 7 South Africans for one overnight last month here on the farm. They are singing/dancing ambassadors for Horizon International, a Christian organzation sponsoring AIDS orphans. It was a treat to get to know these humble young men whom Christ has redeemed from the devastation of the pandemic that is killing millions of Africans. Again, God uses every opportunity to help those He loves, died for, and was resurrected to save.

I’ll end today’s post by recommending several excellent books that I have recently enjoyed reading, all promoting the cause of orphan care.

I Beat the Odds, by Michael Oher. The subject of The Blindside tells of his childhood of neglect, his joining the Tuohy family, and his acension into the world of professional football after earning a college degree. Told in a truthful, poignant, yet private personal way, this book is full of the reasons that Christians should do the right thing and provide orphan care, and also excellent improvements that could and should be made in the foster care system. Mr. Oher is a gentlemen through and through as this is not a celebrity ‘tell all’, but a revelation of his life, and what he is now doing to help others in similar situations. Excellent for orphan care providers to understand where their kids might have come from, and for social workers to learn some things to do, and not to do, when trying to help kids.

Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis. Wow! This is an inspiring book and not just for young women. How far should Christians be willing to go in order to obey James 1:27?  Katie traveled across the world, but also left a comfortable life in order to adopt a van load of girls, change a whole community, and love the unlovely because she loves Jesus Christ!  At 55, I was encouraged to fight the good fight and never stop. I was also reminded that just loving my kids every day is the most important thing I can do.
Living by a Leap of Faith; Tom and Debra Ritter. Real life account of a real life family doing real life things on a super-sized level. Precious, precious, precious is all I can say. I wish I had read this years ago before I started adopting. This family is living proof that God provides for those He calls to follow Him. Written in an easy to read style, with many practical suggestions and ideas, this will encourage every Christian family to consider adopting, not just one child, but many.  An absolute treasure, and I wish they were my neighbors.

Adopted for Life; Russell D. Moore. A Southern Baptist Seminary professor, Moore speaks about his adoption journey, and encourages the Church to be more engaged in orphan care. This is a must read for church leaders, and men will appreciate a Dad’s point of view and heart. Scripturally based, the book challenges Christians to follow God’s call to vist orphans in their distress – to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

All of these books are worth purchasing for yourself, your local library, and especially for a friend or family member whom you want to encourage to begin, or continue on, their adoption journey.

PS:  One of the many things I did on my hiatus, was to develop two websites, with blogs, for two of our family businesses.  Please feel free to stop by!

http://www.blessedcreekfarm.com

www.expandinghorizonsmedia.com

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Our home school support group has a couple of Christmas traditions that we enjoy.  Today at our annual Christmas Brunch we collected shoebox gifts for foster children in our county.  Our 20 families filled 40+ shoeboxes with age appropriate gifts, festively wrapped and labeled them. 

Next week we will go caroling at our county’s Human Services building to bless the social services workers there, and deliver our shoebox gifts.  Home schoolers singing Christmas carols at a government building?  Well, why not!  Last year we did it, and they invited us back!  One gentleman told me he had worked there twenty years and no one had ever come caroling.  He loved our ‘heritage’ songs.  I hate political correctness, but if that’s what it takes to get an open door to share the love of Christ, then so be it!

Foster families and kids often have a tough time at Christmas.  Kids are displaced from their birth family – for good or bad – and extra mouths to feed, and extra gifts to purchase can stretch the budget of already stretched families.  A simple shoebox full of fun gifts can make a child feel loved and special.  I took  my kids to Dollar Tree and we each filled one.  The older kids helped the little kids fill theirs. It was easy, fun, and we know these modest treasures we will bring smiles to kids on Christmas.  I asked my older adopted daughter if she remembered receiving Christmas gifts while in foster care.  She said she got a few gifts, but not as much as now.  She thought foster kids would really like it that people thought about them and wanted to bless them.

The Christmas season is a great time for families or groups of families to reach out to orphans.  Whether by giving wrapped gifts, food, or time, love can overflow as we all do a little, so a lot will get done.

What can your family, church, or social group do to come alongside orphans this Christmas?  There are many ideas, so pick one and get started blessing others.  Be sure to share the greatest gift of all – God’s Son Jesus Christ, born to earth, so we could all be adopted into God’s Kingdom.

In my last post I discussed the huge positive impact my older biological children have had on their younger adopted siblings.  We have so many kids that we are our own little social circle!  What if a Christian couple wants to adopt and does not already have children that will become older siblings to adopted kids?  There are many benefits to including trustworthy older children as ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ within your circle of adoption support that includes extended family and friends. 

Where can trustworthy older kids be found to fulfill this role, and what should parents look for?  A few places to start include:

  1. families in your church
  2. local home school support group
  3. 4-H or other leadership development  clubs/programs
  4. older bio siblings of other adoptive families
  5. cousins, or young aunts and uncles, in your family.

Of course, you can’t just pick just any kids to befriend your adopted children.  You’ll need to spend time together as families, getting to know both parents and kids.  Here are some qualities (no special order) that you should be on the look out for in both youth and their parents:

  • high moral standards (teach and obey the 10 Commandments)
  • compassion for children, and desire to help others
  • integrity
  • trustworthiness
  • honesty
  • not gossips
  • respect for parents and role of parents as authority in family
  • peer independence
  • racial, ethnic, or cultural connections
  • spiritually mature
  • solid work ethic
  • confidence and openness to new people and things
  • willingness to socialize within family, and with other families

In what types of social settings can you engage these young people to develop ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ relationships with your adopted kids?  First, know that all situations involving adopted kids should be well supervised by you, their parent(s), for many years to come, until you have a solid level of trust with your adopted child.  Consider engaging in only family activities, so relationships can grow within that context, ie: you are with your kids, and other parents are with their kids.  A few ideas for family-to-family fellowship include:

  1. Family fun night with simple soup supper followed by board games gets laughter and conversation going
  2. Saturday morning brunch followed by same gender team chores – moms and daughters canning, quilting, or crafting; dads and sons working on cars or fix-it projects
  3. Sunday picnics after church in the park playing recreational team sports – baseball, basketball, sledding, soccer

Notice each of these includes a meal!  That makes it more convenient for everyone, but also fellowship at the meal table builds relationships and is an easy place to start. Be sure to include the whole family – kids of all ages and parents – to forge friendships with the whole family.  Start by inviting families to your house or neighborhood.  Keep things inexpensive by doing potluck meals.  Don’t over schedule these opportunities, but think of them as a once-a-month or seasonal treat.  The purpose is to get together to talk, laugh, and build lasting friendships. 

Remember to keep things low-key so as not to overwhelm your adopted kids.  One larger family at a time is plenty, or maybe two smaller ones. Though it is easier, and probably more fruitful for the budding friendship to just relate to one family at a time.  Your relaxed and friendly attitude will set the standard.  Talking with kids about your expectations before these get-togethers will help them know what is going to happen, and their part in it. 

It is probably a good idea to let the other parents know your train of thought on this, but not necessarily the kids.  Parents working together, fully informed, can steer their kids toward family friendships, but can’t force them.  Things may not work out as hoped for, so keep trying with other families until you have some success.  Always trust your instincts, and that of your kids, if you or they sense something uncomfortable.  Kids may lie to get their way, but their emotions and attitudes (and acting out behavior) usually reveal the truth.

If your adopted kids have inappropriate behaviors that are known to you ie: stealing, lying, fire-starting, sexual acting out, etc. please let the other parents know about these without giving specific, confidentiality-breaking details.  If you don’t have anything to suspect about your kids, be a good supervisor anyway, and ask the other parents to help in this manner.  It is always a good idea to make sure kids are NOT hiding in closets, playhouses, forts, or tents while playing, doors to rooms open, and no kids should play in bedrooms just to keep things safe.  Parents and kids should be within viewing, and listening distance at all times to insure no monkey-business!

Adoptive parents need a break from needy kids.  Your adopted kids need friends, especially ones that can be peers and mentors to them.  Sharing the burden with other strong families will help, and new friendships will be the reward.  No matter how young your adopted child is, even if an infant, spending time with other like-minded families will be a blessing to you and your adopted kids.  Through the years, friendships can grow which will only increase the much-needed, life-long support system for your adopted child.

“Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, and grief is the reaction to loss.”                                 (According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Three of my adopted kids have major loss issues related to their relationship with their birth parents.  They have worked their way through most of the stages of grief:  numbness, pain, bargaining, rage, depression, anxiety, acceptance. We have actively helped them work through these stages, as much as they are able as they pass through different developmental phases.  Sometimes they revisit a stage when they have gained a new coping skill. 

I can relate to their grief and want to help them through it.  Our youngest biological child, Abby Joanne, died 16 years ago on Christmas Day from a sudden illness.  Though I, too, have worked through my grief, it overshadows much of the happy celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I wonder if a parent’s grief over the loss of their child is greater, less than, or equal to that of a child losing their parent?  Well, we’ll never know.  A more answerable question is:  How do we deal with all of this grief that tends to surface during the great celebration times of Thanksgiving and Christmas? 

I don’t have all the answers, but here are some things we have learned to do over the years that help make the holidays special and celebratory, even amidst our grief:

  1. Give thanks to our good and gracious Lord each and every day.
  2. Remember that Christ is the Reason for the Season of Christmas, and the Christ worshipping Pilgrims were the reason for Thanksgiving.
  3. Listen to Christmas or worship music all day long, especially in the afternoon as you tire and tend to be melancholy.
  4. Plan time each day to be alone, by yourself, to just breathe and be.
  5. Try to laugh in the face of adversity.  On a really bad day, put on the old black and white Little Rascals or Ma and Pa Kettle dvd and get a good laugh with your kids.
  6. Think of others who are suffering more than you with charitable giving, inviting them over, or sending personal cards.
  7. As a family, choose and work together on a project for a benevolence ministry;  we make and deliver Christmas shoebox gifts for foster kids.
  8. Select a charity to assist; use the money you would have spent on a gift for your lost loved one; we donate to an orphanage in my daughter’s name.
  9. Slow down your regular schedule to accommodate a few choice activities like caroling, special programs, and meal celebrations with comfort food favorites to create life-long, positive memories.
  10. Start or increase the frequency of regular family devotions, studying God’s Holy word, and sing praises to Him.
  11. Shop for, wrap, and give modest but thoughtful gifts that make the members of your family feel special and loved; a hand-made ornament with the year date grows special over time.
  12. Get more sleep by going to bed earlier, or sleeping-in as many days in the week as possible.
  13. Eat nutritious food  in moderation at regular meals, so you won’t suffer greatly if you overindulge at special meals.
  14. Give lots of hugs and compliments to your family members, and gently remind them you need some, too.
  15. Do the extra work together as a family (cooking, cleaning, decorating) so as not to overburden yourself.
  16. Focus on family time and couple time, limiting social and church obligations.
  17. Take time to talk individually with each of your kids every day, letting them lead the conversation after you get it started
  18. When time permits, gently ask your adopted child to share their thoughts about the holidays they remember with their birth parents; just listen and affirm their feelings without putting your ‘spin’ on it.
  19. Learn that is okay to say ‘no’ to extended family gatherings that involve revisiting your pain, or being with relatives who just don’t ‘get it’ about your adopted kids.

Our kids need us to be mothers and fathers who are ‘there’ for them every day, through good times and bad.  Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is ‘there’ for us every day, especially in good times and bad.  God knows our loss and grieves with us.  His one and only Son died so we could have life.  He wants us to celebrate that life despite our grief. 

Yesterday my husband and I spent 12 hours delivering our home-grown, processed frozen turkeys to customers in the metro area 85 miles from our farm.  It was a fun day away from our kids, giving us lots of uninterrupted ‘couple time’ as we navigated the traffic to our drop-off locations.  We had a treat at the end of the day, meeting another couple who are our very dear friends, for dinner out.

During that double-date, we couples caught up with each other’s busy lives, reminisced about our early years, and laughed uproariously at the goings on in our families.  My hubby and I excitedly told our friends about our upcoming anniversary trip.  We are headed to a beachfront hotel on the Gulf of Mexico the week before Christmas – for the whole week, just the two of us!  It will be our first real vacation in more than 15 years!

Our friends, whose children are mostly grown, try to vacation annually.  “Why have you waited so long for a trip?”, they asked.  Well, for a number of reasons, primarily two.  First, until now the behaviors of 3 of our adopted children would not have allowed us to be gone from them for more than 24 hours as they require constant supervision.  Second, we didn’t have a babysitting situation for that very reason!

The neediest adoptive kids, who seem to need a forever family more than anyone, are often the ones with the most out-of-control behaviors.  Though parents badly need a break from challenging adopted kids, they can’t really take a break because no one is capable, or willing, to parent these kids in their absence.  Parents worry that when they are gone and others are in-charge, especially for an extended period of time, chaos can break out.  If the cops should need to be called while they are away vacationing…!

Further, what sane adults want to deal with:

  1.  multiple wet beds night after night
  2. constant supervision of children with a tendency toward sexualized behavior
  3. restrictions and rules for kids with food addictions who hide snacks which attract vermin in every corner of the house
  4. guidance and discipline for theft of money and other important items
  5. soliciting respect for authority from incorrigible teens
  6. solving sibling disputes regarding stealing, lying, and complete, unadulterated manipulation 
  7. rebellion that includes borderline crimnal activity and running away?

No sane person I know!  Only parents of the little offenders, who are forced by law to do so!

Well, finally, after 9 long years of unconditional love teamed with very consistent and extremely strict parenting, our adopted kids have become everyday, normal, good kidsThank you Jesus!  They: 

  • are fairly trustworthy
  • generally considerate of others
  • obey house rules with few infractions
  • help maintain their personal property, our home, and farm with few reminders
  • do their school work diligently
  • treat others with respect and love
  • respect their bodies and possessions, as well as those of the other family members. 

Wow!  We not only need a vacation, perhaps we might even deserve one!

Not that we could possibly trust anyone outside our family to care for 5 kids aged 7 to 15 years old for a week, and run a farm!  My one grown daughter will be home for college so she can team with my high school senior daughter to cook 3 square meals a day, keep up with laundry, home school younger siblings, and maintain reasonable order in my absence.  My one grown son who lives and works on our farm, can manage the livestock, fix broken vehicles as well as most mechanical devices, solve unexpected problems, and Heaven help him, resolve any disasters that may occur in my husband’s absence.  The good Lord will hopefully protect our children, livestock, and property from storms and associated problems, as He surely knows we need a break!

So, we are off in a few weeks for the ultimate ‘couple time’.  It may be the only chance we ever get, so we’re praying for good weather and uneventful travel.  The added bonus is that when we told all the kids of our trip, they were actually excited for us, and felt confident all would go well in our absence.  Apparently, the unending, often daunting work of raising such a brood has all been worth it, as our kids seem to understand that happily married parents, who enjoy each other’s company and a break from their kids now and then, are the best parents! 

We hope to relax, have fun, stay out late, sleep in, go deep sea fishing, just ‘be’ on the beach, read by the pool, and remember why we got married in the first place!  Personally I’ll look forwad to eating when and what I want, without having to plan it, shop for it, cook it, serve it, and do the dishes!  We’ll both come back refreshed and ready to parent for another decade or two.  Now, if I can just crash diet enough to fit into that swim suit…

When we first adopted 9 years ago, I searched for a tract-sized publication that I could give to our inner circle of family and friends that would give them suggestions of how to ‘hug’ our family.  ‘Hug’, you know, wrap their arms around us as we welcomed our adopted kids and helped them become forever in our family.  I never found one.

Recently I discovered that in 2008, Focus on the Family, published a wonderful little booklet entitled Wrapping Around Adopted Families; How to Provide Support to Those Called to Adopt. Through their website on orphancare iCareAboutOrphans.org you can click on a link to order these through Christian Book Distributors (cbd.com) for less than a buck a piece!  I ordered a dozen to pass out to friends in different churches in our community this week, hopefully sparking a fire about orphancare during National Adoption Month.

The booklets are beautifully written with enticing graphic design, but more important, they speak the truth about the difficulties of adoption and suggest ways that churches and loved ones can WRAP (Wrestle in prayer, Respite care, Acts of service, Promises of God) around adoptive families.

Order some today to let your inner circle know how they can help your family, or give these to church pastors, elders, and members to encourage adoption and WRAP in your church community.

Let’s WRAP the world’s 120 million orphans in the love of Christ, forever!  Did you know there are 127,000 legally free children in the US awaiting adoption!  An OVERWHELMING statistic, but surely there are 127,000 Christian families in the US who could each adopt one of these kids!

 

I spend an hour or two most days reading the latest news on-line.  Usually I rabbit trail as I click on one headline that then leads to another.  A couple of my favorite on-line Christian news sources are:  OneNewsNow.com and BreakingChristianNews.comToday, as I hit one, and then the other, several articles regarding human trafficking came up.  With an unsettled stomach I read them, only to become increasingly saddened and further sickened at the depravity in our fallen world.  For faithful, God-fearing Christians, prostitution, especially child prostitution enrages us.  How can anyone do such a thing to precious children created in His image?!

One of the blessings of adoption is knowing that your new cherubs will never have to face the type of street life that destiny’s course seemed to have set for them in their family of birth.  Crime, drugs, gangs, homelessness, police calls, prostitution, seedy motels, violence; the images they witnessed as young children might linger, but those images are not their future.  Their future is in Christ, and in their forever family’s warm home.

When I have bad days as an adoptive mom, I have to breathe, think, and remember why I am doing this with my life.  Near the top of that ‘why’ list is that I have saved my kids from the streets.  They will never know what fending for themselves as kids or teens on the streets would be like.  We provide everything they need in the way of clothing, education, family, food, hope, love, shelter, and especially the saving grace of Christ.  Praise Him that they never will have to sell themselves for their next meal, or for their parent’s drug money.  The bottom line is:  Adoption saves kids from a life we can’t, and don’t want to imagine. 

Remember that November is National Adoption Month in the U.S.   What can you do today to promote adoption in your extended family, social circles, church, and community?  Remember that adoption rescues kids from the darkness of evil, and brings them into the light of the everlasting Christ.

I recently watched a powerful dvd entitled AGENDA Ginding America Down.  (go to: AgendaDocumentary.com) This documentary outlines in stunning, complete detail, the Communist agenda during the past 150 years of taking over the world, not by war, but from within each nation.  First in the USSR, then eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, western Europe, Latin America, and finally the United States.

Did you know America was under Communist takeover?  If you are like me, you thought Communism died when the wall in East Berlin came down in the 1990’s.  Well, after you watch this blistering, scary, and Biblically based dvd, like me you will think totally the opposite!

I grew up in a Christian, Republican, conservative home.  My parents were dutiful in teaching us children around the dinner table about the threat of Communism in the 1960’s.  They warned us about liberalism.  What they missed out of naivete, and so we did not learn, was how Communism was infiltrating our schools, churches, and communities even then.  The Feminist and Sexual Revolution movements of the late 1960’s, fueled by Communist propoganda, set the stage for fatherlessness, which then produced the extreme poverty and the lack of moral values our nation experiences today.

Karl Marx, Nicolai Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Kruschev, and now Vladamir Putin did not take the United States of America down with warheads.  Instead they took us down with a lack of househeads.  Today, more children grow up without a father, than with a father.  As America’s governmental policies become more liberal and social in nature (ie: the government provides education, food, housing, medical care, and protection for women and children, not the father in the home as there is none) we must remember this:  liberal Socialism’s end goal is Communism: no god, no family, no moral values.  That is America today.  The Communists have indeed taken over, and have won the war we didn’t even know we were fighting.

Fatherless orphans who don’t know Christ are the enemy’s own, unless we Christians claim them back.  The last 150 years of Communist agenda has caused the African continent alone to have 50 million orphans today.  That’s right, the size of an average nation – 1/4 of the US population is the amount of orphans in Africa.  If we counted fatherless children in America, I would expect our number to be close to that.  How many children are growing up in single mom households?  Add this to the children in protective custody, and it is frightening.  And don’t forget to count all the children who were aborted, that is a 50 million nation in itself!

If we Christians stopped analyzing our navels, put down the remote, got off our duffs, stood for right, and turned the tide by adopting orphans, how far could we advance in the next 150 years with the Lord’s blessing?  We serve a mighty God.  He hates sin in all forms.  He cares for the little children.  He wants them to be raised in loving Christian homes.  We can win the war of good vs. evil for His children.  Are you willing to be ruled by Communists, or will you serve the One True God with all your heart, mind, and soul?  Opening your heart and home to orphans is a great place to start!

There are many well run Christian orphanages in the world.  One in particular, Casa de Fe in Shell, Ecuador, is close to my heart.  We have supported their work and receive their newsletter, ‘Fingerprints of Faith’.  Patti Sue Arnold is the founder and director.  She started caring for outcast children a few years back, and now the orphanage is home to more than 50 unwanted Ecuadorian children of various ages.  Many have minor birth defects, the reason they were unwanted.  If you have extra funds or time,  contribute in any way you can to this ministry.  Then, consider adopting one of it’s children, or helping another family to do so.   lacasadefe.org

Orphanages are not forever families.  Orphanages, even the best, are simply substitute institutional care for kids who do not have a mom and dad to love and provide for them.  Orphanages should be a transitional safe place, like foster care should be, until permanent placement with a family is arranged.  Sadly, many orphans age out of these institutions because the Christian church is not doing its job of adoption.  The Christian church is seemingly content to support orphanages, but does not want to advance to the next stage of orphancare:  placing these children with Christian families.

Why should placement in a Christian home be top priority for orphans, versus the children remaining in a well-run orphanage?  Well,  Christian families are God’s plan for growing His Kingdom.   An institution can never provide what God had in mind for the family, His families.  Dad, happily married in loving life-long covenant to Mom, produce offspring through procreation, or adoption.  Within this marriage, Dad shepherds, disciples, provides for, and protects the family.  Mom is helpmeet to Dad, nurturing and teaching the children.  Through the ups and downs of family life,  parents and children forge lifelong bonds that help transition the children out of the home to marry, produce, and parent the next generation. The cycle is repeated.  If one parent is missing, half of the work and bonding doesn’t get done.  If both parents are missing, nothing gets done.  What happens to the subsequent generations?

We Christian families have an opportunity to change the life of orphans, one or more at a time.  We simply need to begin by helping each other adopt the orphans of our nation and the world.  Whether from an orphanage, or foster care, orphans need a forever father and mother to show them the way to the next successful generation.  And to God be the glory.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress….”  James 1:27 NIV

It is a quandary in modern times that Christians who want to adopt children can’t afford it, while larger churches individually spend millions of dollars on buildings, and billions of dollars collectively on projects worldwide that are contrary to Biblical teaching (read: liberal political agenda.)  Orphan care should be a primary ministry of the Christian church, especially in America where families have spacious (compared to the rest of the world) homes with empty rooms just waiting to be filled with the joyful sound of safe and happy kids.

Speaking as an adoptive parent, who has been a faithful church member and attender for well over 45 of my 53 years (except for college falling away…), I have a few things to say about the Christian church in America in regards to adoption.  I’ll try to speak the truth in love.

Except for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) my family now attends, I have not experienced a church that actually walked the talk of orphan care.  Evangelical Free, Southern Baptist, Four Square, Nazarene, unaffiliated, United Presbyterian, not in one I attended as a long-term visitor or member, did I bear witnesss to the promotion of adoption as a way to serve Christ.  No consistent teaching, preaching, praying, modeling, or giving in order to support adoption as an indirect ministry.  Nor encouraging of members to consider adoption as a direct ministry, pledging full support of whatever it took to answer the call to ‘look after orphans…in their distress’. 

Churches think adoption is ‘nice’.  White congregations are glad to have a few new members ‘of color’ in their pews each week.  They smile and pat adopted kids on the head (FYI: adopted kids don’t really like that kind of physical invasion).  They tell parents they are special for what they are doing. They enjoy having adoptive families for their latest charity.  It doesn’t matter that you can’t use multiple bags of  out of style, too large or too small hand-me-downs.  You are written off as ‘ungrateful’ if you turn down such a gift.  It is not understood that your burden is so great you just don’t have the time, energy, or space to deal with such generosity. A better help would be to just ask what is needed.  I am very grateful for individuals who have come alongside us.  Their dear friendship, encouragement, prayer, and support via refinishing bedrooms, meat for our freezer, and discounted music lessons has made all the difference.

Most churches don’t have family integrated worship so your kids – who need 24/7/365 supervision – can be with you the whole time.  They don’t know how to accommodate your learning delayed kids into their classrooms.  They don’t want to deal with inappropriate ‘acting out’ behaviors during worship, or anywhere in the building.  They don’t to throw baby or new kid showers.  They don’t take the time to understand how hard it really is for you as parents, or the challenges your bio kids.  They don’t invite your large and unruly family over for dinner.  They don’t really even want to be your friend. That might mean sharing your burdens, or praying for you without ceasing, or helping you through severe depression because your teen has been running away.

The financial cost of raising more than 2 kids in 21st century America (yet on only one income as one parent invariably needs to be home for adopted kids), the social and emotional toll on the whole family as they deal with ‘issues’, the spiritual warfare attacks on innocent siblings and marriages, can all be devastating for the adoptive family.  Adoptive families need the full support of churches, with every member in the body of Christ doing some thing, some how, to come alongside them, in order to successfully raise all of their children.

There are models for success like Project 1:27, or individual churches that give $10,000 grants to adoptive families for any needs that are incurred, and of course para-church ministries that actually help with adoption services.  But, it is still the ‘big daddy’ government who must step in with subsidies and Medicaid for state adopted children because the church won’t do it’s job.

It is ultimately the church, Christ’s bride, that holds the key to worldwide orphan care solutions.  Church intervention, support, encouragement, modeling, and top-tier budget assignments would transform not only how children are percieved as wanted, precious, unique, and made in God’s image, but that they are worth all the time, resources, and effort to place into a forever family, God’s plan for society’s foundation.  Orphanages, no matter how well funded, can not model for children God’s plan for a man and a woman to happily married, growing in Christ, procreating and raising the next generation for His kingdom.

It’s time we Christians did our job of adopting orphans, and insisting that our churches help us to do so.  There is no better way to raise kids to become believers, than to raise them in our Christian homes, supported by the body of Christ, coming together for worship within the walls of His church.  Amen.

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