Today, I’ve asked a friend of mine to share for Orphan Sunday. She has an incredibly passionate heart for orphans, and I’m praying God will use her to inspire you!
It’s Orphan Sunday! Thanks, Stacie for inviting me to be your guest blogger today. I love talking about adoption and all the cool ways God is moving in the midst of the orphan crisis in our world. Stacie asked me to share a bit of that with you because I have adopted three children of my own (with dreams of more) and because I love to encourage people to consider what God might be asking them to do.
First things first, here are my wonderful kiddos: Chloe is from India, Michael was born in the U.S. of Hispanic and Arabic heritage, Josie is Chinese and Molly is homegrown.
Aren’t they adorable? And just think there are over 140 million more in need of a forever family. That number is unimaginable, isn’t it? Now I can just hear you saying, “That’s great for you; not for me” and that may be spot on. But caring for orphans isn’t an option. James 1:27 tells us pure and faultless religion is, in part, to look after orphans and widows in their distress. The big question is how? What am I supposed to do? No doubt some of us reading this are being asked to step up to the plate and adopt. But everyone reading this is asked to do something. I’d love to offer a few ideas about those fears and give lots of ideas as to how to help!
Let’s hit the fears first. I’ve heard a lot of them…felt some of them too. What if I don’t love her as much as my biological children? What if he has too many problems? How do I teach her about her origins? I’m afraid of traveling to a third world country. I don’t have the money. Is it fair to my other children? I’m too old. What if he grows up resenting me or having been adopted? I’m too young. How will the extended family respond? People will think I’m crazy. I’m too busy. We have to pay for college for the children we already have.
Have I hit on yours? I certainly don’t have the wisdom or space here to answer all of our fears, but I do know where to point you. Long ago I learned that fear is the absence of faith. Ouch! That hits me time and again. But it’s so true. Bonding (those feelings of love) can be instantaneous or develop over time, just like with a baby who’s born into the family. But it is God who first loves and then our love flows out of that. My friends who work with the organization Hope for Orphans and who have adopted four children from foster care (and had a few heartbreaks along the way) are fond of saying they are doing it for the child, not for themselves. The orphan is their focus, not their comfort. As for adjustment, the statistics for the adopted child are encouraging. There are numerous adoption grants available and the tax credit which sure help. But the truth is, if God is calling you to do it, the problems are His to work out. You just have to take the first step. I wish I had room to tell you the ways God provided for us financially with grants, tax breaks, good stewardship and gifts from family and friends.
There are also really good resources out there by Hope for Orphans and books such as The Connected Child to help you through the bumps. I’ve asked my children, “would you rather have your college paid or rescue another child from an orphanage?” Children can easily see the big picture. I don’t want God to ever show me a child He intended for me to help and me to realize too late I said no.
Need more inspiration? I asked a few friends to share their first meeting pictures with you.
Pictures really do speak a thousand words, don’t they?
But for those of us who are looking for a way to make a difference in the life of an orphan aside from adopting, where to begin? This part is cool. God is stirring up His people and they are doing some very good things.
- Start reading about it; subscribe to the Hope for Orphans e-newsletter.
- Donate to Show Hope.
- Give to someone you know who is adopting.
- Buy shoes through Buckner’s “Shoes for Orphans’ Souls” program.
- Donate to Maria’s Big House of Hope.
- Buy an Angel Tree ornament from Reece’s Rainbow to help this organization which helps children with Down’s Syndrome be adopted.
- Ask your church to create an account for donations for adoption grants to its members.
- Take a meal to a foster family.
- Throw a “not so baby” shower for a family who’s adopting an older child.
- Offer a field trip to the biological children so mom and dad can have good bonding time with the new, adopted child.
- Go on a whole-family missions trip to an orphanage to love on the kiddos there.
The list could go on and on. But here are two you can do sitting right where you are:
1) take an hour and watch “Answer the Cry” hosted by Francis Chan just for Orphan Sunday (look for the “click here to watch now at the bottom of the page)
2) explore the website of Hope for Orphans and order either the booklet entitled “Eight Steps to Adoption”($3 or you may download it free) or the book, Launching an Orphans Ministry in Your Church ($10).
The orphan crisis is huge. But it is not beyond the God’s reach through the church. Please, do your part. Take the first step!
“But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” Psalm 10:14 (NIV)