Did you know that November is National Adoption Month?
Did you know that in 2009 the Federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) reported that there were over 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States alone?
Did you know that the Bible commands us to take care of these children?
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27)
As an adoptive mom of two, I feel the need to shout from the rooftops that these children need us! They need to be loved, accepted, wanted! We are fortunate to have a pretty decent relationship with the birth mom of our children as part of our semi-open adoption. But I spoke with another friend this week whose heart has been torn in two by a birth mom who, in a fit of anger, held her young daughter’s feet in scalding bathwater until the child’s feet were so badly burned that she had to be taken to a burn center to be treated for second degree burns! This friend wants so badly to be more than a part-time foster mom to this darling child, but her birth mom firmly holds onto her, refusing to release her to “the system.”
Then there is my friend, who today, after being a foster mom to three little boys for over two years, was finally able to legally claim them as her own! What a joyous day this sweet family had, celebrating their “forever family”!
The truth is that many people are afraid of adoption, afraid of allowing Social Services into their homes, afraid of spending money on an adoption that falls apart at the last minute. So many horror stories are shared from domestic adoptions that more people are seeking to adopt internationally, neglecting the thousands of children who need homes in this country.
Don’t get me wrong – my husband and I are considering international adoption. We may be able to take that route some day. We know that God leads many people to international adoption because, quite honestly, the need is great around the world. Every child needs a loving home! But domestic adoptions are often ignored, set aside, or put down unless you are adopting a sibling group or a special needs child. Many grants are set up to help these “special needs” groups, but few options are available for families who just want to adopt because God has called them to add to their family in this way.
Adoption can be a ministry; but for most of us who adopt, it’s really just about loving these children and wanting to give them a safe place to call home. It’s about wanting to be their family – not just giving them a temporary place to live until they come of age!
You may be thinking, “Well, that’s wonderful that God has called you to adoption, but I just don’t feel like He wants that for me.” Let me clear that up for you now – He does want you to be involved! James 1:27 doesn’t say that God calls some people’s “religion. . .pure and faultless” if they take care of orphans! It just says “religion”!
The problem is that so many churches have taken a “hands-off” approach to adoption, refusing to become too involved in supporting personal adoptions for fear of possible liabilities. Adoption is seldom preached on from the pulpit. Even adoptive families in the church seemed determined to hide their adoption stories, as though there is something unclean about adoption.
Take it from someone who has been through it twice now – adoption is a beautiful love story! Many people comment how fortunate those children are to have found a family to care for them, but I say that it is we parents who are the blessed ones! We have the unique opportunity to love and cherish these beautiful, precious gifts from God!
I saw a note on Facebook once that basically accused a barren woman of sinning! The fact that a woman couldn’t bear children must, of course, be a punishment from the Lord. According to this post, once a woman cleanses her heart before God, she will then be able to have biological children! I have even had many people comment that now that I have adopted, I will be sure to get pregnant – as if adoption is simply a means to having a “biological child”! (Please don’t ever say something like that to an adoptive mom! Each one of our children is special and unique and ours!)
I was so distraught over this note that I actually had to avoid posts by this person for awhile. I couldn’t even comment because I was so angry that she would make such a blanket statement! Of course, I eventually calmed down (although I just can’t seem to think of this person in the same light now), and God gave me the following verse:
“He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!” (Ps. 113:9)
So why aren’t more people working together to make adoptions happen? There are so many ways to get involved!
1. Consider becoming a foster parent or an adoptive parent. This is not an easy process, so I encourage you to do your homework first and to really pray for God’s leading! But please, please, please don’t be hindered by finances! If it’s truly God’s will, He always provides!
2. Donate to a family going through an adoption or to an adoption agency. The fees that accompany the adoption process can be quite extensive – even for a “free” adoption from the foster care system!
3. Donate your old clothes, housewares, furniture, etc. You can usually do this through an adoption agency. Most people do not realize that these birth moms are in need of many items and are allowed to ask for them by law as long as the need benefits the baby or children. Anything that the birth mom needs is given to her, and the expense is covered by the adoptive family. It is also a great way to minister to these women who are making the courageous choice to give their children a loving, safe home that they may not be able to provide for them.
4. Consider temporarily opening your home to a birth mom or providing her with shelter in some way. Many people do not realize that these birth moms need our love and care, too, and this is a great way to help them through a difficult time. Many birth moms struggle with their decision to give their children up for adoption, so they need special love and attention during this time!
5. Set up a fund in your church to help any family who wants to adopt be able to do so. I once heard of a church that had such a large adoption fund that every single family in their church that wanted to adopt was able to move forward without worrying about the finances.
6. Volunteer! Find an organization near you that helps women in trouble and give some of your time. Many of these organizations rely on their volunteers to make them successful.
7. Become informed. So much information exists on adoption that there is no reason that anyone should truly be shocked by the statistics! Whether international or domestic, every adoption is unique and requires the acceptance of the community to succeed.
7. Pray. This, above all else, is essential to adoption! The adoption journey is one of uncertainty, fear, and possible failures. Many families give every last penny they have towards an adoption only to have it fail at the last minute. In many situations, these families do not have the opportunity for a “refund.” Once the money has been invested, it’s gone. The emotional turmoil is incredible; but any adoptive family will tell you that the journey was worth the reward!
For more information on adoption, visit the following websites:
Or contact your local foster care office for information on becoming a foster parent.