As Wendy and I got away this weekend to celebrate our 2nd anniversary, we kept returning to the desire and the leading we sense from God. The desire and leading to adopt. For me personally, it doesn't take long for me to have an emotional response when I hear stories of orphans or think about God' plan for our family to adopt. There are millions of children around the world with out parents, with out love, and living in discouraging circumstances. Whatever stage of life you are at, married or single, you can care for the orphans of the world.
For this weeks 2 cents, I offer you what voice of the orphan has put out for Christians to respond in faith and action.
What You or Your Family Can Do
To care for orphans and waiting children
Pray for Them
Go online to find a waiting-child listing (AdoptUsKids or Rainbow Kids). Print out a picture and description of a waiting child and tape it to your dashboard, refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Every time you find yourself waiting – in traffic, walking through the kitchen, looking in the mirror – pray for this child. Plead with the Father on their behalf.
Want a change of pace for the dinner hour? This simple one-page guide will help your family explore what life must be like for the most vulnerable of our world.
Speak Up For Them
Keep a picture of a waiting child in your wallet or purse. When you are visiting with other believers pull it out and ask if they, or someone they know, would give this child a home. Be their advocate.
Become a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).</strong> CASA volunteers are trained citizens appointed by judges to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children. These are people who volunteer their time to get to know a child in foster care and speak to the court on their behalf. Visit National CASA for more details and to find an office near you.
Mentor Vulnerable Children
The ranks of the fatherless and even the motherless continue on an upward spiral as the breakdown of the family continues unabated and births to unwed mothers increases. Mentoring offers an opportunity to help to break this cycle by providing a Godly role model and friend to a foster or otherwise vulnerable child. Learn more about mentoring and how you can make a difference to these children.
Support Those Who Support Them
Mow a foster parents yard, offer to baby sit, or organize a few days worth of meals when a new child is placed in their home. And tell them often that you appreciate what they do.
Throw a shower for a family adopting an older child. Often showers aren’t thought of for adoptive families especially when the adoption involves an older child. This greatly encourages adoptive families.
Sponsor a local child welfare social worker and commit to pray for them, an occasional lunch on you, and sending gifts or notes of encouragement
Make One Phone Call
What do you need? How many times do you think people call up a government office and say that!
Waiting Children exist right in your community. Call up your community’s Child Welfare Services office and ask the simple question … “What can we do to help foster children in our community?”
When youth turn 18 in the U.S. foster-care system, they are often left to fend for themselves. Over 20,000 teenagers a year “age out” of the U.S. foster care system with no place to call home. Call your local foster care office and let them know you have the desire to be a support for a child who is aging out of foster care.
Download a Contact Information file to learn how you can ask this simple question – What can we do to help?”
Give Sacrificially to Them
Support reputable orphan care organizations on an ongoing basis.
Give financially to a family in the process of adoption. See Shaohannah's Hope and Life International for more information about financial assistance for adoptive families.
Sponsor an Orphan or an Entire OrphanageMake a difference in a single child or an entire orphanage full of children through active child sponsorships. Or make it a family project to sponsor a single child or an entire orphanage. Write to them or encourage your children to write notes of encouragement to your sponsored children and hear first hand what its like to be an orphan who is being cared by the love of Jesus Christ.
Look up the following websites for more information about sponsoring orphaned children in a program that provides for on site staff who are proclaiming the Gospel and providing ongoing discipleship:
Build an Orphanage
Did you know that your can be involved in building a home for orphans where the children will grow up in a church environment? It’s not as hard as it sounds. Visit World Orphans to learn how to do this in one of dozens of countries. Consider raising this money as a small group, Sunday school class, or youth ministry.
Take a Short-Term Mission Trip
We don’t care where you go, whether it’s the far reaches of the planet or right in your own backyard. Go where you are already invested, go to new places the Lord sends you, but go and experience the face of God through orphans in our world.
Look up the following Web sites for more information about short term mission opportunities:
Buckner Orphan Care
Global Aid Network
Warm Blankets Children's HopeChest
Explore what it would take to become a foster parent in your local community. Your county’s child welfare office is looking for safe and loving homes to place children who must be removed from their current home. Do you have an empty bedroom that could be put to great use for a child in need? What are you waiting for! Contact your county’s child welfare office to find out about upcoming information meetings in your area.
Give Them a Forever Family — Adopt a Child
Waiting…There are thousands of children waiting for a forever family. Waiting to experience God’s unfailing love and hear the message of hope found in Jesus Christ. You can make a eternal difference in God’s kingdom. You can give a child a home through foster care, domestic or international adoption. Caring families are especially needed for older youth, sibling groups and special needs children. Do you have a place in your heart, an empty bedroom in your home, and an empty seat in the minivan that could be put to great use for God’s kingdom?
To learn more about the three types of adoption call 1-800-FLTODAY to order a free booklet entitled Welcome Home: Eight Steps to Adoption.