I am so excited to share this post from my sister, Ella. Ella and her husband are amazing parents and they have such a heart for kids. They have chosen to expand their family through adoption and have so much to share on the topic. I am sure this is just the first of many posts from Ella on this subject. I hope that you are blessed by it and take the time to share this information with others that are called to adopt. ~Amy
All my life I have wanted to adopt. I can remember sitting as a teenager in a home for orphaned children in Mexico and yearning to take each parentless child home with me. In college I worked with disadvantaged youth in the poorer parts of Fresno and my heart broke over my inability to really help some of the children have the safe homes they needed to thrive. Belizean orphans filled my heart and my prayers during my two years as a teacher in Punta Gorda. I worked with an organization in Romania to take children orphaned by a communistic regime to camp for a week and then place them in group homes to teach them how families lived and thrived.
And then I married a man who also was brought to tears by the plight of the orphan. We were called to this unique and special ministry.
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.
But, like many people, we had no money to adopt internationally or privately. We looked into a few organizations and were staggered by the amount of money they charged for a home study alone, not counting the cost of travel and legal fees. Was this call to be something that could only happen much later in our lives? Would we have to fundraise to get our children?
It was in our research that we discovered Foster to Adopt. We could adopt from our own state, for virtually free! What? This had never been discussed in our churches. These orphans all around us were in hiding. They were silently wishing for families that could care for them and protect them properly. And I was blind to them. How had I not known about this? Why had this not been discussed in my church?
So we began the process of becoming certified to fost/adopt. The process was not complicated: a few all day (but free with lunch provided) classes; a very invasive but relatively painless home study; and finger print clearance from everybody and their neighbor (our only out of pocket expense).
We learned that there are over 100,000 children in the US foster system that are up for adoption. Many of these are over the age of five and unlikely to ever find forever homes. A smaller percentage are younger, and ever so needy. We learned that most, if not all, of these children, regardless of age, are “children from hard places.” Environments in and out of the womb were not ideal for these children and they have special needs because of that.
But we also learned that the state will pay a stipend to families who foster children to help cover the costs of another mouth in the home and will continue the stipend after the child is adopted up until the age of 18. Many states offer free in-state college tuition to children adopted out of the foster system. And all medical and psychological costs are covered by the state.
And we learned that there are over 300,000 churches in the United States. There are roughly 60 million worshipers at these churches.
And why do we still have an orphan problem?
In the light of this, the question is raised: Should we all, as Christ followers, try to adopt? Is this the only way to answer the call to care for the orphan?
The answer, of course is no. God has not called us all to adopt, and it does need to be a calling. The adoption road is not an easy one. There are costs to be paid in tears and sweat and sleepless nights.
If you are called to adopt, do not let finances stop you.
If you are called to adopt, find a foster to adopt program to see what your options are.
If you are called to adopt, let God work through you to bless a child’s life and change it for good. Be a voice of stability and God’s forgiveness in a child’s life. Get paid, by our government, to teach a child about Christ’s saving work on the cross.
And if you are not called to adopt,
Find someone near you who is and love on them.
Find a family in your church or community that has adopted or is in the process, and lend them your support. They need it.
Love on an adoptee. They need all the love they can get.
And never let anyone tell you that they could never afford to adopt without pointing them toward the need in their own backyard. Most of us may never have the money to adopt internationally, but locally we can make a huge difference. Church, let’s get down to the business of caring for the orphan. Let us leave our hand prints on their lives.