Hear me out. We are called by God to care for the orphans of the world (James 1:27). What does this look like? To me, at first it looked like sending money to some obscure orphanage in some obscure region in some poor country. And maybe, just maybe, someday I would go and physically be there in a show of support and Christian love…just to eventually leave for my cushy life in the US and resume the money-sending.
Until I began the process of adopting an orphan.
My true belief is that when we are called to care for orphans, we are called to give them homes…to give them parents! I don’t believe that there is one child out there who does not painfully yearn for a forever family. Even in the best of situations (when the orphanage is run well, is stocked with all necessities, has loving caregivers, etc.), children constantly look at the front door wondering, “when will my parents come to take me home?” (just ask a first-hand witness…my son). Sadly, most orphans do not receive quality care and many are left to lay in cribs day in and day out, being fed by bottles with the tips cut off so that they drink it quickly and the “caregiver” can move on to the next child asap. They rarely reach the age-appropriate milestones that are so critical in childhood development…thus severely handicapping them for life as an adult. Is this what God wants? For us to *only* send money so that these kids can languish in orphanages like that? For them to eventually become disconnected and ostracized members of adult society (if they don’t commit suicide before then)? I’m not so sure. For we were adopted into the family of God…He took us as his own - despite our seeming unworthiness - and promised us everlasting life with Him…NOT apart from Him (Eph 1:5). Shouldn't we do the same?
Don’t get me wrong, I am SO not against sending money to support orphanages. On the contrary, we Christians should do everything we can to make sure that orphanages are supported and properly equipped. And I believe there is a niche of Christians who can easily do this…the unmarried, the elderly, the couples who do not feel called to have children, the families who are no longer expanding…yada, yada. But I would issue this challenge to those married couples who do want children…consider adoption. In Russia alone, there is over ¾ of a million orphans. That’s just one country. There’s also China, Africa, Latin American, South America, Europe, Haiti…and our own backyard, the USA. It’s utterly heartbreaking how many beautiful amazing children out there need forever families.
Adoption. Is it scary? Yes. Is it overwhelming? Yes. Is it uncomfortable? Yes, at times. Is it a blessing beyond comprehension? YES! I truly believe that God equips people with honest discernment when they earnestly seek His will in adoption. Does this mean everyone should pursue adoption? No, not necessarily. While I am very opinionated and passionate about this subject, I cannot (and will not) condemn others for not adopting. Ultimately it is a decision reached through much prayer and supplication. And it is a decision reached with God at the helm. Personally, I just find it disturbing that, out of so many Christian families expanding in America, so few even consider adoption. I’d like to see us getting a little out of our comfort zone…and a little out of the “but it’s not MY child” mentality. Because, Frankly speaking, even our biological children are on loan to us in this world. All children ultimately belong to God, but it’s up to US to care for them while we are all here. I’d love to someday see the seemingly impossible dream of orphanages becoming obsolete become reality…wouldn’t that be just so awesome?!
Oh, and there is always foster care to consider... ;)