It was Orphan Sunday last Sunday, a day for Christians to take a stand on behalf of the world’s orphans. To be a voice that cries out for redemption and justice for those most vulnerable. Orphan Sunday holds greater significance in my family than in most. It’s a special day. A day to remember why my family and I are doing what we’re doing, giving us perseverance to stay the course toward adoption despite the many challenges we’ve confronted and the innumerable unknowns and uncertainties we continue to face.
Travis and I were asked to participate in the sermon at our church last weekend along with another couple who is pursuing the adoption of a little boy through foster care. Our pastor preached an incredible message illustrating the heart behind adoption by Christian families, which is certainly something that Travis and I are passionate about. Not all churches bring this aspect of the Gospel to light, but ones that embrace, encourage, and support adoption display the Father’s heart beautifully. I am thankful to my church and my pastors for allowing God to cultivate that heart of adoption in our community, and I encourage others to do so as well.
As I said, the sermon was amazing, and it sort of got me thinking.
Have you ever seen a little girl or boy imitate their mom or dad? It’s ridiculously cute to see a little one walking in mommy’s heels or daddy’s cowboy boots, isn’t it? From birth, it seems, we’re wired to follow and imitate our parents, which I believe is a picture of what our relationship ought to be like with God. Ephesians 5:1 tells us, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
As beloved children, it says. The truth is that we are children of God, provided you’re a follower of Christ. Ephesians 1:4b-5 says, “In love [God] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will.” John 1:12 tells us, “But to all who did receive [Jesus], who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” We’ve been adopted. And as beloved children, one of many ways we can imitate our Father is through adoption.
Now, I think I’ve made it clear in other writings just how trial-some yet rewarding our adoption journey has been, but quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve spent much time sharing some of the gospel truths we’ve seen illustrated.
When we embarked on this journey, Travis and I thought the adoption was going to be relatively quick and easy, but boy were we wrong! If anything, it’s been long and messy and hard. But what’s incredibly neat about that is that this long, messy, hard journey has required us to relentlessly pursue the child God has for us to adopt, and that’s precisely what God does with us, though to an even greater extent. In love, God pursues us relentlessly, and that pursuit isn’t quick or easy. It’s long and messy and hard. God the Father has pursued us with unparalleled determination and passion, regardless of the cost He had to pay. First Corinthians 6:20 says, “for you were bought with a price,” with the blood of Christ, and that price was high! God the Father was willing to do whatever it took to make us His children, and all He asks for in return is our love. What an wonderful God we serve!
There are over 150 million orphans in this world. Little ones, like you and me, who have no one to love them and no one to love. Scripture tells us God is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows,” and that “God sets the lonely in families…” (Psalm 68:5-6). Could it be that God might be calling your family to imitate His heart for adoption? Could it be that He may be calling you to pursue an orphaned child with the same relentless love that He pursued you? Could it be that you were created to be part of the solution for one or two or three of the 150 million?
What Can You Do?
The other couple who participated in the sermon last weekend said the question they faced when deciding whether or not to pursue adoption was not, “Why adopt” but “Why not adopt”? I think it’s a valid and profound question. Why not adopt? Why not take open hearts and willing hands to the throne of God and ask whether or not you’re called to adopt. He may call you to adoption or He may not. But either way, we are all called to do something. James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” So what might God be calling you to do?
ADOPTION INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
“ I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” – John 14:18
WAYS TO ADOPT
- Foster to Adopt – To receive more information, contact your local foster care adoption recruiter.
- Private Domestic Adoptions – For more information, research your local private adoption agencies. If you live in or around Utah or Nevada, Premier Adoption is a wonderful agency.
- International Adoption – All God’s Children International is an incredible agency that primarily considers themselves to be an orphan care ministry. My family’s experience with them was amazing. We highly recommend using them if you feel called to any of the countries AGCI work in. Embracing Children Adoption Services is a reputable, small agency who several local families have used.
FUNDING YOUR ADOPTION
One of the greatest deterrence to adoption is the cost (though this is not an issue if you go the foster to adopt route), but please know and believe that God provides for what He calls us to! Don’t let money be the thing that keeps you from taking a child into your home. God will provide!
Federal Tax Credit – There is currently a federal tax credit of $13,400 per child adopted for the year 2015. Please note that this is a tax credit, not a write off. Be sure to check the adoption tax credit each year, as it changes.
Grants – There are many ministries and secular organizations who offer grants. Some of the most noteworthy are:
Fundraisers – An adoptive mom put together a great list of fundraising ideas on her blog. Check them out by clicking here! Some are additional ideas:
- Garage Sale – Have friends and family donate all their unwanted goods and host a huge garage sale. My family and I were blessed with $4500 with our garage sale back in 2011!
- Craigslist – Sell big items you have hanging around the house on Craigslist.
- etsy.com – Are you crafty? Make and sell things on Etsy.
- Spaghetti feed
Collect Tax Deductible Donations – There are some non-profit organizations who will collect donations on your behalf, allowing donors to write off their donation on their income taxes. Contact the following for more information:
- Revise and cut back your current budget
- Borrow against your 401K
- Ask about employer adoption benefits
- Get creative!!!
SOME GREAT RESOURCES
Lifesong for Orphans – A wonderful Christian organization that seeks to mobilize the Church, His body, where each member can provide a unique and special service: some to adopt, some to care, some to give. http://www.lifesongfororphans.org
Christian Alliance for Orphans – CAFO represents a group of Christian organizations and churches joining voices to care for orphans. https://cafo.org
Abba Fund – Resources and grant information. http://www.abbafund.org
Show Hope – A great ministry that seeks care for orphans in various ways, including supporting adoptive families. http://showhope.org
BOOKS TO READ
Adopted for Life – Russell Moore
Orphanology – Tony Merida & Rick Morton
The Connected Child – Karyn Purvis
Kisses from Katie – Katie Davis
SCRIPTURES TO REFERENCE
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ’Abba! Father!’” – Romans 8:15
“In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will…” – Ephesians 1:4b-5
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” – James 1:27
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.” – Psalm 82:3
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…” – Psalm 68:5-6
“In You the orphan finds mercy.” – Hosea 14:3