Five Easy Ways to Become Involved In Orphan Care

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As we continue this month on the journey of Adoption Awareness, I want us to be reminded of one of the focal verses in scripture on orphans. In James 1:27 the author writes:

Religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: take care of the orphans and the widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Even though as Christians we are told that “true religion” is taking care of the orphans (and widows which is a whole other topic), many individuals, families, and churches are not involved. I tend to think that the reason many Christians are not involved is because we have what is known as “all or nothing” thinking when it comes to orphan care. “All or nothing” thinking about orphan care says,

“I cannot adopt or foster a child because…

Therefore, I cannot participate in orphan care.”

I want to let you in on a little secret. This thinking is a lie from the enemy. The first part of that statement might be true. The second part is not. There are a number of things you can do to be a part of orphan care without actually adopting or fostering. So, if the Lord has been working on your heart about getting involved with orphan care and you were wondering how, today’s post is for you.

TOP FIVE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED IN ORPHAN CARE

#5: Donate a small duffel bag or suitcase.

Most children who are removed from their home are brought to foster care locations with a few belongings thrown into a garbage bag. The message these children are given is that they are not worth much more than garbage. You can change that message by donating a duffel bag or suitcase. Most of the locations receiving these donations will fill the bag or suitcase with clothes, toiletries, and sometimes a toy. For some of these children, these gifts are the first time they are given the message that someone cares.

#4: Donate new or gently used baby items & clothes.

Because many foster placements happen quickly and with little notice, many foster parents do not have the right sized clothes for the children being placed in their home. Since many of the children do not come to the foster parent’s home with much, having appropriate clothing items for the children is a huge need. Here in New Orleans, Canal Street Church has teamed up with a foster care organization in our city to create a ministry where baby items and children’s clothes (of all sizes and seasons) are collected, sorted, and arranged for fostering or adopting parents to get what they need for the children in their home. Examples of baby items are: diapers, formula, cereal, bottles, wash cloths, blankets, towels, etc. You are welcome to donate through this church or through other organizations in your area.

#3: Encourage/Emotionally Support an Adopting/Fostering Family

Adopting/fostering parents need support and encouragement. Many times they are trying to handle sibling transition issues, behavioral issues, new parenting issues, and foster system issues on top of the normal family issues. They need verbal and written encouragement as well as frequent breaks. This encouragement might look like: a quick email or phone call letting them know you are thinking about them; a home cooked meal every so often; or a free night of babysitting so that mom and dad can go on a date. If you do not know of a family who has adopted or is fostering, begin talking with your friends about your desire to encourage these families. There is a very good chance you know someone who knows someone who needs this type of encouragement and support.

Maybe more so than other parents, adopting/fostering parents need support and encouragement. Many times they are trying to handle sibling transition issues, behavioral issues, new parenting issues, and foster system issues on top of the normal family issues. They need verbal and written encouragement as well as frequent breaks. This encouragement might look like: a quick email or phone call letting them know you are thinking about them; a home cooked meal every so often; or a free night of babysitting so that mom and dad can go on a date. If you do not know of a family who has adopted or is fostering, begin talking with your friends about your desire to encourage these families. There is a very good chance you know someone who knows someone who needs this type of encouragement and support.

#2: Financially Support Adoption

The reality is that adoption is expensive. There are many families that would love to adopt, but they do not think they can financially afford to. Many of you may be in a financial position to offer assistance to these parents willing to adopt but unable to do so due to financial reasons. Organizations such as Steven Curtis Chapman’s SHOAHANNAH’S HOPE, give opportunities for anyone to help fund adoptions through donations. Another option is to help fund an adoption for a couple in your church community. As you talk about your willingness to encourage fostering and adopting families, you will begin to meet families who are in this process. Consider helping these families defray the financial cost of adoption.

NUMBER 1 WAY TO BECOME INVOLVED…

#1: PRAYER

Prayerfully supporting a family through the adoption/fostering process is the BIGGEST and BEST gift you could give a family. At the end of this month we are going to give you the top 5 prayer needs of adopting/fostering families. Please consider adding these requests to your prayer list. Actively seek one or more families who are adopting/fostering and find out their prayer needs. By praying for these families you will be forever linked to them and their adoption/fostering process. You will have impacted the life/lives of an orphan(s). You can make an eternal impact on these precious lives and the lives of their parents. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

Be watching next week for our article on Adoption: From an Adopted Child’s View.

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