Over the last few years, I have had the honor and privilege of walking with several families through the adoption and foster care process. Most of these have been international adoptions for children with special needs. Some have been foster care situations. Some have been easier than others. This prompted me to ask - are we also called to adopt?
After much prayer and searching, I can honestly tell you that God has not called our family to adopt - domestically or internationally. He has, however, called us to be a part of adoption.
I know many of you have heard all you want to hear about adoption. You are tired of people talking about it, because frankly, you were not called to adopt either. And if you were not called to adopt, why do we have to keep going over this? Because He has called you to be a part as well.
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
James 1:27 This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
If you are to be a part, what CAN you do?
Adoption is a process and there are many things you can do to help and support those that are called to adopt.
1. Pray. This is probably the biggest and most important thing you can do for those going through this process. Pray for wisdom to get through the paperwork. Pray for all members of their family to understand why they are doing this. Pray for endurance - for some this is a llloooonnnggg process. Pray for comfort - things don't always go as we have planned. Pray for God's perfect timing for adding a new member to their family. Pray for them to adjust and bond quickly to having a new family member. Pray for that waiting child - that he or she would feel God's love and comfort and somehow know that his or her forever family is on their way.
2. Serve. There are many ways you can serve adopting families. Bring meals to them - just like having a new baby, they have a new family member that needs their love and attention more than anything right now. Not having to fix a meal would be a burden released. This could even come in the form of making a meal and freezing it - then delivering it during their waiting or traveling time so they can fix something on their own time table. Have a "Welcome Home" party or shower. Families may not really know what they need until they get that child home. Having a get together, formal or informal, is a great way to support these families. Offer to take the other kids for a while - take them to lunch with your family or on a playdate. This will give mom and dad some one on one time with their new child.
3. Give. Even though domestic adoptions don't have the high costs associated with them that international adoptions do, there will still be some needs come up that the family might or might not have anticipated. A few extra dollars here and there would be a great help to these families. You might even consider a gift card to a restaurant, Target, or WalMart. International adoptions usually have a VERY high financial cost and most families have stepped out in faith that God will provide the funds to proceed. God does provide - through people like you giving a few dollars. Support their fundraising efforts. Spread the word through social media sights and email. Everyone giving a little will help each person reach their goal.
4. Love, Accept, and Support. Whether or not you agree with or understand a family's decision or call to adopt is not really important. God has called you to love. Love that family. Love that child. Accept their decision as their call from God - because it is their call. Support them and ask them how you can help. Show an interest in the process and prepare to be blessed!
As we head into November and National Adoption Month, I challenge you to look around and find ways you can support those who are called to adopt. It might be a card to let them know you are praying for them. It might be an encouraging word as you pass in the hall at church. It might be bringing them a meal. Whatever you can do, make a difference for that family today!