One of the greatest callings in parenting is to adopt or foster children who wouldn’t otherwise have a home. As a pediatrician, I’ve had the privilege of working with countless adoptive and foster parents and their children who have walked through my office doors. Today, on World Adoption Day, I believe it’s so important to honor these families and bring awareness to the estimated 140 million children who are still without parents and homes across the world.
I recently interviewed Jedd Medefind, the President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. He also worked under the Bush administration leading the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. In our conversation, Jedd brought up some important points about the church, adoption and foster care:
It’s more than a nice thing to do.
“We as Christians need to be God’s presence in these kids’ lives,” says Jedd. Adoption and foster care is more than a nice thing some people do. The Bible is very clear about whether or not we are supposed to care for the orphans: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
However you decide to take part in caring for orphans, whether it is adoption, foster care or a ministry that supports these, know that you’re following a clear Biblical mandate.
While guilt and idealism can open our eyes to the needs of this world, they are not long-lasting motivators. As Jedd says, “If those are the primary things motivating us, we will be overwhelmed by the world’s need. It will outlast our enthusiasm to address it.”Love must be the motivator for those considering adoption or foster care, not guilt. Click To Tweet
For those who are considering adoption or foster care, your primary motivator must be love, rather than guilt or a desire to take on all of the world’s pain. We are loved; therefore, we are to love as we have been loved. This is what will ultimately keep you going as you care for the orphans in your world.
Everybody can help.
“We often say at CAFO that not every Christian is called to adopt, not every Christian is called to foster… but every Christian community is called to live out the pure religion that James describes as caring for orphans and widows in their distress,” says Jedd. Everyone in the church community can and should play a vital role. You can financially support friends and family going through the adoption process. You can be a surrogate grandparent to a friend’s foster child. You can babysit or do yard work.Everyone in the church community can and should play a vital role in orphan and foster care. Click To Tweet
When Jedd’s family adopted their daughter, a friend of theirs who was retired did all their grocery shopping for a year. “It said to us, we’re not alone in this. And that meant the world to us.”
Look around at the families you know who could use some help. We are all called to help the orphans. Let’s do it together.
To learn more about the Christian Alliance for Orphans, visit their website at cafo.org and be sure to check out Jedd Medefind’s book Becoming Home: Adoption, Foster Care, and Mentoring–Living Out God’s Heart for Orphans.