When we decided to look into adopting through foster care in 2010, we had been married for 22 years. I was 49, and we had no children of our own.
In our 30s we made some efforts to get pregnant through infertility treatments, but to no avail.
During those years two different friends approached us about adopting a newborn. We turned them down. It was not that we were not interested. We wanted to keep trying to get pregnant. But the years continued to pass without any success.
The last time I gave adoption any serious thought was in 2007 when we lived in Thailand. We looked into adopting a Thai child from a local orphanage. That didn’t get very far.
When I did think about adoption, it usually was a baby or toddler that came to mind.
But, by 2010, almost 50 years old, with plans to go back overseas as missionaries, I definitely wasn’t thinking adopting here in the U.S. I was moving on with my life taking advantage of the freedom I had without children.
Then God grabbed my attention. Danielle’s too. I don’t think she had moved on from the idea of having a family through adoption like I had.
Before I go on, I want to state that I think it is perfectly fine for a couple to build their family through adoption solely based on the motivation of wanting children of their own.
However that had little to do with what God was doing in me.
God directed my attention toward the fact that hundreds of children in my community were in foster care. Many of them were available for adoption.
Danielle and I were attending a conference, Verge, that was about missional lifestyle, both home and abroad. That was February of 2010. I thought it was the perfect place to be to help prepare for our “inevitable” move back to Thailand.
Then we were sitting listening to the Aaron Ivey band share their stories of adoption. Many of the band members had adopted internationally. But then they began talking about the children in our own communities waiting to be adopted in the foster care system.
Whoa! I thought to myself. What does adopting foster children have to do with being a missionary?
God already had me on a journey of obedience. Obedience to the life of a Christ follower. For most of my life I had segregated my “Sunday Life” from my everyday life.
To be fair, if someone asked me if I was a Christian, I quickly replied, “Yes!” However, my life didn’t always show that. If I was honest with myself, I was more interested in serving my desires than God’s.
About 10 years ago, I decided to allow that to change. My intent was for my talk and my walk to be the same. Integrity.
I still miss the mark. That is why I need Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
But here is a simple way that I began to integrate my lifestyle with the teachings of Christ—if He talks about living life a certain way, I allow that to become a way of life for me.
Here are some examples:
Instead of reading that during a Bible study or devotion and thinking, “that’s nice, but who really gets totally out of debt these days?” We decided to apply it. It took awhile, but now we are debt-free, completely.
Danielle and I began going on short-term mission trips, lived in Thailand for six months, reach out to internationals in our city, etc.
I could quote many verses that talk about God’s heart for the fatherless. Interestingly many of the verses also include widows. However this verse throws in “keep oneself unstained by the world.”
Speaks to me about walking the walk.
So, for weeks after the Verge conference, God re-calibrated my thinking about how caring for orphans and at-risk children reflects His heart.
Caring for orphans is one of the most missional things a Christ follower can do.
When you think about foster care, adoption, or orphan care in general in this context, no one can escape the responsibility, especially a Christ follower.
The only question that remained was how would I care for at-risk or fatherless children.
Question – How are you caring for fatherless and at-risk children?