Take a look at this graphic from Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). Please look carefully. The top number represents the number of children waiting in foster care in that state that can be adopted. The bottom number represents the number of churches in that state.
What does it say to you?
One way to please God is to care for orphans.
God shares a few sure-fire ways to please him, and caring for orphans is one of them.
And the way I read His Word where He talks about caring for orphans, it’s not a suggestion. He usually says it as a command. He expects His children to care for those who need a family.
Makes sense to me. Didn’t He seek us out and adopt us into His family? Why would it not please Him when we do the same here on earth?
If I’m right that God’s not simply recommending that we care for orphans in our communities but is commanding that we respond, then why are we not responding? Sure, many are. But this graphic shouts at me that if the churches throughout our country would simply notice and respond, no child in foster care would have to wait for a forever family. Instead, families would have to wait for a child.
Do We Notice Them?
Look at some of the action words in the verses : seek, help, defend, fight, and care . These words call for an enthusiastic response. These words are the call of the Father’s heart to respond with action.
According to the Website, www.fortheorphan.org , five hundred thousand children in our nation are in the foster care system. More than twenty-eight thousand children in the state of Texas, where I live, are in foster care. That number only reflects the children who are in the custody of the state’s foster care system. Many other children live in unstable homes, on the streets, or in non-state group homes.
Think about your own community: Do you know how many children are in foster care in your county or city? How do you respond when you encounter a child who is in a vulnerable or at-risk family situation ? Do you notice them? It is evident that Father God notices such children , and He is calling us to not only notice them, but also to do something about the problem. Once children are in the foster care system, they remain for an average of two to three years. Two to three years! That is the average.
Kenneth A. Camp (2013-06-05). Adopting the Father’s Heart (Kindle Locations 192-193). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.
How the Church Can Respond
As the infographic powerfully reflects, it won’t take many families from every church in adopt every child waiting in foster care. In fact, in most cases if one family from every other church adopted, most, if not all, of the children will get adopted.
It’s simple really.
- Make caring for orphans and at-risk children a priority. Many churches focus on family ministry. This is family ministry.
- Make it the norm and not the exception to have foster and adopted kids running around your church.
- Work with struggling families as a way of preventing children needing adoption.
- Provide training and support for families who do foster and adopt.
- Educate everyone about working with at-risk children.
Let’s do our part to make that map look very different.