This has happened a few different times to me, and every time it does I get so excited and passionate, while at the same time feel humbled that God chose us to be part of a bigger story of His work when we adopted Zoe. Just as the births of every one of our birth children were filled with joy and wonderment...our story of adopting our daughter was obviously different, but filled with many of the same overwhelming feelings of awe and love. So it is with those thoughts in mind that I go off the beaten path a bit and share what YOU can do about adoption in our world.
Like I said, there are times, and it seems to come in waves, when I hear of many people around me--people I know personally or a "friend of a friend" type thing--that are hungering for more information about adoption. And this ranges from a mild curiosity to a "how do I start--tomorrow?" kind of query. There were so many people at once a few months ago that I wound up with about 10 people in my family room one morning, sharing what I could about adoption and how to get started. It was awesome! Three of the people at that meeting are actively pursuing adoption right now--and who knows how God is working on the others? But to me the important thing is just to get information out there and let people know that it is do-able, and more importantly that they are not alone. Buck and I were talking this weekend and we both feel like as God-ordained as our adoption process was, we were VERY alone through the process--just because we didn't know of any other families at the time that were adopting when we were, or of other families who had already adopted. While we had great support from our close friends, it's not entirely the same as comparing wait times, help with paperwork, or general "been there done that" support. I don't ever want any family to feel that way. So...
It seems that there has been some interest that has been kicked up again for families wanting to adopt. I found Jen's blog through a college friend of mine and she and her husband are in the process of their 2nd adoption. She is very passionate about this as well--and she made up a list of ways that families can help and support Adoption and Orphan Care. I have tweaked it a little bit but most of the information is directly from her. How cool that God can turn a desire to grow your family into a lifelong passion and desire to help others in that way as well. Please feel free to use this list to show others or direct them here or to Jen's blog as well.
Adoption & Orphan Care
*Keep in mind that adopting or fostering children is not the only way to care for orphans--but it is the ONLY way to surely eliminate the orphan crisis in our world. *
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
Orphan Care Actions:
1. PRAY for families who are adopting. Don't know one? Let me know and I will have you pray for them. Two close friends are waiting to travel to pick up their children from two different countries. Pray for the children they are adopting. Love this quote: ADOPTION IS NOT CHARITY. IT IS WAR. (from Adopted for Life, Moore).
2. GIVE money to families who are adopting. Give to a specific family--anonymously if you wish. International adoption in particular is expensive. I don't know of any family that would not accept a gift to help with their adoption expenses. Attend a fundraiser that they are having--I have been to several: garage sales, a church tea, a jewelry party. Often times a friend's presence is more important than the money they will raise. If you can't attend, drop a note in the mail to say you support them.
3. SUPPORT families who are adopting or fostering children. Hand down gently used items--clothes, games, toys, carseats, etc. Provide meals when they come home, just like you would if the family had a new birth child. Make a habit of asking families what they need before AND after the children are home.
4. VISIT orphans and orphan workers. Not ready to commit to adoption yourself? Go on a short-term mission trip to a country where there is an orphan crisis. Visit an orphanage.
5. TALK to a family who has adopted or is in the process of adopting. Like I said, for some families it may be a very lonely time. It is not the same as being pregnant where your belly is out there for everyone to see and know about. Let the family know you are excited for them, or happy for them if the child is already home. If you need information on how to get started, just ask! Most adoptive families are more than happy to help others along the way.
6. READ one or more of these books (I highly recommend all of them--yes, I've read them all--with the exception of "The Hole in our Gospel" but it's on my list!)
*Adopted for Life by Russell Moore
*Crazy Love by Francis Chan
*The Hole in our Gospel by Sterns
*There is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Green
*Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman
7. CONSIDER foster care. If adopting is not the right thing for your family, maybe foster care or respite care for other fostering families is the right thing. Call 1-800-243-0756 and get an information packet sent to you with no pressure.
8. FINALLY--ADOPT a child of your own. Don't think about the overwhelming nature of the adoption process. I am not a detail-oriented person nor am I an expert on anything--but I got through an international adoption process without a hitch. If you focus on the very small next step you will see it is totally do-able. Worried about the financial side of an adoption? I know of many a family who didn't think they could afford adoption. There is always, always, always a way. All money is God's anyway--PLEASE don't let money be the reason you say no to a child.
Like I said, it felt like a good time to put this out there for people. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me either in the comments (leave me your e-mail address) or e-mail me directly at laurajoy63 (at) yahoo (dot) com. Many thanks again to Jen for her generosity in letting me use a lot of her information. Wishing you a blessed Monday, friends!