There are millions of orphans in the world living without a permanent family. Not everyone is called to adopt an orphan. However, as Jason Kovacs with The ABBA Fund put it in his Desiring God blog post, [God] has made adoption the apex of the Gospel and He calls us, his adopted family, to be part of His care for the fatherless. “At the core of God’s nature is a Father’s heart that we are to reflect. Scripture is clear that practical care for orphans is fundamental to the mission of the church.”
For the Christians who are called to bring an orphan into their family through adoption, domestic or international, this means facing an expense of thousands of dollars. The cost can be discouraging, often a barrier, to families who would otherwise adopt a child. This is a roadblock as well for the orphan waiting for a forever family! Shaohannah’s Hope (showhope.org), founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, reports some numbers by the NAIC (National Adoption Information Clearinghouse) that I found shocking: While one third of Americans have considered adoption, only 2% will ever adopt. “Furthermore, as many as 48% of those who consider adoption turn to their ‘house of worship’ for information and support, according to DTFA [Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption]. Unfortunately, most churches are not equipped to help. As a result, the vast majority of potential adoptive families go no further.” There are ministries that offer loans and grants, but people are not always aware of these options and parents will still need to come up with a substantial amount by saving and/or fundraising.
What if we, our church body, could help make the expense less daunting for our brothers and sisters in Christ who have considered adopting? What if we were to ask our Father how He would have us give so that adoptions within our church may be more frequent and move more quickly?
There are a number of ministries that have resources on their websites to help guide Christians who are interested in adoption. Some of these sites, such as Show Hope and The ABBA Fund, also have guides on how to develop a Church Adoption Fund. One of the first steps advised by Show Hope to start an Adoption Fund is to establish a “Core Team.” Kelli Tysseling and I believe the Lord is leading us be part of a team to explore this some more and take steps to get it started. We’d like to hear from other members of our church body who would be interested in serving on this team. Some of the tasks we will be working on are:
- Creating a “Vision Map” and ministry goals
- Choosing a model for the fund: structured within our church’s budget, as its own 501(c)(3), or with The ABBA Fund
- Deciding what type of adoptions to fund and who is eligible
- Exploring fundraising options
Perhaps serving on a team is not something you’re able to do or interested in, but if you believe that this is something our church should do, we would certainly like to hear from you too. We would love to know that people are with us and praying about this!
We don’t know yet who will benefit from this fund, but we hope to be an encouragement and support to those considering adoption. We are very excited to see what the Lord will do!
And finally, on a related note, if anyone has thought about helping families and children by being a foster parent, with the potential of adopting, don’t let the concern of adoption costs discourage you. Lance and I paid $100.00 for our adoptions. Yes, you read that right. $100! The State of Iowa pays for most of the expense when it’s done through the foster care system.