Caring For Orphans When You Cannot Adopt
In honor of National Adoption Month, I welcome fellow blogger, Naomi Quick, from Living Out 127. Naomi is the author of Don’t Waste Your Wait: Embracing the Journey of Bringing Your Child Home, and she has spoken at a number of events and trainings for prospective and current adoptive and foster families.
Naomi loves Jesus. She is married to her best friend, John. They have six amazing, beautiful kids, two of whom have been adopted from the foster care system. Naomi homeschools their tribe of world changers. She is a type-A, list-making, change-fearing girl living an adventure that demands flexibility, spontaneity, and constant change! Through her words, she prays you’ll find something that points your heart to the Dream Giver and the Author of each of our stories – Jesus.
I hope you enjoy her post, here, as much as I have.
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 is the most popular scripture referenced regarding orphan care! It is one of our family verses, and was even part of the inspiration for my site name, Living Out 127. It is a beautiful verse that mandates the believer’s participation in looking after orphans and widows in their distress, and keeping ourselves set apart from the things of the world.
Typically, this verse is coupled with information on how you can adopt or do foster care. But it is imperative that we address the fact that while everyone is mandated by scripture to participate in caring for orphans, not everyone is called to adopt! Recognizing this truth invites everyone to become part of reaching children in need of loving families, and seeing their needs met physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.
During National Adoption Month, I would like to challenge those who cannot adopt to not turn away. Don’t be discouraged by the statistics, or overwhelmed by the needs before you. Instead, ask God how He would have you care for orphans. God has equipped us with the gifts we need to serve others, and often the opportunity to do so is before us, if we’ll only look for it!
Here are a number of ways you can use your gifts to serve children who are waiting for families, and those who are meeting that need!
Support Children in Care
Become a CASA
A CASA advocates for the best interest of a child in the foster care system. As a volunteer, they are unbiased to state or private agencies, and work with the child’s team to ensure their needs are being met. In both of our adoptions, the CASAs played a significant role in advocating for our children’s rights and well being!
Becoming a CASA is a commitment of time, energy, and emotional strength. Regulations vary from state to state. If you would like more information on how to become a CASA, please visit the CASA for Children Organizations’ Website.
Many times, children enter the foster care system with nothing but the clothes on their back. Even transitions between homes can be sudden, and leave a child without their possessions. In the moments these children are facing great loss and grief, they are also dealing with the shame of not having their own belongings – or carrying them in a trash bag.
By providing a reusable bag, filled with items of personal care and comfort, you can meet both physical and emotional needs for children who are in care. Items can include things such as toothbrushes, hair care items (make sure these are ethnically diverse!), lotion, soap, journals or coloring books, and a blanket. Think about what a child would need – and want – as they enter an unknown world of being cared for by others.
You can take this a step further and organize a drive in your community, school, or place of business! Gather volunteers to assemble bags, and then drop them off at your local state or private foster care agency!
Volunteer with an Agency
Contact your local state or private agency and ask about volunteer opportunities! They may have mentorship programs, upcoming events, or administrative tasks they need volunteers for! This will most likely require a background check, and possibly some training, but the opportunity to serve will be a blessing to them – and you!
Advocate for Children in Need of a Family
Organizations like Reece’s Rainbow, Show HOPE, and Shepherd’s Crook share the stories of children in need of families in other countries. You can help advocate for these children by sharing their stories, and helping others realize the severity of the orphan crisis!
Support Those Caring for Children
Make a Meal
During times of crisis and transition, foster and adoptive families are often struggling to keep everything together. The simple act of supplying dinner allows the parent(s) to focus on the child! It isn’t just a meal – it is an opportunity for the parent to connect. It is the knowledge that someone thought of the child and family, which is especially encouraging when things get tough.
Meet a Need
Help provide practical items that families may need for welcoming a child home. This can be as fancy as throwing a shower, or as simple as ordering supplies to be delivered to their door! Clothes, furniture, baby gear, and diapers are some suggested items a family you know may need.
Complete a Project
Yard work, renovations, and car repairs are part of everyday life. Ask a foster or adoptive family if you can complete a project for them. Take it a step further, and invite others to join you! You can help lighten the load of the family, which allows them to care for their child(ren). There is nothing more precious than the gift of time to connect.
Parenting children who have experienced trauma can be lonely. In the times of greatest need, there can be great isolation. Reach out to families and let them know you are praying for them. Send notes of encouragement, and offer to listen – without judgment. Even when – no, especially when – things are super messy for these families, they need the encouragement of the body of Christ!
My prayer is that as you’ve been reading, Holy Spirit has spoken to your heart! That you would be confident, moving forward, in ways you can serve orphans, even when you cannot adopt!
How can you use your gifts to serve children in need of families? Do you know a foster or adoptive family whom God can bless through you? If you’re an adoptive or foster family, what are the best supports you have been given by others?
Want to Read More By Naomi Quick? Check out her Social Sites below.