Yesterday was Orphan Sunday at Immanuel, and we heard an awesome word from Dr. Rick Morton, which you can listen to here. If you weren’t able to join us for worship, you should take time to listen to the message so that you understand just how close to the heart of God caring for vulnerable children is, then prayerfully consider your role in putting your faith to action. Below are several ways you can get involved — from prayer to becoming an adoptive or foster parent, there are ways for everyone to care for the vulnerable.
3 Ways to Get Involved in Adoption
1. Pray about becoming an adoptive family.
We have families in our church body who have adopted domestically and internationally (and some both!). Please feel free to seek them out if you are praying through entering into the adoption process. They would love to share their story with you.
2. Support adoptive families with your time and resources.
Not every family is called to adopt, but we are all called to serve the fatherless. If you know an adoptive family, consider donating to their adoption fund, bringing them a meal when they come home, or watching their other children while they walk through the process of attachment and bonding.
3. Take an interest in adoptive families’ stories.
If you don’t know much about adoption, process, the correct language to use, or more, ask an adoptive parent to coffee and ask questions! Ask how God led them to build their family through adoption, how they could use prayer, and how you can love them well. It’s okay to ask questions, even if you aren’t sure if you’re using the right terminology or you aren’t exactly sure how to phrase your questions.
3 Ways to Get Involved in Foster care
1. Pray about becoming a foster parent or family.
We have several foster parents in our church body who have been fostering for various lengths of time. Please feel free to seek them out if you are praying through entering into becoming a licensed foster parent. If you don’t feel like you have the capability to become a full-time foster parent at this time, consider becoming licensed to provide respite care to foster families in our community.
2. Be present. Invest spiritually. Give time.
Many children who are placed in foster homes desperately need to be exposed to the gospel, experience Christ-centered male leadership, and to be cared for without hesitation. Of course foster families are doing these things, however as the Church, we can do this too! Being present, giving of your time, and sewing spiritual seeds will make a life-long impact on the children that enter our body through foster care placements.
3. Be aware and be sensitive.
Children who have been placed in foster care are many times coming from very difficult circumstances where they have experienced and observed unimaginable trauma. This is NOT their fault. Sometimes their experiences will cause them to act out or say things that we are not used to hearing or seeing, or that may be inappropriate. Being aware and sensitive to these things and giving grace upon grace is of the utmost importance for the well-being of the individual child and the foster family. If you see a difficult situation developing, ask a foster parent the best way to help. Remember to have patience, and again, give lots of grace.
Other Ways to Care for the Vulnerable
1. Help out (more) with Families Count.
As a church, we host Families Count twice a year. We have opportunities to mentor attendees, provide transportation, help with childcare, and provide weekly meals. Typically, the Bluff Park GC spearheads these efforts and organizes everything, however they would love for you to help out! We currently have a Families Count class going on and we will have another in the spring.
2. Become a volunteer.
Become a volunteer mentor for the Aspire Movement. Sign up to be a volunteer tutor or mentor at Grace House Ministries. Contact Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes to find out how to become a direct care volunteer. Become a prayer partner or church advocate at Lifeline Children’s Services. All across our city there are ways to get plugged in to organizations that are Christ-centered and doing important work for vulnerable children and families.
3. Make A Donation
Whether you donate to a family who is raising funds for their own adoption or you donate to an organization who mobilizes care for orphans and vulnerable children, giving of the money that God has given you makes a huge impact. Most organizations operate on a very slim budget, and most families who are called to adopt make financial sacrifices to be able to do so. By giving of your own financial resources, you can partner alongside families and organizations doing gospel work as we all care for the fatherless together.
4. Serve the fatherless, both here and abroad.
Not only are there ways to get involved serving vulnerable children right here in our community, but there are so many opportunities to travel to other countries to care for children. Organizations such as World Orphans, (un)adoption (through Lifeline Children’s Services), and The Haiti Collective plan multiple trips a year and need people to sign up to go and serve.
5.Pray Without ceasing.
There are over 153,000,000 orphans and vulnerable children in the world. Just in Alabama there are approximately 6,000 children in the foster care system. This is a crisis, and we must be in prayer for the children and families that this impacts so greatly.
If you would like more information about any of these ideas on how to get involved with adoption, foster care, or vulnerable children and/or families, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be sure to help you get in touch with the right person or organization.