Ok, intro over. If you are a Christian... you are called to care for the orphan. So, what do you do?
- Support financially an organization working in children's interest
- Volunteer with children
- Volunteer with an organization
As a Christian, there's another part to it all. There is a cycle of poverty, neglect, child removal, parental rights termination, and then the child growing up to be an adolescent aging out of the system in poverty, then neglecting their own child bringing another generation of foster children and parental rights termination. That's not to say that every person raised in poverty will perpetuate this cycle, nor that every child that was in 'the system' will go on to do the same. It is a cycle that some get 'stuck' in.
God's call to the orphan is not just to bring them in to families, but to change that cycle. To bring them to an understanding of Jesus Christ. To show them the love of a real family, and to bring them to desire to see their own life changed. If they go to a foster home with someone that doesn't hold to the Christian morals and standards (though MANY people that are not Christians do...), then how does the cycle break? How do the children in 'the system' get to know God, how do they have the opportunity to understand true love? How do they get the 'out' of the system that they all so desperately need?
As Christians, we need to provide for the least of these. We need to provide not just by praying, but by investing our lives in it. Finances, time, love, or even the extra bed in our home (or even... a brand new bed, made to fit especially for a foster or adopted child).
If we, the church, do not care for the orphan, who will?? Do we expect non-believers to take care of the orphans? And are they also to bring the children that have seen the most neglect and abuse and hurt in their lives to a place of comfort and healing that, as Christians, we know comes fully only through the saving power of Jesus Christ?
I have no doubt that there are many great foster homes where the parents are not Christians. Many kids are finding some semblance of normalcy and peace there. I am not arguing that Christians should be the only ones doing it, or somehow the non-believers shouldn't be allowed or able to do it. I am simply saying that, as Christians, with a Biblical call to call to care for the orphan, and a Biblical call to share the healing of Christ Jesus with the world, that it only makes sense that we should also be trying to provide for those that are in the most need.
I found a statistic yesterday that I'd heard before in general terms but this one is more recent. It says that there are 127,000 legal orphans in the United States waiting to be adopted. There are 302,000 churches in the US. WHY ARE THERE STILL ORPHANS IN THE USA??? Where is the church??
Out of every FIVE churches, if TWO of them each helped ONE FAMILY in their congregation to adopt a child from the USA, there would be no more children waiting. TWO out of every FIVE churches.
In the same way, as you follow a calling to support orphans internationally, I strongly suggest that you use an organization that is a Christian organization if possible. Someone that will be accountable with the finances. An organization that will share the Gospel with others as they minister. If you are adopting, choose an organization that will not only call themselves Christians, but can easily say that their partnering organization in the other country is also Christian. There's nothing like signing on with a ministry only to find yourself in the care of someone of questionable morals, ethics, or actions when you arrive in a foreign country.
We are ALL CALLED to care for the orphan! And there are so many different ways to be involved. Call your local foster/adopt agency to see what the requirements are in your area. Find out about taking the PRIDE (formerly MAPP) classes to foster or adopt. Ask your local children's home whether they have a Christmas Angel Tree where you can provide a gift for one of the children in your community for Christmas, or a way to donate toward their Christmas dinner. Join a program of sponsorship for a child that is in an orphanage overseas to provide a 1:1 caregiver for a child that cannot feed or care for themselves, support missionaries that are working in orphan care, or donate a wheelchair through an organization that distributes them to the needy in foreign countries.
SO many ways. How will you be a part of the answer? How will you, as a Christian, share God's life and light with those who need it the most?