James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this to look after orphans and widows in their distress..."
Not everyone can adopt. Not everyone is called to adopt. But all Christians are called to help orphans and widows. The further we get into this process, the more convinced I am that this is a way for the Church to be the hands and feet of Christ.
At risk of being too forward, I am going to just say this. As the Church, we often take a stand on an issue such as "pro-life"; we fight against funding for Planned Parenthood and vote on election for politicians that will vote against abortion. But I have not seen the Church as vocal about adoption. Now that I am in the adoption process, I see that there are families across this country adopting and fostering children from the U.S. and overseas. But it is often done quietly, and often done without much support because they are doing it on their own. These families are spending thousands of dollars working tirelessly to serve those we are all called to serve. And this is where the Church gets to be the Church. There are people in the Church that can help. Maybe they are not called to adopt, but they can help with the cost of adoption. They can give these families financial support in this very costly process. Or maybe they do not have money but they have a skill. Maybe they make jewelry or are amazing bakers, and they too can help by using these gifts to help raise funds. Maybe they do not have a skill or money but they have time - time to watch children already at home while parents who are adopting go to training sessions, fill out hours of paperwork, or go to home study interviews. Maybe they can donate supplies or beds or furniture to families adopting or doing foster care. This is a chance for the people in the Church to be Christ to the "least of these;" to work together to love those who do not have people to care for them. Orphans need the Church because without the resources of the Church, they will wait, possibly forever, without families or homes.
This is a chance for the Church to be different. Again, at the risk of being too confrontational, I am going to say this. Today, the churches I see spend thousands and thousands of dollars on good sound systems and lighting and blow up slides for the kids' "playland." There is money spent on advertising and entertainment that will draw people in, but I think what might draw people in is if they see us being different than the world. Yes, lights and music, might draw people, might make them come for some entertainment, but soon it will wear off because it is no different than what the world offers. They are entertained until it is not enough, and then there needs to be bigger music and more lights and perhaps ziplines across the foyer, Will that bring them and keep them? I do not think it will, but what if a Church had an old sound system, but they helped a family get by for a year after they lost their job? What if the Church went without the fancy lights and instead helped four families adopt children from around the world?
I am so thankful for a Church that cares for orphans and single moms. In the past eight months we have been there, we have seen our Church give, without hesitation, toward our adoption and to a single mom of three in need of a home. It is a small Church that believes in using what God has given to be the hands and feet of Christ. They put off the extras, and use what they have for those in need. And in the months I have been there, I have seen that Church grow. And I think it is because that Church is different. It stands out in a world that is tired and in need.
Adoption is a chance for the Church to be the Church. And it is a chance for the world to see that Christians really are different.