Our world is marked by war, disease, disasters, and political shortcomings. Jesus guaranteed that every one of us would have tribulations like these in this life. However, thanks be to God, he also assured us that he has overcome the world and the weight of sin which has marred all of creation. As we observe National Adoption Month in November, it gives us an opportunity to reflect on one of the ways we help push back this darkness: by obeying the important biblical command given to Christ followers from James 1:27—to care for orphans and widows in their distress.
Christians are uniquely given this command to fulfill because we have found our permanent home through the adoptive grace of Jesus and love of the Father. We care for orphans because we once were orphans. Our mandate to care for orphaned children comes from the example of our Savior, is a rich picture of the gospel, and transcends denomination, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and nationality.
If we call ourselves Christ followers, we must embody the compassion and love of our Savior, because he is also our Lord. He spent time with the marginalized, outcast, and distraught women and children in order to bring them everlasting hope. We join our King in this reconciling work as he dispatches us at home and to the nations. Beloved, you and I have a personal responsibility to the widow and the orphan.
Practical ways for Christians to serve
Orphans and widows are are waiting for people like you and me to advocate for them. Christians have a personal responsibility to steward our time, talent, and treasure to bring the help and the hope of the gospel to the most vulnerable. Here are a few ways you can practically serve.
Use your voice to advocate. Even if you are unable to go and see the faces of vulnerable children, you can do something to help. I could tell you dozens of stories of sibling groups who found forever families because God used someone to share a social media post about their need and the opportunity to adopt them.
Another way to use our voice is by praying regularly for orphaned children. Just recently I was told of a pastor whose family felt called to adopt a particular child they met on a mission trip, yet they had no idea how to find the child. They only shared this with a few people, but one of those ladies had made it a practice to pray over the lists of waiting children on adoption ministry websites. One day as she was praying, she saw this young boy whom the pastor’s family felt led to adopt, and today he is their son.
Sponsor a child or start a ministry. You can sponsor a vulnerable child through Lifeline’s (un)adopted program. This program meets some of the most basic and practical physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of these precious children. You can also get your church engaged with the work of caring for the vulnerable by starting an adoption and foster care ministry.
Care for families in crisis. This is one of the best ways we can care for vulnerable families. Families all over the world are failing at an alarming rate. In order to help these families, we need to help them break the cycle of despair. Unfortunately, most orphans come from families where trauma and brokenness have become a part of their family’s generational story. The majority of children in foster care were parented by parents who also grew up in the foster care system.
It’s time for godly men in the church to take on the responsibility of teaching men without fathers how to be men who follow Jesus. It’s time for families in the Church to build relationships with broken families to support them and to show them examples of biblical families. It’s time for single women and men to volunteer as mentors for at-risk youth, to serve as court appointed special advocates (CASA), or to volunteer with children aging out of the systems with ministries such as Lifeline’s Harbor Families.
Champion adoptive and foster families. Helping families includes watching children, cleaning homes, cooking meals, wrestling in prayer for the families, meeting tangible physical needs of the children, inviting the children to activities, and even reaching out to intentionally check on these moms and dads walking through the journey of foster care and adoption.
Use your vote. Let us also not neglect our civic responsibility to vote for leaders who can positively impact policy for children and families. There will always be glaring inadequacies in our local, national and international policies, but even still, we have a responsibility to vote for leaders who hold close to our conviction to protect the family at large. We must steward our vote and prayerfully consider the profound impact policies and legislation have on the lives of vulnerable children. Together, let us support candidates who pledge to use their office and platform to defend, protect, and serve vulnerable children while allowing the light of Christ to shine.
This National Adoption Month, my hope and prayer is that we see a better future for vulnerable children, women, and families. May we live in a way that shows we believe all people are made in the image of a holy, perfect, and merciful Heavenly Father who loves us and works out his purposes through us today and always.
Editor’s Note: When you give, the ERLC can do more in 2024 to continue to advance the pro-life movement in ways like shaping policies that provide care and support for vulnerable mothers and families in a post-Roe America. Consider giving a year-end gift here to bring hope to the public square.