My idea of family used to be pretty small. From the very beginning of our marriage, David and I longed to have children. Yet month after month, year after year, the Lord was not providing the desire of our hearts (at least in the way we imagined).
I knew that God was sovereign and in control, but still, I could not understand why he was choosing to withhold the blessing of children. We had tossed around the idea of adoption, but to be honest, I was frustrated and angry. Why did it seem so easy for everyone else to have babies, but so difficult for us? Slowly, the Lord began to change my heart. He helped me realize that what he desired for David and me was much better than I could have asked for or imagined. I began to realize that adoption was a calling that the Lord had placed on our lives. It was a true gift from him. And oh, what a gift!
In 2007 we adopted our oldest child, Caleb, from the country of Kazakhstan. A few short days after bringing him home, I found out I was pregnant with our second son, Joshua. That’s two kids in one year—no easy feat!
Through more years of praying and asking the Lord to bless us with even more children, we experienced a failed adoption to Nepal, many heart-breaking months of not getting pregnant, and, finally, a successful adoption of a little girl from China that we named Mara Ruth. Again, by God’s providence, I became pregnant a few short months later with our youngest son, Isaiah. Who could have guessed that this would be our story? Certainly not me, yet I look around the table and see the Lord’s gracious hand all over my kid’s (sometimes dirty) faces.
Although we are currently not in an adoption process, I am constantly reminded that as a believer, because of what God’s Word teaches, that I have a continued responsibility to care for and serve orphans and widows (James 1:27). But as a busy home-schooling mom of four who is trying to hold down the fort at home while my husband travels, preaches, and teaches God’s Word around the world, the thought of serving orphans can feel overwhelming and distant at times. I struggle with making sure everyone in the house has dinner at night—these people want to eat three times a day, can you believe that?—or clean clothes to wear. How can I care for orphans?
Simple Steps to Fulfill the Command
The Lord, in his kindness, is quick to remind me that there are very simple ways we can be a part of fulfilling this command to care for orphans, a command that springs from the gospel.
Mentioning prayer may feel trite. But all over Scripture, we see the Lord listening to and answering the prayers of his people. There is great power in prayer. By God’s grace, we can be a part of his work in the lives of foster children and orphans in our community and around the world.
So let’s pray for families we know who are adopting or fostering. Pray with your spouse, your children, and your church for kids who need to know the love of a mother and father. Pray that, ultimately, they would know the love of a Heavenly Father through Christ Jesus. Also, Pray for birth moms who feel overwhelmed and trapped. Pray for moms who are not certain of what they should do with this child they did not plan for or want. And pray that the Lord would spare these children’s lives and instead set them apart for his glory! Pray for the agencies that place the children in foster homes and forever families, asking the Lord for great wisdom and favor. Don’t underestimate the power of a righteous man’s (or woman’s) prayers!
2. Support other families who are fostering or adopting
The opportunities are endless for this kind of ministry: cook meals, collect baby gear, or give money. You might even get creative and organize a fundraiser for an adoption fund. Adoption and foster care are not easy, so simply being a listening ear, an encourager, or a shoulder to cry on could mean more to a family than anything else. David and I could not have made it through our transitions home with our children without the body of Christ surrounding us and cheering us on!
3. Be open to the possibility that the Lord is asking you to foster or adopt
Pray that the Lord would lead your family to place a “blank check on the table,” to quote my husband, and see where the Spirit of God leads. Not everyone is called to adopt, but at least be open to the possibility. You never know what the Lord might do in and through your family through the blessing of adoption and foster care.
Again, adoption and foster care are not for the faint of heart, but they are worth every bit of struggle, pain, joy, and excitement. I am so thankful for a sovereign God who knows what is best in each of our lives. Let’s follow his commands and seek out ways to love and care for orphans.