Adoptive Families Need More Support–Here’s how you can help!

Orphan Sunday bannerAccording to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoptive Institute, many adoptive families dealing with children who have been abused and/or neglected aren’t receiving enough essential services, often resulting in disruptions. The Abundant Blessings Ministry at Aldersgate seeks to support families who have chosen to foster and adopt  and to advocate for more Christians to step up and into the lives of hurting kids.

It is helpful to understand how adoption in the US has changed.  Some of these issues have arisen from the fact that more children in the last 20 years have been adopted from foster care, and fewer children are being placed for adoption as infants.  In fact, the numbers tell the story of children being now adopted in infancy as a rarity, while numbers of foster children adopted have soared.  In addition, the number adoptions of children with medical or psychological needs, often foreign born, has risen. As a result, the majority of children arrive in their adoptive families from backgrounds  that can lead to a greater risk of developmental, health, emotional and behavioral issues.  A variety of factors affect these young lives–adverse childhood experiences such as homelessness, drug and alcohol use by parents even during pregnancy, malnutrition, physical or sexual abuse, institutionalizations and multiple foster placements. Kris Fasse of Bethany Christian Services, one of the nation’s largest adoption agencies, says some adoptive parents are unprepared for the challenges they face.

Robert Michaels, administrator of the Assemblies of God Family Services Agency in Hot Springs, AR, claims that most Americans are affected in some way by adoption, six out of ten by some estimates.  Just in our own lives, Tom and I have a son-in-law who was adopted, I have an adopted cousin, and we have friends who have adopted or been adopted. Adoption touches most of us.

What many people are unaware of is that adoption involves loss–loss by the child of his parents and loss by the parents of a child.  As a result, God’s heart resonates with compassion for the orphan–any child whose parents are unwilling or unable to care adequately for him or her.  Approximately 40 scriptures illustrate God’s care for the orphan.  In fact, James 1:27 states that caring for widows and orphans is a test of the quality of our faith.  Both groups are extremely vulnerable to exploitation and in need of the protection of Christians. “This the New Testament foundation for the call to minister to and defend the fatherless, which coincides with the Old Testament mandates of justice and provision for the fatherless,” says Michaels.

Orphan Sunday at Aldersgate November 8 will give you a chance to see many of the organizations in our area that minister to hurting kids, and it will give you an opportunity to become involved in volunteering or learn more about fostering or adopting. Be sure to stop by the tables in the Commons before or after the services to talk to representatives from these organizations and get more information on ways you can help. The following organizations will be represented:

Abundant Blessings Ministry at Aldersgate
Ambassadors for Children
Boys and Girls Club
Boys and Girls Town/Great Circle
Greene County Children’s Division
Lutheran Family Services
Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Assn.
MO Baptist Children’s Home
Rare Breed
Reading Buddies

Remember that we are the hands, feet and heart of God.  Let us reach out to bless one child in Jesus’ name!
Jan Furr, 2015 Orphan Sunday Coordinator