Considering the Call to Orphan Care

June 19, 2023

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

As Christians, we all have at least a vague sense of being called to reach out with the love of Christ to those who are in need. Today, and throughout history, some of the most vulnerable populations in the world are children who have lost the care and protection of one or both parents. We know that every child, “wanted” or “unwanted,” “planned” or “unplanned,” bears the image of God and is an eternal soul. That’s why making a difference in the life of even one child has immense value. 

But where to start? That’s a big question that can hold us back, along with general ignorance and forgetfulness amidst the busyness and concerns of our own lives. It often takes initiative on our part to seek out where God might be calling us to serve. On one hand, welcoming a child through adoption or foster care sounds like such a beautiful picture of the gospel (and it is!). However, if we’re honest, it’s also kind of scary. Opening your home and heart to so many unknowns and hard situations is not something we all feel equipped to handle. 

I grew up as part of a large family in a Christian home and knew about adoption as a concept, but as a kid, I didn’t personally know any adoptive or foster families. It wasn’t until years later, when I read the book Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman, that I really started to feel a burden on my heart for adoption. Disclaimer: do not read that one unless you’re prepared with a box or two of tissues.

Fast forward quite a few years to 2016, I joined Covenant Fellowship after marrying my husband Dan. I am so thankful for this church in many ways including the rich history of adoption and the way orphan care is supported and encouraged. Covenant Mercies is a wonderful example of this as well as the adoption assistance fund that is available to help members with the financial costs of adoption.

In early 2021 I attended an Orphan Care 101 seminar hosted by Family Hope Coalition. Rebecca Rudy (former member of CFC, current member of Redeemer Fellowship) and several other members of the organization spoke about the needs of vulnerable children who are waiting for families, and about different ways to get involved. One concept that really stuck with me was the idea that even though we might not all be called to adopt or foster, “everyone is called to do something.” I wasn’t sure what that something was for me, but knew I wanted to get involved. 

Toward the end of 2021, Rebecca reached out to see if I would be interested in serving with Family Hope Coalition as a board member. As Dan and I prayerfully considered my involvement, I also began reading and listening to books on the topic. This is one step that I would encourage everyone to take — educating yourself on the needs of these children and being inspired by real-life stories of those who have fostered or adopted. (Foster the Family is a great book to start with.)

Last year, my brother and his wife received their first foster care placement, and it has been a joy to watch them live out God’s call on their lives in that way. Being on the board with Family Hope has also given me a window into specific stories of families and children in the Delaware/South East Pennsylvania area being served by Christians and their churches. This past year I had the privilege of being mentored by Sonya Bayley and hearing about her involvement with Safe Families, a Christian organization that provides services similar to foster care. All of these connections have given me vision for how Christians can and should engage in this mission.

Family Hope Coalition exists to support churches and families in the area as they care for vulnerable children. We do this in several ways, such as support groups, family events, connecting people with resources, hosting trainings on various topics, and running a foster closet that provides clothing, diapers, etc. to foster families. One of the things I love about Family Hope is that it is made up of a number of local churches partnering together to live out the gospel in this field. It is a powerful witness to state agencies, bio-families, foster families, and adoptive families, not to mention the children themselves — when they see the church sacrificially caring for “the least of these” as Jesus taught us.

Dan and I still hope to adopt or maybe foster in the future, and I know God’s plan for us will unfold in his timing. For now, I am seeking opportunities, however small they may seem, to support those on the front lines of this ministry. I’d encourage you to consider the same!

You Might Also Like