Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Leading Your Church to Care for Orphans

On a cold morning in February of 2015, I woke up in my warm home, read my Bible, drank coffee with my wife, and woke up my two kids from their snug beds. We fed them breakfast, and I drove them to school. I kissed each of them before they went in to learn from teachers who loved them, in classrooms that were inviting, and among friends they enjoyed.

That same morning, across our small town, my other two children, Sloan and Brooklyn, woke up in a hotel room with a person they didn’t know. Their biological mother had dropped them off and disappeared to get high on methamphetamine. Sheriff’s deputies were called because the person with whom they had been left didn’t know what to do with them.

Sloan and Brooklyn were transferred to the custody of the South Carolina Department of Social Services. They were placed into an emergency foster home for a couple of weeks and then were separated. In just a few short weeks, my 3-year-old and 2-year-old lost their parents, their extended family, and they lost each other.

Brooklyn was fortunate enough to land in a foster home where she would be loved for eight and a half months. Sloan, however, was labeled a difficult kid. My blond-haired, blue-eyed 2-year-old boy spent the next eight months being bounced from one foster home to the next. When he came to live with us two days before Thanksgiving in 2015, he had been moved six times in eight months.

I share this because stories matter. Stories communicate. Our story helps to put names and faces on a problem that we as the church have been called to engage.

And our story is just one. There are more than 4,000 children in foster care in South Carolina alone. Because of the lack of foster homes in our state, 61 percent of those children have to be placed outside of their home county. That means many children who are placed in foster care don’t just lose their homes and their families, they lose their school and friends. They lose everything.

The Department of Social Services reports there are more than 500 adoptable children in the state of South Carolina. More than 500 children — and 2,100 South Carolina Baptist churches. More than 500 children whose lives and eternity hang in the balance. If Christians turn their backs on children in need, then we have sentenced them to a Christ-less eternity. We can do better. We can be pro-life from womb to tomb, and pro-life means pro-foster care and pro-adoption.

Not everyone can or should adopt. Not everyone can or should be foster parents, but every church should look for how they can be involved in care for orphans.

May is National Foster Care Month and in honor of that, here are ways that you, as a pastor, can lead your church to engage children in foster care. Read More

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