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The United States has made significant strides over the past century concerning how we care for orphans. A century ago, there were crowded orphanages filled with children who had no family to take care of them. Now orphanages in North America are unthinkable. Rather, they have been replaced by a foster care system that provides children with more personal care than an orphanage ever could. That is some great progress!
The latest statistics show that there are nearly half a million children in the foster care system in the United States. This system was created by the government as a way to better care for children who are parentless or whose parents are not currently capable of providing quality care for their children. Some foster kids go into the system for only a couple of weeks, but some remain there for years on end.
So, as someone who has been praying and will continue to pray about God’s calling as it relates to fostering or adopting a child myself, I got to thinking –
how did things end up like this?
The Bible makes it very clear to us that he cares deeply and intimately for both widows and orphans. Psalm 82:3 says, “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute” (ESV). Furthermore, God himself makes it clear in Psalm 68:5 that caring for orphans and widows is godliness: “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation” (ESV).
Some people might say that the responsibility falls on everyone; that we are all to do our fair share in caring for these kids. I could not disagree with that assertion more. It is not the collective responsibility of society to care for orphans and widows. No. It is the responsibility of BELIEVERS – the church – to do that. This raises a significant question: why is the government left to take on this responsibility?
The answer is very simple. We, the church, have dropped the ball. We haven’t fully carried out God’s will for the church and for us as his followers.
James 1:27 states it as clearly as it can be stated, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (NIV).
You see, if the church had been following this command, the government would not have needed to step in. It is the church that needs to step up in this time of need.
Now, I will be the first to say that fostering or adopting a child is a big deal. There are many factors involved in the decision to bring a child into your home; it is certainly not something that I am suggesting should be taken lightly. I will, however, ask that you join me. Join me in prayerfully considering God’s will for you and your family as believers in Jesus Christ.
What is YOUR role in caring for orphans?
As you may or may not know, this Saturday, November 18, is National Adoption Day. It will be the seventeenth year that this day is celebrated in 430 cities across our country. I can tell you, through prayer, God has clearly revealed to me that I, regardless of whether or not my family is called to foster or adopt a child, do have a responsibility as a follower of Jesus Christ to care for orphans in some way.
If you have somehow come across this post and you have yet to make the decision to follow Jesus or don’t even really know what that means, we would love to talk to you. Please email us at and we can have a discussion about that. Many readers of this blog will, however, have made the decision to follow Jesus. If that is you, no matter who you are, realize that you too have an obligation to care for orphans.
Here at The Bible Chapel, we have a Foster Care and Adoption ministry that helps the process along for those who are being called to provide some type of care. Additionally, the ministry can provide assistance for those seeking to serve kids in need of foster care or adoption in a supporting role. We have a great team that will get you connected with this ministry! Please email them at .
Please join me in prayerfully asking God to reveal your role in this today. Maybe on next year’s National Adoption Day we will be celebrating what God has revealed to each of our hearts and the kingdom impact we can see him having.