Encore: 20 Ways to Become an Adoption-Friendly Church
Posted on We Are Grafted In on November 19th, 2010…
- Pray – Pray that potential couples will be sensitive to the Lord’s leading in their lives. Pray that the church as a whole steps up its involvement in assisting adoptive families.
- Preach key passages on caring for orphans and spiritual adoption – Passages like James 1:26-27 remind us that pure and faultless religion emphasizes care for those who are least able to care for themselves. Ephesians 1:3-5 portrays the act of physical adoption as a great object lesson for spiritual adoption in Christ.
- Invite guest speakers to raise awareness of adoption needs and opportunities – Those who lead adoption ministries can share their passion with your church. Give church members the opportunity to hear about these needs while giving them ways to help.
- Make adoption resources available to the church family – A wealth of adoption resources—both secular and Christian—can be helpful to couples considering adoption. Most of the time, misconceptions about the adoption process keep families from considering adoption. The church can provide helpful facts for couples to make informed decisions.
- Freqently list proadoption ministries and organizations – List them in your church bulletin and have a “resources” link on your church website connecting to these fine ministries. You help these ministries by making them known to your people, but you also assist your people by providing accessibility to helpful resources.
- Encourage couples facing infertility to connect with adoptive parents – Some couples hop onto the emotional roller coaster of infertility drugs and in the process incur huge medical expenses. Graciously counsel those couples to consider the privilege of parenting an adopted child (before their emotions and finances are exhausted).
- Regularly have adoptive parents and birth mothers share their testimony of God’s goodness and grace – Testimonies can be powerful reminders to the congregation of what “good” can come out of a “bad” situation as ordained by God.
- Education your church family regarding the costs involved in adoption – Members may be unaware of the expenses involved in adoption such as to pay for home studies, background checks, attorney fees, airfare and travel costs (especially for international adoptions). Adoption costs vary from a few thousand dollars to $20,000 or more. The cost should not scare off potential adoptive families but should motivate the church as a whole to “count the cost” and offer assistance.
- Encourage the church family to give financially to adoptive couples – Giving financially to adoptive parents is one of the most—if not the most—significant things you can do. As potential couples take the giant step of faith in the adoption process, one of the biggest concerns will be “how are we going to pay for this”? A monetary gift along with a note of encouragement can greatly encourage the couple by affirming their decision to pursue adoption.
- Create a standing church fund for adoption costs – Members can contribute to this special fund that adoptive families can utilize (either an interest-free loan or one-time gifts to these couples). Churches can also take up a special Deacons’ Fund offering.
- Challenge Sunday School classes and small groups to raise money for adoptive couples – Love offerings help lessen the financial burden of adoption while exhibiting how members of the body of Christ can encourage and support each other. Imagine the surprise on the couples’ faces when they discover that their own Sunday school class sacrificially gave to help in the adoption of their child.
- Establish an adoptive parents’ small group – Get a key person in the church to take this on as a ministry. Meet on a monthly or quarterly basis as needed. This support group provides encouragement for those couples who have adopted, are in the midst of the adoption process, or are contemplating adoption.
- Create email list-serves of adoptive parents for support and encouragement - Since the adoption process brings emotional highs and lows, staying connected by email can prove helpful—especially when a couple needs a timely word of encouragement.
- Connect with local social service agencies – Most counties and states have child welfare and foster care programs in which Christians should be involved. Many times there is financial assistance for those families who are foster parents or are in foster-adopt programs.
- Use attorneys or case workers within the church family – Some lawyers specializing in family law are willing to donate their time and expertise to assist a church family with the legal documents for adoption. Such volunteers provide both financial savings and peace of mind.
- Sponsor a child – Find ministries of like faith and encourage members to pray for and financially support orphan and adoption ministries.
- Participate in mission trips to orphanages abroad – What better way to raise awareness for adoption than to experience the desperate living conditions of others?
- Maximize special holidays to emphasize adoption – When adoption needs are presented with sensitivity and discernment, Mother’s and Father’s Day can be an ideal time to raise awareness of adoption. A special offering could be collected for an adoptive couple. An adopted child or adoptive parent could give testimony to God’s gift of a family to them. At an annual Sanctity of Life day, typically the third Sunday each January, discussion of adoption can be a poignant reminder to the church of the devastation of abortion and, at the same time, a powerful prompting for the church to become adoption-friendly. Recognize Orphan Sunday in November, using the myriad of resources available online to focus on the needs of orphans worldwide and the blessing of adoption.
- Celebrate adoption as a church family – Affirm those who pray and encourage others to adopt. Encourage those who give financially to adoptive parents. Celebrate the living object lesson of Ephesians 1:3-6.
- Support adopted kids as they struggle with attachment and questions of identity, abandonment, or rejection – Adoption is the ultimate expression and outworking of loving the modern-day orphan. While not every Christian will be led by God to adopt, the church can and should do what it can to encourage and facilitate adoption.
Will you help your church become adoption friendly?
Paul has been married to Marbeth Showers for over 11 years. They are the parents of Jeremy through adoption (8 years old) and Joy (7 years old). Paul graduated from Baptist Bible Seminary in 1995 with his Master of Divinity degree and serves as Director of Admissions at BBS. During his off hours, he enjoys playing keyboard on the worship team, doing pulpit supply, and short-term mission trips. He is also a sports fan of the NY Yankees and NY Giants.