“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)
“The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” (Psalm 146:9)
“A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5)
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)
And something about feeling helpless makes it easier to just bury our heads in the sand and pretend that we aren’t aware of such a huge problem. It feels nicer to stick our fingers in our ears and close our eyes and pretend that this enormous problem that I’m helpless to solve doesn’t exist.
On the other hand, I kind of think we’d like to remove the orphan passages from our Bibles because the more we learn about God’s heart on the matter, the more we feel like we might bear some responsibility for this issue. Claiming ignorance about what God wants just might alleviate the unease and guilt and perhaps even Holy Spirit conviction that tends to gnaw at our hearts over this subject.
Though they might make us uneasy, these passages and others like them reveal to us that God has a special place in His heart for orphans. And for Christ-followers who long to be molded into His image, that means we need to find room in our hearts for orphans, too. There is something inherently God-like about loving someone who has absolutely nothing to offer you in return. We simply cannot afford to ignore this vital issue.
In case you’re starting to wonder, I want you to know that I don’t believe foster parenting and/or adoption are God’s will for every Christ-follower. But I do believe this is a problem God wants to solve through His church. It shouldn’t have to be a social issue. Or a political issue. It’s a Christian issue. God wants His people to take care of those made in His image who are incapable of taking care of themselves. He wants us to show that we belong to Him by caring for those He cares about. He wants us to give as freely as we’ve received (Matthew 10:8).
5. Be open to adoption and foster parenting. I don’t want to hear your reasons why you can’t, and I really don’t think God does either. Trust me, I’ve tried that with Him, and He pointed out pretty quickly that my attempts to reason and justify and defend are really called “leaning on my own understanding.”
The truth is, if God wants you to do something, you can do it. Not only can you do it; you must do it! You must trust Him to equip you fully. You won’t feel prepared ahead of time — no one ever does. But that’s what faith is all about! He promises to give you enough grace for each day, and He teaches you what you need to know in the process.
We often spend a lot of time telling God why we can’t do something, when what we should be doing is telling Him we’ll do whatever He wants us to do, and begging Him to show us what that is.
So the question isn’t, “Could I adopt?” or “Do I want to be a foster parent?” or “Do I feel capable?” The question is: what does God want? And so the only reason that matters when it comes to a decision not to adopt or foster is that God doesn’t want you to. If you can’t make that statement definitively, I would suggest continuing in prayer over the matter, seeking God’s heart and His will for you, and continuing with the other four suggestions here in the meantime.
I hope you’re sensing my challenge to consider becoming a foster or adoptive parent. But I also hope you’re gaining a sense of inspiration and purpose, even if God isn’t calling you to adopt. Because there’s still much you can do to support the cause of the fatherless who are so close to God’s heart!