Okay - so I stole that title, "A heart that beats for orphans." My friend Tami is hosting our Seeds of Hope Banquet on Tuesday night and she sent me her "script". It's amazing. We are so blessed to have people who "get" the ministry of Caroline's Promise. In her script she describes someone as "having a heart that beats for orphans." What does that mean?
For some it means praying. That's by far the most important thing we can do. Beyond that I think it means doing whatever we can, whenever we can, with the resources that we have - to make a difference in the life of an orphan. God wants to use all of us.
A lot of people have things that they're passionate about. David and I have always had a heart for missions, and still do. But it wasn't until we started asking God what He thought about orphans, that we realized they are his heart. God has "a heart that beats for orphans." If you ask Him what He thinks and you search His word, you'll find that to be true. You'll begin to understand that we were orphans before He found us. His heart beats for us.
Aren't we created in His image? Then shouldn't our heart look like God's heart? If you're a follower of Christ - it's not an option to care for orphans and widows. God says "do it." Not, "do it if you are passionate about it." (James 1:27). We're doing a lot of great things in our churches. But how many of those things are required by God?
Most days I can handle the fact that a lot of people don't understand the needs of orphans, don't care and don't think it's their responsibility. But this morning - I'm not handling it very well. If someone we know answers the call to adopt - do we just think it's their responsiblity to make that happen? What if it's OUR responsiblity to help God unite that orphan with their forever family? And I'm not talking about just using our money. What about our prayers? What about our PRESENCE?
When we answered God's call to adopt Caroline we were misunderstood, judged and talked about in not so nice ways. God knew that with His help we could handle it, but it hurt.
Here are my suggestions for how you can help adoptive families. I encourage you to ask God how He wants to use you.
*Pray for adoptive families
*Listen. Even if they're talking about paperwork that you're clueless about. Listen and ask questions.
*Support their efforts to raise money. Maybe you can't give alot financially - but your presence is HUGE. I remember standing in awe of the people that came and helped with our fundraisers. The blessings that came from them helped me "get over" the disapointment of the people who didn't show up.
*Encourage them during the wait and don't ask stupid questions like "Why is it taking so long?" and "Why does it cost so much money?"
*Don't criticize their adoption choice. If they adopt from foster care - don't tell them every horror story you've ever heard about kids in foster care. If they adopt from another country don't ask them why they aren't adopting from the US. Trust that they have heard God's call.
*When they travel to get their child - offer to take care of their home while they are gone.
*TAKE THEM MEALS when they get home! What makes us think that people who come home from the airport with their child are any different than people who bring their child home from the hospital? One of the greatest gifts my Sunday School class gave me was meals! But just this week someone told me that although their church takes weeks of meals to people who have their kids in hospitals....this family did not receive one meal when they came home from Africa.
*Try to understand when they choose to "cocoon" as a family. Please don't criticize when they're not at church. The first few months home are crucial to bonding and attaching. They don't need to run around. They need to stay home.
*If they're struggling, support them and be quiet. Please don't use their experience as a reason to never recommend that someone adopt. We have struggles with our biological children and our children that come to us through adoption. Your criticism does not help.
I'd love to hear other comments of how you think people can help adoptive families.