Can you open your heart to a child who needs a family?
If you answered no, you’re not alone. Many couples wrestle with whether or not they should adopt, or if there’s some other part they should play.
That was how Mike and Kristen Berry’s story began.
Kristen assumed she and Mike would adopt children when they married. Adoption was Kristen’s family legacy. Her grandfather and his brother grew up in the foster care system, but they were never adopted. Childhood was so difficult for both of them that when they became adults, they made adoption a priority. By Kristen’s generation, adopted children were as common to her family as biological children.
That wasn’t Mike’s heritage. He wasn’t against adoption, but he also had no history with it or foster care. Everyone had been born into his family the “old-fashioned way,” biologically. For adoption to be a part of their story, God was going to have to move Mike’s heart in a new direction.
But He was going to have to work in Kristen’s heart as well. By her own admission, Kristen is a fighter. She likes to win, and she was determined to be victorious in her battle with Mike over adoption.
That changed when her mom said, “This is not an issue you want to win that way.” It was a humbling moment. She realized she needed to submit both her husband and her desire to adopt to the Lord. If she and Mike were to bring a child into their home, it needed to be their decision together – not simply a battle she had won.
All of us have the capacity to give our hearts fully to someone else. It really comes down to a choice: to love or to not love. You have to choose to open your heart.
Which brings me back to my original question: Can you open your heart to a child who needs a family?
November is National Adoption Month. There are approximately 100,000 children in foster care in the United States who don’t have a mom and dad because the courts have deemed the parents unfit and have terminated their parental rights.
But there are also nearly 300,000 churches in the U.S. If just one church out of three had a family who was willing to adopt a child, every child on the foster adoption rolls could have a home.
Even if you don’t feel led to adopt a child yourself, there are other ways to engage. Jean and I do respite care, and we’ve done foster care. Respite means you come around foster families and support them in their efforts. That could be taking the kids for a weekend, providing meals, doing laundry, or coming alongside a family prayerfully and emotionally. There are a lot of ways to play a part if you’re willing.
If you’re wondering where to start or need more information, visit our website Wait No More. We’ll help you discover what you can do to step into the life of a foster child in the name of Christ.
In the meantime, I invite you to tune into our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Adoption: Making a Difference in the Life of a Child” to hear the full story of our guests Mike and Kristen Berry. They have eight children, all of whom are adopted. They also have a speaking and writing ministry and a popular blog called “Confessions of an Adoptive Parent” with over 100,000 readers every month.
I’d also like to extend an invitation for you to become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family” program. When you do, I’ll send you a free copy of Mike Berry’s book Confessions of an Adoptive Parent: Hope and Help from the Trenches of Foster Care and Adoption as a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our website or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).