November is National Adoption Month.
Have you considered the role God might have for you to positively impact the lives of orphans?
If you answered no, you’re not alone. A lot of couples wrestle with whether or not they should adopt, or if there’s some other part they should play.
That was how Mike and Kristin Berry’s story began.
Kristin just assumed she and Mike would adopt children when they married. Adoption had been a legacy for Kristin’s family for decades. Her grandfather and his brother grew up in the foster care system, but they were never adopted. It was a difficult childhood for them both, so they made adoption a priority. By Kristin’s generation, adopted children were as common to her family as biological children.
But that wasn’t Mike’s heritage. He wasn’t against adoption, he had just never had a history with it or foster care. Everyone had been born into his family the “old-fashioned way,” biologically. So, from the beginning, adopting children simply wasn’t on his radar.
That’s how it is for many of us. We have visions for how we expect our lives to be. But, hopefully, we’ll begin to realize how small our ideas are compared to the story that God is writing for us.
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 Kristin’s heart as well, just in a different way.
By her own admission, Kristin 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 they were to bring a child into their home, she wanted it to be their decision together, not just a battle she had won.
But like many would-be adoptive parents, Mike remained hesitant. He worried he wouldn’t be able to love an adopted child as his own. Eventually, he learned that all of us have the capacity to love and to give our heart fully to someone else. It really comes down to a choice: whether to love or to not love. You have to choose to open your heart.
Which brings me back to my original thought: Can you open your heart?
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 as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, there are about 300,000 churches in the U.S. If just one church out of three had a family who was willing to adopt a child, the number of kids on the foster adoption rolls could be eliminated.
Even if you don’t feel led to adopt a child yourself, there are other ways to be engaged. Jean and I do respite care, and we’ve done foster care. Respite simply means you come around other foster families and give them a break by taking the kids for a weekend or supporting them in their efforts. Whether it be providing meals, doing laundry, or coming alongside a family prayerfully and emotionally, there are ways to play a part.
Kristin’s grandfather’s emphasis on adoption caused a ripple of change through the succeeding generations of her family. So however you feel you are able to open your heart, I encourage you to do so. It can change someone’s life.
If you’re wondering where to start or are just in need of more information, visit our website Wait No More (or call us at 800-A-FAMILY). 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 today’s program to hear the full story of our guests Mike and Kristin 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.