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Posts Tagged ‘Foster-Care’

In James 1:27 the believer is instructed to visit widows and orphans in their distress.

As American Christians, I think many of us have not considered the implications of what distress really means for kids in foster care and many other orphans throughout the world.

Many North American believers have awakened to God’s love for fatherless children. In some circles, unfortunately, and sometimes dangerously, it is even becoming a badge of spirituality to adopt.

Still, God has given thousands of children the joy of a forever family. The growing adoption movement is a visible illustration of God’s plan to overcome sin and brokenness through His adoption of us, made possible by the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. As for the Christian families adopting these children, the blessings for both them and their children have been nothing short of a demonstration of the reality of God.

However, what many people have not always understood is the magnitude of pain, hurt, fear, need, affliction, or “distress” as it were, that many children bring with them. When we love these children with special needs or who are coming from dark places, that means that this distress becomes a part of us…our marriages and our families. Some, maybe most, who are adopting have no idea of how to prepare themselves, much less their children and spouses.

This includes not really grasping the level of sacrifice that God is sometimes calling families to in adoption. In Hebrews 11, we all remember the recounting of the victories and miracles that God performed through people of faith, but what we forget are those lives talked about in verses 35 through 38. These are equally lives of faith; believers who endured mockery, scourging, chains, stoning, death by the sword and affliction. They, like those who experienced victory, also gained approval through their faith for something better.

Sometimes adoption is full of victory, miracles and joys unimaginable. But sometimes it brings with it the sufferings, confusion, doubts and struggles that can only be faced through faith and with the power of the Holy Spirit. When families are called to such adoptions, they often need help. The Church should be a place where they can turn and get that help.

There is a crisis brewing and spreading almost as fast as God is mobilizing the Church to serve orphans. The crisis is coming about as a result of the rapid increase in believers who are adopting older, special needs and at-risk children, but are not fully equipped to do so. The crisis is manifesting itself in an increase in the number of families struggling to cope with some of the issues their new children bring to their homes, and in an increase of post-placement risk of disrupted adoptions as well.

Next year, some experts estimate that 60% of all children adopted from China to American families will be special needs kids. In Ukraine, like many other parts of the world, it appears that future adoptions will be skewed greatly to older kids and sibling groups, in addition to those with severe emotional and medical needs. In America, we understand more instinctively that children from foster care are often coming from hard places.

At Hope for Orphans, we believe that God’s solution for meeting this crisis (and the whole orphan crisis for that matter) is THE CHURCH. The Church was designed by God to be that safe community where members of the body serve one another when the wheels come off in life. The Church should be a place where families can be honestly prepared, maybe even helped through self-assessment in advance of entering the process to adopt older, special needs, or at-risk children.

This September 16th and 17th, we will be hosting the Hope for Orphans Institute at the Hope Center in Plano, Texas. The purpose of this two-day conference is to equip orphan ministry leaders, pastors, counselors, social workers and others with biblically-based skills and tools to serve families called to adopt older, special needs and at-risk kids. We will have nationally-renowned experts providing insights to help families and leaders to meet this growing need. This event will be hosted and moderated by Ryan Dobson, who is himself an adult adoptee.

We believe that the Church is the key place that the needs of struggling adoptive families can be met in-depth and in sustainable ways. For social workers and professionals partnering with the Church in serving families in acute need, the principles from this conference will give new power to help make a difference. To learn more about this event and how God can use you to help others in your church and community, go to www.HFOInstitute.org.

 

Paul Pennington is the founder of Hope for Orphans. He and his wife, Robin, have six children. They live in Dallas, Texas.

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In just 4 days, on Saturday, November 13th, hundreds of believers will gather at Watermark Community Church in Dallas for Wait No More, an adoption conference put on by our good friends at Focus on the Family’s Adoption & Orphan Care Initiative.

Wait No More is designed to share God’s heart for adoption, as well as the need for adoptive homes for waiting children, with Christians through speakers, video, music, and opportunities to connect with local foster care agencies.

To date there have been Wait No More Conferences in Colorado, Missouri, California, Florida, and Ohio. The results have been staggering. More than 1000 families have signed up to start the foster adopt process as a result of attending these conferences. God is clearly using the team at Focus to bring many kids forever families.

We at Hope for Orphans are honored to participate at these events. After the speaker portion of the conference, we will have a booth with some of our materials and staff present to share more about how we can serve you in your church’s orphans ministry.

If you are near the Dallas area this weekend, and are willing to take a few hours out of your Saturday to hear more about God’s desire for families for Texas’ waiting children, please go to the website and register. Or, if you have friends or family in the area, please pass this on to them.

Even if you’re not able to attend, please pray that God would use this event for His glory and that He would touch many hearts on behalf of the more than 3,500 children waiting for families in Texas’ foster care system.

Oh, and for those of you near Atlanta, GA, Wait No More is coming to your area, on February 26, 2011, at Victory World Church in Norcross.

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…They began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Acts 2:45

“If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matthew 19:21

From the beginning of the church, there has been a connection between the Good News and loving those in need. That connection usually means sacrifice. North American Christians as a bunch are not quite as keen for sacrifice as those in the early church, perhaps because there has been a drift in teaching away from Biblical truth and grace. The new direction has been towards more motivational and frankly “me-centered” teaching. However, as we approach the annual Cry of the Orphan Campaign and Orphan Sunday, we are seeing churches all over America who are launching lay-led, people-to-people orphan ministries, in which there is not only sacrifice but a laying out of lives for the fatherless. The impact, not only on orphans, but on churches, has been amazing.

At the beginning of Hope for Orphans, we worked with a small church in South Texas — a fledgling orphan ministry started by two adoptive moms who had a vision and conviction that loving the fatherless was not optional. This led in fairly short order to 29 kids coming for a summer hosting program. The Russian-speaking kids who came had an impact that reached much further than a handful of kids getting families. This church had a revival of sorts through the love of these orphans that introduced the entire congregation to a country most had probably never heard of. The Lord used orphan ministry to give this church a new passion for missions, evangelism, reconciliation and the Gospel that was truly supernatural. 29 kids became 41 and from there this church and its orphan ministry has helped mentor churches in many places to similar results. The compounded impact for children in foster care and around the world is wonderful. The transformation brought about by seeing the visible gospel by the whole congregation has been priceless.

The point is…One Church Can Make a Difference…a difference that impacts generations for God’s glory. Will you be an orphan ministry leader in your church? One way to give a vision to your church in these next few weeks is through the Cry of the Orphan Partners’ one-hour content-on-demand video special Answer the Cry. This free resource can be used in Sunday schools, small groups, youth groups and even in a special worship service to introduce your church to God’s heart for orphans. This and other resources will be available at www.cryoftheorphan.org. This special program will also be available on DVD in limited supplies at Family Christian Stores locations across the country.

We even have a promo video that you can show leadership in your church or maybe use to promote your own event. You may watch the preview now by clicking here.

Also, at Hope for Orphans, we have a new video that speaks to how God is using the church. You may see that video by clicking here.

So this Orphan Sunday week, consider a sacrifice of your time to give voice to those kids who have none. Consider how God wants to use your Church for loving orphans and waiting children.

Blessings
Paul

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When “Jenny” was placed in our home as a nine-year-old in foster care, it was clear to us almost right away that she had some very deep fears…fears that would not easily be overcome.  Those fears were most apparent whenever we would awaken her from sleep.  Her eyes would shoot open…she would almost look petrified until she could get her bearings and see that she was safe.

It took three weeks before we learned why Jenny was so afraid. For years, she and her younger brother had been sexually abused by their mother’s boyfriend, “Mark”.  Their mother had known about it, yet had failed to protect them.  Now, she was scared to death that Mark was going to find her and kill her.  We reported what she told us and eventually, Mark was arrested, and based primarily on Jenny’s testimony, he was sentenced to nearly twenty years in prison.   Still, it took a long time before Jenny felt safe in our home.

Children need to feel safe.  They thrive when they feel safe.  But what happens when they don’t feel safe?  They don’t thrive.  According to Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to the Connected Child, by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Michael Monroe, fear cripples children.  It not only cripples them…it can manifest itself in all kinds of negative behaviors.

Could it be that so many children in foster care exhibit negative behaviors due, in part at least, to the fact that they know deep down that there is not a single person on the face of the earth who has their backs?  Could it be that they live in constant fear because they feel threatened and they know there is no one who will step in to protect them from real harm?

Contrary to what the world says, God has made men and women different.  And while moms would certainly do anything to protect their children, it is men whom God has given the role of protector (of their wives as well as their children).

Right now, there are about 125,000 children in foster care who are waiting for forever families.  These kids have a lot in common.  Fear is one of them.  Each of these kids goes to bed at night lacking the security your and my kids enjoy every day.  As Christians, and as men, we can’t allow this to happen.

What about it, men?  Let’s not wait for our wives to drag us into caring for the waiting children of the United States Foster Care System.  Let’s take seriously our God-given role of child-protector and let’s help 125,000 children sleep better at night.  Not only will they sleep better at night, but their behaviors are bound to change as they begin to believe you have their backs.  The waiting children in foster care deserve to enjoy the same security your kids and mine enjoy.  Are we going to give it to them?

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Last fall, we were part of a life group through our church that looked at God’s heart for orphans, and His desire for His people to care for them through adoption, foster care, and orphan care.

One Sunday afternoon, we invited three adult adoptees from our church to come and share a little about their experiences growing up.  As we listened, it was fascinating to me to see to the contrast, especially between the two young women who shared.  Both women were adopted as babies.  One had a family that seldom talked about adoption.   One had a family that talked about and celebrated adoption.

One of the young women was in three homes by the time she was seven months old.  Her family didn’t discuss adoption very much while she was growing up.  She said it is hard to explain, but she still struggles in some ways as a result of being in three homes and she has a hard time talking about her experience growing up as a child who had been adopted.  She is pro-adoption, but it just isn’t something that she talks about easily.  Interestingly, her job now entails counseling kids in foster care.

The other young woman was placed for adoption at birth.  Her family talked about adoption all of the time and were very positive about it.  She is, in turn, very positive and open and comfortable talking about her experiences.  After working several years as a child abuse investigator for L.A. County DCFS, she is now working for an adoption law firm, counseling birth parents and working with adoptive parents through the birth and placement of the children.

The contrast made me think of my own family and the way we talk about adoption.  With six children, all of whom came to us through foster adoption, and five of whom were already adopted , we want to make sure our children view adoption in as positive a light as possible.  We don’t want them to ever feel like adoption is something to be ashamed of or something to hide.  Because of this, we shout it from the rooftops.  We make it a point to talk to people about the joys and blessings of adoption wherever we go, and we make it a point to do so in front of our kids.

I’m sure there are some that would disagree with our approach, but if we see adoption for what it really is…part of God’s redemptive plan to bring restoration to His creation as He places hurting and lonely children into families, then how can we be anything but positive about it?  How can we not tell everyone we see?  It’s a glorious thing God does when He places a child into a home and gives that child a mom and a dad to love and care for them.

Last night we repeated a ritual that we’ve been doing for years.  We celebrated the fourth anniversary of the date our daughter Aruna moved into our home.  My mom made Aruna a three-layer coconut cake.  We all went around the room and named things we appreciate about her.  We told her “Happy Anniversary” repeatedly throughout the day.  In our family, we celebrate our children’s homecoming days as much as we celebrate the anniversaries of their adoptions.  I think it has something to do with the way we view Psalm 68:4-6, which says: Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds — his name is the LORD— and rejoice before him.  A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

The psalmist is singing to God and praising Him, declaring Him to be Father to the fatherless.  And then, he tells of God’s great works, with the first example being how God sets the lonely in families.  If the psalmist is praising God for setting the lonely in families, should we not praise Him for placing our children in our home?  Of course we should…to do otherwise would be to discredit God’s plan for our children, our family, and His creation.

Celebrate your children’s adoptions…celebrate adoption for what it really is.  Praise God for placing your children in your home.  And while you’re at it, shout it from the rooftops.  Your children are watching.

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Terri and I have observed a lot in our ten years in foster care.  We’ve certainly seen the best and worst of the system, and we’ve experienced heartache and blessing alike.  One of the biggest concerns we continue to have is that there are many foster parents that are involved in the system for what certainly appears to be selfish motivations.  It is our prayer that foster parents such as these will move on, and be replaced by foster parents motivated by the Gospel to not only care for the kids, but to love them unconditionally.  So many of these kids have suffered a great deal of trauma…they need parents who will stick with them when things get difficult, rather than keep them at arm’s length, or have them replaced at the first sign of trouble.

Thankfully, in our ten years of involvement, we have seen the Holy Spirit move among His people to become engaged in the system like never before…to become what the church was intended to be (and used to be) to the orphans and waiting children among us.

One recent Wednesday night, we were part of an informal gathering of people (mostly from our church) in which families interested in foster care and adoption could ask questions of families that are already a part of the system.  It was a very non-threatening forum in which these families could explore some of the issues, concerns and questions they have.

I was so encouraged as I listened to the conversation as it was very apparent that not only were the prospective foster/adopt families interested in getting involved, but they were interested in getting involved for all the right reasons.  Their concerns and questions reflected a real desire to do this the right way – God’s way, and to do it out of a motivation rooted in the Gospel, and to do it regardless of the personal cost.

I also loved hearing the perspectives of the other families that are already involved.  Both couples have experienced the heartaches and the blessings that come with being a foster parent.  Both have experienced real pain in loving these children so near to God’s heart.  Yet, as I listened to them, it was so evident that in spite of the personal cost, they have been obedient to God’s call on their lives, and that they have put their trust in Him through the trials and joy alike.  As one of the foster dads put it so succinctly, “This isn’t about us.”

He’s right, and it’s a reminder we often need.  It’s not about us, as much as we want it to be.  It’s not even about the kids, as much as we want to make it at times.  It’s about God.  It always has been about God, and it always will be.  And as long as God wants to work to redeem orphans, His children must join Him in that work.

No matter what it costs us.

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By now, you’ve likely either seen the movie “The Blind Side”, or you at least have it on your must-watch list.  Released in Fall 2009, the movie tells the story of the Tuohy family, a well-to-do Christian family in Memphis, Tennessee, who took in and adopted a homeless, traumatized teenage boy named Michael Oher.  With the love of his new family and the help of others, Michael went on to football stardom at the University of Mississippi and eventually the NFL.

On today’s FamilyLife Today broadcast, hosts Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine interview Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy in the first of a three part series airing through Friday.

In part one, called Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving, Sean and Leigh Anne talk about their childhoods and their early marriage and discuss how God has used their experiences to make them the people they are today.  They talk about how God wants to use us to bless others, which is simply what they did with their son, Michael, in giving him an opportunity to blossom into the person that God created him to be.

To listen to the broadcast, and to read the entire transcript, click here.

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In two earlier posts, I shared about how Terri and I have occasionally put excessive limits on the children we were willing to take into our home as foster children.  I shared that on each of those first two occasions, God redirected us to be open to the children He had for us, rather than the ones we had in mind for ourselves.  And, naturally, on both occasions, when we submitted to His will, we saw that what He had in mind was infinitely better than what we had imagined.  We never would have adopted four of our children had we not abandoned our desires, and submitted to God’s will for our family by being open to the children He wanted to place in our home.

I do think that whenever you open your home to a child, you need to use wisdom.  If you have young daughters, for instance, it might be unwise to take in a teenage boy who has been sexually abused.  That’s common sense.  But the problems come when we start letting our own personal desires dictate whom we are willing to take into our home, and whom we are not.  We really need to go into this with our hands open to what God has for us, not just open to what we think we want.

Well, in spite of the four physical reminders of God’s goodness and grace sitting at our dinner table every night, Terri and I once again decided to close our hands a bit when we told our social worker last fall that we were open to taking in another child.  We specified this time, though, no babies – we were done with the middle of the night feedings, etc…  We asked for a child 2 years and older.  Now, most agencies would be thrilled to have a family that is willing to take in a child over 2, but then, on November 9th, our agency got a call for a six week-old child who needed a home.  Our social worker called our home and talked to Terri, telling her that based on the information she had, this would likely be a very short-term placement – as little as a few days, in fact.  We know the foster system well enough to know not to count on such things, but we also know and trust our social worker enough to know that she was giving us the best information she had.

Terri told me that we had been asked to take in a child who was a month and a half old.  Evidently, I hadn’t had coffee yet, because I know I heard her say a year and a half.  In my mind, it wasn’t 2, but it was only six months away from 2, so surely it wouldn’t be so bad.  We called the social worker and accepted the placement.  It was only on the way to the county office that it became clear to me that this child was only 6 weeks old.  To be honest, I was a little bummed out…okay, I was very bummed out.  This wasn’t the plan.  We were not going to take in a baby this time around.  We thought we had made that clear.  Yet, we had accepted her already, so we couldn’t go back on our word.  And besides, maybe it really would turn out to be just a few days.

We brought her home, and well, a few days turned into a few weeks.  Naturally, the few weeks turned into a few months.  We were in court for her case yesterday, and it is looking more and more likely that I will walk her down the aisle one day.  I would love to share a picture of her, but she is still a foster child, so I have to keep her name and face private for now.  Trust me on this, though – she is beautiful, she is precious, she’s a part of us…and we are so thankful that I hadn’t had my coffee when Terri came to tell me about her 8 months ago today.  Once again, God took our desires and redirected us to be open to what He wanted.  And once again, what He had for us was better than we could ever imagine.

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Having learned our lesson — that God is in charge, and we’re not — with our adoption of Chris and Ant, you would think Terri and I would move forward in wisdom and not put so many conditions on the children we would or would not take into our home.  Then again, you would be wrong to think that.

After we adopted Chris and Ant, and after we took a short break from fostering, we opened our home again, taking in Ashley, who was twelve at the time she moved in, and fourteen when she was adopted.

Then, in the summer of 2006, we decided to open our home again, but this time, we once again decided to put parameters on the child we would be willing to accept.  The lessons learned from almost losing Chris and Ant because of our own self-imposed limits were distant memories, or maybe they were lurking and we just decided to ignore them.  I’m not sure.

Regardless, we asked our agency to be on the lookout for a baby for us.  We had never done that before.  Terri especially wanted to take care of a baby, and she actually had a pretty sound reason for wanting to do so.  She figured that one day our kids would likely have babies.  And like many first-time parents of babies, they would likely have questions.  And like many parents who have questions about childrearing, they would likely call us and ask us what to do in certain situations.  Well, Terri didn’t really want to have to say to our kids, “we don’t know what to do…call us back when they’re four.”  She wanted to be able to help our kids with their babies.  Noble.  Practical.  Not exactly selfish.

Still, the result of us acting on our desire meant that we called our agency, requested a baby, and pretty much eliminated most of the children in the foster care system from consideration.  Because of our long track record with our agency, our social worker told us she would keep an eye out for a baby.  It wasn’t long before we got the call – they wanted to place an eight month-old baby girl with us, a baby that was likely to be adopted.  The baby was placed in another home for a few days while we got the room prepared for her.  We saw pictures of her.  We shopped for her.  We anticipated her arrival with excitement.

Then, as things often happen in the foster care system, plans changed.  The woman who kept this baby over the weekend decided she didn’t want to give her up.  She had fallen in love with her, and for the first time, had decided she wanted to adopt.  We were deeply saddened by the unexpected turn of events.   To add insult to injury (that’s how we, in our self-absorption, saw it at the time), our social worker told us that she had gotten a call about a “problem six year-old” who needed a home. We had expected this sweet little eight month-old, and now instead we are being asked to take in a problem six year-old who was hitting the other children in her current home, and was having tantrums that lasted up to eight hours – on a daily basis.

In addition to our sadness, we were a little bitter.  We questioned God.  After all, we had adopted three older children, which everyone knows are generally harder to place than infants.  Didn’t we deserve to get what we wanted?  In a word, no.  We didn’t deserve anything of the sort.

We had forgotten what this is all about.  This isn’t about us building our family to look like we want it to look…this is about God using our family to accomplish what He wants.  There is a huge difference.  And what we didn’t see at the time, but did soon enough, was that God didn’t have an eight month-old for us at that time.  He had a six year-old whose options were running out, a six year-old whose social worker said they might have to place in a group home if they couldn’t find a family for her soon.  A six year-old who had been deeply hurt by recent turns of events in her life and was crying out to be noticed…and loved.

Our oldest had lived in group homes while in foster care, though when she was much older than six.  A group home is no place for any child, let alone one as young as six.  So again, God was compelling us to realize that He was in charge, not us.  Again, He was asking us to abandon our pre-conceived notions of what we wanted in favor of what He wanted.  We gave in.

Aruna came to us on August 10th, 2006, and she was adopted on April 2nd, 2008, which was the 5th anniversary of Chris and Ant’s adoption.  She had some adjustment problems, and she had a few of those hours-long tantrums we had heard about and braced ourselves for.  Ultimately though, God’s love touched her heart, and she began to change.  Today, she is a straight-A student who has just finished the 4th grade at our church’s elementary school.  She loves to sew.  She loves to play video games.  She loves to get on her oldest brother’s nerves, and frankly, she’s pretty good at it, too.  She hasn’t had a tantrum in years.

As I mentioned, this adoption journey we have been on for over a decade is about God and His plans, not us and ours.  God is simply not concerned with our plans.  He isn’t concerned with how we want our family to be made up, or what we want it to look like.  He is about fulfilling His purposes in the world, and as we discovered yet again, His way is always better.

We also rediscovered another truth about God back in 2006 — that He is a loving Father who loves to give good gifts to His children…and does so in abundance. Seven weeks after we were blessed with the wonderful gift of our daughter, Aruna, we got a call from our social worker.  A two day-old baby girl was in need of a family that would foster and likely adopt her.  Two days later, on September 29th, we brought her home from the hospital, and on August 14th, 2007, we adopted our first baby, Hallie.  We made a million calls to our parents and other friends asking advice during her infancy, and we are now in a much better position to answer our children’s questions about their babies one day.  We’re also in a better position to answer our kids’ questions about problem six year-olds one day.

We smile as we think back on those months in 2006 when we again wrestled with God and were again brought to our knees, first in submission and repentance, and then in gratitude and awe.  Our lives are forever enriched and blessed by our precious Aruna and Hallie, and we cannot imagine what life would be like if we had gotten our way.

What an amazing God we serve.

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(The following comes from our June 2010 E-Newsletter. You may subscribe to our bi-monthly e-newsletter by clicking here.)

Some of the very best things in my life have happened as a result of some of the hardest things in my life. There was a day that Robin and I learned that we had lost a baby and the ability to ever have a biological child short of in-vitro fertilization. It was a hard day. It was hard to pray or understand. But little did we know that as this was happening a little girl was soon to be born. This little girl was our daughter Kit whom God brought to us just 6 months later. Not only was she a gift we could not have imagined, but also through her, the Lord led us to more of our children, some born on the other side of the world, and ultimately to this ministry.

In his new book about Ruth, A Sweet and Bitter Providence, Pastor John Piper shares a quote from William Cowper, an 18th century poet and hymn writer:

“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.”

Joseph experienced this frowning providence when his brothers sold him into slavery. But as you know, God knew this very act would bring about the rescue of those same brothers from famine and His grace would be demonstrated through the centuries like a chain in His word to us in the 21st century.

Every adoption begins in hurt of some kind. Sometimes being the parent of a child through adoption involves a lot of hurt. We all come from a hard place because of the first Adam’s fateful choice in the garden. Thankfully, the second Adam also made a choice in a garden, a choice not to save Himself, a choice made so that we might receive adoption as sons of God through Him.

As we consider with eyes wide open the road of adoption and loving the fatherless, let us remember why Ruth the Moabitess was able to say to Naomi in Ruth 1:16-17 that she would follow her from all that was familiar and safe…how she committed herself to this widow to the point of saying that Naomi’s God would be her God and Naomi’s people her people.

Ruth was grafted into this family and met her kinsman redeemer because as Piper says, “Here we have a picture of…faith in God that sees beyond present bitter setbacks. Freedom from the securities and comforts of the world. Courage to venture into the unknown and the strange. Radical commitment in the relationships appointed by God”. In this case, a relationship that led to line of David and The Messiah.

May those called to adopt, or to love a foster child, or to serve churches overseas in loving orphans be likewise radically committed to the relationships appointed by God for them. May we see the world as the work of God, and that we are privileged and blessed to be invited to join Him in His work. May we see God who sometimes uses frowning providence in bringing about His will, as the very One in whom we will very soon see His smiling face.

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