February 3, 2020
Many people are unsure of what adoption and foster care is and what the difference is between them. Legally, adoption is “the process by which a legal and permanent parent-child relationship is created through a court process” (Adoption Network), while foster care is “a temporary arrangement in which adults provide for the care of a child or children whose birthparent is unable to care for them” (Adoption Center). One is considered long-term and the other short-term respectively, however, both are very important. As Christians, we should be more educated on what adoption and foster care are because we are all adopted children of our heavenly Father.
According to IFoster, in 2019 alone there are “approximately 440,000 foster youth nationwide”, which means that the epidemic is not only growing, but it is growing at an all-time high. The four largest football stadiums in the United States could be filled to capacity and still not hold all the children who are currently in the system. The concerning part is that the system used to be so much worse, so these numbers are a sign of substantial growth.
Starting in the early 1700s, we had the earliest forms of orphanages. Even though orphanages were more helpful than doing nothing, they were ultimately only putting a Band-Aid on a bigger problem. There were lots of horror stories from orphanages back in the day, and my personal experience working in one this past summer in Romania confirmed that there are still many lingering issues. Orphanages were often overcrowded, understaffed, and lacked proper resources for the children, which resulted in unsustainable care for these children. In the 1900s, the United States started to figure out these issues and made a switch to the earliest form of the child welfare system. Foster care started booming in America: “By the 1950s, more children lived in foster homes than in orphanages in the United States, and by the 1960s, foster care had become a government-funded program” (Spence, 2018). This was such a positive sign, but we knew we still had a long way to go.
According to Adoption Network, “135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year.” This statistic is encouraging to look at, but if you do the math, you will find that roughly 305,000 children are still in foster care at the end of the year instead of in a permanent home. The Abba Fund surmises, “If one family in every three churches in the US adopted a waiting child, every waiting child in the US would have a forever family.” Imagine a society where every child has a home to call their own and a place to grow in love. Even though one-third of Americans have considered adoption, no more than two percent of those people have actually adopted children (Adoption Network). As I look at the growing abortion rate, which is already at 3.2 million abortions worldwide for 2020 (Worldometer), I can only help but think if that baby would have been born it could have been adopted into a loving family. The key within that is that we have to be able and ready to adopt or else this epidemic will never end. We are a part of the problem and we are a part of the solution.
Ephesians 1:4-5 says, “For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.” This verse shows us that adoption was not an afterthought in God’s mind, but rather His plan. We are called His sons and daughters because God adopted us into His heavenly family. John Piper states, “You were adopted for the praise of the glory of his grace. God’s action in adopting us is radically God-centered and God-exalting.” We are not adopted because we are perfect, but rather because we are imperfect and broken and we need someone to take care of us.
As Christians, we are given the opportunity to be more like our Savior when we decide to adopt children who do not already have a home. We do not deserve the gift of eternal life with God and the label of being His precious child, but He freely gives it to us anyways. I strongly believe we should learn how to give the gift of a home or family to a child in need, especially because it was given to us first even though we did not deserve it.
Written by: Kaitlyn Skarstein
Kaitlyn loves being able to write for the SA blog because she thinks it is important to share her voice. She loves being able to express her own opinions on important subjects that are relevant for students, faculty, and many others.