“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:27
Orphan care is a BIG task, and it’s one that has been on my heart a LOT the past two years. Like so many of you, I wish that I could take every child who needed a family and say, “Welcome home.” But I can’t, and neither can you. And I think that sometimes because we can’t do our very biggest dreams, we just say, “Oh well…” But today I’d like to challenge us all to think about what we CAN do in the Orphan care situation right here in Conway County. I think that when we each do our part, we can accomplish really great things for the glory of God. Like 1 Corinthians 12 says, we aren’t all a foot and we aren’t all a hand, but we are all a part of the body of Christ, and we all have to work together to take care of the things that are close to the heart of God. I believe that orphans are close to God’s heart. In fact, I’m sure of it.
James 1:27New International Version (NIV)
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Let me start with some pretty sobering statistics. Did you know that over 7,000 kids in Arkansas alone spend time in foster care each year? Did you know that every year around 250 teens “age out” of the system with no family to call their own? This is heart breaking. Now let me make you aware of a problem even closer to home: hundreds of children come into foster care every year from Conway County and there is ONE open home. I believe there are three total foster homes in our county, but we are all closed due to being full or recent adoptions. That means that there is one home that is currently accepting new placements (and they are almost full too!). Let’s go a little further-that means that these children not only abruptly lose their home and their mom and/or dad, but they also lose all familiarity because they are taken to a different county, a different school, they are pulled out of every activity they knew. Everything is new. Can you just imagine how awful and shocking that would be to a completely innocent child?
Ok, Conway County, now you know the problem. So what’s the solution? I believe that each one of us can be part of the solution. Pray about what your part of that solution is. God may call you to take a direct role in the solution in bringing children without a home into yours. Or you could be called to serve in a supportive role. I’ll tell you more in a minute about some supportive roles. But first, let me tell you that I fully believe that Conway County is on the cusp of a huge move of God in the area of orphan care. I believe this because the need is there and because God is moving and because Conway County is FULL of people who love and obey God. I am asking you to please pray about how you can get involved in this need in Conway County. Ask God:
Is it His will to open up your home to foster children?
Is it His will for you to adopt?
Can you play a role of support for someone who is fostering/adopting?
Can you be involved in getting a CALL ministry started in Conway County?
When we finally knew it was time to go forward with our recent adoption, I was scared. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be challenging, but I knew that I would be far more miserable if we didn’t obey God than if we went ahead, stepped out in faith and did the scary thing. And I’m SO GLAD that we did. Our little guy has been such a blessing. So will you pray about it? Will you pray about this very real need for Conway County?
If you can play a support role for fostering families, the need here is GREAT! The one open foster home in Conway County right now has 7 children, 3 of those being young foster children. I say again, the need is GREAT! These people are doing a mighty and exhausting work and need help! Here are some ways you can help families who decide to open their home to foster children:
- Pray-by far the most needed thing! Pray for their sanity, pray for their needs to be met, pray for the children in their home, pray for their biological children, pray for them to have REST!
- Meals-Particularly when foster families receive new kiddos, things get crazy. When we adopted, I didn’t cook for at least a month. Meals are SO important! Any time you hear of a foster family getting a new child, take them a meal. And don’t say, “If I can bring you a meal, let me know.” They won’t let you know. They don’t have time to let you know! Just say, “I’m bringing you a meal. Would Thursday or Friday be best? Any allergies?”
- Laundry-It doesn’t make sense, but somehow laundry doubles with each child you bring home. Do you have an hour or two a week to help a foster family catch up on laundry? That would be a HUGE blessing to them!
- Encouragement-Send them a handwritten note or a message letting them know what they mean. They need to be reminded of the hope they are giving these children. They need to be reminded sometimes of the important work they are doing. Also, when giving encouragement, don’t forget the biological children-they are doing a big work too and adjusting to a lot too. Send them a note, give them an extra hug and let them know that you are praying for them too.
- Housework-Same principle as laundry here. Housework many times gets put on the back burner when you are dealing with broken hearts of sweet babies. You trade your rubber gloves for a rocking chair, but that doesn’t mean that a clean house wouldn’t make you feel so much better. Do you have a few hours to help a momma catch up on her cleaning? Tell her what you’d like to do and when you can come.
- Respite Care-More than anyone, these parents need a night out or a weekend off. To baby-sit for one night, you don’t need any special certification. Just let them know that you want to do that for them and what nights you are available. If you’d like to provide a weekend off, you will need some special training, but it’s not much and it would be a major blessing for a foster family.
You know, I’ve had the story of the State Representative who “rehomed” his adoptive girls on my heart lately. It is truly a sad story, but what’s so very sad to me is that this family obviously did not get the support they so desperately needed to handle the situation they were given. Let’s not allow that to happen in Conway County. Let’s take care of our orphans. Let’s rally around our foster and adoptive families.
Is it on your heart to help fulfill James 1:27? What part can you play in Orphan Care Ministry? Will you pray and ask God to show you?
If you would like to foster or adopt or play a supportive role here in Conway County and you don’t know where do start, shoot me a message. I’ll definitely point you in the right direction. For more information check out The CALL link below. Please share this on your Facebook pages and let’s get the word out about the need here in our county.