This Sunday our church joined in with people across our country to observe National Adoption month and call attention to the great need and opportunity for Christians to pursue adoption, welcoming into our homes and families those children who've been abandoned, neglected, or whose parents simply can't manage their care.
We read from Psalm 68: "But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of His name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him--His name is The Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing. " And we reaffirmed our commitment to partner financially with members who want to pursue adoption.
From our stage, Dan and Leann Burgess (Dan's our Connections Minister, and he and his wife Leann have two adopted children, Finn and Norah) shared the following words about our church's plans to support adoption and defend orphans:
"Late last year we shared that because of your generous giving and our heart for orphans, we wanted to financially enable a couple from our church to adopt a child into their family. To our surprise, two couples emerged, and we excitedly walked with both of them on that path. However, both of those couples, for varying reasons, have chosen not to adopt at this time, though they have no less of a desire to adopt eventually.
We remain committed to this, so we’re praying that there might be another family in this church who wants to bring a child into their home. We hope God works or has been working in the hearts of members of this church to move them to adopt, because our intent is to come alongside that family financially and take the financial obstacle out of the way. And if there are a couple families, we’ll look for a way to help them both.
If God is leading you to adopt a child, please talk to us. Because your church is ready to help.
Beyond that, we’ve got something we’re excited to begin today as a church. We know that adoption isn’t something God wants for everyone. (Though he may in fact want it for you.) BUT we can certainly all pray for children who are in need of a family. And since it can be hard to get your heart into praying for orphans in general, we want to introduce you to 4 particular children.
This is ABE—he’s 7 months old and adorable
This is NELLY—she’s 12. We actually met her this summer andshe’s so sweet and beautiful and would make a lovely daughter.
This is JAKE and NATALIE—Jake is 6 and Natalie is 12. They are siblings and want to stay together.
All these children live in Colombia and are all in need of a forever family. Our church has been told about these kids through Lifeline Children’s Services which is the adoption agency that connected us with Finn. So we’re going to pray as a church that our Heavenly Father would bring them into a home. AND We’re going to remain open to the fact that the home God may have in mind for one of them...may be one of ours.
Here’s the challenge: (and it’s a commitment to do this--so we only want you to do this if you’re serious about doing it):
WE WANT YOU TO PRAY THESE KIDS HOME! We want you to pray for them every day that God will connect them to parents. We’ve got a magnet for you with their pictures on it to help serve as a reminder for you.
And, WE WANT YOU TO ADVOCATE FOR THEM! Tell others about them. Share their names and faces.
And, we want you to do this until they’re adopted. We will keep you updated as we receive updates from Lifeline.
This is a great thing to do if you’re single, it’s a great thing as a couple, it’s a great thing for you to do with your kids. And what a joy it will be for us to join together in this effort to get them home! So if you’re up for this challenge, grab a magnet off the board in the foyer after worship, DEFEND THE FATHERLESS, and live love."
After this announcement, Finn Burgess, Dan and Leann's adopted son, led us in prayer, and though we didn't understand every word he said, we all joined with Finn in lifting up our hearts to God, asking Him to open us up to the work He intends to do in and through us. Our prayer as a church is that God would be calling at least one family among us into the good work of loving a child who desperately needs to be loved.
If you didn't grab a magnet this Sunday, you can get one next week. We're devoted to praying for these kids for as long as it takes before they're adopted, so it's not too late to jump in and help. If you're considering adoption, just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.