Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How Can the Church Help? Part 1

In a 2002 nationwide survey commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption reported that “When asked ‘where would you turn for information or advice about how to adopt,’ 52% of married couples indicated they would turn to their local church.” While churches were viewed as good sources before adoption, “The same survey showed that post adoption people were nearly twice as likely to turn to their local bookstore (20.5%) as they were to their pastor or local church (11%) for support or help in dealing with post-adoption issues.”* The explanation for this discrepancy is that high percentage did not feel as though the church was helpful to their needs. In fact, they did not see the church as a “safe place” for their families. Ministry leader Michael Monroe put it this way:

I believe that adoptive and foster families are making it clear – they are saying that far too often our local churches are not “safe” places for them – or at least not as “safe” as they can and should be. The unavoidable reality is that many families have responded in faith by pursuing adoption or foster care, sometimes against all odds and in the face of significant and daunting challenges. Simply put, these families have refused to “play it safe.” They’ve said “Yes!” to the lifelong journey of adoption or foster care . . . and I believe that our churches must in turn discover how to honor these responses of faith, obedience and courage by becoming communities that openly welcome, truly understand and fully embrace adoptive and foster families.*

Monroe suggested that the church must do five things in order to become safe places for adoptive families: Become Missional, Become Open and Willing to Learn, Become Honest and Prepared to Get Messy, Become Willing to Change, Become Committed for the Long Haul.

For those of you who have adopted or are seeking to adopt:  How has your local church family supported you?  What do you wish church leaders knew about adoption?

*Monroe, Michael http://tapestry.irvingbible.org/index.php?id=1558  accessed February 6, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Just as I began to warm up to the idea of adopting, we received the first of many blows.

When adopting, there are two major phases of paperwork. The first is the home study (which must be in-state). The second is through the adoption agency which will match you with a child. There are various stages within each phase, but I will spare you the details (of which I don’t remember now anyway). It is not necessary to have two agencies, but we did because the adoption agency we chose was out-of-state. However, we worked with both from the beginning (Sept. 2005). We completed the requirements for the out-of-state agency. We submitted mounds of paperwork (remember the six page checklist from my previous post), read books, sent income statements, and spoke with a representative several times. However, they could not officially approve us until the home study was complete. But, by this point, I figured that was a technicality.

I was wrong! Our home study was finished in Jan. 2006, and in Feb. the out-of-state agency denied us for financial reasons. Baffled does not describe how we felt. The incident was strange and unsettling. We knew their requirements and easily met them. Three phone calls later, I was still clueless. They would not budge.

Why bring this up? One, you may be able to relate somehow to this story, if not through adopting, then some other odd occurrence in your lifetime. Two, because that’s the way life is sometimes. Unexplainable. Puzzling. Bizarre. But, then, I suppose if we could explain everything we wouldn’t need faith. And this brought us to our knees.

We began to question the initial call to adopt. Had we heard God correctly? Or could I use this as an excuse to escape? (Yes, a tiny part of me hoped God had just been testing us and was now relieving us of the responsibility.) We had lots of questions and no answers. It was as if we were attempting to put a puzzle together without all of the pieces. After a few days, I threw my hands up in surrender. Lord, I don’t understand. I don’t think I ever will. But, I know that you are bigger than all of this and you are in control. I trust you.

With that, I decided to take an emotional break – and walked away.

Have you ever been in circumstances that required you to blindly trust God?
Can you relate to the need for an emotional break from a troubling situation?

For His Glory!