For the fatherless

Almost 10 years ago, we were eating out with some family friends when they told us they were going to adopt. It’s one of my strangely crystal clear memories. I remember my initial reaction and how surprised I was. Let’s be honest: I thought they were a little crazy. At the time, I didn’t understand why they would want to adopt, but in that moment God began to reveal His heart for adoption to me.

I’m blown away by how God has worked in my life since then. I now have 2 beautiful sisters from China and have worked in orphanages in Mexico and China. God has made it painfully obvious that I have a passion for orphan care.

Since November is adoption awareness month, I’ve been reflecting on all God has taught me about orphan care and adoption (including my adoption into His family!) and thinking about what the next step is for me. When I went to China this summer to work in Maria’s Big House of Hope, I expected God to make it clear what my specific role is in orphan care. When that didn’t happen, it was hard to come back and focus on classes and work.

I have a heart for orphan care, but over the past 4 years I’ve also discovered a love for speech pathology. I didn’t understand how I could reconcile these 2 passions! Then this semester God has shown me that these things can go hand in hand. I’ve found myself applying what I’m learning in class to some of the kids I met in China.

It’s like God has this all planned out or something. 🙂

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Of course I still don’t know exactly what He has planned for my future (I’m hoping getting into grad school is part of it!), but I’m excited as I continue on this journey. I’m so thankful that God gives us certain passions and desires for a reason. He interweaves different aspects of our lives together in such a beautiful way!

All that to say, I’m excited to see how God works in peoples hearts this month as He calls people to care for orphans, whether that’s through prayer, financial support, missions trips, foster care, or adoption. Please join me in praying for orphans around the world and considering our role in caring for the fatherless. Also, I’d like to challenge you to take some time out of your busy schedules to read one book about adoption or orphan care. I did this last year (because reading is another one of my passions!), and it’s a great way to learn more about these children’s needs. For book suggestions, click here. Or if you’ve read a good book on this topic, I’d love to hear about it!

It can be overwhelming to hear statistics, like how there are an estimated 153 million orphans around the world, but there are also statistics that say if every Christian family cared for one orphan, there wouldn’t be any more orphans. For me, getting involved and putting faces to the numbers changed my perspective. We can’t change this broken world, but through God’s power we can change the world of a child.

What a blessing to share in God’s love for the fatherless!

john1418_blog2image from showhope.org

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Love for the Broken

As I’ve reflected on my time in China, God has reminded me of the great need to love. No matter where God has placed me, I’m called to make the most of the opportunity to love those around me. I keep coming back to Ephesians 3:14-21 where it talks about the glorious riches of the Father, the mighty power of the Spirit, and the incomprehensible love of Christ. We’re told to love as God first loved us, and His love is active and life-changing. He loved us so much that he adopted us as his sons and daughters! I’ve really loved the idea of being adopted into God’s family ever since my family first adopted, but this trip to Maria’s gave Romans 8:12-17 a whole new meaning to me.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:14-15)

In China, I realized that if we were adopted, we were once orphans.

During our orphan training on the trip, we explored what it means to be an orphan. An orphan is more than someone who has lost their parents. It’s someone who experiences utter brokenness in every area of their life. Children who are left without parents are impacted in their family life, social life, education, and every other aspect of life.

They live in a broken world.

And because of the fall, we’re all born into a broken world.

We’re all orphans, living a life filled with broken relationships.

But then God…

I love coming across that phrase in the Bible! After reading about man’s brokenness, it’s so encouraging to read “But God…”

“But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love.” (Titus 3:4)

How beautiful is that? In order to call us His sons and daughters, God sacrificed His blameless, holy Son on a cursed cross in the place of dirty, hate-filled sinners.

I like how Show Hope’s training book redefined orphan:

“An orphan is someone who has experienced profound brokenness in fundamental relationships and systems as a result of the loss of God’s intended parental relationships. The Fall has ripped from each of us God’s intended relationships in many ways, and nobody has an unspoiled relationship with their parents or their Heavenly Father.”

God is restoring our broken relationship with Him. Meanwhile, we can (and should) help bring restoration to the lives of the precious children around the world who don’t have families. I’ve seen more of their great need through this trip, and it’s heartbreaking! We can show God’s active and life-changing love to these kids. Whether it’s through prayer, donations, missions trips, foster care, or adoption, I believe we are all called to care for them. John Wesley puts it very bluntly:

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So my challenge for myself and for you is to love. Love in a way that changes the lives of those around you. Pray and ask God how He is asking you to care for orphans.

Through this trip, my perspective of others has changed. Everyone was or still is an orphan. But for the grace of God, we’re all broken. I’m so thankful for His beautiful plan of adoption!

If we’re willing, God can use us to help mend and love the people around us who are broken. He places us in people’s lives for a purpose.

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Adoption Awareness Month

Image from www.versifylife.com/psalm-68-5

“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.” ~James 1:27

Since November is National Adoption Awareness Month, I have decided to read a book this month about adoption/orphans. I would love it if others joined me in this challenge! I’m excited to see how God works this month!

I’d like to make a list of books about adoption, so if you’ve read/are reading a great book about adoption, let me know! I read “Silent Tears” by Kay Bratt several years ago, so now I’m looking forward to reading more adoption books!

Even if you don’t read a book about adoption this month, please take time to pray for orphans and adopting families!

I’ve started a page with a list of adoption books if you’re interested: Books about Adoption/Orphans

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Show Hope

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” ~James 1:27

Looking back, it is incredible to see how God has changed my perspective of orphans. I used to have a very storybook, Anne-of-Green-Gables view of orphans and never really thought about how there were still orphans in the world I lived in! By the time my family had adopted two beautiful, sweet girls from China, my perspective had totally changed! God opened my eyes to the needs of these children and gave me a passion for the fatherless.

God promises to be a father to the fatherless, and I believe one way He fulfills that promise is by using us to care for orphans. I want to challenge and encourage people to follow God’s call to reach out to the fatherless. Whether it’s by adopting, giving money, or praying, anyone can have a huge impact on a child’s life!

One way to help is by becoming a Show Hope sponsor. This year, Show Hope is trying to double their number of sponsors to 10,000. That way, they can also double the impact they are making in the lives of orphans!

If you’re interested, here’s a video with more information:

God has loved us and adopted us as His own children. How can we chose not to also show that love to orphans?

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