By Rachel Hickman
It thrills the Father to adopt and it is a joy to Him to invite new members into His family. As Christians, we have been adopted: we are no longer orphans, but heirs. The message of the Father heart of God is central to our culture here at King's Arms, so it follows quite naturally that adoption has become part of our church life.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27, NIV).
Adoption was always part of God's plan. It is crucial to His love story of creating a family for Himself. Through God's initiative and Jesus's sacrifice we now have a secure relationship with the Father as His beloved children.
"In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will" (Ephesians 1:5).
In the UK, there are over 91,000 looked-after children. Every 22 minutes a child comes into care. There are currently about 4,000 children waiting to be adopted across the country, and 8,000 more foster families are urgently needed. Thousands of the most vulnerable children in our society have nowhere to call home.
The numbers are overwhelming, but one child at a time, we can make a difference.
This is an issue that the Father is passionate about and He is calling His Church to respond. The Bible is full of verses that speak about God's heart for orphans and His desire for His people to care for them (click here to read some of them.) To me there is no better demonstration of the unwavering, unchanging, unconditional and radical love of God than opening up your home to a child in need.
Not everyone is called to adopt or foster in the sense of legally adopting or caring for a child, but we all have a stake in the adoption issue because the Father does and because we have been adopted by Him.
Home for Good
For those who wish to take an active role in solving this problem, there are a number of campaigns and organisations that raise awareness of the issues facing children in care, and encourage and equip people to become carers or adoptive parents. One such group, Home for Good, has the support of the Evangelical Alliance and Care for the Family. Launched in April 2013, Home for Good aims to make fostering and adoption a normal part of church life.
I dream of the local authorities, adoption agencies and governments of the world being overwhelmed by the church's love for orphans and being amazed and shocked by the healing and transformation that occurs when these orphans meet their heavenly Father, become His sons and daughters and go on to lead their generation.
Whether God is tugging on your heart and inviting you to pray or calling you to foster or adopt, I encourage you to celebrate your adoption as a son or daughter of God and consider how you will join the Father on His mission of caring for and adopting orphans.