A few months ago, I posted an article about the need to adopt kids from the foster care system here in the United States. In that article, I under estimated the need to make adoption from certain overseas countries a priority as well. My basic approach was simple, "Why spend thousands of dollars to adopt overseas, when the United States will pay you to adopt kids from the foster care system right here in the United States?"
The naivete of my approach was revealed to me this morning in a brief conversation with two dear members of our church. Several years ago, they adopted "Masha" (now Marsha) from an orphanage in Russia. Masha, who was sixteen months old at the time, was severely under-nourished, was failing to thrive, and, according to the physician that saw her after her adoption, probably would not have survived past her fifth birthday had she stayed in the orphanage from which she was adopted. Basic needs of the children were just not being met in this particular orphanage (and there are thousands just like it around the world). Marsha's adopted parents literally saved her life by taking her home with them, because at sixteen months it was growing increasingly unlikely that anyone else would have adopted her.
So how has this conversation affected my view of adoption? Well I am just as passionate as ever about adopting through the foster care system. I am also in the very early planning stages of a camp for foster care kids in the southern Indiana area for 2008. At the same time, my eyes have been open to the need for American families, who are financially able, to adopt children from overseas. The couple I spoke with, prayed about this decision a great deal and were convinced the Lord had led them to adopt from Russia. After the conversation I had with them this morning, I am convinced they were as well. Christians should adopt. From overseas if called to do so; from right here in America if not. We need to open our homes to those without parents. That is true religion.
What should the American church do?
1) Encourage the members of their local churches to adopt from here in the US and from overseas. We should also become involved in the foster care system.
2) Put pressure on foreign governments to make sure that better care is taken care of their orphans. This can happen as we write letters to our congressional leaders and encourage the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention to step up the pressure as well.
Once more, will you pray with me about adopting in 2008?