Faith-based organizations, church leaders, and Christian families across the country have propelled the orphan-care movement in the past decade, inspired by the repeated biblical command to “father the fatherless,” to take care of children who need our help.
Often, though, we associate orphan care with married Christians who can adopt children, who can welcome foster kids into their home, and who can afford to send hefty donations. Single Christians, even those who feel the issue of orphan care weighing heavy on their hearts, may resign to wait until they’re ready to start a family before they can live out this biblical call.
If you think you’re too young, too single, too inexperienced to do anything, I’m here to say: you can help right away.
While much attention has been given to the work of international adoption and setting up in-country orphan care overseas, we also have approximately 400,000 children in foster care in this country. The Christian Alliance for Orphans calls them “social orphans,” noting that during the time children are in foster care they are without the support, protection, and provision of their biological parents.
Children are, of course, provided a temporary home where they live in the care of foster parents, but often times and for various reasons, children are moved from home to home, knowing many “parents” during their stay in the system. And sadly, many children—especially teenagers—are placed in group homes with rotating staff and without routine and familiarity of consistent care givers.
By focusing locally, Christians—no matter their marital, financial, or educational status—can serve the orphans who live among us, and perhaps even become a regular and stable part of these children’s lives.
Further your education.
If you feel drawn to orphan care, see how you might use your studies to correspond with this calling. Students in college or considering graduate school can seek out opportunities to study issues often associated with foster care: pre-law, sociology, psychology, and criminal and juvenile justice. Even basic information in these areas can help inform your understanding of the foster care system. If you choose to pursue a career in this field, that may mean getting a law degree or a master’s degree in social work. These areas are always in need of more than a few good people. And, thankfully, there are often loan forgiveness programs to help those who enter the non-profit or government sector pay back or reduce student loans.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today