How Protestant Churches Are Involved with Adoption and Foster Care

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The Bible has a lot to say about caring for orphans. Protestant churches in the United States appear to be listening.

About 4 in 10 Protestant churchgoers say their congregation has been involved with adoption or foster care in the past year, according to LifeWay Research.

That may be because the Bible tells them to, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

“Foster care appears to come naturally for churchgoers,” he said. “It’s not surprising, since the Bible commands them to care for widows and orphans.”

Since the early 2000s, many Protestant churches have commemorated Orphan Sunday every November to draw attention to the plight of orphans around the world.

In the past, they’ve often focused on international adoption and orphanages. But in recent years, foster care—both in the United States and abroad—has become a focus as well.

LifeWay’s survey of 1,010 Protestant churchgoers—defined as those who attend a Protestant or nondenominational church at least once a month—found 25 percent say someone from their church has been involved in foster care over the past year.

Seventeen percent say someone from their church has adopted a child from the US in the past year. Fifteen percent say someone from their church has adopted a child from another country.

Those who attend nondenominational churches (39%) are the most likely to know someone who has fostered children. Those at larger churches, with 250 or more in attendance, are most likely to know someone in their church who has provided foster care (37%). Those who attend smaller churches, with fewer than 250 in attendance, are less likely (20%).

Churchgoers from nondenominational churches are also most likely to know someone at church who had adopted a child from the United States (25%). Baptists (15%), Lutherans (12%), and Pentecostals (10%) are less likely.

Churchgoers from larger congregations are more likely to know someone who had adopted from abroad (30%) than those from smaller churches (7%). So are those from nondenominational churches (34%).

White (20%) and Hispanic (15%) churchgoers are more likely than African-American churchgoers (4%) to say someone from their church has adopted a child from another country.

Still, church leaders in general don’t talk much about adoption.

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Source: Christianity Today