I don’t remember the exact age when I began to have a yearning for adoption and the orphans of the world. I don’t think I was much older than a mere child myself, but I began to see something wrong with the picture in front of me. Why did I have parents who loved me, a home where I felt safe, and a family I could call my own, while others did not? I told my parents at that time, “I’m going to adopt children someday!”
It didn’t stop there. Even as a young person, I started to cling to places where I heard of injustices happening with children, and one of the first I centered on was China. As a female, my heart broke when I heard of so many young girls who were put in orphanages there. Then, I went on to high school, and later college, and while I still cared for these and other situations, I assumed there wasn’t much I could do with my burdens until the day I could adopt myself.
I think something changed in me after college when I started attending churches that spoke of the call to care for what God cares about and to help bring renewal to those who are hurting in the world. It especially renewed my focus about what I originally thought about my desire for adoption and my heart for orphans. I’m thankful the Lord planted seeds in my heart as a youth, but I realize now it wasn’t just for the time when I found Mr. Right and could start a family.
Adoption, foster care, and orphan care ministry is something I can do in my singleness, too. I can be informed, talk to others considering it now, be on ministry teams, write about it, and serve families as I practice my profession of counseling. The reason behind my drive has much less to do with me than what I once thought. Many people who have been around the Church and orphan ministries for awhile likely have heard James 1:27 preached; that the call to care for orphans in distress is to take on a missionary attitude. This is one reason that adoption is valuable to me now.
Another stronghold for me is acknowledging the world as a broken place in need of hope, healing, and love. When that is established in small doses now, it forecasts the day when there will be no more suffering and no more marginalization or oppression in society at all (Revelation 21: 4). In the past, I got lost in my desire to care for children and my dream of having a houseful of the world’s children by now. But, I can recognize the truth of what is real: I see the statistics of the children who need love and homes and advocates for them. I am one person, a single person yet, but I can still be involved.
Written by: Julie LaJoe