Three Shifts Any Church Can Make Right Now To Prioritize Adoption

April 25, 2018 0 Comments

I know many of us are part of great churches. In an ideal world, you probably feel supported and loved all the way through the process and post-placement. If you find yourself in one of these churches, your pastor has probably talked from stage on a regular basis about the value of adoption. They know how integral it is when it comes to faithfully communicating and carrying out the gospel.

If you find yourself in a church like this, I hope you know how blessed you are.

If you’re not in a church like this it can be hard to feel like you’re in the right place. Don’t jump ship just yet. If you have a leader who is sympathetic to the need, you have an advocate. Even a lay leader often has significant influence to inspire new strategies. Often people don’t know what they don’t know and unless you say something to someone with an ear to listen, things stay the same.

With that in mind, here are three shifts in perspective any church can make that will have huge payoffs down the road when it comes to creating a culture of orphancare and making space for families who adopt.

1. Accommodate vs. Prepare

This is semantics, I know but it makes a massive difference.

Imagine you’re hosting a dinner. You’ve planned for ten people and as the guests begin to arrive you realize one of your guests has brought a plus one you weren’t planning on. You have two choices, you can either send them home or find an extra chair and place setting. I’m pretty sure you’d just find a chair and make it work. This is a good thing but how does that extra guest feel? Likely they feel a little embarrassed and like they’re in a place where they don’t belong. Imagine the difference it would make if you had already planned for an extra 10-20%.

In our churches, accommodating a guest seems polite, but what it actually communicates is, “We’re not prepared.” What hurts even worse is when a church has regular families who may have unique needs and the church continues to shuffle to try and accommodate. Preparation says, “We can’t wait for you to be here. We’re ready to help meet your needs.”

This subtle shift will pay itself back exponentially. Do it.

2. Systemization vs. Personalization

When things grow (especially organizations like a church), streamlining processes makes sense to help increase efficiency. But that doesn’t always work when it comes to families who don’t fit the systemized processes your team has put in place. Probably greater than 90% of the family situations in your church fit comfortably inside the systemization. But for the minority that desperately want to call your church their home, systemization needs to take a back seat to personalization.

Pastors have a shepherd’s heart. This is actually why they agreed to systemize things in the first place; it helps them care more efficiently for more people. And while there may be some push back (“We don’t do things this way,” or “Our policy is…”), a sensitive pastor or lay leader will have the intuition to slow down and listen and figure out a personalized solution, even if it means making exceptions to systemized processes to supply you with the care you need.

This is not usually a one-and-done conversation. It may take months of conversations. Remember, you’re probably not talking with someone who has adopted. They don’t know what they don’t know. You may have to teach them. Be vulnerable with them. Do your best to be gracious and see if God will open a door for you.

3. Go Find Them vs. Come to Us

There are 170,000 people in my city. The church I serve has about 1000 seats. Most Sundays there are extra seats which prompts a conversation about how to get people to fill those seats. The thing we always come back to is, people will not come until they know they can trust us. And they won’t know they can trust us unless they see us in community caring for them, no strings attached.

If we want to practice the purest form of Christianity, we really need to kill our capitalistic view of evangelism and take care of the vulnerable and the marginalized. If evangelism only looks like a preacher on Sunday then we represent Christ incompletely to families who’ve been left to the wolves.

Every year 2.4 million children are added to a family through typical methods, while approximately 140,000 find family through adoption. This means adoptive families make up at best only 6% of families in America. That’s one family in every sixteen. But for those six percent, these shifts can mean the difference between finding security and support in a faith community or making the decision that church is irrelevant to their needs, choosing to stay home on Sunday because the church experience has taught them that it’s just not worth the effort.

The beautiful thing about these three shifts is they cost no money and they don’t require additional staff. They don’t even have to come from a senior pastor. It’s great if it does, but any lay leader or volunteer with the right amount of gumption and finesse can lead these changes successfully.

Just remind yourself, it takes time, patience, grace, and copious attempts at mutual understanding. It can be painful at times, but as we’ve learned about life, painful things often turn in to beautiful things.

Don’t give up!


Find My Family: Marianne

April 22, 2018 0 Comments

Marianne is a beautiful little girl, born in February of 2011. In September of 2016, Marianne joined the Sapling Growth Care Project funded by Beijing Chunmiao Save the Children Foundation. She is currently living with a foster family through this organization and, at the time her file was prepared, was studying in their kindergarten class as well.

Marianne is described as cheerful and confident. She has a good relationship with other children and many close friends. During holidays and vacations, Marianne participates in many activities, such as a spring tour, a visit to an art exhibition, fruit picking field trip, etc.

Marianne has been diagnosed with cloaca malformation (post-op), anorectal fistula coax fistula (post-op), no right side kidney/left solitary kidney, and syndactyly of the fourth toe on the left foot. She can walk and run by herself. Her toe condition has no influence on her motor development. She needs to wear loose and comfortable shoes, otherwise her toes will get stuck.

Marianne received surgery for imperforate anus in March of 2011 and then a cystoscopy on April of 2014. She received many more surgeries between June of 2014 and August 2014. Upon returning to the orphanage in August of 2014, Marianne started umbilical catheterization, once a day. She had another procedure in April of 2016. After that surgery, she was catheterized 3 times each day.

Marianne wakes up at 6:00, eats breakfast at 6:30, has catheterization at 7:00, goes to school by school bus at 8:00, has lunch at 11:45, has catheterization at 12:00, goes home from school at 16:00, has dinner at 18:00, catheterization at 19:00, and goes to bed at 20:30. Marianne is a slower eater, but she likes lamb, beef, celery like vegetables, mango, strawberries, watermelon, and other fruits.

Due to everything she has been through, it is important that she drink plenty of water every day. At the time her file was prepared, Marianne was going through bowel training, going 3-4 times a day. She occasionally needs help, but handles much of her personal care independently. Marianne takes medication daily.

Marianne is a sweet, smart, happy, cheerful, and adorable little girl who is going to do so well in a family!

Do you have room in your home and heart for this precious little girl?

Marianne is newly listed with Madison Adoption Associates. There is a $500 agency grant for Marianne’s adoption with Madison Adoption Associates. Other grants may be available based on the adoptive family’s circumstances. Agency grants are awarded as agency fee reductions. MAA also partners with the Brittany’s Hope Foundation for matching grants, which are given out twice a year January and July) and to families that are officially matched with a child.

Marianne needs a family with an approved home study to be able to hold her file or move forward with adopting her. If you have an approved home study or a home study in process and are interested in adopting Marianne, please fill out a free PAP Waiting Child Review Form.

Waiting Child: Butterfly Zoe

April 20, 2018 0 Comments

Meet precious Zoe who is listed with Small World Adoptions!

Zoe is a shy five year old little girl, her special need is listed as Epidermolysis Bullosa. Zoe is a beautiful little girl who needs a family to love her and help her get the medical care that she needs. She can speak in simple sentences, sing and dance while following the teachers and is described as being good at “play alone.” This little butterfly needs to fly!

Watch her precious video here.

If you would like more information on Zoe please email Small World Adoptions.

Meeting Our Girl With Special Eyes: Part 1

April 19, 2018 0 Comments

Lydia is our first adopted child. She is our first girl, and we had never before parented a seven year old. We didn’t have any experience working with visually impaired or even special needs children. We never dreamed we would have a child who was blind. But our hearts changed after learning about this precious, …Read More

Waiting for You: Georgie!

April 18, 2018 0 Comments

Georgie (Born July 2014) is a very talkative little man! He studies carefully and can recognize and name dozens of animals, transportation tools, and musical instruments. He also knows the parts of the body and several colors. Caregivers say he is a smart boy, and a good little helper. Georgie is listed with WACAP! Georgie …Read More

Meet Francis!

April 16, 2018 0 Comments

Francis is a handsome little boy, born in October of 2011, who is described as all smiles and easygoing. Francis joined a foster family in June of 2014 and he has done very well under their care. He is a talkative little boy who can answer questions well. He knows how to count, sort objects …Read More

“Will Adoption Be Good For My Kids?”

April 15, 2018 1 Comments

As I type, I’m sitting still in a sun puddle, watching my 12 year old take Abe’s blood pressure because we are at nearly 10,000 feet elevation on a ski vacation and his heart is faltering as it is, even without the elevation change putting undue stress on his valves. And this is a monitoring …Read More

Find My Family: Dayton

April 13, 2018 0 Comments

Dayton is a dashing little boy, born in March of 2014, who is described by his caretakers as smart, talkative, smiley, and adorable! Dayton can stand up, sit down, and walk in his crib by holding onto the crib railings. Dayton loves playing toy cars and piling blocks up high. He can turn the pages …Read More

Meet Elinor: The Little Helper

April 12, 2018 0 Comments

Sweet Elinor, born in April of 2014 with Down syndrome and esotropia, enjoys caring for the younger babies by folding towels and by taking their bottles to the sink, one by one. She will also take a tissue and wipe their mouths, all on her own initiative. Elinor’s caretakers say she is cheerful, active, curious, …Read More

Just What We Needed: Parenting a Child with Hypotonia

April 11, 2018 0 Comments

When we were matched with Hailey, she was 6 months old, and we were blessed to call her our daughter! We waited over 18 months to see this sweet girl’s face, and could not believe the day was finally here. With her referral information, we were given the results of a CT scan, which showed …Read More

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