There is estimated to be 143 million orphans in the world. Right now 500,000 children are in the foster care system in the United States, 120,000 of those kids are in California. Fresno County alone has about 3,000 children in the foster care system. Social service resources are stretched thin and these children are suffering from it.
We believe that the church is the answer to this dilemma. God has given us resources that we can give to these children, families and social workers. The assistance government gives is not enough on its own; we are vital part of the solution. The church is God’s plan, there is no plan B!
You may ask the question, “Well, what can we do then?” First, we need to pray and ask God how He may want us as an individual, a family, and a church to join in caring for the orphan. Notice, I didn’t use the word “if” but “how” because when you look at the scriptures it is clear we are all called to this. James 1:27 tell us this is true religion in our Heavenly Father’s eyes.
The first option you have is obvious; these children need families! God desires for every child to be raised in a family. Psalms 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families.” Not everyone is called to foster or adopt, but some are. Is God calling you to open up your home to care for a child? A third of families in churches contemplate fostering or adoption, but only 2% of that third take action. City Without Orphans wants to educate and recruit families in churches for fostering and adoption through a one day, 3-hour workshop. Our Fostering and Adoption 101 workshop gives a basic understanding of each process and prepares families for what they may encounter along the way.
There are endless ways that people can get involved in this issue outside of foster care or adoption. This is where the whole church body can really make an impact! We desire to help every church in our city start an orphan care ministry. This will involve recruiting key leaders in these churches who we can resource and equip to care for orphans in their own unique way. This can include starting a small group to bring awareness about orphans, creating a support group for adoptive families, sponsoring an orphan overseas through a non-profit, adopting a social worker from your county and help that professional meet a child’s needs, collect duffle bags for foster children, throw a shower for an adoptive mom to-be, the list goes on and on!
These ideas and concepts are not new. All over our nation right now there is a movement of cities taking ownership of the dilemma of the orphan. They are making a huge impact through things like adopting waiting children in their county and reducing the size of group homes. What if our city and churches took on the challenge too? Will you join us?