As the second Sunday in November approaches, we are reminded of a word used less frequently in our country today. Orphan Sunday is a special day set aside to raise awareness for children who face life without a biological parent to love and guide them. Our loving God cares deeply for these precious ones experiencing vulnerable circumstances. He has included and instructed us, His Church, to respond to their needs. Isaiah 1:17 (NIV) says, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
A lesser known definition of the word orphan is one without protective affiliation. Encourage Foster Care children have lost one or both parents as a result of death, drugs/addiction, abusive behavior, and other difficult and painful situations. We know they are not orphans as this definition reads because God is in His great wisdom created a plan so the defenseless would not be without protection. They are not alone because they have us.
There are 47 foster parents at Encourage who have said yes to opening their hearts and homes to one or more foster children. They have completed required training and prepared welcoming spaces to best care for these young lives. We are wholeheartedly grateful for their service and are committed to providing a strong support system to help them be successful.
Not everyone is called to become a foster parent, but we are all called to defend those without protection. James 1:27 (NLT) says, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress.” Here are five opportunities for you to prayerfully consider:
Become wrap-around supports
Practical assistance from the local church community can be extremely helpful (and encouraging!) to foster and adoptive families. Consider household chores and yard work, shopping or babysitting so mom and dad can go out on a date. Transport a child to weekly appointments or drop off a home-cooked meal.
Encourage’s A Friend in Fostering mentorship program is looking for enthusiastic, dedicated, caring adults to provide our youth with support through life transitions and to help instill independence, confidence and everyday life skills.
Use those skills
God has gifted each one of us with unique talents and abilities. From haircuts to orthodontics to car repair, you can use your skills to give a gift of love to a foster child, home or adoptive family.
Donate your birthday
Rather than gifts, ask your family and friends to support vulnerable kids through an established and accredited foster care organization. Gifts to Encourage Foster Care (through our parent organization Christian Children’s Home of Ohio) provide critical services that meet the unique needs of children in foster care.
Share this post
Orphan Sunday acknowledges children in need around the world. There are 20,000 children in foster care in Ohio alone. Use your social media platform to advocate on their behalf. Share this post and why it matters to you personally.
Let’s utilize November 11, 2018 as an opportunity to stand up for children in foster care. Use your voice in person or through digital outreach. Consider giving your time or financial resources to ensure that these children are protected.
Adapted from a resource on the CAFO website.
At Encourage Foster Care & Adoption we are here to support the children who have been removed from their families due to substance abuse, domestic violence and other unsafe circumstances. Intervention is often necessary for their wellbeing, and it makes our hearts full to see these vulnerable children acclimate well and begin healing with foster families.
It’s also heartwarming to hear of prevention programs for adult parents who are struggling but desire to make lasting changes to keep their families together. Here’s a news story of a pilot program in Ohio that is coming alongside biological families with strong support systems.
Foster families and their unique joys and struggles are often tucked away from mainstream media so we are excited to see this important subject come to the big screen. “Instant Family,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, will be in theaters Friday, November 16. Here’s the trailer:
Note: We have not pre-screened the film but prayerfully anticipate how God will use it to encourage discussion about the needs of foster children and prompt individuals to explore the possibility of becoming foster parents.
Will you please pray with us?