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Adoption is a gift.

However, there’s a lot of misinformation. And misinformation—even when the person sharing it is genuinely motivated—can be harmful to children in need of families. How many couples are hesitant or unwilling to adopt simply because of “something they’ve heard”?

Here are 5 common (but dangerous) myths about adoption

 

Myth #1: Most adoptees are irreparably damaged.

Adopted is not synonymous with damaged.

Children do experience trauma and hurt due to broken and bad relationships, absolutely. But these children can also find healing through loving, safe families. We can simultaneously accept that trauma is real and present while also believing wholeheartedly that God can bring beauty from ashes.

It’s important to understand that adopted children—as well as children from foster care—are not in the situation because of their behavior. They are worthy of love and hope.

God doesn’t make throw-away people, and even truly damaged children (due to painful experiences) are not outside the reaches of His care and healing.

 

Myth #2: Adopting an infant instead of an older child is selfish.

People have strong opinions about who needs to be adopted most—older children (vs. younger), children from foster care (vs. private agency), domestic children (vs. international).

But the truth is, every child needs and deserves the love of a family. 

It is a wonderful and powerful decision to adopt an older child, especially since nearly half of all children who are adopted out of foster care are under age one. Many older children desperately need the love of family. But God uniquely calls and equips families to adopt specific children, and no child is more or less deserving of a family.

 

Myth #3: Adopted children are stolen from their birth families.

Forcing adoption is horrific, illegal, and inexcusable.

Here in the U.S., great lengths are taken to ensure a birth mother knows her rights and has been given every opportunity to keep and raise her child. Internationally, the Hague Adoption Convention exists to do the same. (The Hague Convention took effect in 1995 and exists to provide safeguards that ensure inter-country adoption is done legally and is in the best interests of every child.)

Believing all adopted children are stolen actually disrespects birth mothers who have lovingly and self-sacrifically made an adoption plan.

 

Myth #4: Adopting a child would be unfair to my bio kids.

While each family is unique, and every adoption requires some adjustment, research shows that adopted and biological children in the same family typically do well, assuming parents contribute in a positive way (avoiding favoritism, demonstrating acceptance, etc.). Children often succeed at navigating complex relationships as long as they know without a doubt that they are loved. Unless they are taught otherwise, children aren’t constrained by the conflicts or controversies surrounding adoption.

What’s most unfair to bio kids is to miss out on what God has planned because of our fears or insecurities as parents. 

The greatest thing we can do for our children is love Jesus … and then love others by extension.

 

Myth #5. Adoption agencies want perfect families.

If adoption agencies worked with perfect families, no adoption agency would exist because perfect families don’t exist.

Agencies aren’t looking for perfect families; they’re looking for willing families—willing to love and nurture children in need. Home studies and social worker visits exist to establish stability and safety for the child coming home.

Believe it or not, adoption agencies want families to be successfully matched with children for adoption. Most agencies will walk—hand in hand—over the long haul to make it happen.

 

When it comes to adoption, there are many unknowns … which can easily and understandably lead to misinformation and myths. But just as Jesus called Peter to step out of the boat in Matthew 14, so God calls us to step out in faith and trust that He is leading.

When it comes to adoption, the advice for us is the same as it was for Peter:

Keep looking to Jesus.

Is God leading you to adopt?

Find More Resources

The post 5 Dangerous Myths about Adoption appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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Adoption is a gift.

However, there’s a lot of misinformation. And misinformation—even when the person sharing it is genuinely motivated—can be harmful to children in need of families. How many couples are hesitant or unwilling to adopt simply because of “something they’ve heard”?

Here are 5 common (but dangerous) myths about adoption

 

Myth #1: Most adoptees are irreparably damaged.

Adopted is not synonymous with damaged.

Children do experience trauma and hurt due to broken and bad relationships, absolutely. But these children can also find healing through loving, safe families. We can simultaneously accept that trauma is real and present while also believing wholeheartedly that God can bring beauty from ashes.

It’s important to understand that adopted children—as well as children from foster care—are not in the situation because of their behavior. They are worthy of love and hope.

God doesn’t make throw-away people, and even truly damaged children (due to painful experiences) are not outside the reaches of His care and healing.

 

Myth #2: Adopting an infant instead of an older child is selfish.

Many people have strong opinions about who needs to be adopted most—older children (vs. younger), children from foster care (vs. private agency), domestic children (vs. international).

But the truth is, every child needs and deserves the love of a family. 

It is a wonderful and powerful decision to adopt an older child, especially since nearly half of all children who are adopted out of foster care are under age one. Many older children desperately need the love of family. But God uniquely calls and equips families to adopt specific children, and no child is more or less deserving of a family.

 

Myth #3: Adopted children are stolen from their birth families.

Yes, history will show that there are children who have been stolen from their parents. This is horrific, illegal, and inexcusable.

But should it prevent children who are in need of family today from being adopted?

Here in the U.S., great lengths are taken to ensure a birth mother knows her rights and has been given every opportunity to keep and raise her child. Internationally, the Hague Adoption Convention exists to do the same. (The Hague Convention took effect in 1995 and exists to provide safeguards that ensure inter-country adoption is done legally and is in the best interests of every child.)

Believing adopted children are stolen actually disrespects birth mothers who have lovingly and self-sacrifically made an adoption plan.

 

Myth #4: Adopting a child would be unfair to my bio kids.

While each family is unique, and every adoption requires some adjustment, research shows that adopted and biological children in the same family typically do well, assuming parents contribute in a positive way (avoiding favoritism, demonstrating acceptance, etc.) Children often succeed at navigating complex relationships as long as they know without a doubt that they are loved. Unless they are taught otherwise, children aren’t constrained by the conflicts or controversies surrounding adoption.

What’s most unfair to bio kids is to miss out on the “something better” God has planned because of our fear as parents to step out in faith.

The greatest thing we can do for our children is love and obey Jesus.

 

Myth #5. Adoption agencies want perfect families.

If adoption agencies worked with perfect families, no adoption agency would exist because perfect families don’t exist.

Agencies aren’t looking for perfect families; they’re looking for willing families—willing to love and nurture children in need. Home studies and social worker visits exist to establish stability and safety for the child coming home.

Believe it or not, adoption agencies want families to be successfully matched with children for adoption, and most agencies will walk—hand in hand—over the long haul to make it happen.

 

When it comes to adoption, there are many unknowns … which can easily and understandably lead to misinformation. But just as Jesus called Peter to step out of the boat in Matthew 14, so God calls us to step out in faith and trust that He is leading.

When it comes to adoption, the advice for us is the same as it was for Peter:

Keep looking to Jesus.

Is God leading you to adopt?

Find More Resources

The post 5 Dangerous Myths about Adoption appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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Lifesong for Orphans by Lifesong For Orphans - 5d ago
In January 2013, Courtney and Trey began the adoption process, excited about the adventure God was taking them on.

They were taking a step of faith and going where God was leading. What could go wrong?

But then the delays piled up and the fees became daunting. What they thought would be a 2-year process ended up taking 5 1/2 years, and the $30,000 in fees ended up doubling.

As Courtney shares in this video, meeting Mikiyas at the gate and hearing what he said made every obstacle worth it. Take a look—

A journey of faith

Had Courtney and Trey understood at the beginning of the journey how much would happen—setbacks, delays, additional fees—they might not have had the courage to begin.

Yet, God graciously and consistently provided for every need. Courtney says, “The process was hard, but it was absolutely worth it.”

And He used people like you to support their adoption.

The love of a Father

The morning Courtney and Trey met Mikiyas, they specifically prayed that he would know the love of Abba Father through the love of his new family.  As they would later learn, the Amharic word for “father” is “Ababa.”

Not only would their son be taught the love of his Abba Father, but he would soon know the love of his new earthly Ababa.

“That is why we went—because Jesus has come for us. We were once orphans, and He adopted us.”

—Courtney

Mikiyas’ airport welcome
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Why adoption funding support matters

Just as Courtney and Trey experienced, the financial aspect of adoption can create a huge hurdle that can understandably intimidate families from taking the first step.

From the book, Becoming Home by Barna Group & Jedd Medefind:

77% of Christians believe that Christians have at least “some responsibility” to adopt.  Additionally, 73% of Americans—including people who would not identify as followers of Jesus—say that it’s is a good thing for Christians to focus on adoption and foster care.

So it may come as a surprise that only 38% of practicing Christians have seriously considered adoption, and only 5% have actually adopted. Why so few? There are many contributing factors. But the number one reason families give for not adopting is, “It’s too expensive.”

We believe God intended all children to grow up in a safe and loving Christian home, and we believe finances should never be the reason a child doesn’t have a family

Mikiyas and his sisters .
Your part in Mikiyas’ story

You can help bring children home.

Each person who gave to help Courtney and Trey played a critical role in Mikiyas’ adoption story.

In Courtney’s words—

Lifesong came at just the right time. We had just found out that our placing agency went bankrupt and we were going to have to pay a very large transfer fee to a new agency. You came alongside us and encouraged us to not grow weary, to endure the hard, and to trust that God already had a plan in place. You provided a matching grant for our family when we needed it the most.

Whether you adopt or you give to support adoption, you can give the gift of family.

Mikiyas is home because of God’s incredible faithfulness and goodness that He showed us through so many people. Thank you for choosing to be a voice for the fatherless! —Courtney

Is God leading you to start the adoption process? Do you know an adopting family that needs some help and encouragement? Together, let’s help more families pursue adoption and more children become sons and daughters.

Help Orphans Become Sons and Daughters.

Make Adoptions Possible

The post You Can Help a Family Adopt appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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God has built amazing things in Zambia! And with your support, the work continues.

Here’s a recent update from our team–

Building Kingdom Men

In early July, 74 young men from our Student Life program gathered for a weekend-long men’s retreat. The theme–Kingdom Men–focused on breaking away from Satan’s lies in the culture around them. Using Dr. Tony Evans’ book No More Excuses as the weekend’s foundation, various talks covered areas like alcohol, drugs, pornography, and respecting women.

The topic was extremely relevant. In the nearby compound (a local village known for its violence and crime), Satan’s lies run rampant, and many of these young men are taught only that version of manliness. Having witnessed most of the behaviors they addressed, the talks hit close to home.

Many young men opened up spiritually, and–praise God–three eighth-grade boys were saved!

Ministry leader Brent Baker praying over the young men. A panel of men took questions about anything and everything for over an hour-and-a-half. The young men were eager to learn. Building Job Skills

The vocational training program is moving along well! Highly qualified teachers instruct in the areas of agriculture, auto mechanics/engineering, and hospitality/food production. There are three students enrolled in the auto mechanics program, where they hope to earn a lead mechanic certificate. Many others participate in other areas of the program.

This vocational training is incredibly valuable to youth in Zambia. Not only does it equip them with useful skills, but it connects them to potential employers, giving them bright hope for their futures.

Students in the auto mechanic program learn in a high-quality facility. Vocational students also have the option of learning agriculture. Building Partnerships: Zambia x Ukraine

Leaders from Lifesong Ukraine recently spent two weeks in Zambia to help bolster the farm by teaching farm management and new techniques. These Ukrainian farm leaders and orphan graduates have learned successful farming practices–like hydroponics–and have shown ongoing support to the project in Zambia by sharing their knowledge and skills.

The advanced hydroponics system (a process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil) is up and running. This system simplifies and takes most of the guesswork out of the entire process.

The two teams planted all the strawberries and raspberries by the end of the trip, totaling 2 acres of strawberries and a half-acre of raspberries. Each week, the team harvests 1,000 lbs. of produce, and that number increases 5-10% each week! Praise God for connecting these two teams–separated by over 4,000 miles and an ocean–by His mission and purpose.

Our Ukrainian leaders with Zambian staff. The hydroponics system uses coconut husks rather than soil. Each plant grows in the husks, located in white planters (pictured). Would you pray for our ministry in Zambia?
  • Pray for the men who attended the Student Life retreat. Pray that they wouldn’t forget or push aside the messages learned, but would let them impact their lives.
  • Ask God to be with the students in the vocational program, that the skills they learn would impact their lives and pave the way for their future.
  • Pray for the farming operations to prosper this summer, providing more jobs to our graduates and caregivers and profits to fund the ministry.
Change the life of one child in Zambia.

Sponsor a child

The post God Keeps Building His Ministry in Zambia! appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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According to the Adoption Network, 60 to 70 percent of domestic adoptions today are open.

Open adoptions allow biological parents to participate in choosing their child’s adoptive parents and gives them the opportunity to stay in contact with their child post-adoption. The relationship between biological and adoptive parents can differ greatly depending on the family and the arrangement, and for some families, this relationship can be one of the biggest blessings.

One of our families recently shared their experience–

We became a “waiting family” in June of 2018.

Our profile was shown to a number of birth parents, but not chosen. We even met a birth mother who ultimately decided a different family should parent her child. But at the end of 2018, the Lord connected our agency with a mom who was weighing the options for her pregnancy.

The agency ministered to her, presented her with alternatives, and started a loving process of walking with her through her pregnancy. In January of 2019, this mother chose our family to parent her baby girl who would be born in May.

We could not believe the news when our agency called!

Because we were matched with this mother several months ahead of time, we had the opportunity to meet with her birth mom several times. We got to hear her hopes and dreams for lucy, as well as for her own life.

Lucy’s adoptive parents with her birth mother. Welcoming Lucy

The Lord went before us throughout this whole experience as we navigated this new relationship.

During Lucy’s birth, our relationship deepened as we spent time with her birth mom in the hospital. My wife experienced being in the room during her birth, and as a family, we had multiple chances to encourage and love on her birth mom during Lucy’s NICU stay.

During Lucy’s NICU stay, my wife and I stayed in Lucy’s room while her birth mother recovered in the maternity wing. When Lucy’s birth mother came to see her, we spent nearly three hours listening to her share about her family, her life, and her desires for her future. We are so thankful for this sweet time with her.

And we are so excited to see how this relationship continues to develop in our lives and in Lucy’s life.

What a blessing Lifesong was to our adoption journey. The cost of adoption is so high, but you were our partner alongside us. The matching grant and support received from other friends drastically reduced the financial hurdle of our adoption. It encouraged our hearts so much during our adoption journey.

Walking with birth mothers through their journey can be as important and impactful as raising a child via adoption. Thank you for loving Lucy’s birth mom and honoring her decision to make an adoption plan. We are excited to see what God continues to do in your family.

Pursuing Adoption?

Lifesong partners with thousands of families to help bring children like Lucy home. Through fundraising tools, matching grants, and interest-free loans, we seek to bridge the gap in adoption fundraising.

Find Out More

The post A Birth Mother’s Hopes appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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Foster parenting is good, but hard.

Foster parenting as a single parent can be even harder, but it can also be very good.

Earlier this year, Jillian Kellenberger—a fellow teammate at The Forgotten Initiative, Lifesong’s foster care ministry—stepped out in faith and became a single foster parent. Here’s what she recently shared with us about the journey.

Living the single life can be so freeing.

Many of my married friends like to tell me how I need to enjoy this season—being able to do what I want at the drop of a hat, when I want to do it, without talking through it with someone else.

And honestly, I’ve loved where God has me.

That said, in many ways, I feel like marriage naturally starts preparing you for parenthood. Living life with a spouse gives you the opportunity to live life with someone else and have someone else rely on you and need you. Being single, I’ve never had that before fostering. One day it was FREEDOM, and the next … a tiny human needed me 100% of the time.

What? So this is what it feels like to be needed so much.

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Where the rubber meets the road

When she wakes in the middle of the night, I’m the only one to go to her and comfort her. I’m the one losing sleep.

You may think that sounds super selfish. Oh friend, it is. I’m not one to give up sleep easily, which makes this journey of single foster parenting even harder. Losing sleep alone is lonely. Really, this entire journey of single foster parenting can be lonely.

While I have so many super, amazing people supporting me through this journey, I do miss having a co-parent to partner with in the breakdowns, in the disregulation, and to also help me regulate myself in the middle of the chaos.

Yet, in some ways being a single parent has helped me better relate to my daughter’s mom. I get a glimpse into what it’s like for her to parent alone, and I can imagine how I would feel if I didn’t have much support.

As a single parent, I’ve had Jesus shared into my life since birth, and that makes such a difference. He is always with me.

Jillian with her niece and nephew .
What’s the difference between single parenting and single FOSTER parenting?

While I am a single parent, I do have a handful of people I can call on and they gladly care and love on my daughter. But, even when calling on them, I feel guilty, like I’m interrupting their life. These feelings come especially when I need to ask the same person more than once a month. As a 2 on the Enneagram—The Helper—asking for help myself is beyond out of my comfort zone, super odd.

Thankfully, the men in my life have stepped up and helped care for my foster daughter like the princess she is. Having good, godly men in her life is so important. These men have spoken truth and love into her life, shown her how cherished she is and how a man should respect and love her well.

My brother-in-law has, specifically, been the most influential in this because my daughter and I do day-to-day life with my sister’s family. He has loved on her as his own, challenged her with his “dad voice” when necessary, and stepped in to support me when I just need a break. It can be confusing at times when she hears my niece and nephew call him “Daddy” and she starts doing that, and we have to try to explain to a two-year-old that he is her uncle, not her daddy. But I’d rather her understand what a godly fatherly love is then never experience a father’s love at all.

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Hard but good

This journey is hard. But hard doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

As a single foster parent, I know one day I’ll go from being “Mama,” with my arms full, to the next day I’ll be just another ordinary single girl, arms empty, when she returns home. What will my purpose be then?

It’s worth it. And let’s face it, foster parenting as a couple is also hard. I don’t believe being married makes this journey any easier, it’s just different.

It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I know it’s also the hardest thing many other single and married people have ever done. This journey has led me to feelings and thoughts I never thought possible—I’ve seen the ugliest part of myself. But in that—I’ve seen so much grace, beauty and love from the Lord.

So why foster?

Why choose to live a crazy hard life? Because this is the life Jesus has demonstrated for us. We don’t have the option to lay down our life for someone else—God has commanded us to do this, it’s the Gospel. There is no way around that.

It’s in the midst of our hardest seasons, we see Jesus more clearly because He is our only Hope in the fire. It’s in this, that I’m reminded I am not defined by the roles of “single,” “married,” “foster parent,” “single foster parent,” or “married foster parent,” but I’m defined as a child of God and that is the most important role that helps us all succeed in the rest of our roles.

God is always present to speak truth from His Word to my weary soul. One verse He’s given me is Jeremiah 29:11—

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God’s definition of “good” isn’t always the same as mine, but He is always good, and I must trust in that no matter what.

Want more? Subscribe to any of these 6 adoption, foster, & orphan care podcasts.

See the list.

The post Life as a Single Foster Mom appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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Lifesong for Orphans by Lifesong For Orphans - 2w ago

Thank you for giving and praying for orphaned and vulnerable kids in Ukraine. Recently, our team in Ukraine shared this exciting story–

Denys’ Story

Denys never met his father and lived with his mom who was an alcoholic. When Denys was 9 years old, his mom couldn’t provide for him anymore, and Denys was taken to the orphanage.

Change like this is always difficult for a child. Their world is collapsing, and they feel abandoned.

No love, no compassion, no one to tell you “goodnight” and “I love you” before going to sleep.

It is at this very point that God steps in as a protective Parent for the orphaned child, showing him His love and care in a very special and personal way.
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In Denys’ words—

“In 2008 I met the Lifesong team when I was 14 years old. By that time, I had already been at the orphanage for 5 years and had gotten used to everything there, except the emptiness in my heart.

I remember one day a group of volunteers from Kharkiv visited our orphanage to do some fun activities, and since I had nothing to do, I joined them. Truthfully, I had no interest in the activities, but there was something about the people that attracted me to them so much!

When I talked to them, it seemed like I had known them all my life. Our conversation was easy. Later, I found out that they believed in Jesus Christ. I kept spending time with them, and I enjoyed it!

One of the team members, Egor, became my mentor. He was like an older brother to me. He told me a lot about Jesus and His love for me. The following 3 years at the orphanage felt like 3 days.

After my graduation from the orphanage in 2011, the team suggested that I live in a Lifesong transition home, and I agreed without a doubt. Several months later, I trusted Christ as my Savior and was baptized in 2012!

I am now a volunteer for Lifesong Ukraine because I know there are so many boys like me at the orphanage who need Jesus.

Recently, God called me to go to Zambia to help build a Lifesong farm there. For me, it is a great privilege to use my skills to help build His ministry here on earth until the day when God calls me HOME.”

We know this is not the end of Denys’ story. In fact, it may be just a warm-up for what God has planned for the future. But we praise God for what He does—through you—to help make orphans sons & daughters.

All glory belongs to God!

. Support orphaned and vulnerable children—like Denys—in Ukraine.

Give Today!  

The post See What God Is Doing in Ukraine appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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On the hunt for a new podcast? Look no further.

If you’re interested in foster, adoption, or orphan care, these 6 podcasts are for you–

1. The Forgotten Podcast

Who’s the Host: Jami Kaeb, founder of  The Forgotten Initiative, Lifesong’s foster care ministry

What It’s About: Simply put, this podcast exists to meet listeners right where they are in their foster care journey. The Forgotten Podcast features foster and adoptive parents, former foster youth, social workers, pastors… really anyone with valuable experiences to share with listeners. 

Why You Should Listen: The Forgotten Podcast gives you insight and practical tips from real people who are “in the trenches” of foster care and adoption. Listeners are sure to walk away educated and encouraged.

Find The Forgotten Podcast episodes here. 2. Foster Movement

Who’s the Host: Jason Weber and Diego Fuller of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO)

What It’s About: This podcast provides powerful insights and practical tools to help listeners come alongside kids and families in foster care. Featuring former foster youth and national leaders in foster care advocacy, this podcast is sure to broaden your view of foster care and open your eyes to ways you can serve.

Why You Should Listen: Whether you’re a foster parent, adoptive parent, or just interested in the foster care system, this podcast is for you. Nearly every episode features an individual who was actually in foster care. This offers insight and perspective that we don’t get from just looking at statistics.

Find Foster Movement episodes here. 3. The Fund Your Adoption Podcast

Who’s the Host: Jeremy Resmer from Fund Your Adoption

What It’s About: This podcast exists to educate and inspire families to overcome the financial barriers of adoption. 

Why You Should Listen: If you’re adopting or know someone who is, then you know that fundraising is a crucial part of the process. This podcast freely shares resources, success stories, and useful financial information to help families–like yours–overcome those barriers.

Find The Fund Your Adoption Podcast episodes here. 4. The Honestly Adoption Podcast

Who’s the Host: Mike and Kristin Berry from Confessions of an Adoptive Parent

What It’s About: The Honestly Adoption Podcast is dedicated to being a real voice, bringing real hope to parents on the foster and adoptive journey.

Why You Should Listen: Mike and Kristin have tons of first-hand experience with both adoption and foster care. In their nearly 20-year marriage, they have adopted eight children and fostered 23 children! Their stories, advice, and insight are useful to any listener, no matter where they’re at on their adoption/foster care journey.

Find The Honestly Adoption Podcast episodes here. 5. Justice and the Inner Life

Who’s the Host: Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO)

What It’s About: Justice and the Inner Life helps listeners discover the habits and disciplines of spiritual life that keep them steadfast and vibrant in the long, hard work of justice and mercy. Featuring notable guests like Francis Chan and John Eldridge, listeners will hear from men and women who are familiar with the fight for justice. 

Why You Should Listen: God calls us to love and serve even without promised results. This podcast is about learning from followers of Jesus who have survived and thrived in the long journey of justice and mercy. Through their testimonies, you’ll learn how you can be filled up as you pour out.

Find Justice and the Inner Life episodes here. 6. Think Orphan

Who’s the Host: Rick Morton (Co-author of Orphanology) and Philip Darke (President of Providence World and Co-author of In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence)

What It’s About: This weekly podcast discusses difficult issues and hot topics involving the global orphan crisis. Hosts Rick Morton and Philip Darke are often joined by leading voices from around the world, like Russel Moore and Jedd Medefind.

Why You Should Listen: The global orphan crisis isn’t just happening in far-off countries–it’s affecting our communities and our homes. Whether or not you personally feel its impacts, the orphan crisis isn’t something we–as believers–can turn a blind eye to. This podcast is a practical way to increase your awareness, and in turn, increase your love for the fatherless.

Find Think Orphan episodes here. Adopting?

Find More Resources

The post 6 Podcasts About Adoption, Foster, & Orphan Care appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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Every day, an estimated 5,700 children become orphaned around the world.

According to UNICEF, this happens because of war, natural disaster, poverty, disease, stigma, and medical need.

Here in the United States—while we don’t have traditional orphanages—the number of children in foster care continues to increase. In 2012, 397,000 children were in care; today that number has climbed to 443,000.

In total, the number of children who are orphaned around the world or living in foster care in the United States could fill over 180 Super Bowl Stadiums.

Too many children are suffering without the love of a family to call their own.

From the book, Becoming Home by Barna Group & Jedd Medefind:

“Beyond the numbers are very real situations of individual children, which vary tremendously. Each situation is unique and complex. But we can be sure of one thing: Orphans are the most vulnerable people on our planet.”

So who should meet this need? Is America the answer to the orphan crisis?

Every 2 minutes, a child in the U.S. enters foster care. America and Adoption

America has long held the record for adopting more children than any other country.

“The United States, with more than 127,000 adoptions per year, accounts for nearly half of the total number of adoptions worldwide. Meaning a mere 2% of the American population is carrying a huge weight of the global responsibility for adopting children without parents.” —Becoming Home

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, at least 1 out of every 25 families has adopted. And in recent years, there has been an increased effort to adopt waiting children from foster care.

Praise God!

In His great mercy, God continues to shed His grace on us. One way we honor Him is by caring for the children who are close to His heart.

But even as America continues to lead the way statistically, there’s been an unfortunate downward trend in recent years. And researchers predict fewer families will adopt as time goes on. Issues like increased adoption fees, stricter regulations, closed international programs, and smaller family size mean fewer American families are willing or able to adopt … even as the number of children in need continues to grow.

So while we give thanks to God for a country that largely accepts and welcomes adoption, we know that America cannot be the answer to the orphan crisis.

So who is?
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The Answer

There is only one group of people who have been clearly commanded and uniquely qualified to care for fatherless children, and that is the Church—the body of Christ around the world.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).

Caring for children in need must be more than just an American priority—it must be the priority of every church.

It must be part of the DNA of the family of God. Jedd Medefind, president of Christian Alliance for Orphans, rightly described caring for orphans as “the Gospel embodied.”

“More than any other community, practicing Christians have engaged adoption and foster care. It’s an encouraging prospect, and yet there is much unfinished work” —Becoming Home

Government-funded programs and initiatives can be a great gift, but there is no substitute for family. God hardwired human beings to need and thrive on personal connection and belonging. And the Church is family, comprised of families who should stand with arms wide open to children in need—regardless of how many financial or regulatory obstacles stand in our way.

And while adoption is one solution to the orphan crisis, it isn’t the only solution. The Church can and should participate in foster care, Safe Families, increased advocacy opportunities, and family preservation efforts. There are many ways your church can reach orphans.

No one cared for people in need like Jesus did, and now He calls us to do the same.

In the U.S. and around the world, we—the Church—get to love because He first loved us.

Further reading: Who Is the Orphan in America?

Many churches want to get involved but don’t know where to start. We’re here to help.

Learn More

The post Is America the Answer to the Orphan Crisis? appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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I have been a licensed social worker practicing in international adoptions for over 6 years now, and I must confess that I absolutely LOVE paperwork!

However, I recognize that I am probably in the minority.

I tell families that the beginning of the adoption process might feel like you are trying to sip from a fire hydrant. You know that you need to ask questions, but you don’t even know where to start or what questions to even ask.

Adoption is a beautiful mess; it is ok to feel that way.
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Here at Lifesong, we believe every child deserves the love of a family. Learn more: lifesong.org/adoption

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In an effort to normalize the adoption paperwork, and prayerfully help families understand why it is necessary, I want to explore what many call the “adoption paper chase” and what exactly that means.

I will start with a question that I hear almost every day: What is a home study?

Thankfully, there are more and more people being exposed to adoption. But I believe there are still a lot of questions and misconceptions floating around about the home study.

Why does it take so long?
Why are you asking so many personal questions about our lives?
Should our pasts really matter that much?
Are you going to bring white gloves and check for dust?
Will you look in our closets and laundry room?
Are we going to be approved?

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Home Study 101

Well, a home study is so much more than looking through every room in your home and giving you loads of paperwork to do. We really look at the home study as a time of preparation for post adoption, once the child is actually in your home. When it comes to international adoption, the children we see coming home are coming from a background of trauma and are bringing all of those challenges with them.

These children have likely been abandoned and forced to live in an orphanage, with no real idea of what a family is, certainly not a healthy family. They may sleep in a crib most of the day with only two nannies caring for dozens of children. These nannies likely come and go and may not provide any care at night, leaving room for many inconsistencies and developmental delays. Whenever a child is institutionalized, they are likely exposed to all types of abuse and may never know when they will have their next meal
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Here at Lifesong, we guide families—like the Wykoffs (pictured here)—through the fundraising process, removing financial barriers to adoption. Learn more: lifesong.org/adoption .
The Necessity of Education

In light of this (and so much more trauma I could mention), as an adoptive parent, it is imperative to know where your child began. During the home study, parents complete different pieces of education to prepare them for this. When it comes to adoption there are so many unknowns; it is always wise to prepare for the worst, but hope and pray for the best.

Therefore, instead of looking at education as just a requirement to check off the list, I encourage you to look at it as a necessity! We need this! Though we cannot predict everything that may arise post adoption, we can predict that this child will likely turn your lives upside down. Praise the Lord He has sustained those who have gone before us and has provided them with the knowledge they have to share.

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The Reason for Interviews

Another component of the home study is actually meeting with your social worker for a series of interviews, and talking about YOU! So … what about you? Why does your past matter; how is it relevant? What does your marriage have to do with adoption? We all have challenges in life; there is no way to avoid them.

(If you have not been through something tough, please come talk to me!)

We know that adoption can be difficult. If you’ve experienced difficulty, and processed through it well, your social worker wants to know.

If you still have some open wounds or challenges to work through, that’s ok! The time to work through this is BEFORE you bring your child home. If not, your child’s trauma will highlight your own, therefore leaving a lot of room for disappointment, and not providing a healthy environment for both YOU and your CHILD.

Adoption should be for healthy families knowing they will adopt a child who comes from brokenness. Not broken families looking to fill a void by adopting a healthy child.

This may involve putting your adoption process on hold in order to spend time in counselling. Many families start the home study, and with the help of their social worker, realize that they have “stuff” to work through before moving forward. It is our goal to set you, as the adoptive parents, up for success. We would be doing families a disservice if we did not address challenges that need further attention.
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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

To read stories of God’s faithfulness to adopting families, start here: lifesong.org/2019/06/it-was-instant-love/ .
The Importance of Relationship

Lastly, maintaining an open relationship with your social worker is key!

No relationship is perfect, no childhood is perfect, no marriage is perfect, and no family is perfect. It is imperative to have full disclosure with your social worker in order for them to best care for you. In addition, the adoption process is like a game of dominos. When it comes to paperwork, everything builds on itself! If you happen to “forget” about a past arrest, certain medication you are taking, or even something as simple as a legal name change, it can be difficult to backtrack and do things the right way. We are not coming from a place of judgment, but a place of discernment!

Ultimately, we see the homestudy process as so much more than just the “adoption paper chase.” We are beyond grateful for families who step out in faith and move forward with adoption because the need is there and it is very real. We want to do all we can to make the process as beneficial as possible. Not only for you as the adoptive parents, but also the child coming into your home.

This all begins with the home study!

So I encourage you to keep an open mind, be vulnerable, ask for help, and show yourself grace. God uses this process to grow and change your heart—and your child’s heart—for the glory of His name.

Let Him do so!

Are adoption finances standing in your way?

We can help you overcome the financial barriers of adoption through adoption matching grants and fundraising tools.

Learn More

Emily graduated from Auburn University in May 2011 with a Bachelors degree in Social Work. She returned home to Birmingham and had the privilege of joining Lifeline, serving families as a part of the China team since December 2012. Emily has always had a heart for vulnerable children and the Lord has expanded her view where she has grown to love the adoption process. She knew Lifeline would be the place for her to spread the Gospel to a population who desperately needs to be reached, both physically and spiritually. She feels incredibly grateful and humbled to have spent time in different orphanages in China as a part of Lifeline’s ministry. Emily knows that the Lord brought her to Lifeline to serve as His adopted child and is excited to fulfill His purpose for her life.

The post What Is a Home Study? appeared first on Lifesong for Orphans.

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