Psalm 68:5-6 says that God is Father to the fatherless and that He sets the lonely in families. As God’s adopted children, it is in our DNA to care for the fatherless as well. Doing so, according to James, constitutes religion that is accepted as pure and faultless by God.
Right now, there are more than 430,000 children in the United States foster care system. Of those, more than 125,000 are lonely and waiting to be set into permanent, loving, adoptive families.
This month, we celebrate Father’s Day. This is an important day for me, not only because I am able to honor my dad, but because it’s a day for me to reflect on the ways God has blessed me as a dad myself.
My wife Terri and I are blessed to be the parents of seven children that the Lord brought us through adoption from foster care. Adopting seven children wasn’t our original plan. Our original plan, when we thought we were in control of our lives, was to have two biological children and adopt two. Once we started adopting from foster care and saw a huge need; however, it became clear to us that God had other plans.
For nearly twelve years of our marriage, Terri and I enjoyed a relatively simple and fun life together. After moving to California, we both worked freelance in film and TV production for several years. Without kids, and with downtime between gigs, we were able to travel a fair amount around California, to the east coast, to Europe, and even to China when I had the opportunity to help write a script for a miniseries there.
All of that changed in the Summer of 2000 when we welcomed two young boys into our home. In fact, not only did our lives on the outside change, but it has changed who we are inside as well.
Being A Foster and Adoptive Dad
Being an adoptive dad has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. It has also been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The reality is that six of our seven children have traumatic pasts. They’ve brought that trauma into our home. Trauma brings challenges. We’ve met some of those challenges well, and others not so well. Through it all, though, we have seen God’s grace. And it is His grace that changes us for our good and His glory.
One of the most important things for me to remember as an adoptive dad is that it is not my job to “fix” my child. The truth is, I can’t even fix myself. It is my job, though, as their dad, to point them to the One who can fix them.
In addition to our seven children we adopted, we fostered several other children over the years. Some of those children eventually reunified with their biological families; some didn’t. In case you’re wondering, no, it’s not always easy when a child leaves your home. If you’ve considered foster care but are afraid of falling in love with a child and then losing that child, you’re not alone. It’s hard, but the reality is more kids will reunify from foster care than will be adopted. We, as followers of Jesus, are called to love, whether the child is in our home for a day or joins our family for a lifetime.
The body of Christ cannot continue to be okay with more than 125,000 kids waiting for loving families in the United States. We cannot be okay with thousands of youth aging out of foster care each year without loving families.
Father’s Day Challenge
As many of us celebrate Father’s Day this month, I want to issue a challenge to men. Consider praying with your wife (and your kids, depending on their ages) about whether God is calling your family to foster and/or adopt. Some of you might want to have a box of tissues handy because Christian women are way ahead of us on this issue, and your wife may have been praying for years that she would hear those words from your mouth.
Men, we were designed, at least in part, to provide for children and to protect children. If there are 125,000 kids going to bed tonight without a dad to love and protect and provide for them, then that is an indictment on us. I firmly believe that if Christian men took this issue as seriously as God and our wives do, there would be no children waiting for families in our nation.
If God does call your family to open your home to a child or children, and you have fears, it’s okay. Talk to other adoptive or foster dads, talk to God, talk to your pastor. Face your fears and get beyond them. Your fears cannot be the final barrier to these children having dads, having families, having homes. Children are waiting, and if God is calling your family to do this, then step to the plate and be the dad these kids need and deserve.
A Role to Play
Maybe you prayed, and you don’t believe God is calling your family to foster or adopt. That’s okay, too. It’s good and right to be sensitive to the Spirit’s call on your family. There is still a role for you to play. We’ve been blessed so much over the years by families who have come alongside us and supported us in our journey. Foster and adoptive families need others to wrap around us and help us with things like meals, tangible items, respite care, transportation, and so much more. Children need mentors, tutors, CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and more. So, if you don’t take a child into your home, please consider being a blessing to another family who does, or look for other ways to serve and love kids.
So, dads, as your family celebrates and honors you this Father’s Day, please consider taking the time to honor God, the father to the fatherless, by praying together and asking Him if He wants to set a lonely child into your family.