How Can Churches Best Support Parents Who Adopt from Overseas?
Just Be the Church
The church doesn't need to do anything. That is to say, the local church most helps adoptive families when it simply pursues its unchanging calling to be what it will be in eternity: a gathering of the redeemed from every language and people, united in worship by a common identity and purpose in Christ.
Sure, churches could set up grants and seminars and support groups. But ultimately, adoptive families don't need resources that are adoption-focused as much as they need a community that is Christ-focused.
Adoption is scary. Twice now, my husband and I have heard a judge tell us, "Congratulations. He's yours." With a bureaucratic monotone and a literal rubber stamp, we were finally and completely joined to another human being. One who did not come from my womb, or even our country, and who looks nothing like us.
In the ensuing months of panic—Who is this child? Am I really his mother?—I needed my local church to do exactly what it has always done and will always do.
The church uniquely values children. The rest of the world loves them for their future potential; the church affirms the image-bearers that kids are right now.
In those frightening days following our adoptions, my church—elders, Sunday school teachers, and self-appointed surrogate grandparents—stood around me, reminding me that this kicking, hitting, spitting, screaming child (my child) has a soul that will never die and is precious to our Lord.
My family is transracial and we live in the Deep South. People on the street, in the grocery store, and at the mall frequently question my competency to raise my ethnically different children. But the church encourages me to ...