How the Church Can Support Foster Care and Adoption (And Not Vice Versa)
December 25, 2022 by Sarah Earles, Clinical Supervisor/Child & Family Therapist
Foster care and adoption—they are what the church is supposed to do, right? The Bible states that, “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” (English Standard Version, 2016, James 1:27). Yes, and … yes, the church should support foster care AND foster care and adoption are not meant to support the church.
The church should engage in foster care and adoption because foster care and adoption demonstrate the gospel. Foster care and adoption show how God takes sinful, struggling humans, becomes their Father, offers his Son as a sacrifice for their sins, and gives them His Spirit to redeem their lives (Rom 8:15). Foster care is a church work because it helps fulfill the Great Commission to proclaim the gospel throughout the world (Got Questions, n.d.). It is also a biblically commanded ministry to those in need. Literally, it takes a village to meet all the needs of a child who has gone years, if not decades, without needs getting met. As Bethany Christian Services says, “Not everyone can be a foster parent or that adoptive parent, but we all have something we can offer” (Offutt, n.d.). The church is a village of Christ-following like-minded people who can, together, be equipped to take on the hard work of foster care and adoption.
Foster care and adoption are not for the church, though. They are not “good works” designed to show off how godly a church is or how godly a family is. Jesus commands against showing off good works in Matthew 6:3, stating, “but when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (English Standard Version, 2016). Foster care and adoption are about faithfulness, not flashiness.
Churches should support foster care and adoption as part of their commitment to biblical living. Foster care and adoption should be celebrated, as should all forms of faithfulness. Foster care and adoption portray the image of God, and that is beautiful. Foster care and adoption should not be a show for man, though. They are about showing love to kids for the kids’ sake and for God’s sake. Doing so keeps these vital forms of support for children undefiled by the world’s opinions, for God’s glory above all else.
English Standard Version Bible. (2016). Bible Gateway.
Got Questions. (n.d.). What is the purpose of the church?
Offutt, K. (n.d.). The church could give every US waiting child a home. Bethany Christian Services.