On The Grid: Tier 2 – AdoptionRich Stigall
In last month’s On The Grid, we considered the often overlooked opportunities to assist those children and families in the child welfare system. This month’s analysis of The Grid continues this conversation but focuses specifically on adoption.
For many children in the foster care system, the original placement will not result in the place of permanency. Permanency can take many forms, including reunification, kinship placement, legal guardianship, alternative living arrangements, and adoption. This need for adoption signals a difficult reality: the biological connection has been severed. There is not a path forward for reunification. It is a sad state for the child.
Yet, hope abounds! There are people who long to provide not just a home but a family, and this beautiful declaration of family mirrors our relation with God. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. [Galatians 4:6-7]
For those children lingering in the foster care system and waiting for adoption, there is still a need. These children need advocates who will walk with them through the court hearings and the potentially multiple placements. They are in need of those of will help them in their studies as they wait for a permanent placement. They are in need of encouragement and mentorship and consistent voices of hope.
The adoptive families are in need, too! Any addition to the family poses significant adjustments, and a child emerging from the world of family collapse will have unique needs. There are new demands on time and resources, and families need what I am calling adoption partners to assist in the endeavor. Certainly, single families have assumed the entire burden of adjustment, but why does it have to be that way? What if members of the church provided a meal a week for the family during a time of transition? Helped to identify tutoring resources? Provided reduced rate babysitting services so the parents could recharge on a Friday evening? Committed to pray for the family?
Paul’s epistle to the church at Corinth seems particularly relevant. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with the Christ. [1 Corinthians 12:12] The body doesn’t function properly unless all of its members are working together.
Tier 2 – Adoption reflects that there is a relational opportunity for every single member of the church. If this box on the grid had to be given a name, it would be called Adoption Alliance. It reveals a greater need for engagement by the one church body rather than the individual church members. When we stand together, change is not only possible: it’s inevitable.
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