On The Grid: Tier 1 – AdoptionRich Stigall
Frankly, love for the orphan saved my life.
It was a sobering day in December 1925 when my grandma became a double orphan. Seven years earlier, her father had passed away because of pneumonia, and diphtheria had now claimed the life of her mother.
My grandma was a sweet and tender woman. In my remembrances of her, I recall her appeals to my brother and me “to be sweet” amidst a dispute; her joy simply in my presence; her pride in my efforts to serve the Lord. Undoubtedly, this love had been shaped by her own relationship with Jesus Christ, who she had an early opportunity to meet through the kindness and love of her adoptive parents (my great-great-grandparents). The love of her grandparents shaped her own lens of the world, and she was able to emerge from the trauma of orphanhood with a full heart.
However, what if my great-great-grandparents had not opened their home to this little orphan girl? What would my grandma’s life had looked like? Or my life? Would I even be around?
Adoption is often associated with the phrase “forever family” because it implies more than just a change in residency for a child. When someone chooses to adopt, they are doing more than just impacting the life of the child. Rather, the quality and path of life for the child and all who follow have been changed. Yet, there are some out there who wish to adopt but do not possess the necessary resources. There are grandparents who wish to take grandchildren into the home. There are friends who wish to support the child of the deceased. There are aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings, and certainly complete strangers who have felt the call on their heart to care for the orphaned and abandoned child.
The CarePortal seeks to enable those wishing to serve. It seeks to stabilize family units and prevent or remove a child’s engagement with the foster care system. If this box had to be given a name, it would be called adoption acceleration.
In one recent CarePortal request, a foster family in Shawnee, KS, was in the process of adopting two females. However, their brother was recently born and entered the foster care system, and the foster family longed to keep the family together by adopting the boy, as well. However, in order to keep the siblings together, the family needed help in purchasing necessities, such as a new stroller. Fortunately, a local Kansas City church received and met the CarePortal request, and the boy entered the same home as his sisters. Now, the siblings will have a greater chance to call the same two people “mom and dad”.
Involvement in the child welfare system does not necessarily entail children in the home. Rather, it can take shape as a simple commitment to provide goods, services, and dollars to support those who are opening their hearts and homes. For a church, it’s a message to the members of its church striving to invest in the life of another: we shall bear this together.