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101129_Radio commentary_Forever Families_#864

Wisconsin Family Connection
Week of November 29, 2010 – #864
Forever Families


What do a childless couple in Michigan, a middle-aged couple with three teenage children getting ready for the college years, a retired missionary couple homeschooling their young children and a successful young couple with a bright future all have in common? The answer is, big hearts. Each of these couples and families provided “forever families” for young children who otherwise would have been without a home, a family, a father and mother.

Adoption is one of the most wonderful words in the English language.  It evokes a strong sense of belonging and being wanted. It describes our relationship as children of God, adopted sons and daughters. (Romans 8:15, Ephesians 1:5)

We, as the adopted children of God, have the spirit of adoption in us. In the way of the Father, adoption is a form of redemption, of redeeming something that was lost because of its inherent value to the one doing the adopting. What a beautiful picture of worth, value, love, belonging and security!

We have a very tangible illustration of that picture here on Earth in the act of adoption, when a married mother and father choose a fatherless and motherless child to become their own child.

A ‘forever family’ is a precious gift to an adopted child. I was adopted as an infant and can attest to the many benefits that come from being adopted by a caring and loving married couple. 

As Christians, we have a special commission to care for the orphaned. James tells us that “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble…” (James 1:27a, NKJV)

We know, through repeated studies, as well as from history and just plain old common sense, that the best place for a child is in the home of their married, biological mother and father. That is the gold standard. Sadly, we live in a fallen world and that gold standard is an elusive ideal for more and more children these days.

Adoption, however, opens up a world of possibilities for children who would otherwise be without a father and mother. As a recent study by Dr. Patrick Fagan at the Family Research Council’s Marriage & Religion Research Institute shows, adoption is life-changing-ly beneficial for adopted children.

Although unfortunately, as in all things, there are always exceptions to the rule, adoption remains a wonderful alternative for women considering an abortion or for single mothers who are unable to raise their child. November is National Adoption Month, and it is fitting that we celebrate the success of adoption as we close out this month of adoption awareness. 

We have several agencies here in Wisconsin that do an excellent job of facilitating adoptions, including the Evangelical Child & Family Agency in Milwaukee, Bethany Christian Services in Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee and Waukesha, as well as several others.

Any discussion of adoption is incomplete, however, without addressing adoption out of foster care. As of 2009, the number of children in the Wisconsin foster care system waiting for adoption was 1,255 . That’s about 1,255 too many children. With well over 5000 Christian churches in Wisconsin, there’s no reason why all of those children could not be adopted into loving, Christian homes.

Wisconsin is blessed with many generous couples who have adopted children and given them a secure and loving environment in which to grow and learn.  I’m thinking of several families I know of right now. We salute all of those adoptive families and encourage husbands and wives to seriously consider providing forever families for children in need.

Adoptive families, especially those adopting older children, do sometimes face special challenges that other families do not. You probably have a number of adoptive families in your church—I encourage you to seek them out and find ways to support them. Perhaps you could help start a support group. Or, you might offer to babysit the children so the mother and father can have a date night.

Get to know these folks; ask them how you can help. These people are practicing true religion, caring for the fatherless, and you can help them in that endeavor.

Truly, emulating our Savior through adoption is one of the greatest callings we could have. We are so grateful for the “forever families” in this great state, and the precious children they have embraced and we hope many other married couples will follow their example.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”