Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Family makes a difference through foster care and adoption...

This article and "Today" show video tell the story of Daniel and Lori O'Brien. They are 2 ordinary people who decided to open their homes and hearts to 11 foster children. They ended up adopting 7 of them, in addition to their 3 biological children.

They took in all kinds of kids: different races, kids who had been beaten and molested, kids who were deemed "unadoptable." They didn't have a lot of money, or a fancy home, but they did have what every kid needs--lots of love.

For me, there's something to be learned here. I don't know if these folks are Christians, but I do know that if every Christian family was willing to take in a child or two, there soon wouldn't be any kids left who needed homes.

Like I said in last week's podcast, we Christians really do have it in our power to live out the gospel by taking care of the neediest people on earth. Unfortunately, we instead spend countless millions on stuff we don't need, and political campaigns to pass laws that make sure unbelievers "act Christian."


alan said...

I agree whole heartedly with you. Christians need to step up and take these children in and share the love of Christ with them. What good is all the stuff if there is no one to share it with? We have adopted five children, one through foster care and four from Ukraine. We are working on more...as God wills.

Michelle said...

The head of Kyiv City Services who is also a believer has spoken to church leaders in Kyiv and told them that if only 2 or 3 families in each church in Kyiv became foster parents, then statistically, the kids would be off the streets and not need rehab homes. The problem is educating people to understand this. I feel like most churches, especially in the states want to focus on band aid practices towards orphans and are less interested in the long term solving of the problem.

Anonymous said...

As Christian, I agree that we have it in our power to care for children in our communities. If every church in each of our communities, decided to support one of its families to be foster parents, we could give the foster care system enough families to be able to choose which is the best placement family for the children in need. The concept of "One Church, One Child" is one that has worked in many communities across the US. As Christians, we can take a leadership role in making sure that the best families are available to meet the children's needs. This requires a large, diverse pool of ready families so that Social Workers can make placement decisions keeping what's best for the child/children as the focus. Families must take the position that becoming foster or adoptive parents is about the child and less about them. Remember, we don't know what God has in store for these children. Miss USA -2000 was a foster child, adopted into a loving family and with their support and love, was able to achieve her dreams. She now promotes foster parenting to groups, churches and communities across the country. Every child deserves a loving family. We can make sure of it! Call your local foster care agency or county department of social services to learn more. It's not as difficult as you might think and the rewards are infinate.
Brian -

Joel B. said...

Adoption and foster care has never 'not' been part of my life. My parents took in over 20 foster kids, and they adopted 3, including me. (See my 'colorful family' here. (This was a blog post that I made before I knew a whole lot of blogging people, so I may repost it someday). My brother is my parents' only biological child.

As a parent myself, I would love to adopt, but my wife isn't so keen on it, and that's ok, but I've always supported my friends who have adopted and have foster kids. It's such a wonderful way to live in Christ's love.

Richard J said...

Alan--Hi! We are also blessed to have adopted kids. All 3 of ours came through the foster care system here in Los Angeles. (And we may be jumping into adoption again soon, but don't tell anyone!) It is a great way to share some of the blessings God has given us.

But, I'm sure you'll agree that we parents get blessed by our kids as much as we get to bless them. I can't imagine life without them.

Michelle--I'm glad that the head of Kyiv City Services is working with you guys to educate churches about foster care and adoption. To me, educating and motivating Kyiv's Christians is the most important thing you guys do (and you do a lot of important things).

There's one thing that's true in Kyiv, and in the U.S.: if Christians caught a vision to give every abandoned child a home, we could do it easily. That's really the long-term solution to the problem.

Richard J said...

Brian--Hi! I agree completely with you. And one thing you said really struck me--"Families must take the position that becoming foster or adoptive parents is about the child and less about them." That is so true.

It's not always easy going through the foster care/children's court/adoption system. But the rewards are totally worth it.

I also agree that the whole "One Church, One Child" concept could really change the way kids experience the foster care/adoption system. We could make it a little less traumatic and maybe begin some healing if we were more involved.

Richard J said...

Joel--What a cool family story. I've got to ask--is your ability to "channel Pats" a gift that's shared by your whole family, or are you the only one blessed with this gift?

Actually my wife and I have a couple of questions for you about growing up in a multi-racial home. I'll email you this weekend.

You need to re-post this in some form. I think that adoption is such a great picture of how God brings us into His family and makes us His own children. You might have some insight into what that means...

Joel B. said...


I look forward to hearing from you via email.

As far as I know, I'm the only one who can channel Pat's. LOL! That is, unless another family member is a closet Pat channeler... hehehe

Being adopted has truly given me quite a wonderful picture of God bringing a person out of one family and into another. I met my biological mother, and I can see the huge differences in how I would have been raised and the life I would have lived.

I see how, although I didn't come biologically from my parents, I (and my other adopted siblings) was made their child in every way. I never thought I was 'not' part of the family, and in fact I always knew that this was my family.

I think the experience is too much to share here - I could go on and on - but the overall application and comparison to God bringing us in as His own children has been a good experience for me.