Over the last few years, I feel like my eyes have been opened and my heart broken for the orphan crisis in the world. While our family has started down the adoption path a few times to have God gently close those doors (for now...I'm persistent, friends!), I know He has called me (for now) to an advocacy role. He has asked me to use my voice and my Noonday Collection business to support other adoptive families who are pursuing both domestic and international adoption. When I work with a hostess for an adoption fundraiser show, I donate at least 10% of my commission from the show's sales to the family's adoption expenses - essentially doubling the donation made by Noonday Collection. THIS is my role (again, for now. Wink. Wink.).
As we approach #WorldAdoptionDay November 9, I am excited to be a part of a unique partnership between Noonday Collection and adopttogether.org that will (hopefully!) result in hundreds of thousands of dollars being donated to adoptive families around the country.
But I wanted to do more with the opportunity presented this month. So, for the next few weeks, I'm featuring some amazing stories of adoption on my blog. Stories written by friends, and a few by complete strangers, that are amazing examples of faith and perseverance and obedience. Stories that I hope will inspire you and encourage you to ACT on behalf of the orphan (James 1:27, if you need a Biblical nudge.). Stories written IN HER OWN WORDS...
So, maybe you're reading this thinking, "What can I possibly do?" Well, I'm glad you asked because I have a few suggestions...
1) Pray. We can all pray. We can pray for discernment about our specific role, but we can also pray for the millions of children around the world longing to be loved. And the millions of families "stuck" in the adoption process and waiting to love them. We can pray for comfort and provision for these precious children until they are brought into loving homes. We can pray for peace, endurance and financial provision for the families working tirelessly to bring them home.
2) Be informed. Take time to connect with organizations that advocate for the orphan and make an effort to understand the current situation - not only in the big, wide world but in YOUR world. What are the statistics for your state? Your county? One of my favorite organizations is Show Hope and this is a great first bite into understanding the current situation. Being informed is also a great way to be an advocate for others and to speak truth and encouragement to others walking the adoption journey.
3) Give. You can donate directly to an adoptive family, or you can participate in a myriad of creative fundraisers that most adoptive families use to raise funds: garage sales, t-shirt sales, direct sales shows (like Noonday Collection) where a portion of sales is donated to the family, crowd sourcing websites, etc... Every gift/purchase matters, dear friends. Don't dismiss your participation or support because it doesn't "feel like enough" - sometimes just knowing that there are people out there pulling for you and your family during this difficult and trying time means the most.
4) Consider fostering. This needs a post of its own as there are so many ins and outs involved in this process - many specific from state-to-state. But maybe this is where God is calling you -- to provide a safe landing place for a child who is waiting for his or her forever home. And you may find the foster-to-adopt option works for you and your family. Check your state's requirements and prayerfully consider this option.
5) Adoption. This is not for the faint of heart, sweet friends. It is not a decision to be taken lightly or jumped into. As my guest bloggers will share over the next few weeks, there are so many factors to consider (and sooooo much paperwork. Sorry - that is NOT my jam!). I can't wait to share the beauty that comes in this process though! He is faithful in our obedience!
So, will you walk with me through these next few weeks and read these beautiful stories of hope and redemption? Adoption is such a beautiful picture of salvation, and I think that's why my heart is so encouraged by its beauty. In my sin, I am broken and isolated and felt so unloved and unwanted. But God sent His Son to rescue me - to show me the ultimate example of love ALL FOR ME...and then lovingly, He took me in, with no regard for my past. He loves me through the anger and the hurt and the shame caused my past and continues to pour out His grace and mercy on me each day as we grow together in fellowship.
Come with me on this journey. Enjoy these stories and prayerfully consider: What is YOUR role in the orphan crisis? Have you asked God what He wants and NEEDS you to do to bring HOPE to dark places around the world? Are you willing to ACT when He responds?