My journey into orphan advocacy
There isn’t one particular event that attracted me to orphan care. My interest began when my mom and dad told me about fostering a young girl when my mom was pregnant with me. She used to tell me stories about the little girl and how hard it was when the court ordered the child to be sent back to her biological mother’s house, which was a toxic and traumatizing environment. She loved the girl and hated for her to be sent back to that environment, but there was nothing she could do to stop it.
Many years later, I saw several of my cousins adopt children. One cousin adopted two children internationally from Ethiopia and China. Another cousin adopted two children domestically from both the Midwest and Southeast. Just this past year, another cousin adopted her first child, a little girl, from Nicaragua, and yet another cousin adopted a little girl from North Carolina. All in all, I have 6 adopted cousins, 3 of which are international adoptions and 3 of which are domestic adoptions.
When I asked my cousins why they were so passionate about adoption, the message was the same: We adopted so that we could share the Gospel with a child who otherwise would not hear it.
This answer really renewed my mindset not only towards adoption, but also towards family building. When I was growing up, I had not particularly viewed the family as a place for ministering the Gospel to one another in love, especially with parents living the Gospel in their relationships towards their children. Both adoption and foster care are incredible platforms for not only sharing the Gospel with children who otherwise may not hear it, but also for letting other family members see the Gospel in a new light, for we are all adopted children of God. When parents adopt, they are living out Romans 8:15 towards their children the way God does to his eternal children.
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)
This verse intrigued me, for I had never personally considered myself to be adopted since I was raised by my biological parents. However, I am no less adopted in the eternal sense. My salvation made me an adopted daughter to my Eternal Father. My primary label is “adopted child,” just like any other believer who accepts the Gospel for salvation. This change in mindset was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit alone.
I had previously only heard of parents adopting if they struggled with infertility. Adoption was often presented as a second choice to having biological children when the odds of becoming pregnant seemed too slim. Choosing to adopt in order to participate in and share the Gospel in a special way was so enlightening to me.
Another factor that prompted my interest in adoption was when I went on a mission trip to Nepal. I spent several days teaching Bible songs to a boys’ orphanage, and it broke my heart to see their sweet smiles and know that they had lost their parents.
Children from a orphanage in Nepal
Looking back on my life thus far, it is abundantly clear that God has been preparing me to see his heart for the Modern Orphan the entire time. God loves the least of these, and I want to do the same, which is why I joined the Ignite Hope staff in January of 2016.