By: Jesika Knight, @TheKnightFive
We had only been married about a year and I was six months pregnant when it happened.
A relative, with a long history of addiction, gave birth to a baby girl who she was unable to parent. Yes, we were aware of the Biblical command to care for orphans, but in that moment it was simply about love. I fell madly in love with the tiny sleepy princess who lay so perfectly across my pregnant belly. We prayed that the Lord would have His way and He did. When she was 4 ½ months old and her brother only 4 days old, her adoption was finalized.
If my husband and I had not been careful, we could have gotten complacent. I think it’s easy to think that if someone has adopted they have fulfilled their duties in the realm of caring for the fatherless. But the Bible never said, “Adopt an orphan and call it a day.” Instead we are commanded to defend and bring justice to the fatherless.
We are not all called to adopt, but we are all called to care. There are many effective ways to do this. You can offer words of encouragement and a listening ear to an adoptive or foster family. You can also offer acts of service like preparing meals, offering a night of free babysitting, tutoring or just spending time with their little ones. In supporting the adults, you are supporting the children. There are many opportunities to volunteer to work with vulnerable children who are currently living in a home without a father. All it takes is a quick Google search and you can find a long list of opportunities to mentor a child without a father. Sometimes, you will make your biggest impact by just talking through the great need to support the fatherless to whatever audience you’ve been given, whether at church or a family function or even just on your lunch break at work. Finally, committing to pray for the fatherless is a huge help and can make all the difference. It is my belief that if we all found our own way to contribute, the impact would be huge.
For my husband and me, our passion to defend the fatherless has been most effectively utilized by becoming Safe Family hosts for Safe Families for Children. Children are placed in our home voluntarily, usually by their single mothers who are in great crisis while they get the support they need. The reasons vary, anywhere from needing treatment at a rehab facility to being hospitalized for a sickness and having no support system for childcare. The number one reason a child is placed with Safe Families for Children is homelessness. We are given the privilege to not only care for these children, most of whom are fatherless, but to also minister to their mothers and be a support system for them. Recently a mother whose children stayed with us for a short time said to me, “I’m not good at trusting because there hasn’t been anyone in my life who was trustworthy, but now I know that I can call you.” In sharing the love of Jesus with these families by caring for them, no strings attached, we are effectively helping them break cycles. As she learns to trust and get on her feet, she will help guide her own children to not go down the path she once did.
You may read this and feel like being a host family is right up your alley. Or maybe you’d be better suited as an advocate for Safe Families who volunteers a free night of babysitting for hosts. Maybe God has called you to be a foster parent or maybe He has called you to be a support system to a neighbor who is a busy single mother. All of it is God’s work and the reward is great. There, in the messy murky waters of caring for the vulnerable in crisis, Christ’s presence is found. We have never experienced Him so near and so real in our lives as we have when we have sacrificed our comfort for the needs of others. Every inch you fall short in this journey, He will fill in. He will bridge the gap of what you are humanly capable of and what needs to be done every single time. All He needs is your willingness.
Jesika is an adoptive mom, blogger, and Safe Families for Children host in Dallas, TX. You can find her blog at http://theknightfive.wordpress.com.