Adoption and foster care isn’t a have to—it’s a get to

Written by Jessica Hurlbut
Published on November 12, 2021

My adopted son popped his sopping wet hand out through the shower curtain, straining as if trying to grasp something. 

“Isaac, what do you need?” 

“I’ll never stop reaching for her!” he proclaimed dramatically. 

“Reaching for who?” I questioned, annoyed he was taking so long to wash up. 

“My real mom.” 

With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I grabbed his wrinkly brown fingers and squeezed them tight. I stuck my head in the shower and whispered, “I know, Buddy!” 

No matter how hard I try—there will be a gap. No matter how much I love—there will be a void. No matter how great of a mom I am—I will never live up to the woman he has never met. 

Co-workers with God of the universe

As I walked out of the bathroom, the waterworks flowed unhindered. My tears were a mixture of sadness and joy all swirled into one. I ached to fill the mom-shaped hole in my son’s heart, a need only Jesus can truly satisfy. Yet I swelled with gratitude at this one thought: 

I get to do this. 

I have been invited to work alongside the God of the universe and love these kids to life.

Adoption and foster care isn’t a have to—it’s a get to. 

Paul instructs the Corinthian church in regards to this great truth. “We are co-workers in God’s service” (1 Corinthians 1:9 NIV). It’s a privilege to labor alongside God to fill in the gaps of this broken world.  And many times, these needs are wrapped up within the body of a tiny human being.

Mother Teresa once said, “Do you want to do something beautiful for God? There is a person who needs you. This is your chance.”

How we can get involved

November 20, 2021 marks National Adoption Day. Currently, there are half a million children in foster care. Over 125,000 of these kids are freed to be adopted and in desperate need of a forever family. 

This is a gigantic need—a need God created Christians to fill. 

Here are three ways you can do your part: 

1. Consider fostering or adopting 

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (James 1:27). 

I like to joke and say, “Adoption isn’t for everyone. If you’re too busy taking care of widows, you’re off the hook.” Although I’m being a tad facetious, God’s Word is clear about the role the church is to play in taking care of the least of these. 

In the days of the early church, one of the distinguishing factors that set Christians apart from the world wasn’t their Jesus fish bumper stickers. They had a reputation for taking care of widows, orphans, lepers, and the sick. Those society shunned or had forgotten found a home with fellow believers. 

If you’re interested in pursuing foster care or adoption, contact your county’s Department of Social Service. They will explain the state guidelines required to become a certified foster parent: a ten-week training, a home study, and unfortunately, mounds of paperwork. 

But when the judge slams the gavel—declaring your adoption final—it will all be worth it. Yet, sometimes the season we find ourselves in does not allow us to adopt or foster. How else can you help? 

2. Support foster families 

One of the greatest gifts you can give a family who is fostering or adopting is financial assistance. 

Just this week, an elderly man in our church asked to meet with my husband. My husband is a pastor, and he assumed the man was seeking counseling. To my husband’s surprise, he pulled out a bank envelope from his coat pocket and handed my husband five hundred dollars for our kids’ Christmas gifts. 

The waterworks flowed when I received the amazing news. Fostering puts an extra strain on families financially. Oftentimes, due to the demands of parenting, one of the parents has to stop working or scale back on their hours. Let alone the increase in practical needs. 

I went through more diapers and Lunchables™ than I believed was humanly possible. 

3. Provide Respite Care 

A couple in our church is fostering a sibling group of four toddlers. They are my heroes. One of the roadblocks with fostering is families are not allowed to leave the county with foster children. 

When holidays come around, many foster families cannot travel. In order for this to occur, the foster children must be cared for by another certified foster family and options are extremely limited. 

Discovering this need, my friend’s neighbor contacted social services and completed the certification course with the sole intent of providing respite. 

Having a trusted friend provide respite in order for a foster family to take a vacation or go on a weekly date night is a huge blessing. 

No matter what season of life you find yourself in, may the Holy Spirit lead you as you prayerfully consider how you can fill a need for these children. 


Consider a few extra resources:

Answering the call

Surrendering to God’s call

Where are all the pregnant girls in our pews?

Live perfectly imperfect

Get daily emails with practical and spiritual advice geared towards helping you set aside perfect and grow into the parent you want to be every day.

Jessica Hurlbut

Jessica Hurlbut is a pastor, a writer, and a mom of five—two autistic, two adopted, and one future president. She and her husband Greg are lead pastors of New Testament Church in Massena, NY. In 2012, Jessica and Greg adopted a sibling group from foster care. Through this process, Jessica became an adoption advocate for the 125,000 children in care who are in desperate need of a forever home. Jesus whispered to her heart, “If you take care of my kids, I’ll take care of yours.” Jessica and Greg founded the National Day Adoption Run in 2018, in which Jessica attempted to run 125 miles in 24 hours as a visual representation of the 125,000 children in the U.S. who are freed to be adopted. Jessica writes a weekly blog and hosts a bi-weekly podcast, The Full Spectrum Parent, for special need parents at www.jessicahurlbut.com 

 

Read more about Jessica

You may also like…

Privacy Preference Center