The single-word solution to the epidemic of fatherlessness

Published on November 13, 2020

My name is Harmony Klingenmeyer, and I am wife to Scott and the adoptive mom of three amazing boys. 

In the last five years, my husband, Scott, and I have had the great privilege of parenting sixteen children out of the foster care system in Douglas County, Oregon. Five years ago, we chose to give our YES to God in order to be part of a solution to a huge problem: the epidemic of fatherlessness in our society. 

The facts are daunting, but it is important that we do not turn our face away from the need that exists in our communities—indeed, right around the corner from where we live.

According to the US Census Bureau, 19.7 million children lived in homes without a father in 2017. The impact of growing up without a father is staggering. Research shows that children who are fatherless are four times more likely to grow up in poverty and seven times more likely to be involved in risky and unhealthy behaviors as teens, leading to drug addiction, incarceration, and teen pregnancy.

The statistics above are all based on research conducted before the outbreak of COVID-19. Although the pandemic has given us the opportunity to spend more time with our families, the stress caused by unemployment, illness, and uncertainty has been devastating for family life. Throughout this stressful season of COVID-19, our nation has seen a drastic uptick in mental health issues, divorce, and trauma. By the end of April, only one month into the national lockdown, interest in divorce had risen by 34 percent. During June of 2020, 40 percent of all adults in the United States struggled with a mental health crisis or substance abuse.

Take a moment and think about the impact that these adult problems have caused in the lives of children. Children are watching their parents separate and divorce. Instead of experiencing much-needed stability at home, the chaos has entered into the one place that was supposed to remain “normal.” Children are watching their parents drown their anxiety and depression in substances, and children are learning a new way of coping with unplanned transition: self-medication. 

This is the inevitable result of the adult crisis: children are in a greater crisis than ever before.

God is looking for Davids

What is the power of one yes amongst so much devastation? 

The secret lies in the empowering grace God gives to those whose priorities align with his priorities. 

When we say yes to God and submit to Scripture, the Holy Spirit is present to enable us to do what seems impossible. 

The power of one yes is the same power that was released when David stood before Goliath. In that moment, it was not David’s skills as a warrior that were on the line. Instead, it was God’s name and God’s faithfulness that were on the line. 

Goliath mocked the sovereignty and strength of the one true God, and it was God’s reputation that David had come to defend. No one expected David to be strong enough, skilled enough, or quick enough to survive the encounter with Goliath. Instead, because of his obedience, David had set up an opportunity for God to prove that Yahweh was the only God.

Impossible situations require a supernatural God

Impossible situations are the perfect opportunity for God to show himself faithful. 

We have all experienced these moments in our lives—when we truly come to the end of our abilities, and, without divine intervention, there would be no hope. 

Throughout Scripture, we see God showing up powerfully on behalf of his children in these moments in order to defend the establishment of his rule and reign upon the earth. 

My experiences as a foster and adoptive mom have taught me that God continues to show up in supernatural ways for his children. As I face off with the giants of post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood trauma, fetal alcohol syndrome, and radical attachment disorder, I know I do not face these monsters alone or in my own strength. I understand that it is not my skills as a parent that are on the line—it is the name of our God, his faithfulness, and his reputation that are being questioned by these giants, and it is our God who will defeat them all. 

I am merely the tool. I am merely one daughter who is willing to pick up the stones and square off with the giant who dares to defy the armies of the Living God.

Will you join me? 

Will you be willing to face off against the giants who taunt our children? 

Would you prayerfully consider what you and your family can do to serve the fatherless children in your community? 

Each one of us has something to give, although it might look different than what Scott and I give. Still, would you be willing to ask the Father, “What are you calling me to give to this generation?” 

He will pour out his grace and empower you with the strength to give what only you can give. 

He will partner with you to defend his name and to bring restoration to a fatherless generation—if we will only say yes.

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Harmony Klingenmeyer

Harmony Klingenmeyer is wife to Scott and the adoptive mother of three sons. Over the past five years she and her husband have parented sixteen children out of the foster care system in Douglas County, Oregon. She authored the book Hear Their Voices: A Portrait of An American Foster Family as a wake-up call to the needs of foster children in American communities. Harmony holds her Masters Degree in Education and her pastoral license through Grace, International. She is the Director of the Teaching Team at Garden Valley Church in Roseburg, Oregon. Harmony is well known in her community for strong biblical teaching and her gift of encouragement.

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