Each month we will offer a list of action ideas so you can defend, honor, and celebrate Life in your churches and communities on our Take Action page. This month, we are looking at special needs adoption.
Adoption is a hard sell. Open your home, possibly permanently, to someone who is not related to you and may not share your way of life or values? Add to that the possible financial burden and other complications of adopting a child, and it is little wonder why there are only, on average, 135,000 adoptions a year, according to the Adoption Network, despite the fact that there are over 400,000 children in the foster system in the United States. This means that special needs adoption is an even harder sell, as it could bring additional financial and emotional burdens to adoptive parents. But if we truly believe that all life is sacred—and all life means all life—the onus falls on us as Christians to open our doors to the orphaned and fatherless, and that includes children with special needs.
What exactly does it mean for children to have “special needs”? This could mean physical, mental, emotional, and/or learning delays or disabilities. However, these also could be children who are siblings and wish to stay together, older children, especially teenagers, and children who have been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused. Clearly, this is a widely defined group with a lot of differing needs, and maybe your home and family are uniquely created to welcome and care for one or more of these children.
I can hear your objections. You aren’t equipped to do this. It won’t work with your life, because of x, y, and z. You don’t feel called to adopt. And that may be so. Not everyone is called to be an adoptive parent, special needs or not. But that doesn’t mean you can’t serve families who do feel called to adopt. Organize members of your church who want to serve families in your church and community who have chosen adoption, especially special needs adoption. Talk with the adoptive parents and learn what their needs are. Set up volunteers who are willing to assist with childcare, transportation to appointments or school, or other practical needs. Only when we as the Church begin to open our doors can we truly say that we are the protectors of the fatherless and the orphans.
- Create a ministry team that wants to assist families in the church who have adopted children with special needs and can provide practical help.
- If you don’t have families with special needs in your church, reach out to a local adoption agency or foster care social worker to let them know that your church wants to serve these families.
- Consider becoming an adoptive parent!