The Ministry of Adoption
by Kim de Blecourt
It was during the adoption of our younger that God led me to understand my own adoption.
I’m overwhelmed when I stop to really consider the mess I was before God adopted me. I needed His loving care, guidance and discipline in this life. I needed to grow under the watchful eye of a Father who would teach me and keep me safe, who would continue to love me even when I constantly made mistakes. Both His adoption of me and my acceptance of His gift would lead me to an eternal life with Him.
When God adopted me, when He made me His and took me in as a full and privileged member of His forever family, it changed my life, my perspective and my potential in a way I never could have experienced apart from Him.
Having experienced that kind of love from God, I was able to reach out and adopt and love a child who also needed to experience that kind of love. I wanted to give a child in an earthly way what my Heavenly Father had given me: the depth of unconditional love and the safe feeling of completely belonging to a family who would never abandon me. Most of all, I wanted to introduce our child to the God who loves unconditionally—and who loves far better and greater than I, as a parent, ever could.
That is the ministry of adoption. It is the reaching out to a child or children who are in need of family. Anything is possible with God; however, consider how difficult it is to reach a child’s heart with the good news who has never known the love of a father or family. The ministry need is deep and specific and in great demand.
Types of Adoption
If you feel God’s calling to adoption, congratulations. You are about to embark on an incredible journey filled with physical and spiritual implications for your life and the life of your future child. You may have a few questions about where to begin. Following are a few adoption basics. To begin with, there are four main types of adoption in the United States:
Kinship Adoption: The adoption of extended members as your own children.
Domestic Private Adoption: The adoption of non-related children from the United States through an attorney or agency. These can be open (the birth family is involved legally in the life of the children—currently more popular) or closed (no family contact) adoptions. These adoptions can be from within the same state or from one state to another state.
Foster Care to Adoption: The goal of foster care is to reunify families that have had children removed and placed into the foster care system. However, some families are unable to be reunified, and the children become available for adoption. Adoption from foster care usually occurs within the same state.
International Adoption: The adoption of children born outside the United States, typically through an agency or facilitator.
Important First Steps
Our common starting point is always with God. Your entire family can begin your adoption journey by asking God to confirm your calling. Ask boldly for His direction. Begin praying together for your future family member(s). There are wonderful adoption devotionals available. For more in-depth study, I’ve written a six-week Bible study entitled, I Call You Mine: Embracing God’s Gift of Adoption (September 2018, New Hope Publishers).
Depending on the type of adoption you feel called to pursue, your next steps will be slightly different; however, they all will begin with your own education.
Next Steps: Getting Educated
Kinship Adoptions: While most kinship adoptions are by extended family members with some biological ties, some jurisdictions allow close (family) friendships or “fictive kin” for such placements. More than likely, the children have already been removed from their parental home by the local child welfare/foster care agency and placed into your home. If they are in your home before such contact has been made, you need to initiate that contact yourself. If they are in another home and you wish to be considered for placement, you need to contact your local child welfare agency first. The Child Welfare Information Gateway has compiled great information at www.childwelfare.gov/topics/permanency/relatives/adoption.
Domestic Private Adoption: Adoption laws vary by state, and you’ll want to familiarize yourself with your state’s policies regarding advertising for birth parents, birth mother expenses, consents for adoption, etc. Adoptive Families has a wonderful state-by-state resource guide where you can begin your domestic private adoption journey at www.adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-laws-by-state.
Foster Care to Adoption: The process of becoming a foster or adoptive parent through the foster care system will take persistence on your part. Be encouraged, as everyone involved in the process is concerned about one thing: what is best for the child or children involved. I found state information, videos and how to connect with other foster families all on one great page of information at www.adoptuskids.org/adoption-and-foster-care/how-to-adopt-and-foster/getting-started.
International Adoption: Many people have a calling to adopt from a certain country due to mission work or family history with a certain country. Here is an excellent article about the most popular countries Americans adopted from in 2016: www.adoption.com/10-most-popular-countries-to-adopt-from-and-their-adoption-policies.
However, if there is no such tie for your family, you may want to consider researching international adoption agencies and selecting which agency you will employ as your next step. There is up-to-date information available on Hague-accredited international adoption agencies at www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/Intercountry-Adoption/about-adoption-service-providers/adoption-service-provider-search.html.
Love Is at the Core of Adoption
From the adopter perspective, adoption begins with love. The adoption of our waiting children and God’s adoption of us begin with a great amount of love. It is this love that will help overcome the many hurdles and obstacles adoption can sometimes bring. Remain firm in your calling. God, as the ultimate adoptive parent, will answer your adoption prayers with His perfect and eternal vision and time. Keep in contact with Him daily. He delights in your obedience and love.
Kim de Blecourt is an international speaker and the award-winning author of Until We All Come Home and I Call You Mine. An adoptive parent and passionate orphan care advocate, she currently serves as the executive director of Nourished Hearts, an international orphan care nonprofit. You can discover more about her at kimdeblecourt.com, nourishedhearts.org, Facebook, and Twitter. Kim lives in Michigan with her husband and children.
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