4.13.2016

They rescued orphans - and now they need us!

Last month the Lord grabbed the Eastmans by the scruffs of our necks and forced us to take a long, hard look at the way we spend our time. (Read the story here)
He also buried us in reality by exposing the intense need for orphan care, and continually (almost weekly) bringing us in contact with friends/family who have rescued orphans and need encouragement and support as they walk through the transition and trials that come with the rescue process.

Scriptures doesn't command every believer to adopt an orphan, but the Lord is very clear that we are to take care of them. Defend them. Speak for them. Rescue them.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless
plead the widow's cause. Isaiah 1:17

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:40

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4

The Lord has not delivered an orphan to the Eastman home, but He HAS delivered orphans to people around us, and they are the ones He is asking us to serve right now.
Every time we talk to a foster/adopt family we walk away with one word ringing in our ears: SUPPORT. 
Foster/adoptive families need a listening ear. Encouragement. Compassion. Empathy. 

A baby surrendered to an adoptive family on the day of birth, or shortly thereafter, is a pretty seamless transition. The birthparents often choose the adoptive family, and the baby is safe from the moment he is born. Friends and family rejoice, arrive at the home to greet the infant bearing hot meals and gifts - and life goes on. Even with the trials and tribulations of life, the baby grows up surrounded by the love and care of parents and siblings - who wanted him. 
It is a beautiful picture of redemption and love.

But there is another side to adoption that is not as lovely.
Babies and children are abandoned - neglected - starved - abused - and exposed to horrific circumstances. Some are born with physical and/or mental disabilities - and tossed aside. Many are unwanted and unprotected.
Until ... someone steps in and says, "I want them! I will take them! I will love them, hug them, educate them, challenge and encourage them - and show them Jesus."
These people are not saints. They are OBEDIENT.
When the Father of the Fatherless says, "Go! Rescue My little one!" - they RUN.

That run often morphs into a crawl, however, when the reality of the neglect, abuse, and abandonment shows itself in the words, actions, and attitudes of the child. 
It can be overwhelming. 
It can become isolating.
People are afraid. They do not want to expose their own kids to the influence of children who have "issues." The parents cannot share openly and honestly with their peers about their struggles and battles because it makes others uncomfortable, judgmental and, magicians. They disappear.
At best, foster/adopt parents are deemed "saints" - and forgotten.
At worst, they are neglected and ignored.
But this is not how it should be! Especially in the church.

These rescued children did not choose to be beaten, molested, starved, left alone for hours at a time, or be born crippled. It happened TO them, and their precious hearts and minds were damaged and/or destroyed because of it.
They need to experience compassion - faithfulness - unconditional love - healthy affection - loyalty - consistency - patience - understanding - kindness - forgiveness - and GRACE.
And all of these things require time, energy, and commitment.
Often - more time and energy than any one family can give without a reprieve.
This is when the church can step in and live out the "one another's" of Scripture.

All parents need refreshment. An hour alone with a Bible and a pen, or a night out to laugh and play - the Lord refreshes our weary minds and bodies so we can return to our families energized and ready to serve them with joy. Birth families and adoptive families ... each has sin to battle, and many have learning, mental, or physical health issues that create challenges, and even obstacles, that must be faced every day.
We all need support. We all need to be encouraged. We all need to be reminded that we are battling for the hearts and souls of our children - and raising them for eternity.

Foster/adoptive families are fighting an additional battle. They are desperately, tirelessly, and faithfully fighting to close the wounds inflicted on their child ... wounds that may heal but will leave a scar ... wounds that affect the child in many areas ... and they need us!
- Prayer.
- A long hug.
- A smile.
- An afternoon to get away and enjoy the quiet.
- A note of encouragement.
- Someone who will listen - to the beautiful and the horrific - and not try to solve it, but simply say, "I'm sorry. I know I can't do anything to change this, but I am here, and I am not leaving."
- Scripture to inspire and remind them, "Do not grow weary in doing good ... " - "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."

God has not commanded every believer to share their last name with an orphan, but He has commanded us to care for them. HOW we care will look different for everyone - and that's okay! As long as we do SOMEthing. Tangible action or prayer. Financial support or volunteer work. The Lord knows what we can offer - how we can support them - and how we can show His love.
The question is: When He gives us our orders, will we obey?
The ones who rescued the orphans were obedient.
May we - be like THEM.

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Psalm 27:10

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation. Psalm 68:5

The Lord watches over the sojourners; He upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin. Psalm 146:9

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