Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Heart for Orphans


Happy Siblings: Jada, Christian and Joelle


When I share my heart on the topic of adoption, I usually don’t know where to begin. My compassionate heart for orphans – around the corner and around the world, as I say – was truly birthed out of my heart for God.

When I view God’s heart in the scriptures, I see a loving, merciful God Who continually looks out for the underdog. The poor, the alien, the widow – and yes, the orphan – may oftentimes go overlooked by the world. But the poor, the alien, the widow and the orphan are much like Hagar, mistreated by her master Abraham’s wife, Sarai. In Genesis 16:7 we find Hagar alone in the desert, having fled her tormentor’s home.

She is hungry. She is thirsty. She is completely alone in the world.

Or so she thinks.

While she withers under the desert sun, the angel of the Lord visits Hagar and speaks life to her. He tells her she is expecting Abraham’s son and that her descendents would one day be too numerous to count.

She would not die in the desert. She would live.

And Hagar “gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me... I have seen the One who sees me.’” (Genesis 16:13)

Like Hagar, God sees the poor. He sees the alien. He sees the widow. And yes, He sees the orphan.

And we should too.

For many years now, God has given me eyes to see the orphans of the world. He has gifted me with an overwhelming compassion for them. And He has moved me to do something about that compassion.

How has He specifically moved me?

I. Adoption

First of all, God moved my husband Anthony and me to adopt children into our family. In 2003, we adopted a little cherub-faced 2-year-old boy into our family from Russia. Christian – Sergei when we met him – is our resilient, athletic and compassionate 11-year-old son who just happened to be living in a Russian orphanage when we first met him. With part African heritage, he is a rare find in Russia. And we praise God we found him.

Joelle, our spunky, giggly 7-year-old “girly-girl” joined our family in 2005 at only 5 months old. We didn’t travel very far to bring her home – only Pennsylvania. Yet raising this fun-loving, diva-licious girl has been an adventure for sure. And I can’t imagine our family without her.

II. Encourage Prospective Adoptive Families

As soon as my husband and I adopted, we were like people that had been on the vacation of a lifetime. We wanted to share the joy we’d found in adoption with everyone we knew. We were living out James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress...” And we wanted other Christians to do the same.

Today, my husband and I continue to be a “go-to” couple for adoption. When a couple, or single person, begins praying about adoption, they often call us with questions and concerns. We love being used by God to encourage others to adopt, and we love walking with others as they answer the call to adopt.

II. Adoption Advocacy

I have devoted a good portion of my life to advocating for orphans. My husband and I sponsor needy children overseas. I began a ministry at our previous church that constantly communicated the need for the Church to “look after orphans” and partnered with other orphan advocacy ministries. I have also joined a missions team to an orphanage in Brasil, where I fell in love with every single child there – from age 3 to 17.

But today, my efforts are primarily stateside. I currently serve on the Statewide Board of The CALL (Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime), lending my social media, communications and organizational skills to this awesome ministry. The CALL’s (www.thecallinarkansas.org) mission is “To educate, equip and encourage the Christian community to provide a future and a hope for the children in foster care.”

Providing that future and hope begins with providing our hearts and our homes. And that’s what I hope to do for the rest of my life.

Will you consider doing the same? Will you pray in faith for God's will

Carla

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