Today is Orphan Sunday. It’s a day to realize just how dire America’s orphan situation really is. You see, the fact of the matter is, the Bible doesn’t afford Christians an option in orphan care, and foster care functions as America’s modern-day orphanages. We are regularly and consistently called to step in the gap, to be fathers to the fatherless, to provide for and comfort them, in spite of the sacrifice and pain it may cost us.
Here are a few startling statistics from a study in 2015:
· Roughly 428,000 children were in foster care on any given day
· About 670,000 total children entered the system at some time during that year
· Nearly 108,000 are eligible for and awaiting adoption
· In 2014, 35,000 Americans were randomly surveyed. They found that an estimated 70% of American adults are self-professing Christians
· But with all this, no more than 2% of Americans have actually adopted
What Scripture Says
The above statistics are both telling and disheartening. Undoubtedly, not every Christian is called to adoption. But we are all called to actively help. James 1:27 says that we are to help the widow and the orphan in their affliction. Isaiah 1:17 tells us we are to do right, seek justice, and take up the cause of the fatherless. In Jeremiah 5, God brings a list of reasons why He is about to destroy Judah, and one the primary reasons is their unwillingness to promote the case of the fatherless and to defend the poor. The list goes on and on.
How You Can Help
Many people know that foster and adoption are ways to help, but they are quickly at a loss when it comes to helping in other ways. So below, I compiled a list of a few ways people can pitch in:
· Help local parents: Many people know local foster parents. Come alongside them by providing:
o Meal trains for foster or adoptive parents who recently received a placement, or recently lost one
o Clothes or equipment, such as car seats, during a new placement
o Transportation to and from various appointments
o Childcare: Foster parents rarely get out because of restrictions on who can watch their kids and who is willing to. But legally, kids can be watched by an unlicensed person if it’s 6 hours or less
· CarePortal: The CarePortal is currently implemented in about a dozen states. It’s a program that brings churches alongside the Department of Human Services (DHS) so that caseworkers can request simple things like food, beds, clothes, etc. when they see a need for them.
o If you don’t have CarePortal in your area, you could simply contact your local DHS and ask if you can provide any of those things to a local family in need. I can assure you, they will have lots of opportunities.
o You can also contact local foster agencies who would likely love to have extra formula, clothes, or toys on hand for current placements.
· CASA: Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate for a foster child in your area
· Gifts: Many children in foster care do not receive as many gifts during Christmas or even during their birthday. Contact your local foster agencies to see if there are any families that might have some toys in mind.
These are only a few ideas, but you get the gist. There are ways everyone can help. It’s simply a matter of getting out there and doing it. We all have different gifts and abilities. By getting involved, you are helping bring redemption within your own community in a powerful way. As Christians, we cannot let this opportunity slip out of our hands.
 Visit careportal.org for more information