What is Orphan Care?

One of the new ways to serve the Lord here at Flint Hill Baptist is by becoming a part of the brand new Orphan Care Ministry. Several weeks ago we had a ministry launch luncheon, and learned a bit about how we can go about serving orphans in various circumstances in a Biblical and holistic way.

At the word “orphan” people can sometimes throw their hands up. Hit the door running. Click away in fear that somebody is going to wave pictures of sad little cute kids in their face and pressure them to adopt.

The truth is, it’s easy for people to disregard orphan care ministry as something that is someone else’s assignment. “I don’t feel called to adopt, or take kids in through foster care, or go on mission trips, so then orphan care isn’t for me.” People feel uncomfortable with orphan care because they think that’s all there is to it: adopting, fostering, or going on short term mission trips.

And orphan care DOES include those things, but as a whole, orphan care is so, so much bigger than those tiny (though significant) little boxes.

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Orphan care is caring for the world’s most vulnerable children in a lot of different ways, including:

-adoption

-foster or respite care

-child, birthmother, and/or family sponsorship

-short or long-term mission trips that focus on orphans

-adoptive or foster family support

…and so on. But while orphan care may look different in different contexts, orphan care always seeks the same aim. Orphan care ministries and orphan advocates must always ask the question, “What is best for the child?”Biblical orphan care focuses on the needs of the child and asks very difficult questions, such as whether the better solution for a specific child in need is a sponsorship program and not adoption. Maybe for another child in a different situation the best thing is adoption. The circumstances of every child must be examined in order to determine the best type of care they need.

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Orphan care is not:

-exclusively focused on international adoptions and orphanages

-establishing the institutional care of children

-encouraging families to abandon their children

We will never know what is best for the child until we invest significantly in the lives of those we seek to help. We must be able to see and understand the systems they will enter upon adoption or foster care, the actual families who will care for them, and the churches that will seek to serve them. This is what is meant by a holistic approach to caring for orphans. It’s seeing the big picture of the care and compassion that goes into providing relief for orphans in distress.

Why do we do orphan care?

Orphan care is hard, and it’s really messy, but it is the Lord’s command for the Church. Why do we spend our time and resources to do the emotionally and physically draining work of caring for the neediest among us? The answer is simple. We reflect the person and character of God when we seek out the orphan. We do orphan care because caring for orphans is Gospel work.

“God has called us to be a defender of the defenseless because that is who He is. We are returning worship to God when we show His character to the world by championing the cause of the least of these.” –Orphanology by Tony Merida and Rick Morton

The Bible is clear that caring for orphans is not reserved only for those struggling with infertility or who have amassed a tremendous amount of wealth. Being involved in caring for the world’s orphans is a commandment given to every Christian. It is a Gospel-driven command to the Church!

What are some practical ways to get involved with Flint Hill’s Orphan Care Ministry?

  1. Pray about serving as a leader in the ministry.
  2. Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for a foster child. These are people who help make phone calls and track paperwork for foster kids, serving as advocates to make sure that child’s papers are being moved through the system. Often times CASAs make a huge impact on children without ever meeting them! If you have time and a phone and a little tenacity, you can be a CASA.
  3. Adopt or support those who are – through funding, awareness, and even supporting an adoptive family by attending trainings with them.
  4. Support birth mothers through Lifeline Village.
  5. Family sponsorships through Haiti Collective, Compassion, World Vision, etc.
  6. Foster care
  7. Respite care to support full time foster parents
  8. Supporting foster and adoptive families by joining a WRAP team (more on those in a future post)
  9. Participate in short or long-term mission trips that focus on care for orphans.
  10. Read Altar84’s Woven book to pursue more in-depth study about what Scripture teaches about caring for orphans.

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