An Open Seat – NAAM

Technically, National Adoption Awareness Month has ended already, but I wanted to wrap this series of blog posts that celebrate our adoption journey with a look forward. This is not a glimpse into the future for our family, but even bigger than that, of all of our calling as followers of Christ. To catch up on our story, here is the first post in this series.

An Empty Chair

December found our family ringing in the Christmas month gathered on our special movie-viewing air mattress, with every blanket in the house, watching Elf. My kids love that movie, and I enjoy the thought of living life with joyful innocence

like Buddy the Elf, Will Ferrell’s overgrown North Pole transplant. Not only is the story funny, but it also encapsulates a beautiful picture of the selfless love of adoption and foster care.

Beyond feel-good Christmas movies, the reality is that in America today, there are just a little over 104,000 children in foster care who are eligible for adoption. Not only are these children ready to be adopted, many of them are old enough to recognize the need, and to carry the hope of finding adoptive parents. They are most likely receiving wonderful care from loving foster families, but there is a reality of the promise of a family to call their own that is missing.

Then, when you begin to look across the world, there are hundreds of thousands more children living in group homes, orphanages, and worse yet, left to fend for themselves on third-world streets. Kelly and I have seen in Africa, first-hand, the extreme poverty some orphans experience, as well as the power of a group of people making a difference. We have laughed with children eating birthday cake for the first time, and cried over the grave of an infant who reached care, but was already too malnourished and sick to sustain life.

The fact is, every one of us has the power to do something about orphan care. Everyone. You may not feel able to adopt or foster a child, and it certainly is a challenge, but you are fully able to support and walk alongside those that do. In fact, if you are a Christian, then these words from James bring more than an ability, they bring a calling:

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. – James 1:27

So as we leave November and look toward the birth of a Savior, called Emmanuel, God With Us, the best way to be unstained by the world of consumer entitlement is to give freely and sacrificially to those who have nothing to offer in return but love.

To be God with them. 

And, as I leave this series of blog posts, I wonder, is there a seat open at your family table for the child who sits alone today? Is there room on your blanket palette for a little one who needs some popcorn and snuggle time?

We tend to think so… and pray that you might as well.

Kelly and I love Elevare International and they work they do for orphans around the world. Find out more here.