Part of our Christian call is to care for the vulnerable. In this three-part series, Kendell Borkowski explores how to live out Scripture engagement through her call to adoption and foster care. Find out how you too can act on God’s Word through discerning and responding to your call and advocating for those in need.
“I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18). In this verse, Paul reminds the Corinthians about God’s promise of adoption under the new covenant. This promise extends to all believers. God is our Father! We are a family, by God’s perfect design through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As God’s sons and daughters, we enjoy the love and nurture of our Father in often indescribable ways. Similarly, when we choose adoption or foster care, we sacrificially extend ourselves to show God’s love and care to another through a unique relationship.
If you feel compelled to explore foster care or adoption, I urge you to do it! Prayerfully consider your call, research the paths, and reach out to your community. One of my favorite quotes by foster care advocate Jason Johnson is, “Foster care is less about getting a child for your family and more about giving your family for a child.” Let that soak in. Such an amazing mind set, isn’t it? This applies to adoption as well, as you consider the whole triad - child, birthparent(s), adoptive parent(s). Orphan care is not about rescuing a child or fulfilling a personal need, it is about the need to share the heart of our God and the blessings he has given (Philippians 2:3-4). What an incredible opportunity!
The two biggest fears I hear most often regarding adoption and foster care concern attachment. In adoption: Can I love and bond with a child who isn’t biologically mine? And, in foster care: What if I get too attached? The answers are YES and YOU SHOULD! Yes, you can love and bond with a child that isn’t “yours.” I can attest to that four times over! And, yes, you should get too attached. If you’re doing it right, you’ll feel trampled when a child leaves your home, because you will have let them occupy your heart completely. I firmly believe that every child deserves an adult, if only for a while, who loves them more than they love themselves. All children deserve an adult who is too attached to them. I pray the words of Jesus inform how I treat all the children in my home, as well as their biological families. “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them” (John 15:12-13). My children aren’t really “mine” anyway, they are God’s. Biology doesn’t make a family; love and sacrifice do that (Ephesians 1:4-5).
Supporting Others’ Call
Not everyone is called to foster and adopt. But, have you considered that you may be called to support those who are? The night we brought our first foster daughter home, sweet friends decorated our garage door with handmade signs bursting with Scripture, encouragement, and love. We still have them, and they are a part of our daughter’s story. At trying times in our adoption and foster journey, people have helped us by providing meal trains, flowers, coffee, wine, and babysitting. When situations became particularly wearisome, friends stopped over and ordered me to take a nap while they took care of my little ones. I can be a better foster parent, adoptive parent, parent, because of those who choose to recognize the extra layers of our family and shower us with love.
Perhaps you’ve heard the numbers. If just one family from every three churches in the United States was dedicated to adopting a child from foster care, and those three churches committed to supporting that family, we could dismantle the need for foster care as it is today. Imagine if all of those waiting children woke up in loving homes tomorrow, embraced by believers. The narrative of their lives would be drastically different as they come to experience God’s love through your embrace. Find a family you know who fosters, has adopted, or is in the process of preparing for either and ask what they need. If they don’t know, offer something! Your gifts can be used by that family, I guarantee.
The call of orphan care also needs advocates who have a desire to "Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9). Consider becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), creating an orphan care ministry with friends, celebrating Orphan Sunday at your church, educating yourself on Safe Families, walking alongside birthparents struggling with addiction, volunteering for orphan care organizations in your area, or starting a mentorship program for teens aging-out of the system. The possibilities are endless! Passionate narrators are integral to every story. We don’t all have to do the same thing, but there is something we can all do.
Reaping the Benefits
My life as a foster mom and adoptive mom isn’t glamorous or filled with mountain-top experiences. In fact, on a regular basis, it brings me to the end of myself. Many days I’m weighted by the trauma my kids and their birth parents have endured, frustrated with the brokenness of a system that is supposed to serve them, disgusted with my own selfishness and shortcomings. But, I can’t even begin to think about what I could have missed. I don’t regret a day. God meets me in every feeling and encourages me to keep answering the call. Those unknown spaces and uncomfortable uncertainties are filled with the sweet glory of being God’s child, of loving God’s children, and witnessing God’s faithfulness. I engage the call and it has brought me closer to my Father who loves the fatherless more than I could ever know.
There is a plethora of wonderful resources online to help you advocate for the call to care for the suffering. Here are some to get you started:
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