Virtual Voices

115,000 souls

Issues

Someone declared November National Adoption Month, though you wouldn't know it from reading The Washington Post or The New York Times. This article in the Christian Examiner does a nice job of laying out the particulars with regards to Christian efforts, and notes this stinging essay by Covenant Seminary professor Anthony Bradley, subtitled: "Why Does America Have Orphans If It Has Christian Churches?" Bradley asks:

"The Washington Times reports that there are about 65 million evangelicals in America. So . . . why are there 115,000 orphans in America's foster care system? Does this mean that there are 65 million people missing huge sections of their Bibles?"

There are many ways to look after orphans. One can give to mercy missions, for example, or volunteer in schools. No doubt many of us are in good faith doing as the Bible -- in more than one place -- admonishes. At the same time, Bradley's numbers are compelling. Out of 65 million professing evangelicals, is there no slack, no extra room, no additional time and faith, to house 115,000 children? Taking in an orphan needn't be an individual family's burden, either. Churches -- meaning we fellow believers -- can provide funds to help with costly adoption proceedings, as well as other resources, like babysitting help. Is there no room left at our tables?

The numbers sit there as a rebuke, don't they? 65 million evangelicals, and a greater number of professing Christians, all of us with our Bibles instructing us to care for orphans, yet the average child in foster care, according to the Christian Examiner, waits four years to be adopted, while many never find a home at all. Though a great many Americans report considering adoption, no more than two percent actually do. I couldn't find any percentages for Christians, but do you think our adoption numbers are any higher? Should they be?

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Think what a testimony it would be, if Christians gave our all to ensure that no child went without a permanent home. That kind of behavior, more than electing any politician, or passing any law, will be what changes culture, and declares -- in action rather than words -- what it means to follow Christ.

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