How should Christians respond to children in need? Dr. Sharen Ford of Focus on the Family says the Body of Christ needs to stand up and that we are called to be a father to the fatherless.
November is Adoption and Foster Care Month! This month, we reflect on the children in need of a loving home and take action to do our part in caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Join us live today to wrap up Adoption and Foster Care Month as Craig DeRoche, CEO of Family Policy Alliance, sits down with Dr. Sharen Ford, Director for Foster Care and Adoption at Focus on the Family. Dr. Ford discusses why Christians in particular are called to action in this area, and how there are many ways we can care for the children in our communities.
November 30, 2022 at 10:00am PT / 11:00am MT / 12:00pm CT / 1:00pm ET
Dr. Ford has dedicated her professional career to foster care and adoption services. She spent 30 years in the Division of Child Welfare Services at the Colorado Department of Human Services. She is the former President of the National Association of State Adoption Programs and the Association of Administrators for the Interstate Compact on Adoption Medical Assistance, and currently serves as the Director for Foster Care and Adoption at Focus on the Family.
See you soon,
Communications Specialist – Producer
It’s National Adoption Month. Here at Family Policy Alliance, adoption means a lot to us: it’s a critical part of who we are both as individuals and as an organization. Here are 3 reasons why.
- Adoption is an important part of our pro-life, pro-family vision.At Family Policy Alliance, we believe that every person has inherent value that is worth honoring from the moment of their conception till the moment of their natural death. That’s why we take a strong stand on both abortion and end-of-life issues: No person should be denied a fair chance at life, regardless of the circumstances of their conception, their physical ability, their sex, or any other characteristic. Every life matters. Period.But while many legislative battles happen surrounding the first and last years of life, we don’t only care about those two points in a person’s life. We sincerely believe that every person’s life matters – and that they should not only have a chance at life, but that they should have the chance to be loved by a family as God envisioned it. That’s what adoption is—giving a child the chance to be part of a loving family, regardless of the circumstances of the family they were born into. It’s an opportunity for love to transform both child and parent. And supporting it is one way we can tangibly be pro-life from conception through life to natural death.
- Faith-based adoption is at risk.Historically, Christians have led the way in adoption, seeing it as a privilege and as a Biblical command (James 1:27). In ancient culture, it was not uncommon for parents to abandon baby girls simply because they were girls. Often it was the church that rescued those precious infants. Over the centuries, Christians have continued to care for orphans in numerous ways, and that holds true today. One 2013 study revealed that practicing Christians were more than twice as likely to adopt than the general adult population.And there’s great need for adoption (and foster care) right here in America. As of April 2019, an estimated 443,000 children were in the U.S. foster care system. That’s significant. Those children could replace the population of Minneapolis. Of those, over 123,000 are considered to be available for or awaiting adoption. Each of those children is precious. And many Christians are eager to adopt or care for them!Sadly, though, faith-based adoption and foster care agencies are under attack. As some localities begin to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination laws, those laws can be used as a weapon against faith-based agencies and families, the very people who are statistically more likely to adopt than the general population. Why? Because as matters of faith and conscience, they may decline to tell a girl that she is a boy or they may try to place children in homes with one mother and one father. These simple principles – driven by faith and the best intentions for children – do not align with radical LGBT ideology, and local governments may ask agencies to either violate their consciences or stop serving children in their communities.That’s not right, and the issue is so important it went before the Supreme Court earlier this month. You can read a little about that case here. We pray for an outcome that affirms the right of these foster agencies and families to live according to their consciences while serving children in need.
- Adoption is critical to who we are as Christians.Most importantly, adoption is critical to our identity as followers of Christ. We believe that without the hope of the Gospel, we are spiritual orphans, eternally separated from God, and unable to get to him on our own, much less to participate in his kingdom or inheritance.Yet we rejoice that God, in his love and mercy, sent his Son to live and die on our behalf and to raise him from the dead so that we could be called children of God. As Paul says in Galatians 4:4-6, “…God sent forth his Son … so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba! Father!’”By his grace alone, we can call God our father. We can share in the eternal inheritance and glorious kingdom he has for his children. We can live not as orphans, but as the fully loved children of God through his gift of adoption.That’s why adoption means so much to us. Some of us have taken part in an earthly adoption process. All of us rejoice in our spiritual adoption as children of God.
As you may know, we often like to conclude our emails with some call to action, often of a political nature. But this time, our call is a more contemplative one. In this National Adoption Month, would you prayerfully consider how the Lord would have you involved in adoption, whether spiritual or physical? Perhaps he’s called you to adopt a child or support a family or agency involved in that process. Perhaps he wants you to embrace the spirit of adoption that you have as a follower of Christ—to know that you are fully loved and can live with the freeing knowledge that you will inherit a heavenly kingdom. Or perhaps, you realize that you can’t call yourself a child of God – and God is just waiting for you to ask him.
We praise God that he adopts us, and that we at Family Policy Alliance can share in that vision of adoption – both spiritual and on earth as it is heaven.
Policy and Communications Strategist
Don’t Forget: TODAY IS ELECTION DAY!
Every day of the year, Family Policy Alliance works to promote biblical citizenship—engaging with our form of government and leaders from a biblical perspective. Today – Election Day – is perhaps the most important day of the year to this end. We count it a privilege to live in a free country with democratic elections where all people can make their voices heard at the ballot box.
Won’t you be part of biblical citizenship today by voting and praying for those who will be elected?
On Friday, President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a new proposed rule to allow faith-based adoption and foster care agencies to receive federal grants without compromising their religious beliefs.
The new rule will roll back harmful regulations from the Obama Administration that forced faith-based providers to choose between helping vulnerable children and birthmoms, or following their faith.
In 2016, just days before President Obama left office, HHS added “sexual orientation” as a protected class to a rule governing adoption agencies. Therefore, adoption and foster care providers could not continue to place children in need with married mothers and fathers only based on their biblical beliefs about marriage and sexuality. Their choice was to give up their beliefs in order to serve or else stop serving children and birthmothers altogether. And many did close their doors because they couldn’t violate their faith.
While the Obama rule sought to punish faith-based agencies into compliance with a radical political agenda, the real victims were children waiting for their forever home and birthmoms whose choices were limited.
With more than 440,000 children in foster care in the U.S., and at least 100,000 waiting for adoption, this misguided rule demanded attention.
The Trump Administration responded.
The new rule will allow adoption and foster care agencies to once again provide much-needed child placement services while maintaining their religious beliefs. Rather than force them to comply with politically motivated “sexual orientation” rules, providers will only be required to comply with nondiscrimination laws passed by Congress and signed into law, as well as applicable Supreme Court decisions.
According to a White House press release, “The proposed rule represents the Trump Administration’s strong commitment to the rule of law―the Constitution, federal statutes, and Supreme Court decisions. These require that the federal government not infringe on religious freedom in its operation of HHS grant programs and address the impact of regulatory actions on small entities.”
This announcement represents one of several steps taken by the Trump Administration to protect religious freedom in America and restore common-sense in federal agencies. The Administration has also taken action to protect medical workers who have conscious objection to abortion and assisted suicide, and it has ensured that faith-based businesses can opt out of insurance plans that include contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
We are delighted that the Department of Health and Human Services has issued this new rule to protect religious freedom and advance the work of faith-based adoption and foster care agencies. President Trump and his administration deserve our thanks.
If you are encouraged by this announcement, won’t you take a moment to personally thank President Trump for his leadership to protect religious freedom in our country? We have made it easy to send to send him a message in our Action Center – it only take a few seconds.
Thank you for standing with us to promote and defend pro-family public policy. And thanks in advance for unleashing biblical citizenship today by voting!
Autumn Leva, Esq.
Vice President of Strategy
Family Policy Alliance met Adrian when she came to the Colorado Capitol with us and our state ally, Colorado Family Action, to ask lawmakers in that state to protect faith-based adoption agencies. This was when one Senator from Boulder boldly admitted on record that he believes faith-based agencies should be shut down, rather than serving children and families in Colorado!
After Colorado lawmakers refused to advance this common sense bill, Adrian shared her story as a birthmom with the Christian Post.
“When my baby girl was born, I held her tight and told her, ‘I’ll always love you.’ Leaving the hospital without my daughter was the single hardest thing I’d ever done.” …
As you may have heard, LGBT activists around the country have been ganging up on faith-based adoption agencies – forcing them to either violate their beliefs by placing children with homosexual couples … or to shut down.
Already, they have forced such non-profit groups to close their doors in Massachusetts, Illinois, D.C., and parts of California. They are actively suing in several other states, and Colorado faith-based agencies are feeling tremendous pressure.
That’s why state Sen. Kevin Lundberg sponsored SB 241, a bill to protect the right of conscience of Colorado’s faith-based adoption agencies. His bill will be heard in a key state senate committee on Monday afternoon, and the outcome could very well depend on which Coloradans those senators are hearing from.
How does the attack on faith-based adoption agencies affect kids?
First, the more adoption agencies there are to walk alongside birth moms and to assist adopting families, the greater the number of children who will be able to find a forever home. Specifically, faith-based agencies are especially successful at finding homes for children who are hard to place – the severely abused, older children, and those with special needs.
Second, birth moms often select faith-based agencies because they want their child placed in a home that aligns with their faith, or because the agency was the one that took time to really listen and walk with her through a difficult time.
Please protect these vital ministries by asking the senate committee members to support SB 241. And please share this friends and fellow church members so they can make their voice heard, too.
Thank you for making a difference!
The Family Policy Alliance Team
By Eric Teetsel, President of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas
Months before the 2018 legislative session, a coalition of groups came together and agreed on the need to pass legislation to protect faith-based adoption agencies in Kansas.
Followers of Christ believe that God has adopted us as sons and daughters. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called Children of God; and so we are,” (1 John 3:1). When a person adopts a child into their family they reflect the love God shows us. Adoption is a way we fulfill our mission to “bring justice to the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17) and to “look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).
For these reasons, adoption has been practiced by Christians since the time of Jesus. The early Church preached against rampant infanticide, prohibited members from practicing it, and adopted babies who had been left to die by exposure by their parents.
Christians continue to lead the adoption movement today. Bethany Christian Services is the largest faith-based agency, with 120 offices spread across 36 states providing domestic and international adoption, foster care, pregnancy counseling, and post-adoption support. Catholic Charities helps over 30,000 individuals every year with foster care, adoption placement, and other services. Perhaps the single most important contribution of these groups is their excellence at placing special needs or hard-to-place older children. About 45 percent of adoptions by Catholic Charities and 32 percent by Bethany Christian Services involve finding a forever family for these hard-to-place kids.
Tragically, battles over sexual politics are infringing on the ability of faith-based agencies like these to help kids. Activist groups like the ACLU are determined to use the coercive power of the state to stamp out beliefs they do not like. In states like Massachusetts and Illinois, faith-based providers have been forced to close because they declined to violate their sincerely-held religious beliefs about the meaning of family and rights of kids to a mom and dad.
That is why our Adoption Protection Act is so important. The Act codifies what has been practiced in Kansas for decades, ensuring that faith-based adoption providers will be allowed to continue to help kids find forever families.
We are struggling to get it passed, despite having large Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. In the most recent failed vote in the House, four members of Republican leadership and several Republican committee chairmen voted no. Kansas isn’t alone; my colleagues in Georgia and Oklahoma have experienced similar obstacles.
This fight is far from over, but the experience has been revealing. If a state like Kansas faces such resistance to a simple, common sense law protecting ministries that help kids finds parents what does that say about the broader fight for religious freedom?
It says we need to elect principled and competent statesmen who will use the powers of public office to preserve fundamental freedoms.
It says we need to identify and train the next generation of political leaders who will hold fast to what is right—even when not politically popular
And, it says that we, as believers, need to engage in the political process. When our ability to even care for orphans as God calls us to do is threatened, the Church can’t afford to not have its voice represented in the public square or by our elected leaders.
This is why Family Policy Alliance’s sister ministry created the Statesmen Academy—to equip and train godly leaders who will advance religious freedom, life, and family values at every level of government.
This is why Family Policy Alliance continues to fight for common-sense policies like protecting faith-based adoption agencies in D.C. and in the states.
And, this is why Family Policy Alliance and all our state allies, including Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, will continue to equip voters to select the candidates who will advance the values we share in state and federal elections.
We firmly believe that we don’t need Republican leaders, and we don’t need Democrat leaders. We need leaders who will defend our values—especially basic ones like making sure kids have a chance at finding a forever family.
By Autumn Leva, VP of Strategy
I’m an attorney. I confess that math was never my strong suit, and I figured that law school would keep me safe from it. I did, however, pick up on some of the more basic concepts—like greater than or less than, and more vs. less.
Surely, we can all agree on the basic math supporting the following statements:
For the over 100,000 children waiting to be adopted in America, more adoption agencies to help with placing them means a greater opportunity to find a forever home.
For the countless moms wrestling over whether to place their child for adoption, more adoption agencies to choose from means greater opportunities to find one that will walk with her compassionately through this difficult decision, stick with her afterward—and align with her values, beliefs, and hopes for her child.
For the children who are most difficult to place—the severely abused, older children, and those with special needs—more adoption agencies to help place them means a greater opportunity to find a family.
Sadly, the far Left doesn’t seem to agree with this basic math—or worse, if they do, they don’t seem to care.
One of their latest strategies is an attempt to shut down faith-based adoption agencies. The result is indeed a dangerous numbers game, but the victims ultimately will be the 100,000 children waiting to be adopted and the birth moms looking for a placement agency to meet their needs.
The Left is targeting faith-based adoption agencies because they (no surprise) tend to operate their adoption ministry according to their faith. In fact, it is usually their faith that inspires them to serve children and moms in need, working for a private, faith-based agency, usually earning less than their state-employed counterparts, in the first place. Faith-based agencies typically place children in homes where their faith teaches them that children will best thrive—homes with a married mother and father. Moms usually select faith-based agencies to work with because they want their child placed in a home that aligns with their faith, or because the agency was the one that took time to really listen and walk with her through a difficult time.
The Left believes these agencies shouldn’t be permitted to operate according to their faith. Instead, they should place children with same-sex couples or even transgender individuals—regardless of what may be best for the child, the birth mother’s wishes, or the agency’s religious beliefs. So, they are attempting to pass laws or regulations in the states that would force faith-based agencies to shut down or else violate their faith.
Several states have already worked to pass laws specifically protecting faith-based adoption agencies, including Alabama, Michigan, South Dakota, and Texas. Georgia and Kansas are considering similar bills this year.
A bill called the “Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act” (H.R. 1881, S. 811) has even been introduced at the federal level by Representative Kelly (Pennsylvania) and Senator Enzi (Wyoming) to protect faith-based agencies.
Family Policy Alliance will continue to work towards each state protecting its faith-based adoption providers, and we hope you will join us.
With over 100,000 children waiting to be adopted in America, each state averages 2000 children waiting for a forever family.
If the Left succeeds in its latest tactic, the results will be simple math.
- Even more children on the waiting list to find forever homes.
- Far less opportunities for birth moms to find an agency that will meet her needs.
- Far less opportunities for difficult-to-place children to find families, especially since faith-based agencies often specialize in placing these children.
If the Left succeeds in shutting down faith-based adoption centers, the reality is that men and women who have a heart for serving these children and moms in need will find another way to do so through their church or community.
In an attempt to “punish” faith-based providers for their beliefs, the Left will ultimately end up punishing the many children and birth moms in need—in your state, and every state.
It’s a numbers game, but it literally comes at the cost of the orphans we’ve been tasked with caring for as believers.
Will you please support Family Policy Alliance and our over 40 state-based allies with your support today? Your gift will help us protect faith-based adoption ministries in states across the nation.
Did you hear this amazing story? In late-September, Albuquerque police officer Ryan Holets was responding to a reported theft at a local convenience store when he noticed a couple about to shoot up heroin nearby. As Officer Holets approached them, he noticed that the woman was pregnant. Not only was she pregnant, she was almost 8 months along, homeless, and struggling with drug addiction. Given her dire situation, the woman expressed hope that the child would be adopted. At that moment, Officer Holets felt compelled by the Lord to do something remarkable – he would adopt the child himself. And that’s exactly what he and his wife did.
On October 12, a beautiful baby girl was born. Her name is Hope, and in spite of the complications of being born with an opioid addiction, she is now home with her new family.
Last month, Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico was proud to celebrate National Adoption Month and highlight some incredible stories of children whose lives were radically changed through the power of adoption. We also successfully lobbied Congress to restore the Adoption Tax Credit in the federal tax proposal. (Thanks to those of you who participated in this with us by contacting members of our Congressional delegation.)
While this represents a meaningful victory, there is still much more work to be done to ensure that our children are provided with loving and supportive families. According to the Adoption Exchange Association, there are more than 2,300 children in foster care in New Mexico and approximately 700 of them are waiting to be adopted. Many of these children are victims of neglect and abuse, and, as Christians, we should be leading the effort to save them.
If we look to the Scripture, we see that “adoption” is used to illustrate our eternal salvation. In Galatians 4:4-5, the Apostle Paul says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption.”
Friends – at the heart of the Gospel is adoption, and Jesus Christ is our saving hope! As we enter the Christmas season and reflect upon the birth of our Savior, I encourage you to also consider this – of all the language God could have used to describe how we became His children, He uses adoption. So, for those of you who have fostered or adopted children, or are considering such, please know that you are following in the steps of our Heavenly Father.
Something to think about: According to the Children’s Action Network, the average child waits for an adoptive family for more than 3 years.
Something to pray for: Please pray for our New Mexico children who are currently in the foster care system and those waiting for a family to adopt them.
Something to do: Ask yourself this question: “Is the Lord leading me to adopt a child?”
Together, let’s support a culture of life in New Mexico by supporting adoption!
Standing for Faith and Family,
President and Executive Director
It is still National Adoption Month.
As we come to the close of November, we wanted to share with you one last story of how this amazing process blesses so many who need forever families and the families they join.
Jeremy Samek serves as Senior Legal Counsel with Family Policy Alliance’s state ally Pennsylvania Family Council. He and his wife, Sarah, share the story of adopting Maria Pearl, a precious little girl with Down Syndrome.
In honor of National Adoption Month, Family Policy Alliance President Paul Weber, along with his wife Lois and their daughter Molly share how it has touched each of their lives.
Their personal experience is just one reason our organization works to protect the freedom of Christian adoption agencies to operate in harmony with their faith.
After the Supreme Court decision that unconstitutionally redefined marriage, these organizations have come under fire. Why? Because of their belief that God’s timeless design for marriage is the best environment for raising children.
Your partnership with Family Policy Alliance will help protect the First Amendment freedoms of Christian adoption agencies.