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Nov 03, 2014

Contributed by Dr. Rhonda Littleton, who serves as Minister of Children for First Baptist Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina, and leads A Home for Me foster/adoption ministry.

Over the past ten years a wonderful movement called "the orphan care movement" has spread across this nation and around the globe. Churches and individuals have stepped up to join the fight to care for orphans as James 1:27 commands us to do. 

I've heard concern, however, that many Christians see this effort as a rescuing" mission, not the act of helping families to reunite. Throughout Scripture, God reminds us that He longs to redeem and restore His people.

As I have personally journeyed with families and been a part of our foster/adoption ministry, God has revealed to me over and over that He created us for family. He has reminded me that the bond of family is strong and that a built-in, unconditional love does not have to be learned because it "just is."

In both the Old and New Testaments we are also repeatedly reminded of the greatest commandments. For example, in Luke 10:27, we are told, "‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

What would happen if the church was the Good Samaritan to the biological parent, providing resources and help? What would happen if the church mentored and prayed for the biological parents?

Our state governments champion for reunification when it is safe and in the best interests of the child.  The church should be leading the way in championing for families to be transformed and restored. The church has tremendous resources and men and women equipped to implement those resources. 

What can the church do to help with the reunification process?

·         Be secure in what God has called you to as a church.

·         Educate your church family about the importance of reunification.

·         Most important, let prayer be the foundation of all you do.

This is not an all-inclusive list nor do I have all the answers. Also, I am the first to say that walking the road of reunification can be messy, painful, and without a lot of "wins." But I have seen God move in incredible ways when the church is willing to be "salt and light" and love our neighbor. The church is transformed and families are restored.

Listen to Bethany Christian Services’ Every Child podcast for more on issues relative to vulnerable children. From adoption and foster care to the introduction of sustainable social services in developing countries, Every Child features an informative discussion, led by Bethany’s President/CEO Bill Blacquiere, with leading voices from ministries and nonprofit organizations, as well as Christian authors and artists.