Last week I had the privilege of attending Camp of Champions at Shocco Springs. It is a time sponsored by Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes where their foster families, group homes, workers and supporters come together for fellowship. The adults receive training and the kids have a sort of VBS. It is an intense time for all, but one that is profitable for the kingdom of God.
I gleaned much from the seminars this year – but I wanted to pass along a few of the unfortunate yet truthful things I heard from and/or discussed with others:
1) Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes currently has to refuse 85% of referrals across the state because they don’t have enough homes to provide care. Executive Director Rod Marshall stated that while he is thankful for the 15% they do take in because he knows they are going to good homes, he loses sleep at night not knowing where the other 85% will go. His prayer is that the church would rise up and put the government out of the foster care business. HOWEVER…
2) The percentage of children coming into state DHR care from adoptive homes is on the rise. This is tragic, but history often repeats itself. The orphan care emphasis in religious circles is cyclical and is currently on the upswing. Some presume that they are called to bring children into their homes from outside, often thinking they are a lesser Christian if they do not. We need families given to orphan care. All should have a heart to help in some way. We need folks to prayerfully consider bringing these children into their homes. All are called to orphan care – but not all are called to house children. Imagine the horror in a child who has waited for adoption, been taken in, only to be given up again. This breaks my heart.
3) There is a hierarchy of “price” for domestic adoption based on race. Yes, prejudice exists even in domestic adoption. White children are the most expensive to adopt, followed respectively by Asian children, Hispanic children, and lastly African American children (who are sometimes free). This too is tragic.
4) Finally, I asked one of the social workers how the surge of illegal children crossing the the Mexico/Texas border would affect orphan care. While these children are considered “incarcerated” at present by the government, this administration will have to decide what to do with these illegals – and we don’t know what will happen. These children come from situations in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and other places where they have seen violence such as we will never see. And some have participated in such violence. Childcare services in some states have already been alerted and/or asked to help relieve the pressure and have denied to this point because they simply are not prepared – and may never be – for this difficult situation.
Pray for these children! And pray how you might help children who need God-centered homes, gospel-oriented families, and gospel-focused care.