The Zoo Kids

The Zoo Kids
Finally Together

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Loving The Fatherless Without Adopting

How do you flesh out God's call to care for orphans and widows?  Adoption is obviously one major way and its near and dear to our hearts but as I said in the last post, not everyone is called to adopt but EVERYONE that claims to be a Christ follower IS called to DO SOMETHING!

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

I am going to highlight some tangible ways people have loved on our family along with how orphan care has been lived out by friends of some adoptive families we know.  I will also list some organizations that are doing great work caring for orphans...orphan care can go in so many different directions and look different for everyone so this is definitely not a conclusive list!

Let me start by saying, none of our adopted kids would be here if it wasn't for the financial support of friends and family.  adoption is expensive...about $35,000 per child expensive with international adoption.  Most families don't have that kind of money sitting in a bank account.  We had many families come beside us to help fund our adoptions...they bought T-shirts, they organized fund raisers, they shared our blog posts to spread the word, they prayed us through and they gave and they gave and they gave.  Find families in your area that are in the process of bringing kids home, follow their blogs, buy t-shirts or other crafts they may be making to fund their adoptions, attend their bake sales, yard sales, and spaghetti dinners.  We have five families near and dear to our hearts in the adoption process that we would gladly connect you with!

Orphan care doesn't end on gotcha day!  Some of our greatest blessings have been from those that loved on us after we returned home.   You met us at the airport cheering us through, you drove us home, you helped with a major remodel project, you cleaned our house and helped decorate and paint our new kids' rooms, you stocked our pantry and brought us meals, you sent us emails and Facebook messages, and texts of encouragement.  You stood in the gap praying for us when we were sleep deprived and struggling through our new normal.  When families you know are returning home with their new kids, the adjustment process is huge!    Many families newly home do something called cocooning with their new kids.  That involves staying close to home with just the momma and daddy meeting the childs needs for awhile to promote attachment.  Many kids coming from orphanage environments have sensory overload very quickly and even a trip to target can throw them into a tailspin.  This can be a very lonely and isolating time for both the new parents and the biological kids.
Take that momma a peppermint mocha from Starbucks, offer to take the biological kids with your family to Chickfila, the movies, monkey joes, the mall or the water park.  Be a listening ear and love on the family from afar while respecting their boundaries with the newly adopted kids.

 There is so much you can do once the adopted kids are home as the financial impact isn't over after adoption but just beginning!  Many families take out loans or charge their airfare or hotel and in country costs to credit cards that can run in the thousands of dollars.  These need to be paid back once the families return home.  With special needs adoption, medical needs are immediate and costly.  With Mei, we hardly had time to recover from jet lag before we were having to have his feet amputated!  Just to give an idea of what that looks like in our family...God called us to adopt special needs kids after we already had for kids of or own.  Just in the months of August to November,  we've had about $10,000 in medical bills from our adopted kids alone.   We knew the cost of special needs kids would be great but just want to highlight our reality and the reality of every adoptive family with special needs children.  The blessing in bringing home special needs kids is so enormous that I'd pay their medical costs the rest of my life!    In order to make all their appointments happen, a good, reliable vehicle is needed.  We are currently praying for an 8 passenger van, but every family is different, know their needs and help meet them.  Some families need handicapped accessible vehicles.   We've been greatly blessed by medical services offered at a discounted cost.   From our eye Dr to our orthodontist (we aren't paying a dime for Sheltons braces), to our dentist (Traceys dental work was done for free), to our pediatrician to the OBGYN here in town thats offered free appointments.   Give gas cards to adoptive families...gas is a huge expense with all the medical appointments!

One of the biggest things we've heard happen for adoptive families was a blog fried in Missouri that had their mortgage paid in full...that is huge and rare but there are so many other things you can do.  Offer to pay a months rent or mortgage payment at key times in the year, offer painting services, remodeling, plumbing, electrical services at a discount.  Build a wheelchair ramp,

The list could go on and on and on...obviously groceries are never-ending.  In families bringing home babies diapers, wipes, formula are always needed., Families with multiple kids can always use gift cards for restaurants, movies, bowling, or any fun places for family time.

God has placed some amazing, orphan minded, giving people in our circle and here are some Tangible ways we've been helped post adoption:

  • Help with Christmas gifts... we love to bless our kids as much as the next family but with medical costs, that can be tough.  

  • A summer vacation...we were given a week last summer at an amazing resort along with Disney tickets for our entire family.  It was a vacation we would never have afforded and it allowed our entire family to go make precious memories together.  

  • while adopting Zoe and Eli, our medical costs with Mei were so high from surgeries and legs that we were struggling to save for adoption, we received a generous gift to help with those costs

  • hand me simple but huge for our kids!

  • gift cards for groceries and restaurants...our kids love to eat out and go to the movies but for a family of 9, its very expensive!  Chick Fil A is one of their favorites and they all received gift cards one year and loved it!

  • obviously the remodel project mentioned above was amazing!!!!

  • meals, having our pantry stocked

  • babysitting

  • tutoring

  • we had someone make a bunk bed for our boys and someone give us furniture for Mei

  • playdates, loving on our kids...biological and adopted


There are some amazing organizations that do great good in the orphan care world...just to highlight a few:

  • Compassion International...these are not all orphans but are all poor and needy.  let the family come together and choose a child to support monthly.

  • Operation Christmas Child...again this isn't just orphans but poor and needy.  It takes about $20 to pack a shoebox.

  • Our adoption agency Lifeline has several ministries to orphans.  One is called Unadopted and they support unadoptable orphans.  Lifeline also sends medical teams into orphanages so thats another great way to get involved.  

  • Start an orphan care ministry at your church, start a scholarship program for adopting families.  check out Show Hope or

  • With Christmas coming, buy your goods fair trade or buy from someone selling items that benefit orphan care.  
  • If you are local, lagrange people, there is an organization here called Foster to Adopt, Troup County.  Check it out...there are many ways you can get involved.

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