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    Beyond ProLife: When a Church Embraces Life

    February 16, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    In the U.S., 137 Million people claim to be Christians. If only 1% of U.S. Christians made a choice to adopt one child, there would be no more children waiting to be adopted in the U.S. foster care system, and a million orphaned children from other countries would join an American family. {Families of Promise, emphasis mine}

    If I preach to myself too many days in a row, I end up filled to the brim with conviction! {Sometimes, my husband tells me I should stop blogging because it causes too much life-change in the family!} Off and on since I began the ProLife series, I found myself compelled to propose a ministry to my church where our members are encouraged to adopt, to reach out to the children and bring them into homes where they can be taught the ways of the Lord.

    And then I wondered if anyone out there was already doing this. You know what they say about reinventing the wheel…

    My searching was delightfully short on time required and long on reward. Readers, may I present Antioch Adoptions. This is a truly comprehensive ministry in a way I could never have dreamed of. First of all, they work with mothers pregnant with what they call unintended pregnancies {I love this word usage so much more than unwanted}. They are seeking to “champion” adoption because their research told them that some mothers would rather abort than give up a child for adoption because it is rarely presented in a positive light.

    Secondly, they work with adopting families through the whole process. There is an introduction class, pre-screening, training weekend, specialized classes, home study, child placement, staff visits after placement, and the finalization of the adoption. They are fully funded, making the adoption free service, made possible by donors.

    Antioch Adoptions seeks an answer to this most important question: What would a world look like in which every child who was free to be adopted actually was? Currently, their services are only available in western Washington state, but other churches could easily follow their lead and begin rescuing foster kids and unintended babies in their own areas.

    Families of Promise is a ministry that exists to help churches start a radical ministry such as this. Antioch Adoptions is one of a handful of churches Families of Promise is supporting in their endeavors to care for orphaned and abandoned children.

    My hope and prayer is that the Church rises up, and instead of foster children growing up to be the untrained, unparented bane of society {I know that is not absolute, but studies show that 4 years out of foster care, only 1 in 5 are completely self-supporting, with 1 in 4 having been homeless at least one night}, they become a generation of children who come to know Christ because they are reared by godly parents.

    There was a day when each one of us was outside the fold. Our relationship to the Father is described as adoption {Rom. 8:15 & 23; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5}. When Jesus walked among men, He graciously extended His arm outside the Jewish family and welcomed all who would have faith, to follow Him in love and obedience. Through Him, we are adopted as sons. How appropriate that some of those who are adopted, who were once outside the family and are now within, adopt the orphaned and abandoned in this world, and bring them home.

    Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. {Proverbs 3:27}

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