So I obviously moved to Memphis to be a part of the Memphis Teacher Residency. I moved here to learn how to be the best urban educator I can be. I moved here to be a part of a movement to bring life/light to the disadvantaged children of Memphis; therefore, bringing life/light to the whole city and beyond. This is what the majority of the past year has been about.
While I believe I am a part of a huge battle for social justice in urban education, I figured that would be enough Kingdom work to be involved in for the next 40 years of my life. We have a big fight on our hands to right the wrongs that been done and equip teachers to best serve and teach our urban children.
God, apparently, has decided that urban education will not be my only fight. This summer, God graciously and kindly opened the door for me to work at a church in their Adoption and Foster Care ministry: Engage 1:17. While I thought I would be doing administrative things for the pastor overseeing this ministry, it is been much, much more than that. The pastor has graciously allowed me to help mold, shape, give ideas, attend meetings with him and some important people all in order to lay the groundwork for what is about to be launched.
Day in and day out over the summer, I have been faced with the realities of what our foster children and orphans face. Obviously, while I learned the world of foster care while I had Anthony, I often times don't want to/or simply choose not to think about the real situations that thousands of children in our city (nation and world) live every day. It gets to be so overwhelming and heartbreaking. But I don't get the choice to ignore them. You don't get the choice to ignore them. If you are a part of the Bride of Christ, the Church, then you do not get to ignore the orphans. God, our Adoptive Father, the best example of what it means to take dirty, filthy, unworthy, unloved, messed-up children, has called us to do exactly what He did for us. God mandates to the Believer to "take care of the orphan" countless times in Scripture. We are to be a picture of God's unconditional love to us in caring for the orphan. And we, as His Bride, have failed in this calling. We have allowed all responsibility for the orphan to go to the State. They have not done a good job, but who can blame them? It wasn't/isn't their responsibility!
So often I hear people talk about their desire for adoption, but they put stipulations on it. "I want an infant." "I don't want one with too many problems or issues." "I don't want to take an older child because the damage is already done." I probably would have said these same things 2 months ago. In desiring to adopt someday, I probably would have put stipulations on it. I'm so glad God has taught me some things this summer! I'm so, so grateful that God didn't have stipulations in choosing me as His adoptive daughter. If we are really going to approach adoption or fostering from a gospel-centered approach, and we are walking into it from the heart of following our God-given mandate to care for the orphan, then we don't get to have stipulations. God didn't tell us to take care of just the infant orphans, the pretty orphans, the orphan with the same color of skin that we have, the ones that have not been damaged (all orphans have been damaged in one way or another, so don't think that healthy infants will never deal with emotional issues) God simply commanded that we take care of the orphan - all orphans.
It may sound like I am standing on a soapbox. But when it is a God-given mandate, it cannot be a soapbox. This is real stuff. Kingdom stuff. It requires us to ask, "What am I going to do about it?" "What can I do to take care of the orphan?"
So you ask, "Kristin, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to take care of the orphan?"
1. I wish so badly that now was the time to foster again or adopt. But in order for me to pour out effectively in my classroom this year and shepherd my students well (many of whom will be considered orphans based on lack of parental involvement), I cannot take a child in my home at this time. And I honestly feel that the Lord wants me to be married the next time I foster and/or adopt. So I will be bold enough on my blog to say that I am praying for a husband to come along who will be passionate about adoption to where we will partner in ministry of caring for the orphans in our home. However that looks like.
2. In the meantime, I will continue working with this adoption/foster care ministry and the initiative that we are about to launch of "Adopt a Case Worker (and the children on their case)" (more to come on that at another time). We are praying that God will use this initiative to bless and serve DCS here in Memphis, the foster children, and their foster families.
3. I will continue to share the need and pray that this fight for social justice will have a solution through the Church (big C).
A great book that I highly recommend reading is Orphanology by Tony Merida and Rick Morton.