“Break my heart for what breaks yours” - gaining a heart for orphan care
Okay, so full disclosure: I may or may not have originally created this list as my toolbox for convincing my husband to say yes to foster care. I recommend using this list as a resource for you to explore, as a couple, how God may be calling you to get involved in orphan care...not, say, hypothetically speaking (of course), as ammo for manipulating or convincing your spouse.
A) It doesn't work. Take it from me, I tried. B) It's a messy ball of sin. This is about loving God and loving others. Keep it about that. C) Adoption and foster care are trying and wearying and something you're going to want complete unity on. Both partners must be all in and fully convinced it's what God has for their family. My husband and I “knew” that the call to care for orphans was throughout the Bible, but we (okay, I) compiled a list of Scripture to read and pray through, read dozens of books, and spent hours scouring the internet. We came together and read and prayed: “Convince us of your call to orphan care...show us how we should get involved...break our hearts for what breaks yours.” I'll save you some of the compiling, reading, and scouring. Here's what we found to be most helpful:
James 1:27: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Psalm 82:1,3-4 : “God has taken his place in the divine council…’Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.’”
Deuteronomy 10:18: “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.”
Deuteronomy 14:29: “And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.”
Isaiah 1:17: “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.”
Psalm 68:5: “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.”
“Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream” by David Platt
My husband and I may or may not refer to David Platt as my “boyfriend.” We mean it in the purest sense possible, of course, but it is what we call him. After God’s Word, David Platt’s book, “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream,” has affected the way I think and live more than any other book. No, it’s not a book on orphan care. But, yes, it actually kind of is. This book will challenge and inspire you to reject a comfort-motivated lifestyle and embrace sacrificially following Jesus and loving others. While reading this book, I thought (approximately every thirty seconds), "My life needs to change. My heart needs to change. Everything has to change."
“You and I can choose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the church as a whole, enjoying success based on the standards defined by the culture around us. Or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what the consequences might be if we really believed him and really obeyed him." - David Platt
“Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care” by Tony Merida & Rick Morton
If the Scriptures above and "Radical" have started to root the call to orphan care in your heart, "Orphanology " will help you answer the question, "Now what?" With chapters exploring everything from adoption to orphanage funding to orphan hosting, "Orphanology" is a practical look at how to do orphan care. This book is a great resource to challenge, inspire, and inform you.
"We seldom hear about the great needs of the poor and the orphan because we don’t hear them. They don’t speak at conferences. We don’t see them on broadcast news. This makes the situation worse. We actually can live comfortably and ignore them as if they don’t exist. But they do exist! And God’s people are called to defend, protect, and deliver them from the oppressors." - Tony Merida & Rick Morton
"Another Place at the Table" by Kathy Harrison
This book is not for the faint of heart. "Another Place at the Table" is a memoir by a foster mom with both a knack for weaving a beautiful story and quite a story to tell. You will read this book in one sitting, and you will cry. Many times. This book isn't necessarily the picture of the average foster parent (I haven't met one with stories like this) and it's not written by a Christian, but it is a book that will break. your. heart. for foster care.
"The price is paid in installments, by my husband and by our children, every time we love and lose and every time we can't love enough." - Kathy Harrison
(I'm a big fan of memoirs. If you are, too, check out: "One Small Boat: The Story of a Little Girl, Lost Then Found" also by Kathy Harrison, "Three Little Words: A Memoir" by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, and "Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island" by Regina Calcaterra)
Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel by John Piper - It's by John Piper. 'Nuff said.
Fostering or Adopting: For the Husband That's Not Sure by Jason Johnson - Ladies, maybe (like 90% of couples who have ever entered the adoption/foster journey) you're ready to jump in, but your husband isn't sure yet. This article will be your new best friend. *wink wink* (Just kidding. Repeat the mantra: "I will not manipulate. I will not convince.")
Foster Care: Loving a Child That Might Leave by Jason Johnson - You know what, just go read everything by Jason Johnson. Seriously. If you're wasting your time on my blog and haven't already devoured everything on his, please shut this browser now.
Lifesong for Orphans Blog - Lifesong for Orphans is awesome in general. If you're praying through how exactly you should get involved in orphan care, Lifesong will inform and inspire you. Also check out Lifesong's foster care branch, The Forgotten Initiative.