18 Thanksgivings and Counting

I carry the images of November 25, 1999, in my heart. Our court date was May 25 earlier in the same year. I recall the date well because it was my 35th birthday. When panic started to rise in my chest, I would remind myself that my name was on the missionary prayer calendar. Southern Baptists around the globe would be praying for me and my family. I still remember overwhelming feelings of relief when the judge brought down his gavel and rendered the verdict. However, the decision would not be final until November 25, Thanksgiving Day.

Family traveled to east Tennessee for our traditional Thanksgiving gathering. Every reunion is unique and filled with wonderful reasons to celebrate shared experiences. Back then roosters at the homestead would herald the day long before sunrise. On that occasion, I did not mind. It seemed they wanted to launch the festivities. As roosters began crowing, I felt the profound significance of the day.

The party included balloons, cake, and cards made by the cousins. To make the verdict official, we were required to wait exactly six months. The process for us to adopt Hannah was complete November 25, 1999. This year marks 18 Thanksgivings and counting.

November is National Adoption Month. The goal is to create awareness and bring attention to children in the foster-care system who need permanent families. Adoption and foster parenting are not for everyone. However, all Christians can do something to help vulnerable children. Lead your church to explore opportunities in your own community.

Start by researching needs and resources. If a Baptist Children’s Home is in your state, discover how your church can come alongside and assist as it ministers to hurting children and families. Ask a representative to speak to your congregation. Consider enlisting volunteers to serve onsite.

Provide respite care for a foster family in your church or community. Organize meals the family can freeze and cook as needed. Offer free photography or videography services to foster or adoptive families. Donate supplies to foster-care organizations. Become a mentor or tutor to a child in foster care. Give a youth in foster care his or her first job. Become a foster grandparent. Help support foster youth as they transition out of care.

If your heart is open to becoming a foster or adoptive parent, begin praying for God’s wisdom and guidance.


Father,

Tonight countless children will lie down to sleep without a permanent family to call their own. You ask us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Give us eyes to see the need and courage to take action. Raise up adoptive parents who can be the voice, hands, and feet of our loving Savior. We pray for those who serve vulnerable children. Give them strength day by day. Bless them with resources to do Your work. Help us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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