How can I help vulnerable children?

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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

 After reading this scripture years ago, I was thrilled.  Yes…this is what I wanted to do, how I longed to worship the Lord in this way.  I have always had a heart for orphans and foster children.  I was sure that the Lord was telling me to open up my home to care for the least of these.  Well, my husband didn’t receive this same message.  He wasn’t ready or even sure that we were supposed to expand our family in this way and so, I prayed hard for a long time that the Lord would change my husband’s mind on this issue.  Well, years went by and we still weren’t any closer to being foster parents or adoptive parents.  Every year on Orphan Sunday when announcements would go out about prayerfully considering participating in the Every Child Initiative Night I would think to myself, this just isn’t for us right now, I would pray for vulnerable children and honestly, that was the end of it-  I didn’t attend, I didn’t prayerfully consider anything, I did nothing.

A couple years ago though, something was different.  I felt the Lord really putting it on my heart to at least go to the Every Child Initiative Night and check it out. I knew he brought me there that night for a reason.  I spent most of the time sitting in the back praying a different prayer.  It wasn’t the “make us foster parents” prayer.  I prayed for the Lord to show me how I WAS supposed to fit into this ministry.  If not as a foster parent, then what was it suppose to look like?

The Lord is faithful and hears our petitions and it wasn’t long after that that I received a call inviting me to participate in the Every Child Initiative in a way that I didn’t even know existed.  I became a Wrap-Around Coordinator or what I like to call a ”first responder” to our Foster and Adoptive Families. 

My role is to make contact with families within the first days of their placements to assess their needs- material and spiritual- by finding clothes, car seats, setting up meal trains and praying along side of them for these difficult transitions.   As coordinators we also keep in contact with our families during the placements to make sure they have the support that they need.   Getting to know and serving these families have been such a blessing to me- one I almost missed out on. 

Why do I tell you this?  Because there are actually many ways to participate in the Every Child Initiative and if you are like I was and think this isn’t for you, well, you might be wrong.  Just as Paul writes to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 about the church body having many parts, all which are equally important to the body as a whole, so do the ministries within the church.  The Every Child Initiative isn’t just families who foster or adopt.  These children and their families need mentors, tutors, clothes, diapers, meals, help with household chores, prayer, babysitters, and many other things.  When these families attend multiple court dates, appointments, or meetings, they need childcare for their other children.  They need us to be praying and encouraging them when they have really tough placements.  They need support and love from all of us which might look like a hot meal or a clean load of laundry.   What they have been called to do is difficult, yet the Lord is near and He even invites the rest of us to help lighten their load.  I know we all aren’t called right now to take children into our homes, but I believe that we are all called to care for vulnerable children.  Before you dismiss this like I initially did, I urge you to ask the Lord how you fit into this ministry.

 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27