When we are adopted into the Kingdom of Christ, we’re made brand new. We’re given a new heart and a new spirit, committed to living out our lives on earth as it is in heaven. The most amazing grace is extended to us as we are born into a new family of believers, with the beautiful responsibility to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). One of the most powerful ways we can do this is to extend our hands to the orphan and the widow. 

Although the command is clear for the believer to care for the orphan, it can be intimidating to know where or how to start. My husband Chad and I adopted our daughter, who is now four years old, as an infant. You can hear more of our story here. It’s been quite a journey and something shifted in me along the way— I now want to understand and change the system as a whole. 

Not every family is called to foster or adopt. However, if our faith is in Christ and our hope is fixed on eternity, each and every single one of us is called to care for the orphan (James 1:27). There are many practical ways to do this. Foster parenting and adoption are two of the most obvious ways to care for orphans. If you’re not called to open your home at this time, you might serve as a “wrap-around” family. And every believer can and should go to bat for orphans through prayer. 

Foster Parenting

The goal of foster care is to reunite foster children with their biological parents. There are currently 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, ranging from newborn/infant to 21 years of age. The average age is 8 years old. The average time spent in foster care is one year. The most heartbreaking statistic: each year 20,000 children age out of the foster care system. The cards are stacked against these children in some very big ways.

Foster parenting is a high calling. You must be grounded in your faith and have eyes wide open to the realities of these hard situations. Those who are called and step into this space are literally the hands and feet of Jesus, helping to bring restoration, reconciliation and healing on earth as it is in heaven. Foster parenting is mandated by the state and requires certification. The best way to start is to find an agency in your state that certifies foster parents. They will set you on a path to find the information and steps to become certified.

Each and every one of us is called to care for the orphan.

Adoptive Parenting

Adoption is another way to care for the orphan. We know first hand the variety of routes you can take to become an adoptive parent. In many ways, this is what delayed our decision to take the first steps. The landscape felt overwhelming. There is foster-to-adopt, infant adoption and private adoption. Within each of those options there are endless routes to take. My advice? Go back to the heart of Jesus. Pray, discern, ask Him to guide you. He is faithful to answer. He loves His children more than we ever could. 

As a family, we chose an adoption consultant who acted as a middle man between us and the agency we eventually adopted through. The benefit of the consultant is that they work with multiple agencies around the country. If you are willing to take what are deemed higher risk cases, and say yes to what some people would consider too uncertain, then this is a wonderful route to pursue.

I would encourage every believer to pray about fostering or adopting. God is faithful to answer when we ask. If you hear a yes, gather some information, seek wisdom in next steps. This is the heart of Jesus: to care for the orphan, to open our homes and our hearts to the exact thing Jesus has done for us all. 

Wrap-Around Family

As mentioned above, becoming a foster family can be extremely taxing. One of the main reasons foster families close their homes is for fatigue and lack of support. One of the main reasons our family chose our church was for its emphasis on foster care and adoption. 

In addition to hosting informational meetings and partnering with state and city-wide foster care and adoption agencies, our church has a “wrap-around” ministry. Individuals or small groups can essentially adopt a foster care family to wrap around. This involves supporting the family in whatever they need. It could be physical needs like mowing a lawn, or providing food or putting together furniture. It could be to provide free nights of babysitting for the parents or helping to celebrate holidays. 

If you don’t feel called to open your home, this is a beautiful way to bear one another’s burdens and care for the orphan. 


In many ways, this should be the first on the list. We are called as believers to pray without ceasing. That is, to be in communication with God throughout our day, in the mundane moments and in the times we set aside to seek God. Asking the Holy Spirit to intervene when we don’t know how to pray is vulnerable, powerful and life changing. If you have a heart for the orphan, pray now. Prayer changes the atmosphere, changes our hearts, and— in many cases— causes us to act. There are vulnerable people right in your community, right now. Pray for them. 

If you don’t know where to begin, I love what Psalm 68:5-6 has to say: 

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.“

Caring for the orphan and the widow are two of the most practical forms of hospitality and love that we can extend as Christians. We can do that by supporting foster and adoptive families, or through opening our homes to bring in an orphan. If you don’t know where to start, we can all begin to pray and ask God for wisdom.