How To Love Orphans When You Don’t Feel Led To Adopt

How To Love Orphans When You Don't Feel Led To Adopt

I am a huge fan of adoption. I’m an advocate for more foster care in Christian families. I’m delighted by the work done at the youth ranch where my mom and dad serve, parenting kids orphaned by parents serving long term sentences in Florida state prisons.

I am passionately pro orphan care. It’s pure and undefiled religion and exactly what our churches and families should be about.

But here’s the thing: I don’t feel led to adopt children.

I can’t tell you how much I dislike this about myself.

Before you start typing in the comments “Jennifer, you need to give yourself a break”—don’t worry, I have. I do. But for now, let’s jump into the tension I sometimes feel in my gut (and heart):

I’m on Facebook minding my own business when I see a friend’s adopting a child. I watch moving videos of the first moment they saw their child. I read testimonials about how much adoption is teaching them about who God is. I see pictures of their oh-so-cute son or daughter, likely with a different color skin or hair or eyes. I listen to their testimony…

And I cry. Because it’s beautiful. All of it. Adoption is the story of the Gospel. And in those moments I want to adopt a child. So bad.

But then I take a minute, wipe the tears and start writing a plan to convince my husband Justin this is something we should do. And the plan never comes together right. It’s not just money—we could raise that. We have friends who’d help. It’s more than that, a long list of reasons it seems like, especially in this season, our family is just not built for or called to adoption.

The first few times I made this list I thought, “Everyone makes excuses. I’m just making excuses.” So I prayed about it. In fact, a couple years ago my husband and I seriously considered having more children, adopted or biological. We made the lists and we prayed and we fasted and in the end we both felt pretty sure the answer was no.

So far the answer has always been no.*

Because this is true, because I feel relatively confident this is not God’s plan for our family right now, and because at the same time God is calling me to love orphans, I find myself struggling with this question:

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JenniferGerhardt@churchleaders.com'
I'm a writer and Bible teacher (ex reporter and college English teacher). I've been writing and teaching about God since my first church Ladies' Day at the age of nine years old. I speak at events, lead Bible studies, and write Bible study curriculum and devotional materials.