Our God is a God who loves those who are marginalised and at risk. The Bible shows us God has a heart for children, from the stories of Moses and Esther to the birth of Jesus himself who, though the Son of God, was brought up on earth by the Joseph and Mary. The apostle Paul talks about how we are adopted into God’s family ourselves through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:5)
In the UK today there is a real fostering crisis as 35,000 children each year enter the care system but there is a shortage of the almost 9000 homes needed for them. As local authorities are stretched and cannot always accommodate the number of children in need of a safe, loving home, more and more children are having to be redirected to private agencies, which can mean they end up split up from their siblings. In particular, there is an on-going and urgent need for more foster families to provide homes for teenagers, disabled children, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and sibling groups. These children are the ones who are often hard to place, but for those carers who do take them in it can be very rewarding. Being taken into care can be a heart-wrenching experience and I believe that part of our mission in the church is to support and love the children who may have experienced a huge amount of loss and rejection at an early age.
Adoption is also facing similar challenges as the number of children being adopted dropped by 12% last year, which means that almost 6000 children are missing out on being part of a warm, caring family. This Adoption Sunday it is a chance for us to consider our own story of adoption into God’s family while we commit ourselves to help the most vulnerable in our society. As God reminds us in Psalm 82:3 ‘Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the poor and the oppressed.’