I can remember one of the very first 4KIDS events I attended over 15 years ago now, where 4KIDS VP of Engagement, Tom Lukasik, asked the room a poignant question. He asked us, “How many of you here were adopted?” Just a couple of people raised their hands while the rest of us waited. Tom then said, “Remember, if you follow Jesus, you’ve been adopted into the family of God. So, who here has been adopted?” We then all smiled and raised our hands.
The heart of adoption
It’s such a simple illustration, but a powerful reminder that every single Christian life has been touched by God’s heart for adoption. November is National Adoption Month, and with it we honor and celebrate the families that have been created through adoption. While it’s our heart at 4KIDS that families experience healthy reunification after foster care, that isn’t always an option for kids in need. We know that God promises in Psalm 68:5-6, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families …” God sets the lonely in families in many, unique ways.
Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) reports that 54% of kids in foster care today experience reunification with their families, but another 25% of kids in foster care find their forever family through adoption.
Over 800 of the kids who have entered a 4KIDS Foster Family in the last 26 years have been adopted by a 4KIDS Family. These families are a living picture of the gospel. They have extended themselves and opened their hearts and their homes to children not just for a season but for their lives – what an incredible calling!
Locally, the Heart Gallery of Broward works to facilitate adoptions for kids who are waiting to find their forever family. I recently met the Heart Gallery’s Executive Director, Dr. Mary Kinirons, who herself is an adoptive mom to a sibling group of three! She shared, “On any given day, there are an average of 60 foster youth in Broward waiting for a family to call their own. Many of them will age out and enter the adult world alone unless more families step up to open their hearts and their homes to our county’s most difficult-to-place foster youth.”
A story of adoption
There are many ways to honor National Adoption Month; one way is through a community-wide National Adoption Day. Every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, dozens of families across our communities adopt on this special day. Throughout the whole month we see many families adopting as part of National Adoption Month. Last year, one 4KIDS Foster Family, the Youngs, adopted their son during National Adoption Month.
Adoptive mom Lauren Young shared, “Foster care and adoption has been one of the most challenging but most rewarding things our family has ever done. It has been amazing to see our children love our foster and adoptive children as if they were biological siblings.”
Supporting adoptive families
We know the journey doesn’t end for families on adoption day; in fact, in many ways the journey is just beginning. For many families in the years following adoption there can be emotional pain and difficult behaviors that come to the surface for many kids.
4KIDS EPIC Therapeutic Approach is all about helping parents and kids form healthy connections while experiencing healing from trauma. Through training, digital resources, and one-on-one and family therapy, the 4KIDS Clinical Team is there to support adoptive families in life-changing ways.
EPIC extends beyond just our 4KIDS families and benefits other community adoptive families as well. If you or someone you know is experiencing any kind of struggle within an adoptive family, 4KIDS is here to help. Visit EPICHealing.org or scan the QR code at the end of this article to get started on a therapy inquiry or to access our free resources.
Opening your heart and home
This National Adoption Month I’d urge you to pray about opening your own home to a child who needs a place to belong with people who love them. There are so many ways to impact the life of a child through foster care or through adoption. Right now in the areas 4KIDS serves, over 400 children are in group homes and shelters who need a loving foster family and over 100 children are waiting for a forever family. Imagine if we could meet every single one of them with a loving, Christian home?
4KIDS Adoptive mom, Lauren Young, also powerfully shared, “As believers, we are called to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. If we don’t fight for these kids, who will!? If every church took in just one foster child, we could eradicate the foster care problem literally overnight. Yes, the road will be hard and messy and painful at times, but God will show up and use you to share his love with a child in need…and will change you deeply along the way.”
Learn More About the Heart Gallery of Broward: www.heartgalleryofbroward.org
4KIDS Foster Parent Interest: www.4KIDS.us/programs/foster-care
Access EPIC Resources or Referral Form: www.EPICHealing.org
HopeConnect is a Free Resource for Families: www.HopeConnect.org
Kevin Enders is the President and CEO of 4KIDS. To learn more, visit 4kids.us
Read last month’s article by Kevin Enders at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/author/kevin-enders/