Kimberly Offutt, national director of foster care adoption at Bethany Christian Services, says when she started working for the organization 16 years ago, hers became the first family she recruited to adopt. She says God spoke to her about the child she should adopt.
"God, in His sense of humor and His wisdom, said, 'Listen, sweetie. Before you go and tell somebody else what they should be doing, you do it,'" Offutt says. " ... [My husband and I] had it in our minds that we would adopt this little person, someone between the ages of 0 and 3, and one day we would have "our own kids."
"But the child that I saw in this book—back then they created these books that were as thick as a J.C. Penney catalog that featured kids who are waiting, and they were waiting the longest for a forever home. So I was looking through this book ... but it was this 9-year-old little boy who, every time I flipped the page and looked at his eyes, I couldn't look in his eyes without choking up, like I would want to literally cry. ... God gave me a mother's heart for that child that day."
Offutt says about 125,000 kids are currently waiting to be adopted in the U.S. If churches across the country stepped up and identified a family to take a child in, "the body of Christ could solve this crisis," she says on the Charisma News podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. She recalls meeting one child named Cody, who was finally adopted at age 16.
"We had a full courtroom with his family when his family was finally identified, and we were all in these superhero tight shirts because he loved Marvel comics," Offutt says. "And we were there in all these superhero shirts, but he had this poster up that said, 'I spent 3,761 days in foster care.'
" ... But to see that family come together, to see the family decide it didn't matter how old he was; it didn't matter all the life experiences he had; it didn't matter the trauma that he's experienced. God knew that this family was called to be his family, and they brought him together. It was just amazing. It's a beautiful story of redemption as well, and the family is doing amazing."
So, if you're not called to foster or adopt a child, how can you help? The church can be a prayer partner, bring meals to foster parents and babysit, to name a few.
To hear more about what Offutt is doing to help connect orphans with families, click here for the entire episode.
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