October 17, 2012 (Bound4Life.com) - Here’s my short answer: EVERYONE.

But not how you might think.

James 1:27 is pretty clear: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

There are orphans all around us. I talk to families often who assume that the only need for orphan care is across the world. Although this is true and a desperate need, most people don’t know there are orphans across their street. I get calls often about babies born and if an adoptive family isn’t found in the next 24 hours, they will go into foster care.

We’re all called to care for the orphan, but that looks different for different people.

Are you single? You don’t have an easy out. 

Ask any child stuck in the foster care system or an orphanage if they would rather stay where they are or come home to a single parent who’s going to love them like crazy.  Read this young girl’s story and you’ll believe that God can use you in a powerful way to live the gospel out to children.

Think you can’t afford it?  Sorry, that’s not legit either. 

More often than not families who share this with me really mean they have better things to do with their money than rescue a child: the annual family vacation, or boat, or [fill in the blank].  Friends,  the gospel is clear in where our treasure should lie – in things of eternal value.  I can think of nothing more valuable than stepping into a child’s eternal destiny.

Although I would never counsel a family who is financially unstable to begin the process of adoption, there is the other side where families don’t feel like they have the resources it takes. I love this recent series of posts by an adoptive mom who points out that our Heavenly father isn’t a deadbeat dad.  The bottom line: if He has called you to adoption He will provide the funds and the abilities needed. Do we really believe this?

Is your sedan full?  Get a minivan (or better yet, the big white 15 passenger van). 

I have friends who have a big white van and have made it their mantra that there is always more room at their dining room table.  Now they tell other families to “scootch over” and make room at their tables and in their homes.

Are your hands already full?  God provides the grace.

Richy and Jess already had their hands full with full time ministry, three kids (the acceptable norm for the “average” American family) and one with special needs.  But they felt the clear call to live out their convictions for life in their living room.

Afraid you can’t handle the heartbreak and chaos?  There’s nothing on this earth more worth it.

My dear friends John and Tracie thought they were done with three kids. Then they adopted and it forever changed the trajectory of their family. They adopted domestically. Then they went to the Ukraine to adopt one and came home with two. And then they did it again. They have a crazy house but it’s full of love.

Not in the season to adopt?  Make it your season to serve.

That’s what Joanna and Tyler do. A few years married and just beginning their family, they’ve decided to serve in the midst of it. They are often found babysitting, cooking, cleaning, and running errands for those in their community who have adopted or are providing foster care. They are in the thick of it loving those around them well.

Is adoption or foster care not for you? Not possible. There is always something you can do even if you’re not called to bring kids into your home.  Each of these families literally couldn’t do what they’re doing without the tangible support from their community: providing child care so they get an occasional break, offering mentoring to their kids as “aunties” or big brothers, cooking meals, praying, offering financial assistance, and the list goes on and on.

Notice I don’t think everyone is called to adopt, but every one of us, if we are true Christ followers, are called to have some active part in adoption and caring for the orphan.

Each of these families have started their own adoption revolution.  There isn’t a person who meets them that can’t see the redemptive path they’re on and their hearts for the orphan.  And because of that they’re starting something right where they are and inspiring others to do the same.

Practical ways you can care for the orphan

- Pray for them – keep children who need homes at the forefront of your prayers
- Give to them – give out of the abundance that God has given you
- Support them – find a foster or adoptive family to love on
- Protect them – become a foster family or safe family
- Care for them – open your home and become a forever family

If you’ve ever been on the front lines of the life movement, you’ve heard firsthand what pro-choice advocates shout: “You don’t want the children either!”  Our initial reaction is, but of course we do!  But do we? Are our lives, homes, bank accounts, and free time too comfortable? Are we willing to give up our cozy lives to step into the movement and say we want the babies? We need to start making a statement that we want the children.

What will you do to look after the orphan in distress?

This post originally appeared here and is reprinted with permission.  Susan says , “I am an adoption consultant, unofficially but more importantly I’m a wife and a mama and a lover of Jesus.” Please visit Susan’s blog for more posts on LIFE and adoption.