Lifeline: Fostering a Culture of Adoption in a Post-Roe World
Welcome to this breakout hosted by Lifeline Children’s Services. We’re so grateful to be a part of Stand For Life and for all the many things that are happening in and through the content that you are receiving to ultimately equip the body of Christ to stand for life. I hope that we understand as a pro-life generation that we are not standing for life as a political statement, as a cultural moment, or even as an opinion.
But we are standing for life because it’s rooted firmly in the Word of God, in the Imago Dei, that we know that all life was created, fashioned, formed by God. But after the Lord made life in Genesis chapter 1, and after He affirmed man and woman in Genesis chapter two, we see in Genesis chapter three, that there is a horizontal and a vertical attack on man by the enemy, Satan in the garden.
And in Genesis 3, why certainly the attack was vertical. It was trying to get man to distrust God. There was also an attack on the Imago Dei to relational discord, man and wife. Eve had not received the command directly from the Lord to not eat of the fruit of the garden, yet Adam had. And you see instant discord come into this beautiful union that the Lord had made.
And so beloved, what I want us to see in a pro-life generation is not only do we need to fight for life inside the womb, but we also need to recreate and reconcile the beautiful gift that the Lord gave at creation, which was marriage and family. The Lord always intended that a man and a woman, a man would leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, that that union would be a covenant before a holy God and that would be the union by which the people of God, the people of the earth, would reproduce and would multiply.
And what we see when we war against life in the womb, is we end up with brokenness. We end up with broken families. We end up with broken systems in our country and in our world. And children are the benefactors of that brokenness. And so, what we want to talk about in these few moments is how we can foster a culture of adoption and how we can foster a culture of caring for vulnerable children as part of a pro-life generation.
On June 26, 2022, when the Supreme Court gave its final determination and final decisions in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Care, it was a victory for pro-life people, and it was a victory for life in the womb. But we’ve also heard many talking points that have come from the pro-abortion lobby since that decision.
And many of those attack the fabric of what it means to be pro-life. And one of those actually is that adoption is not a good option for a crisis or unplanned pregnancy. And so, I want to stake even a few moments to address some of the concerns, especially as they come with adoption and with foster care.
Another one of the things that we’ve definitely heard in response to the Dobbs decision is that more kids are going to end up in foster care. And certainly, we know that states with restrictions or that have abolished abortion in their state need to be ready, that there could be more children in foster care. There likely will be more kids that need state foster care. And so, I hope not only to talk about adoption but to also talk about the church’s response to foster care. How can we get engaged with kids that are living in foster care?
Another misconception that has been told since the Dobb decisions is that the church only cares about politics, and they only care about children in the womb. And again, I hope that we will address this misconception and look at ways that we can care for life, not only in the womb, but outside of the womb as well.
And then last, but certainly not least, I think we’ve heard this over and over, is that pro-life people don’t care about women, they only care about children. And I certainly hope that we can address that as well, that as a pro-life generation, as a pro-life people, as people of the Word of God, we are pro-woman, pro-child, pro-family, and pro-human flourishing.
The first thing that I want to talk about is adoption. How do we foster a culture of adoption in a post-Roe generation?
Even some crisis pregnancy centers are reticent to approach the idea of adoption, believing that the first choice that we need to help a woman make is a choice for life. One of the things that I want to encourage us with is that on the life side, we have so many more options for a woman that’s going through an unplanned crisis pregnancy. We have the opportunity to help her seek marriage if there’s a godly man or a man that’s worthy of her unifying with on the other side of her pregnancy. We also have the opportunity to come alongside of her and help her to be the most successful parent, to be the most successful mom that she can possibly be to that child. But we also have two other options that we don’t talk about as much.
And one is the beautiful gift of adoption. How can we see a woman who will come to a place where she will realize, “I can’t do this on my own?” But there are families that are willing and able to take my child, to love my child, and to parent my child. One of the misconceptions about adoption is an antiquated view of adoption, whereby a woman has her child taken away.
She doesn’t know what happens to her child. Her child goes with another family, and she never sees that child again for the rest of her life. Current day adoption is much more open. The woman is in the driver’s seat, she chooses the family, she finds the place where she wants her child to go, and she can even choose the level of contact that she has throughout the child’s life.
There are so many different ways that a woman can be active in the process of adoption. And we want to walk alongside of these women and help them see that adoption could truly be an option for that child. But, beloved, in a pro-life generation, not only do we need to tell women about adoption, but we also need families that will step up, who are open to adopting not just a vulnerable child, not just a child that has come as a result of an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, but we also need families that are going to minister to these women, that are going to love these women, that are going to adopt these women, even as a part of their family and as a part of their life.
We often at Lifeline tell our adopted families that are going through the domestic process that you need to have a heart to minister to, to show the gospel to a woman that’s going through a crisis pregnancy. And if you’re not willing to love that woman, then you can’t fully love that child well as well. We often tell our families that because of the age of social media, because of the age of the internet and the connectivity of our world, the idea that you would be able to even raise that child without the knowledge of a mom is almost impossible.
And one day, because of this generation, and because of this, the openness of our community, that child will search for their birth family. They will search for their mom. And we want that mom to have a feeling of great worth, of great value, of great dignity. We want her to speak well of the adoption process.
And so, we need families that are going to minister wholly to birth mothers. And so, I would say, if you’ve been called to adoption, if the Lord’s been wrestling in your heart this idea of adoption being a way to minister in an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, I pray that your heart wouldn’t just be solely for the child, but your heart would be for this mom.
One of the things that we have seen countless times and times again at Lifeline is we’ve seen the opportunity where adoptive families have had to minister in the name of the Lord Jesus to these moms, to point them to Christ, to show them the way they should go, to preach the gospel to them.
While our staff is discipling and preaching the gospel to these moms and pointing them to the ways of the Lord, many times, even as Paul says, some plant and others reap. We see adoptive families reap the harvest in the lives of these moms as they share the hope of the gospel.
One of my favorite stories of the last year was a mom came to the point of placing her child for adoption. She was in the hospital, and right before she was about to leave, she changed her mind and decided that she was going to parent. She invited the adopted couple up to give them the news that they weren’t going to go home with this baby, but that she had changed her mind.
And again, this family, who was not just in this to bring a child home but was in this to minister to a woman in crisis, prayed for this woman, told them that they would support her, that they would love her. Ultimately, right there on the last day of the hospital, she gave her life to Christ. And even today, this family is helping that woman be as successful as they can. They’re babysitting her child at times when she doesn’t have childcare. They’re working to help her be successful.
Beloved, when we foster a culture of adoption in the situations of unplanned and crisis pregnancies, many times it might not end in adoption, but it will end in helping a woman in an intimate and unique way. And so, we need to be open in adoption to anything that could happen in all the ways that the Lord might use us.
But secondly, I also want to talk about foster care. If we’re going to foster a culture of adoption, we have to be ready to get engaged with our foster care system. And there are so many different ways that we can get engaged with our foster care system. The truth of the matter is, if there are more children, especially in those states that have abolished abortion or have put severe restrictions on abortion, there will be more live births, thank the Lord, in our states.
But we also know that there are going to be many more women, many more families. They’re not equipped, ready, or able to take care of their children. And they may not choose adoption, but they may try to parent on their own. We have to expect that we’re going to see more children in foster care, but as a pro-life generation, as people of the Word, as people who want to follow the Lord in caring for vulnerable children, I pray that we would be engaged in a unique and special way in the lives of kids in foster care.
So, there are three specific ways that I want to encourage us to get engaged with the foster care movement. The first is I want to ask you, have you ever considered being a foster parent or a relief parent? We need more families that are willing to take care of these children in foster care.
We cannot allow a child that’s in foster care to go without a loving home, to go without a stable home, to go without a place where they can find security in their moment of need. One of the things about all 450,000 kids that currently reside today in U.S. Foster care that is similar about every single last one of them, is that every single one of them’s mother chose life.
And so as pro-life people that want to see women choose life, we see 450,000 kids in foster care, and we should realize that as a pro-life response, we must help those kids in foster care.
Now, it’s important that we understand what foster care is all about. Foster care was never meant to be a permanent solution to a long-term problem but a temporary solution to a long-term problem. Foster care was supposed to be momentary. It was supposed to, let’s get these kids into a safe place until the biological family can get on their feet, can find a job, can get out of their substance abuse, can be able to get themselves at a place where the child could go back home.
The whole goal of foster care was always reunification. However, we also know that many of our kids in U. S. foster care have had their parental rights terminated. There’s no biological family that wants to bring them in, and so one of the ways besides fostering that we can help with kids in foster care is to be willing to adopt.
And in this adoption, we’re not usually talking about infants from the hospital. We’re not talking about younger children. Mostly, we’re talking about middle school and teenagers who desperately need a permanent home. And so, maybe today there’s empty nesters that are watching this breakout. Maybe there are people that are like, “I’ve raised my children. What can I do that’s distinctively pro-life as a response to a pro-life generation?” I want to encourage you. Could you be a home to a teenager in foster care that needs a place to go, that needs stability, that needs a home where they can find a rescue, where they can find relief, where they can get an education, where they will have a place to be?
So, we need foster parents, and we need adoptive parents. But beloved, if the goal of foster care is family reunification, we also need to go and work with biological parents to help them get jobs, to help them break the cycle of abuse, to help them break the cycle of substance abuse in their life so that they can get to a point where they can bring their children into their home, and they can be reunified and reconciled with their children.
One of the many ministries that Lifeline offers is a ministry called Families Count. And through Families Count, what we do is, we go to local churches, we train them in the six-week curriculum on how to teach parents to be productive parents, God-fearing parents, stable parents. We have another six weeks of mentoring where we do life-on-life evangelism with these families to help them see what a family looks like, to help them have relationships within this local church where they can turn to in their moments of need.
We’ve been doing Families Count for over a decade, and we’re working in over 19 states with Families Count. And at this point, of the families that have gone through Families Count, over 80% who graduate, are reunified with their children. And what’s even more exciting than that, is that 70% of those that are reunified with their children who’ve been through Families Count, stay with their children in their home.
Their children stay in their home permanently, and so beloved, we need to get engaged and involved with those families. They’ve lost their kids to foster care. We need to come alongside of them. We need to show them the grace and the goodness of Christ Jesus. We need to show them the way that they should go.
We need to point them into ways that they can bring their child into their home and bring their child back and be successful parents. Most of these parents that have lost their kids to foster care, they do experience some type of poverty, but the greatest poverty that they experience, in my opinion, is relational poverty.
And as the church, when we wrap around these families, we not only give them opportunities to, to learn to how to become a better parent, but we give them relationships that are secure. We give them safe relationships. We give them relational equity and folks that are going to be in their corner. They’re going to help them and are going to point them in the way that they should go for both them and their child.
And so, if we’re serious in a pro-life generation, about caring for those children that are born, we need to come and wrap around biological families that have lost their kids to foster care. And I hope and pray that maybe your church or maybe you want to get engaged with Families Count and mentor a child in need, mentor a family in need and help them bring reconciliation and restoration to their family.
If you’re interested in learning more about Families Count, you can always go to our website, lifelinechild.org. We would love to train your church and to train your people on how to have Families Count. And really even the way it works is that local governments and local family courts and drug courts actually refer to churches, families in need.
We recently were talking to a family court judge in Wisconsin who claimed that he was agnostic and atheistic. And he said, “I don’t care what the church is telling these families, but as long as it’s working, we need it.” The power of the gospel and the power of relationships in the gospel is changing the lives of families.
And in the pro-life generation, when we rebuild families, we’re ultimately pointing back to the Imago Dei. We’re ultimately pointing back to the reconciliation and restoration that we see in the gospel of Christ Jesus.
But then the last thing that I believe we need to enter into as a pro-life generation on behalf of foster children, is we need to help those kids that are aging out.
There are so many children that are aging out of the U.S. foster care system. They weren’t able to be reunified with their biological family. There was an extended family that brought them in and raised them up. They probably have moved from foster home to foster home. They’ve not been able to achieve permanence through adoption.
And the truth of the matter is they age out of foster care. Today in our country, over 65% of the inmates in prison aged out of foster care. They were in foster care, and they never found permanence on the other side of foster care. And so, if we are going to fight for life, life that is here, life that is among us, we must care for these kids that are aging out of foster care.
Lifeline has a program called Heritage Builders. And ultimately, again, a program that’s based in the local church where the local churches are hosting 17 and 18-year-olds and pointing them to life skills and job skills, coming alongside and mentoring them, giving them a family within the church that’s going to walk alongside of them and help them to reach their potential.
We want to teach these kids to dream, to have a vision for their life. We want to help them see what is beyond foster care for them. For some of these children, education may be a path that they can take, and we want to help them explore what education would look like for their lives. The truth of the matter is, we’ve got to help these kids that are aging out of foster care, because they will create the next generation of foster kids if we don’t intervene today.
And as a pro-life generation that’s not just interested in life in the womb but is also passionately advocating for life outside of the womb, we must realize that we’ve got to help these kids transition and we’ve got to help them transition well. I would love for more people to get engaged with Heritage Builders.
Even in 2023, we are growing that program to many new states and to many new areas so that we can see more kids at risk of aging out of foster care who get training, who get intervention, who have a church that wrap around them and ultimately find the way that they should go.
But then, I want to move to our third point, and that is that the pro-life generation is not just pro-child, but we are desperately pro-woman.
We need to allow these women to know that they are worthy. We need to let them know that we desperately care for them. We need to let them know that they are image bearers of God, made by God in His image. And they ultimately can do awesome and great things.
And so, a part of what Lifeline has even developed before the Dobbs decision in anticipation of the day that we would be living in a post-Roe generation, we’ve created a curriculum called Worthy.
And that Worthy is a discipleship curriculum whereby again, women in churches can get trained, can get equipped to be able to walk life with a woman who’s walking through an unplanned or crisis pregnancy. We want to help these women learn their options, but ultimately we want to face them with the truth, that they are made in the image of God, that they are worthy, that they are lives that are worthy of being defended, that they are lives that we want to stand up for, and that they can do amazing and remarkable things.
Part of what we have to do is, we have to help these women see that on the life side, there are so many options for them. And those options bring life to a child, they bring flourishing to their child. We know that the Lord does so many psychological and physical and emotional and physical things to a woman when she becomes pregnant. Ultimately, she has those maternal instincts. And with those maternal instincts comes protection of her child.
I love the story that we find in Kings, where there’s two women who have these babies and during the night, one of the woman’s child passes away, and she gets this idea that she’s going to switch her child with the other woman’s child. And so, while they’re sleeping, she goes, she takes her child that’s passed away and she puts it with the woman who’s sleeping, and she takes her live child.
The next morning the woman whose baby has been stolen away, wakes up. She notices that she has this child that’s passed away. Both of the women go to King Solomon and King Solomon says in his wisdom, as the Word says, he says, “I’m going to take this sword. I’m going to split the live baby in half and give each of you half.”
And instantly the Word says the woman whose baby, that was the woman who was the mother of the live child says, “By no means! Let her have the baby.” We know that God has put, has wired, has formed, has fashioned a woman to instantly have those maternal, protective instincts of her children. And through the Worthy curriculum, we want to help these women realize that abortion leads to death.
Abortion is not protection. Abortion goes and flies in the face of the way that God has crafted and created women in His image. And so ultimately, we want to walk these women through and help them see that there are so many options, so many life-giving options that they have. And there’s so many ways that they can choose life and choose flourishing and protect their child.
So, if your church or you might be interested in getting engaged with Worthy and having a one-on-one relationship, discipleship relationship, active involvement with a woman walking through an unplanned pregnancy, we would love to equip you. We’re working to have churches and women who are ready and able to meet with a woman in crisis in all 50 states by the end of 2023.
Last but certainly not least on our list, was that the church only cares about politics. Beloved, I have been so encouraged to see so many pastors, to see so many church families who have reached out to Lifeline asking, “What can we do? How do we get engaged with foster care? How do we care for even orphans around the world? How do we beef up and have a special needs ministry within our church to care for children that are born with syndromes, that are struggling with different handicaps?”
Beloved, I am so excited that the church has woken up, but I pray and I hope that this will not be momentary, this will not be something that’s just a reaction to what happened on June 26, 2022, but this will become a way of life for our church.
The truth of the matter is, throughout Scripture, the Lord has instantly and intimately called His people to be those that are seeking justice, that are caring for the marginalized, and are helping those who are perishing.
In Deuteronomy chapter 24, God’s people have been rescued from Egypt and He tells them, “Hey, when you go through your fields, don’t go a sack at time and strip them bare, but leave what’s left for the orphan, for the stranger, for the alien, for the widow.” Beloved, God calls his people to this triad of the vulnerable, the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the alien.
In Isaiah chapter one, the Lord says in verse 17 to His people, “Hey, cease doing evil, but learn to do good.” And what is doing good? By “seeking justice for the orphan, by caring for the stranger, and by pleading for the widow.”
And in the New Testament, in James chapter one, verse 27, we see the same thing come back open when James says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our father is this, to look after the orphan and to look after the widow and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Even Jesus, when He goes on the Sabbath there in Nazareth to the tabernacle, to the temple. He reads from the scroll of Isaiah, and He says, “The Lord has anointed me to bring good news.” And what, who are the three people He lists? He lists the triad of the vulnerable, captives, the blind, the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the alien.
And so beloved, as God’s people, we have been called to care. I pray that we will not relegate that care to government. I pray we will not relegate that care to humanitarians or elites. But I pray that the Church would stand up because this is our moment to fulfill the Great Commission, to do what the Lord has called us to do and to care for the most vulnerable.
So Church, I’ve been encouraged. I’ve been encouraged by the way that you’ve leaned in this day and in this situation. But I would say there’s still much for us to do. We need to continue to make this a way of our teaching, a way of our preaching, a way of our ministry. May we always care for the orphan and for the vulnerable in our midst, and may we change the world and show the gospel that we believe in the way that we care for life and the way that we defend life.
So, in closing, there are five ministries that Lifeline has that I want to invite you to get engaged with. The first, and we’ve talked about it some, is our pregnancy ministry. Through Lifeline, we want to meet women in crisis pregnancies, point her to the options of life that she has, and if adoption is an option, unite her with a family that will not just love her child, but will love her as well.
We have counselors that are ready in all 50 states to meet with women walking through unplanned pregnancies and pointing her to the gospel and pointing her to life. But then second, and we’ve touched on it as well as our adoption ministry. We have international and domestic adoption. We need families that are open to domestic adoption, who will love, minister, and care for a woman that’s going through a crisis pregnancy.
But we also need families that have the call of the Lord on their life to adopt internationally and families that aren’t just looking at countries around the world as a place to bring a child home but will minister in the name of the gospel in those countries. We need families that have a heart for India.
We need a family to have a heart for Columbia or Hungary or the Ukraine who are going to not only bring children home into their home but are going to minister in the gospel in these countries.
And then third, and we’ve touched on it as well, we have our foster care and family reunification ministries. We need families who are going to foster. We need individuals who are going to wrap around and mentor biological families and help them get their kids out of foster care. And we need churches who are going to stand up for those kids that are aging out of foster care.
And then fourth, we have our global orphan care ministry. Globally, we want to help the local church in places like India and Columbia and the Dominican Republic and China and Hungary. We want to help the local church in those areas begin to adopt and foster and care for orphan and vulnerable children. The call of the Lord is not on the American church, but it’s on the global Church to all of His people. And we want to help kids that are aging out. We want to help the church know what they can do locally to care for orphans and vulnerable children.
And then last, but certainly not least, Lifeline offers our counseling and education programs. You see, beloved, what we’ve been called in defending life that is born, it can be messy, it can be difficult, it can be hard. When we enter into the trauma and hurt and the pain of another, we cannot be surprised when that trauma and that pain and that hurt bring us hurt and pain and trauma. And ultimately our goal in caring is to bring the gospel to bear. Our goal in caring is to point people to the loving Savior that brought us into His family and adopted us as His own.
And so, we need to counsel, we need to educate families and children and women so that ultimately the gospel can come to bear. I pray that in all of these ways, as a pro-life generation, that we would be so much more than just crusaders for the womb, but that we truly would be those that are invested in caring for life and cultivating a culture of adoption and a culture of care for life on the other side of the postpartum ward, as we defend life with our lives, with our resources, with our churches, and ultimately with the gospel of Christ Jesus.
If you’d like to get engaged more with Lifeline, please don’t hesitate to find us at lifelinechild.org. On most of the major social media, you can go to @lifelinechild, and we are so thrilled, and we’re so grateful to be a part of Stand For Life, and we’re grateful to take a stand for life, in the womb and outside the womb, for the glory of God, for His gospel to the nations.
God bless and thank you for joining us.