Generosity is often generational.
Time and time again, we see former orphans becoming orphan advocates and adoptees becoming adoption advocates and even adoptive parents. It echos John’s words in 1 John: “We love because He first loved us.”
At the end of 2019, we were reminded of this when an email entered our inbox:
“The Jones family gives each family member an amount to give to a charity of their choice as a way to keep in step with the spirit of generosity this season brings. I am encouraged to share that 8-year-old Finn chose Lifesong! Finn and his mom prayed a lot about where to give.”
We were thrilled to hear that Finn chose to give a gift to Lifesong, especially when we found out he had been adopted just several years earlier!
And we were intrigued by the Jones family’s yearly giving tradition.
A Family on a Mission
Each year around the Christmas season, the Jones’ give each of their kids a gift of money to donate to a charity of their choice. This tradition, along with family mission trips and praying over each Christmas card they receive, is rooted in their desire to be a mission-minded family—a mindset that led them to Finn.
Adoption was hardly on their mind, but when their daughter suggested the idea in the middle of a church service, it became a theme of their conversation. Once every family member had prayed about it and laid their “yes” on the table, they stepped out in faith.
Thus began their journey to Finn—a full family adventure of prayer, waiting, and anticipation.
When the call finally came and travel arrangements were in order, all five children went with their parents to Baoding, China to bring home Finn. And two years after the journey first started, Finn became their brother and son.
Join in the Mission
You may not be called to adopt, but you can live on-mission as a family. Specifically, here are 5 (of many) ways to be more mission-minded as a family.
1. Advocate for children.
Let’s take every chance we get to demonstrate God’s heart for fatherless and vulnerable children. Host a garage sale to raise money for children in need or start conversations that encourage others to think about the plight of the orphan. Read books with your children about men like George Whitefield. He started an orphanage in 1740 for the express purpose of taking the Gospel and the love of Christ to fatherless children.
Basically, choose to speak up and then encourage your children to do the same.
When taking time to pray with your kids before meals or at bedtime or during times of family worship, remember to pray for orphaned children around the world. Don’t just pray in the most generic sense, though praying about orphans is always a good idea.
Who better to talk to about orphans than the God who promises to defend them?
3. Take foster care classes as a couple.
And then discuss the big themes with your kids. Whether or not it leads to bringing kids into your home, simply familiarizing yourself with “America’s orphans” could motivate your family toward meeting needs in your community.
4. Sponsor a child.
Sponsoring a child makes it possible for them to receive ongoing care in the form of food, clothing, medical care, and shelter. They also receive Christian training, discipleship, and quality education to provide a foundation for their future. And praying for one specific child as a family personalizes the orphan crisis and opens your eyes to the urgency of defending orphans and upholding their cause.
See waiting children here.
Let’s give. Designate a jar for spare change, or encourage your kids to host a lemonade stand or other fundraising effort. As a family, donate the money to an orphan care ministry. Reach out to local shelters or foster care agencies to see if they are in need of clothing or toys … and then encourage your children to give from what they have to help others.
Let’s encourage kids to be mission-minded and use their creativity to reach children in need. And then let’s pray that they take this compassion with them into adulthood where they can lead future generations to love the children who are closest to God’s heart.