In debates about abortion, the polarized discussion often centers around death. Which is a shame, because foster care and adoption are important, if not crucial, parts of the pro-life platform.
In “No Way to Treat a Child: How the Foster Care System, Family Courts, and Racial Activists Are Wrecking Young Lives,” journalist Naomi Schaefer Riley shines a light on the leaders “of an unfolding foster family revolution. across the country, even in some places where you might not expect “using” a combination of evidence-based practical help and spiritual support “.
As an example, Riley takes readers to Journey Christian Church in Greeley, Colorado, where about 100 people attend a foster parent training run by Project 1.27, which was started by a pastor and now led by an adoptive and adoptive mother. The name comes from James 1:27, on caring for orphans and widows in their distress – a verse that has kindled a fire under many large evangelical churches over the past decade to strategically mobilize their communities in the service of this cause. In this particular training, around each table were eight or ten chairs, and around them were a host couple – in one case a single woman – and at least four other adults who made up their practical support system. and spiritual. “Some brought their parents and adult siblings; others came with their grown children, or colleagues, church members and neighbors, ”writes Riley.
Those who volunteer as foster parents under Project 1.27 undergo a 20-hour training course. Jason and Michelle Watts took in eight children and adopted one at the age of 12, some ten years ago. Their adopted son had behavioral problems, as is often the case, due to his “nightmarish upbringing with his birth parents, which included starvation.” He has been in trouble with the law, but they are hopeful and ready to reopen their home. They find faith-based training invaluable, even though they have been state-trained in the past and have hospitality experience.
Project 1.27 and similar groups are part of the movement More Than Enough Associated with the Christian Alliance for Orphans, which both motivates and equips families to welcome children with often severe trauma into their homes. The goal of More than Enough is to get at least one family in 10% of churches in the United States to participate in foster care.
As Riley points out, foster parenting is difficult: About half of foster parents drop out in their first year because they don’t receive the kind of training and support groups like Project 1.27. .
Charity Hotton of Utah Youth Village explains how confusing children in foster care can be because “they love you one minute, then they hate you the next.” These faith-based approaches seek to avoid “disrupted adoption” – where after months or years with a family, a child is returned to foster care.
When they were previously in foster care, the Watts family had a neighbor who greeted their biological daughters but avoided their adopted son. And the church they attended was not welcoming to foster children, treating foster parents like the child welfare system tends to do: as babysitters, not as parents. In their current church, out of about 100 families, at least six are in foster care. “It may seem like a small number,” writes Riley, “but when everyone knows someone engaged in this work, it can change the whole community.”
In “No Way to Treat a Child,” Riley issues a challenge that should motivate the rest of us. “Many problems will probably not be solved in our lifetime: poverty, racism, international conflict. But in the richest, most enterprising and generous country on the planet, finding safe, loving and permanent homes for our most at-risk children shouldn’t be one of them. ”
We are entering a stormy season for the abortion debate – which too often concerns adults and not the child who is entitled not only to life but to love.
Let’s work together to find solutions for children, families and communities. We have the resources. It’s possible. It happens. More, please.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior member of the National Review Institute, editor-in-chief of National Review magazine and author of the new book “A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living”. She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York. She can be contacted at [email protected]