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Being a single adoptive parent on mission

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — “So, what are you doing about it now?” my pastor asked when I told him God had called me to foster care.

One question — eight words — changed my life forever. I’ve known for a long time that’s what God called me to do, but I thought it was a someday sort of calling — a calling with prerequisites. I made the naïve assumption that this was the kind of ministry you could only do if you were married.

Assumptions are dangerous.

For a long time, I assumed that marriage would be my story, and once that happened, I would say “yes” to ministry. God made thousands of promises in the Bible that are still valid today, but He never promised me an earthly marriage. I may get married someday, or I may not. But married or single, I know fostering is what God has asked me to do.


So I do it.

This is your responsibility

It’s not just a single vs. married thing. Ministry was never meant to be constrained to an age or phase of life. I always cringe a bit when someone points to the children’s department or youth group at the church and says, “You are the church of tomorrow.” No, they are the church of today. You are the church of today. The person who has sat in the same pew for the past 40 years is the church of today.

When Paul says in Ephesians 2:20, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,” there are no qualifiers. Man, woman, married, single, young, old, we are created for good works. You don’t graduate to ministry, and you don’t retire from it either. It’s a life-long pursuit and calling.

You are uniquely qualified — or unqualified — for your calling

I grew up in a Southern Baptist church, but my family wasn’t normal Southern Baptist. My parents went to art school in the 70s. My mom is much more comfortable mucking out a stable than wearing pastels and lunching with the ladies in pearls.

The only time I’ve seen my dad wear something other than jeans was in my sister’s wedding — and he still wore his Converse tennis shoes. I grew up surrounded by unique people, and I love misfits. One of my favorite things about God is that he uses misfits to do big things. It was stuttering Moses who was God’s mouthpiece to the most powerful man in the world. Gideon and his group of 300 — armed with musical instruments, torches, and pottery — were the tools God used to defeat a vast army.


God isn’t so limited that He needs your strength. He wants your willingness and joyful obedience. I am a single woman who has a sister and grew up on pointe shoes and pirouettes. I’ve had an 8-year-old, ball-of-energy boy living with me for the past two and a half years, and I’ve been learning about punting and passing. As a foster, and now adoptive, parent, I’m not operating from a place of strength; I operate from an infinitely more wonderful place of personal weakness and divine grace.

You may not look like the right person for the job on the outside, but “who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

It is hard, but worth it

The American dream calls us to easy and safe — a place of comfort and ease punctuated by the kind of pseudo-risks we take so we can call ourselves “adventurous” on Facebook or a dating profile. God doesn’t call us to easy and safe. He calls us to real risk and real adventure. It’s the kind of adventure that calls a man to walk on water. It’s the kind of risk that sees another ship-wrecked three times for the same cause.

My ministry is hard, but I’m not afraid of it. What does scare me is what might have happened to the bright and bouncy, witty and wonderful little boy sleeping in the next room if I hadn’t answered yes. Your ministry –your calling — is just as important. What would the consequences be if, by your inaction, you responded to God with a no?