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Heart for orphans stirs panel conversation

[SLIDESHOW=45395,45396]PHOENIX (BP) — Four Southern Baptist national entity leaders shared their insights on adoption and foster care during a panel discussion June 13 at the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program booth at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Chad Keck, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Kettering, Ohio, and the Cooperative Program catalyst for the Midwest with the SBC Executive Committee, moderated the 20-minute discussion featuring North American Mission Board president Kevin Ezell, Woman’s Missionary Union executive director and treasurer Sandy Wisdom-Martin, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore and International Mission Board president David Platt.

After opening the discussion by asking the panelists to share about their personal involvement with adoption and foster care, Keck asked the group what Southern Baptists can do to better engage on this issue.

Moore, who adopted his first two sons from a Russian orphanage, said that while everyone is not called to adopt or foster, everybody in the congregation can be involved in caring for orphans. He cited the example of a church that has created a room where children who have been removed from their home can come and be ministered to while their social worker looks for potential foster homes.

Ezell, who has three adopted children from Ethiopia, China and the Philippines, said the “Adopting and Fostering Home [URL/https://www.namb.net/podcasts]Podcast[/URL],” was created to serve as a resource for families who are fostering or adopting. The podcast is part of the NAMB compassion ministry Send Relief.

Wisdom-Martin, who has an adopted daughter, says WMU is always encouraging Christians to find practical ways to share the Gospel. When it comes to adoption and foster care, this could include writing encouraging notes to social workers or serving in your local Baptist Children’s Home. For more information about the adoption and orphan care resources WMU offers, visit WMU.com/adoption.

Keck closed the discussion by asking the panel to share one piece of advice for Christians who are considering adopting or fostering.

Ezell advised them to talk to people that they trust who have walked down that road and learn from their experiences. “I don’t think adoption and foster care is for every family,” he noted.

Platt, who has an adopted son from Kazakhstan and a daughter from China, encouraged those thinking about committing to orphan care to “count the cost.”

“When we started doing this widespread more and more in the church, it was very costly for many families.” However, he is “convinced that the body of Christ is uniquely designed to care for orphans.”

Moore said it is important that husbands and wives are on the same page when it comes to fostering or adopting, and they need to be patient with each other.

“Don’t adopt or foster as a way of meeting some sort of need in your own life,” he said. “Make sure that you’re giving out of the overflow of a strong marriage and a strong family.”