Four reasons fostering and adoption are in the DNA of the Church - part one

Reason one: Because of God's heart for the vulnerable.

I truly believe that caring for vulnerable children is right at the heartbeat of the character of God, and is therefore the calling of His Church. Fostering and adoption is part of our DNA because of many reasons, but here are four of the most significant

Reason one: Because of God's heart for the vulnerable

Let's consider for a moment who God is:

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10.17-19 (ESV)

This brief text from Deuteronomy dwells on God’s supremacy and authority. Israel’s God, the supreme authority in the universe, chose to dispense his power in such a way that those at the opposite end of the power spectrum benefited.

What this text shows is that it is in God’s nature to fiercely protect the vulnerable, so surely it is therefore a requirement of God’s people to reflect this commitment in society.

It simply won’t do to consign advocacy and action on behalf of the vulnerable to an optional extra. This, of course, will mean more than just engagement with fostering and adoption, but the framework for the Church’s calling is defined by the character of God and the character of God is marked by, among other things, a commitment to the poor and vulnerable.

In the UK today this commitment is not restricted to looked after children, but it absolutely must include them.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible tells a big story (the big story) of God’s purposes to restore the whole of creation to Himself. This is the story in which we find ourselves, encompassing the past, present and future of the Church.

Throughout this grand narrative we find so many examples of God's heart for vulnerable children, to name just a few:

  • Consider the plight of the outcoast baby Ishmael in Genesis 21, whom God sees, protects and anables to flourish
  • Consider the helpless baby Moses in Exodus 2, floating on the Nile in his basket, who went on to lead God's people out of slavery
  • Consider the unnamed (trafficked) servant girl in 2 Kings 5 whose wisdom puts Kings and Generals to shame
  • Consider the fatherless children whom Job protected and nurtured, who 'grew up with me as a father' (Job 31.18)
  • Consider Jesus Himself. What could be more vulnerable than a child born in His circumstances? The God of the universe chose the vulnerability of an embryo inside a young girl to entre the stage of history as a human being, born into hardship and suspicion, on the run at an early age, fleeing for His life (Matthew 1-2)

The Biblical 'norm' is for God's purposes to be fulfilled in and through vulnerability.

These are the embedded traits of the Biblical narrative, of the Church's story.

What could be more natural, then, than for Christians in the UK to recognise and resonate with the vulnerability we see and experience in society and to engage with fostering and adoption?

Whether through opening up your heart and home, ensuring your church is safe and welcoming, or walking alongside foster and adoptive families as part of their ongoing support, you are echoing God's heart for the vulnerable and living out the Church's call.

Read part two of the series Read part three of the series Read part four of the series

Tim teaches Biblical Studies and Mission at Redcliffe College in Gloucester and has a PhD in the Old Testament. He leads the College’s newly established Fostering, Adoption and the Church research project and serves on Home for Good’s Council of Reference.

This series was originally published on Fostering, Adoption and the Church in October 2015

Dr Tim Davy



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