FaithBridge loves celebrating our church partners and all the ways that they are honoring and loving foster families. Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church (Mt. Bethel UMC) was the first church with which we partnered to change the way America does foster care, and they have loved on and served so many children over the years.
Most often, when children enter the foster care system, they are reunified with biological family. However, at times, they end up being adopted by loving parents. FaithBridge celebrates both the healing involved when a child returns home and the welcome to a new family when a child is adopted. Mt. Bethel’s Called to Care Foster Ministry, celebrates these adoptions each year, and Stephanie Watts, their ministry team leader, wrote a blog originally posted on church’s website about how beautiful it is when families come together to love, serve and raise children – biological, adopted and foster – together in their church.
by Stephanie Watts
Jump, bounce, play. This was the theme for the Mt. Bethel UMC Called to Care Foster Ministry’s Adoption Celebration this year. In February, fifty adults and children in the community gathered together to celebrate three adoptions that have recently been finalized. Champion Kids gym generously donated the use of their facility and staff for the celebration. I smiled as my 2-year-old daughter joined hands with her 2-year-old friend in foster care, and together, they courageously went down the huge, inflatable slide. I witnessed young kids getting stuck in the foam pit and the older children and parents pulling them out. I laughed as adults–myself included–were attempting to relive their cheerleading and gymnastics days by performing tricks on the trampolines.
As I watched the beautiful rainbow of children ranging in age from four weeks to 12 years old playing together, my heart rejoiced to see how God has knitted our community together. Foster care and adoption are not easy journeys, and they are not journeys to travel alone.
Psalm 68:6 tells us of the promise that “God sets the lonely in families,” and James 1:27 says that “Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”
In a 9,000+ member church, many of us will be called to foster or adopt. However, while God does not call every Christian to foster or adopt, He does command all of us to care for orphans. This could be through providing respite for a foster family who needs a break, doing yard work for a single foster mom so she can focus on caring for her child or bringing a meal to an adoptive family who has just brought home the newest member of their family.
To what role might God be calling you to play in the story of caring for our country’s most vulnerable children? Sign up for FaithBridge’s information session, Encounter, to find out more about how you can serve foster families and children in your community.