ARNOLD – Adopting and fostering children is a journey. FBC Arnold has a ministry, “One Less Orphan,” to make that journey easier to navigate by providing support for parents and children.
“We started this ministry to encourage couples interested in adopting or going through the process,” Lisa Jackson, leader and member of FBC Arnold, said. “Tim and I have three biological children,” Lisa added, “and we adopted a boy from China.”
Tim and Lisa Jackson were surprised by some of the reactions to their adoption. “A few people didn’t seem to understand the why of our decision. We feel called to adoption.
“Adoption is a wonderful mirror of what Christ did for us. Some are called to be missionaries or to teach, but we are called to this ministry.”
According to Lisa, Tim Jackson periodically teaches a class on “orphanology,” sharing what the Bible teaches about caring for the orphans and widows.
Mark Stockton, FBC Arnold pastor of married adults, discipleship and counseling, agreed that understanding of the biblical background is important. “The class really helps the congregation understand why it is important to support this ministry. God gives us the biblical mandate in James 1:27 to support and care for the widow and the orphans.”
Lisa Jackson said the first step of support by “One Less Orphan” is to get a prayer partner for the adopting couple. “We want to walk alongside them on this journey,” she said. “We want to text and email support them too. We also have monthly meetings for those going through the fostering and adoption process.”
“The process is difficult, and it is one of the toughest things I’ve been through,” she said. “That’s why we started the ministry. It is a difficult path because of the paperwork, the waiting and all of the ups and downs.”
The ministry began as a support for international and domestic adoption, but now has extended to include helping with fostering children. The entire community is observing what is happening in this ministry.
“We discovered that more than 350 children needed foster care in the Jefferson County area, but at the time, there was only about 60 foster families,” she said. “Many of the children had to go to other areas. So, we partnered with Missouri Baptist Children’s Home to come to the church to teach classes to our people with a goal of increasing the number of licensed foster families.”
The church recently held the second series of classes.
“One Less Orphan” also sponsors a Foster Closet. “The church has caught fire in supporting this ministry,” Stockton said. “Many of the folks who are not able to adopt or foster still want to help. They have donated many of the new or gently used items to support those who are fostering children.”
The ministry is also looking for other opportunities to serve and care for orphans. “We are looking at an international adoption mission trip and other opportunities to prevent the need for foster care by helping families,” Stockton said.
Stockton said the main goal with all they do is to share the love of Jesus. “We want to do everything in an excellent way because this is what we give to Christ,” he said. “We don’t want to do this for the humanity reasons, we want to share the gospel with them. We want them to come to know the Lord, and this gives us the opportunity to invite them to church or to share in homes.”
Love is being expressed in many ways to the children and those caring for children. “Church members reach out to care for families with gift cards and other ways,” Lisa said. “The family brings the child home to find a meal, a clean house and gifts for the child.”
Stockton emphasized the spiritual growth in understanding God’s direction for the congregation. “The Lord is moving in this ministry,” he said. “All we need to do is hold on with our finger tips and follow Him in obedience.”