Tonight over 6,000 children in Missouri will lay their head on their pillow without a home to call their own, without parents to tuck them in and say the words, “I love you.” Even more than that, every two hours a child is neglected or abused in Missouri. A child in Missouri dies before his or her first birthday every 15 hours. “In 2012, 28% of the children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect had ‘parents who abused drugs’ listed as the primary reason for their removal. 28% were victims of significant neglect. 13% suffered an incident of serious physical abuse. 8% were removed because of child behavioral issues. 9% were removed because of inadequate housing. 7% were removed because of caregiver illness (including mental illness), and 7% were removed because of sexual abuse,” according to the Midwest Association for Foster Care and Adoption. With such startling statistics, many are tempted to think that the problem is too big or that the problem is not their problem. Many see adoption as a last resort if they are not able to have children of their own. In our consumeristic culture, children who have similar physical characteristics to that of the adoptive families are favored, as well as those who have no disabilities and are physically healthy. Few people see the amazing privilege and beauty of rescue in the life of a child. Many do not realize that adoption is even a possibilty for them, but believe it is only an option for the wealthy among us. There are many misconceptions surrounding foster care and adoption, and many just don’t even know where to begin.
For families like the Ballou, Harris, and Worley families, of Columbia, MO, it was, and continues to be, a long road of redemption and rescue. These three families felt the need and decided they would meet the need both domestically and internationally. Some of which adopted children with learning disabilities and from different cultures. The story that these families have is a beautiful one in which the City is welcomed as family into their homes and hearts. This is Shalom at its heart, seeking the welfare and wholeness for the most broken of our City.
On Saturday, February 22nd at 6pm, these families will be hosting an Adoption Event in which they will lead a discussion on foster care and adoption, followed by Q&A on the subject. They will share their experiences in the fostering and adoption process. They believe that there is a part for everyone to play in the lives of the fatherless, whether they be married or single. If you are interested or would like more information you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Statistics cited from Missouri Department of Social Services and the Midwest Association for Adoption and Foster Care.