Changing Who Waits in the Foster-Care System

Perhaps, like me, you attended a church service this past weekend that was called “Orphan Sunday.” Our church had speakers who told their personal adoption stories, the pastor reminded everyone they could sponsor a child in the South Sudan, and there were representatives from several organizations — public and private — available after the service.

It is all part of a growing movement across the country. A pastor in our nation’s capital has grand plans.

Adoption can be seen as a math riddle, and Aaron Graham aims to solve it.

Washington, DC, has more than 1,300 children in the foster care system, and 300 children waiting for adoption. But the nation’s capital also has something else, says Graham, pastor of District Church: 600 churches. “We thought, wow, if one in two churches helped support a family, there wouldn’t be any children on a wait list to be fostered or adopted but rather there would be families who are waiting to foster or adopt,” Graham explains. “We want to change who waits.”

It’s an interesting proposition, and on Saturday afternoon—the day before churches across the country celebrate Orphan Sunday—Graham had his first real chance to put the proposal into action. His church helped sponsor a citywide event, “Foster the City,” a special initiative of the National Council for Adoption and DC127, District Church’s new organization that recruits and supports foster and adoptive parents.

Pastor Graham’s program is just one of many that are helping to find homes for children through church outreach, cooperating with government and independent agencies. Read more about the various programs here.


In a family photo, Aaron and Amy Graham pose with their children Natalie and Elijah.

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