May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and Oklahoma has been in a foster care crisis for years. In fact, according to the Oklahoma Fosters Initiative, there are nearly 9,600 children still in state custody in Oklahoma.
Nationally and globally, the orphan crisis continues. According to the Christian Alliance for Orphans, there are an estimated 140 million orphans around the world, including 111,820 children in the United States alone who await adoption.
These are not mere statistics. They are real boys and girls, made in the image of God, who need loving homes. In the spirit of James 1:27 (“Pure and undefiled religion… is to care for orphans and widows…”), Christians have a moral duty and the conviction to help in this key area.
Several years back, then-BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony Jordan specifically called on Oklahoma Baptists to be a major part of the solution to the foster care crisis. Since that time, the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children’s One Such Child foster care initiative began, and many Oklahoma Baptists have participated in adoption or foster care.
In this edition of the Baptist Messenger, we feature five Oklahoma Baptist pastors and their families who are demonstrating the love of Christ and heart of the Gospel by foster care or adoption (see page 6).
By choosing to foster or adopt, these five families have embarked on a journey that is both important and challenging. In many cases, the people in the church who choose to foster or adopt are intentionally taking on hard cases, in which the children have faced various trials or abuses.
I want to take time to mention each husband and wife here:
• Charlie and Renee Blount of El Reno, First have been foster parents to multiple children.
• Owen and Amanda Nease, of Oklahoma City, Emmaus have chosen to adopt.
• Brent and Lacey Prentice of Stillwater, Eagle Heights have chosen to adopt.
• Michael and Caroline Taylor, of Ponca City, First recently returned from East Asia with an adopted child.
• Heath and Randi Tucker of Skiatook, First are parents of two adopted children.
Whether through foster care or adoption, each one of these pastor families is making a difference. To each of these—and to the many other Oklahoma Baptists and others like them—we applaud you and say “Thank you!”
Of course, behind each one of these pastor families are loving church families who pray for and support them in so many ways. We want to acknowledge and applaud them as well.
In the New Testament, we read one of the biblical qualifications for pastoral ministry is to live an exemplary life at home. We read in 1 Pet. 5:3, “And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock.”
Each of these pastors, therefore, embodies a great example to the flock. There is no question that God is calling more people to do likewise, to step forward and foster or adopt. The only question remaining is: Will we answer His call?
For more information on getting involved in foster care, visit www.obhc.org/OneSuchChild or contact Teri Blanton of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children at 405/972-7901.