Not everyone is called to adopt, but helping the fatherless is something each one of us can (and should!) do.
Here are five things you can do to help children who don’t have a dad at home.
1. Pay attention.
Who are the kids in your church who don’t have the daily, regular encouragement of a loving dad? It is rare for a church not to have kids who fall in this category. What can you and your family do to be supportive? Can you invite a child to join your family for a ballgame or trip to the zoo? Can you pray regularly for them?
2. Be intentional.
Chances are, kids in need aren’t going to seek you out. You’ve got to reach out to them … and probably more than once. If you know a hard day is coming up (maybe Father’s Day or the anniversary of a death or divorce), let the child know you care. Fatherless kids often feel invisible.
3. Speak life.
Praise fatherless kids when you see them doing good things. Gently exhort fatherless kids to make better choices if you see them doing wrong. Let them know they are welcome and needed (in the church, school, or community, etc.) Encourage their caretakers. (Speaking of which, when you hear about families fostering or adopting, proactively reach out and let them know you appreciate and support the decision.)
4. Meet needs.
Fatherlessness, according to multiple studies, is the number one cause of poverty in America. Take notice if kids in your church can’t attend an activity or play on a sports team. Ask your wife to point out kids who may be hungry or underdressed for the season. Look for opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus in ways that do not draw unhelpful attention to the child.
5. Be faithful.
Be faithful to God, to your wife and kids, and to the Body of Christ. Faithfully live what you say you believe. Consistently encourage adults and kids in need. Genuinely model forgiveness and kindness. Note: Children from hard places, especially, need the example of loving, faithful men who honor God in the way that they live.
You may not receive immediate feedback or see any tangible results from quietly, consistently encouraging the fatherless, but God is aware of those who are building His kingdom by investing in the children who are close to His heart.