How to Begin a Church Adoption Ministry

Recently, we celebrated with our Outside the Walls church fund partner, Legacy 685, as they awarded their 200th adoption grant.

Legacy 685 Director Toni Steere graciously shared her thoughts on some tangible steps that a church of any size can take to begin an adoption ministry. If this is something God has laid on your heart, be encouraged by this practical advice from Toni…

We can easily become paralyzed by the overwhelming need presented by statistics.

Behind every orphan care, foster care, and adoption statistic, there is a child along with a family deeply in need of safety, healing, and holistic restoration. Add to that the foster family, orphanage, civil servants and even non-profits, and the reality is it’s an overwhelming situation on an overtaxed system.

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of so much need.

So, what can we do and where do we start?

1. Pray

Adoption ministry is a Holy Space, a place where brokenness and beauty collide. It’s a space that is super close to the Father’s heart, and we need to HEAR from Him before we step, before we plan, and certainly before we program.

The foster care and adoption journey begin with deep grief, the extreme loss of the most primal relationships. The loss is real regardless of the situation, and our leaning in must come from a place of humility and tenderness. When we pray we acknowledge that we can’t “fix” it and we allow God to be the one that positions our bodies and postures our souls to join Him as He brings purpose from pain.

2. Start small, Start slow.

I have found it helpful to take global needs and put them into concentric circles, allowing for contextualization and provision of a more realistic picture of what’s happening in one specific community. When we break down the statistics, our curiosity and creativity are given space to grow.

From there, pursue those in your church who are saying YES! This could be an adoptive family, a foster family, a biological family, a social worker, a judge, etc. Ask questions and listen. Listen to their stories, listen to their voices. Lean in and lend presence. Cultivating environments of curiosity, safety, and grace for those in the trenches will help to foster relationship. Let the relationship be the focal point, and when that relationship reveals needs—and it will—meeting those needs will be less transactional and more about sustaining the family for the duration of the healing process.

Here’s a simple to-do list for anyone wanting to begin an adoption ministry. 

  1. Pray.
  2. Lend presence.
  3. Build relationships with foster and adoptive families within your church and community.
  4. Meet practical needs.

It’s that simple and that’s challenging. Where God leads, He provides.


You can read Toni’s answers to 4 other questions about adoption and ministry here.

Your Church Is The Solution

Your church was built to care for orphans. It’s in our DNA as believers. By establishing a Lifesong-facilitated church fund, you can meet the need by helping fund adoptions inside and outside your local church. It’s easy and free.