Through no fault of their own, thousands of children and youth are in government care and in need of a permanent home and family. It’s estimated that 30,000 children in government care are eligible for adoption in Canada.
As Christians, we have been adopted into God’s family through Christ. Adoption is a key concept in our faith and a natural expression of it.
Adoption welcomes a child or young person into a permanent, loving family. There are several types of adoption. Public adoption refers to a child or youth in the Canadian child welfare system. Private adoption is arranged by a private agency. Kinship adoption refers to the adoption of a relative that includes guardianship and custom care arrangements. International adoption involves a child or youth from a country outside of Canada.
Adoption services fall under the responsibility of the provinces and territories, although the federal government plays a role in international adoption. Each province and territory has its own adoption process, rules, eligibility and administrative structure. The provinces and territories follow the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption that Canada ratified in 1996.
Canadians can embrace a fresh vision of adoption and the care of all children to ensure that no child is left without a family to call their own. Many estimate there are 30,000 children and youth in Canada’s child welfare system who are legally eligible to be adopted, who may spend their childhoods without a family and permanent home. Canada lacks a central information database on the number of children in government care and awaiting adoption, although some data is collected on international adoptions. There is a critical need for adoptive families, yet adoption recruitment is significantly underfunded, with only 1% of Family Service budgets focusing on adoption recruitment.
Many youth who age out of the child welfare system face life without the support of a family and are at significantly higher risk of homelessness, low-income, exploitation and premature loss of life.
Every person is created by God, in his image, and loved by Him. Each person’s life has inherent worth and dignity (Gen. 1:26-27; John 3:16). Human dignity does not depend on our ability or circumstances; it flows from our creation in the image of God. We treat all people as bearers of God’s image, no matter their age.
The EFC’s support for adoption and fostering is anchored in a long-standing affirmation of the sanctity of human life. The Declaration on Human Life
, signed in 1987, called for active support of those involved in parenting and in the adoption and fostering of children, as an outworking of the inherent worth of each person.
We are created to live in families and form communities that care for each other and serve those in need. As Christians, adoption is a key theological doctrine of our faith and hope, as we have been adopted into God’s family through Christ (Romans 8:14-17; I Corinthians 13). We are to emulate Christ’s love through adoption toward others, treating others as brothers and sisters.
A family is called to care for its members physically, emotionally and spiritually as it enables them to serve God, other people and creation. Children are a gift and a blessing. Parents have the privilege and responsibility of leading children to know God and his ways, as well as the world around them (Deut. 11:19).
God calls us to care for those who are vulnerable, especially putting children in the centr of family and community life(Mark 9).
In both the Old and New Testaments, the people of Israel and followers of Jesus were commanded to care for foreigners, widows, those without parents and the poor. Another parable tells us that when we serve the vulnerable in our society, we are serving Christ (Matthew 25:34-36).