AG-Affiliated Agencies Advocate for Children During National Adoption Month
In 2021, data published from the Congressional Coalition of Adoption showed that there are over 113,000 children in the U.S. available for adoption.
While social workers and other professionals strive to find safe, nurturing families for each of these children, most of these modern-day orphans will wait nearly three years to find a permanent family.
Each child hopes that they are fortunate enough to find a forever home. However, over 19,000 children age out of the foster care system each year without family.
National Adoption Month, made official in 1995, is celebrated in November with many families finalizing or celebrating adoptions in their family on National Adoption Day, Nov. 23.
Every year, families from across the United States welcome children into their hearts and homes through adoption, but for AG U.S. missionaries with Chaplaincy Ministries, Stephen Hogue and his wife, Sandra, the adoption process would span several years and touch the lives of dozens of children.
Sandra Hogue met her husband, Stephen, at Faith Assembly of God in Orlando, Florida. After getting married, the Hogues served for five years as youth pastors, followed by 12 years of service as children’s pastors.
In 2014, the Stephen Hogue was appointed as a U.S. missionary with Chaplaincy Ministries, specializing in the area of foster care, and started a nonprofit organization, OneFamily.
While Hogue says that adoption was always in their plans, after experiencing infertility, it became the primary plan.
“We decided to go through the foster care system and to our surprise, God opened the door for us to meet an eight-day old baby who had been abandoned in an Orlando hospital,” says Hogue.
With no money and a lot of faith, the Hogues said “yes” and became parents.
This little life would be just one of ten children they would welcome into their family through adoption. Today, the Hogues, a family of 12, have children ranging in age from 24 to 10 years old and have dedicated their lives to speaking up for children whose families are in chaos.
“If you feel called to adopt,” says Hogue, “consider the 100,000 children in the foster care system who need a forever family. When adopted, these kids are less likely to repeat the cycles of abuse, incarceration, homelessness, and substance abuse.”
The Assemblies of God’s Foster Care Network is comprised of several agencies who assist churches and families who are interested in serving children through adoption or adoption advocacy.
Eric D. Porter, 47, who is also an adoptive parent, leads one such agency. As a U.S. missionary with Chaplaincy Ministries, as well as founder and CEO of Backyard Orphans, Porter consults with churches on building what he calls a “circle of support” for those answering the call to adoption. This support consists of a prayer team, meal team, childcare team, and resources team from within the church to wrap around all foster and adoptive families in an effort to help ease the transition of caring for additional children.
“Within the first year of fostering or pursuing adoption, 50% of people quit because of a lack of support,” Porter says. “This statistic leads to there not being enough families for kids. But we envision a day when there are more families waiting for kids than there are kids waiting for families.”
In Psalm 68:5-6, Porter points out that God’s care for the lonely is the Biblical design of a family.
“God designed children to be with a family,” he says, “but because there aren’t enough families, man has created institutional care. But God’s plan was never for children to grow up without families.”
Besides the 113,000 children who are orphaned, meaning their parents’ parental rights have been terminated, Porter says there are thousands more who live feeling orphaned.
“So many more kids are couch surfing, homeless, or are unaccompanied minors looking for a permanent place to call home,” Porter states.
For families looking to start their adoption journey, COMPACT Family Services, led by Alan Bixler, offers both private domestic adoption services and services for those wanting to adopt through the foster care system. Additionally, church support and wrap around services are offered by both Backyard Orphans and COMPACT.