In the middle of 2012, my wife and I thought of committing to foster care. We simply wanted to care for a child who needed a parent. Back then, we were only married for 10 months, causing our friends and family to throw questions like, “Aren’t you guys having a child of your own?” and “Have you consulted a doctor?” Our intention was probed and challenged many times, but we continued to pray. We asked God to give us a deeper understanding of orphan care.
Adoption in Salvation
As we read and meditated on James 1:27, Ephesians 1:5, Isaiah 1:17, and Psalm 82:3, God gave us clarity, showing us that caring for orphans wasn’t merely a good deed. Adoption—giving a child a home—was a mandate from God to believers.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”’ (Galatians 4:4-6)
God sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem us. Because of Christ, we were adopted into salvation, no longer under the law, but under the overwhelming grace that allows us to call God our Father. Our adoption brought pleasure to God (Ephesians 1).
In Psalm 68:5-6a, it also stated that, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…” God clearly expressed who He was, and He declared His purpose for the fatherless and lonely. He sent Jesus to save those who are lost, and in the present, He is still in the business of pursuing the children who are lost without families.
The Cost of Adoption
We waited 3 years for the documents that confirmed Daniella’s availability for adoption. It was hard, frustrating, and costly—so costly! These were the harsh realities of the legal adoption process. One needs patience, patience, patience, and money.
Based on the experience of co-adoptive parents, the cost of legal adoption could range from P50,000 to P100,000. In other cases, it could cost more than that. At first, I did not understand why it cost that much, but then I realized that my adoption also cost Jesus 30 years of waiting and another 3 years of ministry. Furthermore, our adoption cost the Father the life of His “only begotten Son.” Jesus paid for our adoption with His life.
Republic Act no. 1065, also known as the Foster Care Act of 2012, gave licensed foster parents the priority to adopt the child in their custody. Before the Certificate Declaring Child Legally Available for Adoption (CDCLAA) was released, we prayed for the opportunity to adopt Daniella officially. The big consideration was the money needed to fund the adoption process. We were neither rich nor poor, but the projected cost of the adoption process was a burden for us. Fortunately, God taught us to have faith in Him.
Partners in Christ, Partners in Adoption
In the Body of Christ, we believe that everyone receives different gifts and tasks. This made us ask, “What if the Body of Christ came and worked together in the adoption process?”
As we stepped out in faith and pursued our adoption journey, we met like-minded people who believed that God authored adoption. They partnered with us in many ways. One of the partners in our legal counsel happened to be a pastor. I asked him, “Alam ko po na ito ay profession niyo kaya gusto ko po itanong kung magkano ang aming babayarang legal fees? (We know that this is your profession as a lawyer, so we wanted to know how much your fees would be)” To my surprise, he said answered, “Akin na yang documents mo. Ayusin at i-file natin. (Give me your documents. We’ll fix and file them now.)” Our legal counsel provided his services for free. Meanwhile, another partner provided for the filing fee and publication fee.
God truly prepared parts of His body—his Church—to move on our behalf even before the adoption process for Daniella started!
As an orphan care advocate, I was encouraged and motivated by the believers who stood up to care for orphans.
Our Current Journey in Adoption
God exposed me to different kids needing varied placements, kids such as those born pre-maturely, those whose parents were convicted of crime, those fostered by families with many children already, etc.
But despite all these placements, many orphans still wait in institutions. I believe that in every church, there are people whom God calls to foster and/or adopt. Some of them might not know where to begin, or they may be struggling with fears. Still, others might be waiting for the perfect time.
If you are one of those readers waiting for the right time, I would like to tell you that there is no perfect time to foster or adopt. There will always be an excuse to delay. Finances and family are some of the issues that we will always face as we pursue the adoption of a child. The only perfect time is when you decide and agree with God on the calling to adopt, despite the many reasons not to. Ultimately, fostering and adoption is all about faith.
After numerous court hearings and evidence presentation, the court decided in our favor. God, who started this journey this us, finished it to completion (Philippians 1:5-7). In July of 2018, we became Daniella’s forever family!
But our orphan care journey is not yet over! Last year (2020), God brought us to Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte, Mindanao, to give a voice to orphans and vulnerable children, and to bring an advocacy of family-based care (foster Care and adoption) to this part of the country.
Adoption is a gospel message. With the Body of Christ doing it together, there really is nothing impossible with God. The adoption journey is worth it!
SOCIAL MEDIA AND WEBSITE:
Joel and Noelle Contessa Marcaida are foster-adoptive parents and orphan care advocates. Joel is the Executive Director of Project Destiny, Kids, Inc., as well as the Social Media Ambassador of Orphan Sunday International Team.