USA (MNN) — For once, there is a growing trend in the United States for the better.
Openness to adoption and foster care is on the rise.
Buckner International recently reported that families adopting from foster care are increasing. In just three years, Buckner says, there was a 65% increase in U.S. foster care adoptions. Believers in particular seem to be catching God's vision for "pure and faultless" religion, caring for orphans.
But while many may have a vague idea that God wants them to respond to that call, few really know where to start, or to what degree God would have them react.
For any single family or entire church trying to figure out where they fit into this orphan care picture, Summit VIII could supply the answers.
Summit has been put on annually by the Christian Alliance for Orphans since 2004. Just 38 attendees strong during its first year, Summit now expects 2,000 adoptive and foster parents, pastors, orphan advocates and other Christian leaders for the May 2012 Summit VIII.
The idea behind the Summit is to introduce families, but mostly churches, to opportunities to care for the fatherless.
"Our focus is especially on the local church, where the local church body as a community walks this road together," says Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. "It's not just one family adopting or fostering or sending money overseas; it's a community of believers engaging these things together."
Medefind says the goal is "ultimately working toward a world in which we see the local body of Christ in every country being the primary answer for the orphans in their midst."
Summit does this by introducing churches and families to foster care, to the nuts and bolts of adoption, and to various Christian organizations. Ministries like Buckner International, Bethany Christian Services, Orphan Outreach and more will all be represented at Summit.
For those who are interested in become adoptive or foster parents, those who just wish to better support other families directly caring for orphans, or for churches hoping to partner with ministries that care for the fatherless, Summit has opportunities.
Over 80 workshops will be offered with instruction from national experts on topics from parenting and attachment issues in difficult adoptions, to engaging local foster care, to building effective global church-to-church partnerships.
Plenary speakers will include Rick and Kay Warren, Francis Chan, Crawford Loritts, and musical guest Steven Curtis Chapman.
Summit will take place May 3-4 at Saddleback Church in Southern California. The approximate cost is $125 for Alliance members and $175 for non-members. To learn more about Summit details, click here. The registration deadline ends April 30.
As the heart of your family or church enlarges for the fatherless Jesus loves, you will better come to know God and reflect His heart to those around you, notes Medefind. To be a part of this Kingdom work, click here.