A Prayer for the Fatherless on Father’s Day

“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a family.”  – Psalm 68:5-6

ABBA Father,

I pray for the thousands of children here in the US who are without a father to call their own and for the millions around the world who are longing for a daddy.

I praise You that You care more about the fatherless than anyone.

You are their defender, their protector, their sustainer. You are their Father when they have none.

I praise You that we can trust in You to work your purposes in each one of these children’s lives.

I praise You for how you are at work to provide them with earthly fathers. That it is Your heart to place them in families.

Lord, have mercy! Don’t leave them as orphans! Magnify yourself in pouring out your mercy in their lives here and around the world!

Stir your church to visit orphans in their affliction and make visible the glorious gospel!

Awaken the church to the need and the awesome opportunity to minister to the “least of these” and in doing so, to care for Jesus! O the thought of that is amazing. Overwhelming!

Move us, shake us, break us O Lord to have your Father’s heart this day for those who need a father.

In all this, I pray in the name of Jesus, that you would do more than I could ask or imagine for the sake of your name and the joy of the fatherless!

Amen.

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ABBA Fund has the honor of celebrating fathers all year long as we walk alongside families who have responded to God’s call to care for the fatherless — the orphan — by adopting them into their own families as sons and daughters … just as God desires to do for each of us (Ephesians 1:4-8). What a blessing that is!

As your family celebrates Father’s Day this weekend, we hope you will prayerfully consider honoring that special father in your life with a gift in his name to ABBA Fund to help waiting adoptive fathers bring home sons and daughters who will call them “daddy.”

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Casey, Landrieu, and Braley Introduce Legislation to Make Adoption Tax Credit Refundable

On Thursday Senators Casey, Landrieu, and Braley introduced an act to make the Federal Adoption Tax Credit refundable. This would extend benefits to more families, ultimately helping more children come home. In 2011 62% of filers benefited from Refundable Credit.

Read the full AP article below:

Washington, DC – Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) introduced the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2013. The bill would make the Adoption Tax Credit fully refundable. Making the tax credit refundable would extend its benefits to more Americans. According to IRS data, 62% of filers in 2011 benefited from the refundable Adoption Tax Credit.

“Making the Adoption Tax Credit refundable will support and encourage adoption by assisting families with some of the costs,” Senator Casey said. “The Adoption Tax Credit has been a proven success in increasing families’ ability to offer permanent homes to adoptive children. Making the credit refundable will allow more families to experience its benefits.”

“My husband and I are blessed with two precious, adopted children, and I know the Adoption Tax Credit encourages many families to consider expanding their own through adoption,” Senator Landrieu said. “Without the tax credit being refundable, many adopting families can’t fully utilize the benefits of this credit to make adoption a reality. This change will especially help families that want to adopt foster youth, finally providing them with a permanent and loving family and ensuring foster care is only temporary. I am committed to making the Adoption Tax Credit refundable and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue to support families who make the wonderful decision to adopt.”

“The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act makes the tax credit even better by making it refundable,” Congressman Braley said.”  “That means more families can take full advantage of the tax cut, providing a better incentive to families considering adoption. That will help more children in need end up in loving homes.”

The adoption tax credit was made permanent in the American Taxpayer Relief Act in January 2013.  However, that law did not extend the refundability provisions that applied to the adoption tax credit in 2010 and 2011.  The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act will restore the refundable portion of this critical support for families wishing to adopt.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, one-third of all adopted children live in families with annual household income at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.  Despite the common misperception that only wealthy families adopt, nearly 46 percent of families adopting from foster care are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  Many of these families’ tax burdens are so low that they cannot benefit from the adoption tax credit at all unless it is refundable.

Preliminary 2011 data indicate that nearly 62 percent of families who filed for the adoption tax credit benefited from refundability.  Forty-one percent of families who benefited from refundability (25 percent of all families who took the tax credit) had adjusted gross incomes under $50,000.

These data indicate that a refundable adoption tax credit plays a significant role in lower-income families’ ability to adopt and support a child from foster care.  Older data from a 2006 study cited by HHS demonstrate a significant financial benefit to society, as well: the cost of adoption and permanency is significantly lower than the cost to federal, state and local governments to provide long-term foster care.

Why You Need to See the Stuck Documentary on Int’l Adoption

The best estimates are that over 10 million children are currently living in institutions globally. For many of these children international adoption is their best hope. For all of these children family is their greatest need. And, ultimately Jesus is their only hope.

Jesus tells us that our love for Him is only as great as our love for the least of these (Matthew 25). That said, there should be no children without families where the church exists.

The current international adoption system is broken. In just the last 10 years the number of children who have been adopted has been cut by over 60%. The number of adoptions continues to decline while the number of orphans increases. The new documentary Stuck seeks to raise awareness to this problem and is movement to provide change for the sake of these children. Please check out the schedule of showings here and let’s fill the theaters around the country for the sake of the children and the glory of Jesus.

This is a must watch documentary! Visit Both Ends Burning for tour dates and showings in a city near you.

Orphans in our City

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.48.14 AMIn one of the most popular chapters of the Bible, Jeremiah 29, we find a powerful statement from the Lord about how we ought to view the city…and how we should care for its orphans. Speaking to His people who have been exiled by the Babylonians and in fear of mixing with them, God says through His prophet:

“Multiply there (in the city), and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the lord on it’s behalf, for in it’s welfare you will find your welfare ” Jeremiah 29:6-7

When we think about seeking the “welfare of our city” there is much we can do. The needs are many. Amidst it all, the need of caring for the orphans of the city is massive. In any given metropolis in America there are literally hundreds of children that have no family and no permanent home. Over 400,000 children in America are in foster care. Over 104,000 children are literal orphans with no permanent family, most of whom are living in the neighborhoods of our cities.  In Austin, TX alone there are 244 of these dear children that are waiting to be adopted.

Imagine if the church took seriously this call to “seek the welfare of the city” and made caring for every child in foster care and every child available for adoption a part of that mission. What if the church became more known for its care of the children than for what it is against in our cities.

What if our cities were filled only with waiting parents instead of waiting children!

Providing permanent families for all the waiting children in our city is not an impossible task. It may just be the greatest opportunity the church has today to seek the renewal of our cities for God’s glory!

An Honest Approach to Adoption

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I will never forget the day that we walked into the adoption agency and met our son for the first time. He was perfect at just two-weeks old. The most beautiful little boy I had ever seen. And he was ours. We felt an indestructible hopefulness and joy.

I will also never forget the day that our son wouldn’t stop screaming and was unconsolable because he was afraid of being abandoned again. The experience of loss still resonating deep in his little soul somehow stirred up. My wife and I felt helpless at best.

An honest approach to adoption involves both profound brokenness and beauty. 

Sometimes it seems like there is more beauty than brokenness and sometimes it is the other way around. A schizophrenic mix of hope and hopelessness. Helplessness and joy.

Through it, thankfully, we are pushed, reminded, driven, and invited into the only hope and help we have – Jesus. And if we are lucky, a community of others who are in the same boat, reminding us we are not alone in this journey.

How have you experienced the beauty and brokenness of raising adopted children?