Nearly 30 percent of evangelical leaders have members in their immediate families who have been adopted, according to the November Evangelical Leaders Survey. The poll coincided with National Adoption Month, which is held every November.
“As people who take the Bible seriously, adoption is a topic that is hard to ignore,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. “Being adopted as God’s children is a strong theme throughout the Bible — and adoption is at the heart of the story of Moses, who led God’s people out of Egypt.”
Some evangelical leaders who participated in the survey included comments about the adoption stories in their families. One leader simply said, “A challenging privilege.”
Terri Traudt, a senior communications professional, noted that there are three adoption stories in her family — one “incoming” and two unplanned pregnancies in which the babies were placed for adoption. “Each decision was motivated by life-honoring, sacrificial love,” she said.
Of the evangelical leaders whose families include adopted members, 36 percent of the adoptions were cross racial, and 14 percent were special needs. None were international adoptions.
According to the Christian Alliance for Orphans, 402,378 children in the United States are living without permanent families in the foster care system, with 101,840 awaiting adoption. In 2013, over 50,281 were adopted with a public welfare agency involved (does not include private adoptions).
An estimated 150 million children are orphans worldwide. Over the past decade, 179,719 children from around the world were welcomed into families in the United States through international adoption. International adoption has decreased 72 percent from its high in 2004 due primarily to restrictions by sending countries.
“Many evangelical families have opened their hearts and homes to orphans, and there are many more children who still need homes,” Anderson said. “While not everyone is called to adopt, all Christians are called by Jesus to care for the orphan.”
The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. They include the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.