You may know that the word “deacon” means “servant.” You probably have deacons who faithfully serve the families in your church. But have you ever considered deacons who serve the needs of the orphan or foster child?
Daniel Hord is the deacon for orphan care ministry at CrossPointe Church in Columbus, GA. He and his wife, Jenny, have four children. Daniel and Jenny have a unique understanding of adoption, having grown their family biologically, as well as through domestic and international adoption. Clement Arts caught up with Daniel to ask him about adoption ministry, both in the home and the local church.
CA: Daniel, tell us how God has formed your family.
DH: We have been blessed to become parents through several different experiences. We have a nine-year-old son adopted domestically, a six-year-old biological son, and two daughters adopted internationally from China, ages four and two.
CA: How did God bring you and Jenny to adoption?
DH: Jenny has three adopted siblings, so adoption was already an everyday part of our life. Because of them, we had many conversations about the possibility of us adopting and hoped that this was something that God had in store for our future. After three years of marriage, we were quietly praying about adoption when God miraculously sent us a child through a private placement. Josiah’s adoption solidified in our hearts and minds our call to the fatherless. Consequently, we pursued two adoptions from China where are there are many children waiting for families.
CA: How did you know that God was calling you to orphan care ministry beyond your own family?
DH: Walking through the halls of an orphanage will forever change you. While some of the children we saw had families coming for them, we knew the reality facing many of these kids is that they would never be adopted. This was a sobering truth that was hard to grapple with. It marks you, leaving you with a burden to do anything you can to help these kids and others like them whether they be across the world or in your own backyard. In addition, after experiencing the difficulties of the adoption process we realized the need for support both during the process and after. Many kids who enter families through adoption are marked by traumatic pasts, and families need encouragement as they navigate difficult paths.
“One of the most exciting things I see happening in our community is churches and organizations coming together as one body to support the care of orphans near and far. “
CA: What is your role in the church as a deacon of orphan care?
DH: My role is fairly simple and it boils down to support — support for families who are pursuing adoption or foster care both domestically and internationally. In addition, I look for ways to support families once they have their child/children because that is often when the hardest times come. This support is not possible alone, and the bulk of the work is done by our Orphan Care Team that cares for these families in a variety of ways. I also help coordinate adoption and orphan care related events.
CA: What is the most exciting thing you see God doing for the fatherless in our area?
DH: One of the most exciting things I see happening in our community is churches and organizations coming together as one body to support the care of orphans near and far. To see people step outside of their comfort zones or, in some cases, their cultural or denominational differences to care for these children is amazing to see.
CA: What are the greatest needs in our community regarding orphan care?
DH: In my opinion, our greatest local need is for more foster families who are willing to care for children from a variety of ages and backgrounds. Our foster system is not perfect and can be exhausting for families who are pursuing children, but we need more families who are willing to commit to the process and see it through without any expectations.
CA: What are first steps churches can take toward building an orphan care ministry?
DH: I think that it is important to have the support of your leadership because if they are not burdened for these children it can make ministry in this area difficult. What we do is not fancy and does not require a lot of people, but it does require a heart for the fatherless and the willingness to support and care for children and families.