My four-year-old son had his mind blown recently at a family party. Discovering that the two ladies he calls Aunty are mummy’s sisters and we all grew up in the same house together was almost too ridiculous for him to comprehend.

He spent the next few days repeatedly asking why we couldn’t all live in the same place now, because he was sad not to be able to play with his cousins every day as they live too far away. Seeing my little boy play with my sisters’ children is always special. They’re close in age and, despite their very different characters, close in relationship too. His next birthday isn’t until the summer, but he’s already decided the party plans and his cousins are top of the guest list. What makes this all so extra precious is that my little boy joined our family through adoption, yet for him and his cousins, there is no difference. They are related. They are family.

My husband and I came to adoption through our best friends who foster. I had virtually no awareness of the care system prior to them welcoming in two little boys, who were part of their family for almost two years. It was a such a joy to play a tiny role in the lives of those boys – as a friend, playmate and babysitter – and journeying with them opened my eyes to the great need there is for families who can care for the most vulnerable children in our society. As someone who had never felt a pull to have birth children, I was suddenly stirred.

Praying and seeking God on the matter was, for once, incredibly straightforward. God’s compassion for vulnerable children and His heart for family is unmissable in scripture. From the second chapter of the Bible we know it is not good for humans to exist in isolation – in the very core of our being we are made for connection, for relationship, for family. And yet God’s understanding of family is broader, deeper and more inclusive than any of us can comprehend.

Psalm 68:6 tells us that God places the lonely in families”, so we know that families can be joined – not just born into but placed into a family. We are all invited into His family and it is through adoption that we are welcomed. Loved and chosen (Ephesians 1:4 – 6), intimately connected with our Abba Father (Romans 8:14 – 16) and deeply cherished as children and heirs (Galatians 4:4 – 7). We don’t have to do anything and yet we receive everything. The most perfect example of beautiful and radical hospitality. The most powerful image of family.

And this is a family that is never closed or finished; there is always room for more. Even at the cross, this was on the heart of Jesus. Looking out and seeing His heartbroken mother and closest friend, He spoke words of family over them, calling John to care for Mary and from that time on, the disciple took her into his home” (John 19.26). Jesus’ brother James understood this calling too and encourages us to care for vulnerable children and older people as part of our worship (James 1.27). As I said, God’s heart is unmistakable.

I believe He is calling us to ensure our families are similarly open and welcoming. This will look different for each of us. It led my husband and I to adoption and we now have the privilege of parenting a wonderful little boy. It is not without heartache and challenges as he, like all children who come into care, has experienced trauma, loss and separation. But more families who can care for vulnerable children through fostering or adoption are desperately needed, with 40,000 children entering the UK care system this year. If you feel similarly stirred to respond and want to play a part in caring for these children and meeting their needs, Home for Good would love to hear from you. We want to resource you and your church to ensure every child has the family and support they need.

As we consider the extraordinary welcome that we have each received through adoption into God’s family, let’s also consider how we can extend this welcome to others and ensure our earthly families echo the beautiful hospitality and heart of our heavenly Father.

Visit our website or call 03000010995 if you’d like to find out more.