In her 30 years of work in human services for state government, Sharen Ford is very familiar with the power of adoption—and the need for adoptive families. As a Christian woman, she is also very aware of the important role we can all play in encouraging and supporting those who choose to adopt. She now shares her expertise and passion through the adoption-related ministries of Focus on the Family. TCW talked with her about the beauty and
Christian calling of adoption.
What's your role at Focus on the Family?
I am the program director for Focus on the Family's Adoption & Orphan Care Initiative. I work on projects that help raise awareness and do recruitment for children who are waiting in states all across the U.S. We engage folks on the ground—local churches, local private child placement agencies—and get them to partner so that people who are thinking about adoption or are on the cusp of moving forward to become an adoptive family have resources available. They know who to be connected to, and through that connection they can get connected to the state or to the local child worker agency so they can get through the process of becoming a family for a waiting child.
How do you serve families in your role?
I serve families by being an educator and an advocate. I always want families to know what their options are, what resources are available to them, how we can play an appropriate role in their life. I think families don't always have information, and the lack of information causes them to make uninformed decisions, so I've always tried to make sure that if I knew it they knew it, and the sooner the better so they could make good choices. So you're serving families all over who are interested in adopting and helping them find the resources they need to move forward in that process. This is about our nation's children and also about providing support services—those wraparound services to families who have already adopted—and sharing with families who are getting ready to go through this adoption process. You want to have a strong support network, and what better place to have a support network than your local church? So it's also about equipping churches with information on how they can wrap around and support families who are going through the adoption process and who have already adopted and are raising children.1