N.C. Baptist churches that provide financial assistance to adoptive families can now apply for a new grant through the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina that would provide even more aid to those families.

As part of the new N.C. Baptist Adoption Assistance Grant, the Baptist state convention will match funds from a cooperating church at a 2:1 ratio to reimburse out-of-pocket expenses of adoptive families, up to a maximum of $2,000 per adopted child.

In addition, families who adopt through the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina or Christian Adoption Services would also be eligible for an additional reimbursement at a 1:1 ratio, up to $1,000 per adopted child.

Under terms of the program, churches would apply for the grant reimbursements on behalf of the adoptive families within their respective congregations. Cooperating N.C. Baptist churches are eligible to apply for the grants online at ncbaptist.org/adoptiongrant

The grant application includes questions about the church, the adoptive family, how the church has ministered to the family, and a place to upload documents to verify that church funds were used for adoption expenses.

For example, If a church contributed $1,000 to a family’s adoption expenses, those funds would be eligible for a $2,000 match by the state convention. Those grant funds would be sent to the church for disbursement to the adoptive family. If the adoption was finalized through the Baptist Children’s Homes or Christian Adoption Services, the church would also be eligible for an additional $1,000 reimbursement grant.

In November 2021, the Baptist state convention and the Baptist Children’s Homes partnered together to announce the “Every Child” Foster & Adoption Ministry. The ministry works with local churches in various aspects of fostering and adoption with the goal of seeing all of the 16,000 children in North Carolina’s foster care system find a permanent home.

N.C. Baptist officials said the new grant will hopefully go a long way toward seeing that goal fulfilled by being “on mission together.”

“Our ‘on mission together’ partnerships mean that local churches get to lock arms with their state convention and the Baptist Children’s Homes to help ensure that as many children as possible get to lay their head on a pillow at night in a safe and loving home,” said N.C. Baptist Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker.

The N.C. Baptist board of directors approved the adoption grant initiative during the board’s regularly scheduled fall meeting held last September. The measure was presented to the board by then state convention president Micheal Pardue, pastor of First Baptist Church Icard in Connelly Springs, N.C. 

Pardue said his proposal was a way to strengthen the partnership between the state convention and the Baptist Children’s Homes while aiding the “Every Child” initiative.

“It seemed good to me to encourage us as North Carolina Baptists to have a specifically targeted program to help families with adoptions,” said Pardue, who along with his wife, Rachel, are adoptive parents. “There are thousands of children across our state who do not have a forever family to call their own. We as North Carolina Baptists have a wonderful opportunity to help provide these children with a stable family, and this fund is a small mechanism that we can use to help facilitate adoptions across our state.”

Pardue also said adoption is a picture of the gospel.

“Adoption is rooted in the DNA of what it means to be a believer,” Pardue said. “We were outside the family of God, and Christ has grafted us into His family through adoption. What a wonderful way it is for us to show the world a primary implication of the gospel when we adopt those who were once outside our family and call them our own. We give them a new name and a new family just as Christ has done for us.”

Seed money for the adoption grant program came from the reallocation of $100,000 from a state convention contingency reserve account. Churches, organizations, institutions and individuals may make contributions to the fund’s principal balance through the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. 

Those interested in making contributions may contact the state convention’s Convention Relations office at (919) 467-5100 or (800) 395-5102 for more information. General questions about the adoption assistance grant may also be directed to the Convention Relations office.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared in the January 2023 issue of the Biblical Recorder magazine.