How should evangelicals think about this distinction and the difference between adoption and foster care? They are two very different things.
Foster care is temporarily loving a child, bringing a child into their home and giving love and care to a child with the intent that by God’s grace, that child would go back to their birth family. In many ways, that can be hard to think through. You look at this child and you think, “They could have a great home with me. They can have piano lessons and all sorts of other things.” Yet, by God’s grace, what you’re doing is ministering.
“Foster care is temporarily loving a child so that child can eventually go back to their birth family.”
You’re ministering grace to this child — but not just this child, to the family the child comes from! I think one of the most powerful things my wife and I have personally experienced in doing foster care and adoption, particularly through foster care, is how we’ve been able to minister loving grace to the biological family that this child comes from, to help reconcile that child back to that family, or sometimes to a grandmother, or someone else that's connected. Foster care is oriented in those directions.
Adoption, of course, is saying, “I’m going to set my love upon this child. This child's going to become part of my home. It’s going to have my last name.” This is a decision that you make, and that child becomes your own, and becomes part of your family — with all the things and all the blessings and good things that come out of that.