What makes an adoption or foster agency Christian? This question can be answered in a variety of ways:
1. Motive. Nightlight was founded in 1959 when a group of churches who belonged to the National Association of Evangelicals noticed that there was a need for more families to adopt babies from unplanned pregnancy. This was a pro-woman, pro-life, mandate consistent with James 1:27 which says "true religions is this: to look after the orphan and widow in their distress."
Our motivation for beginning the Snowflakes® embryo adoption program in 1997 was to advocate for the personhood of embryos, and defend that life begins at conception. We want to reduce the number of embryos in frozen storage, and increase the number who are given a chance of life. We accept any embryo, we do not allow selective termination, nor do we allow genetic testing because we know every embryo deserves life.
Our motivation for being involved in foster care is that we want to bring better results to the current system. People become foster parents for a variety of motives. The reality is that some foster parents are looking for passive income, so they want the greatest number of children, who are the easiest to care for, so they can have the highest monthly stipend possible. Other people become foster parents because they have a specific calling from God to "do hard things" and make a difference in the life of a child. We know that the foster care system can be improved and that the Church can be the solution to the difficulty of recruiting spectacular families.
In today's environment, international adoption is not financially sustainable. The only organizations doing international adoption have a separate funding source, such as contributions from financial donors. These donors are typically motivated by the Bible's call in Isaiah 1:17 to, “Take up the cause of the fatherless.”
2. Method. Most agencies are ethical. We do not imply that other agencies are less ethical. But as a Christian agency, we feel specifically accountable to a level of ethics that exceeds that of the state, federal or Hague regulations. We are committed to honesty and integrity. We do not operate with an "ends justifies the means" mentality. We do not coerce birth parents to consent to adoption. We only pursue adoption cases that have a high likelihood of success, for the sake of everyone involved.
Our staff are welcome, encouraged, and free to share their faith with clients and with each other. We pray regularly as a team, and with our clients. We join other Christian agencies at conferences such as the Christian Alliance for Orphans, where we connect with our mission. We study Scripture together.
3. Metrics. We measure our success by the number of embryos given life, abortions prevented, children placed in families where they will hear the Gospel, children who find permanent families, and children who escape danger. Our board of directors are volunteers with no financial stake in the agency. They hold the agency accountable to ensure we do not drift from that mission. The agency is non-profit, invests all of its funds back into programs, and the staff embrace modest salaries because they appreciate our mission.