orphancare

Thankful Generosity

Before the craziness of Thanksgiving and ‘Black Friday’ ensue this weekend, check out these amazing opportunities to GIVE generously around the world. There are limitless things to be thankful for this holiday season. JESUS has brought HOPE to the whole world and this is the greatest time of year to share His light and love for our neighbors.

About 5 years ago, my grandma purchased a goat for a family through a Christmas catalog in my honor. It was a unique and extremely meaningful Christmas gift to me. Honestly, this small gesture of generosity has been remembered more than any other material gift I have ever received. So true that “it is better to give than to receive.”

preemptive-love
https://preemptive-love.myshopify.com/

africa
https://loverowan.reachapp.co/campaigns/a-safe-place-to-dream

compassion-2 compassioncompassion-3
https://www.compassion.com/charitable-gift-catalog.htm
sseko4
https://ssekodesigns.com/our-story
https://stitchedtogether.org/
http://3seams.com/

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

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adoption, foster care, orphancare, Orphanprevention

World Adoption Day 2016

orphan-care-headerToday, we celebrate and advocate for orphan care around the globe! There are so many souls in need of the hope of Jesus. As the Church, we have the most beautiful command and privilege to care for those without a family. There are so many resources and amazing organizations to come along side. The need can feel so overwhelming but God, the Creator of the universe, has chosen to use US for this mission. Individually we can commit to changing one life with the Gospel of Jesus and together we can shake the foundations of this world as we see God bring justice to the vulnerable and forgotten! There are SO many opportunities so just take the first step of obedience and watch God work in your life and the lives of others! It’s truly an amazing journey!!!

  Step 1. KNOW THE NEED

    • The births of nearly 230 million children under age 5 worldwide (about one in three) have never been recorded, depriving them of their right to a name and nationality.1
    • As of 2013, an estimated 17.7 million children worldwide had lost one or both parents to AIDS. Most of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.1
    • There are an estimated 140 million orphans worldwide.
    • Last year, nearly 9,000 children were adopted internationally.4
    • Inter-country adoption has decreased 59 percent from its high in 2004, due primarily to restrictions by sending countries.5
    • There are approximately 400,000 children living today in the American foster care system, of which about 100,000 are in need of an adoptive family.
    • Every year more than 25,000 children age out of foster care, leaving them without families of their own.4
    • 81.5 million Americans have considered adoption. If just 1 in 500 of these adults adopted, every waiting child would have a permanent family.4

      [http://showhope.org/9-stats-about-the-orphan-crisis%5D

      Step 2. EMBRACE THE CALL

      Psalm 68:5
      Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.”

      James 1:27
      “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

      John 14:15-21
      If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

      Step 3. DO SOMETHING

    • http://lifelinechild.org/ 
    • http://worldadoptionday.org/
    • http://www.thearchibaldproject.com/
    • http://147millionorphans.org/
    • http://abidefamilycenter.org/haiti-adoption-program_300x188

      Here are some great organizations and ministries to join as partners! Become a foster parent, apply for adoption, financially give to an unadoptable ministry, encourage to foster/adoptive families, advocate for the fatherless, provide for orphan prevention ministries, show support to single moms, become a mentor to young foster/adoptive teens, mentor young families, volunteer at a pregnancy support clinic, etc. Anything is better than nothing! God will use the smallest act of obedience in an extraordinary way. Share your orphan care stories with me!!

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foster care, orphancare, Respite care

Weak Made Strong

“…they are weak; He is strong….” 

Four kids under the age of four years old. What were we thinking when we said yes to a respite placement this past week?! Respect to all the mamas out there who keep their sanity while bathing, feeding, and carpooling multiple children!

This week was a bit of an adjustment as our normal routine became quite different with two additional little cuties in our home. The Lord did a sanctifying work in our hearts. It easy to conceal idols of comfort and convenience until the Lord chooses to give you an opportunity for obedience in which He is really using to squeeze out your selfishness.

It’s been a while since we have received a respite care placement but we felt led and trusted God would provide (which He graciously did through many ways including the rice crispy treats my neighbor delivered, the items our friends purchased for our new kids, and the much needed cultural advice and hair help from one special friend!!) It was beautiful and a bit challenging to help our children open their hearts and home to others. We loved being able to tangibly demonstrate with our kids how to love our neighbors and those in need.

I’m continuing to learn this journey is one of joy and sorrow. It’s not always easy, comfortable, nor convenient. It doesn’t feel heroic or glamorous. It’s tough, real, and broken. Yet, just as we are all weak and were enemies of God, in His infinite grace and mercy He chooses to enter into our brokenness and wrap His arms around us with the safest, most secure embrace. He is the hospitable and kind Father who welcomes us into His family through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.

Today, the children transition into a more long-term placement. As we were driving to daycare for the last time, I wanted to use this opportunity to speak life and the Gospel into their young hearts. We prayed together then began to sing “Jesus Loves Me”. It seemed like a new song to the kids, but they so wanted to learn it. I have the worst singing voice -seriously- but she asked me to sing this song with her about 7x before we arrived at school. I could feel her soaking it in and I fervently prayed this truth would shine into the deepest wounds of her heart.

As I was starting to feel anxious about their future and their hearts, I heard her whispering “they are weak but He is strong.” God gently and sweetly through the voice of a vulnerable child reminded me that HE IS STRONG for her. He is aware of every detail of her life. He created and knows her more deeply than anyone in this world. He loves her so much He sacrificed His own Son’s life for hers.

I may not be able to walk with her through this life but I can point her to the One who will always hold her hand no matter where she goes. I am not the Savior. Jesus is the strong Savior who reaches into the brokenness and saves the weak making them strong through His steadfast love. This could not be more comforting as I drive away knowing our paths will most likely never cross again. This journey and moments like this are possible because when we are weak, He is strong for us and we are forever connected through the love of our good, good Father.

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Uncategorized

Foster Hope

fos • ter (v) : to bring up, nurture, to nurse, cherish, to promote the growth and development of, to cultivate.

When you hear the words “foster care” do the words sound somewhat foreign? Foster care is not something that I knew a lot about prior to the Lord leading us on this journey. If I’m being transparent, when I first heard these words my thoughts ran to images such as, “misbehaving kids,” “sketchy situations,” and “the cold yet overly involved government.”

However, after walking through this journey over the past year, none of my preconceived notions remain. I LOVE this definition of fostering. It’s an active verb with many positive adjectives. Foster care, accompanied by genuine gospel-centered motives, is truly the act of cherishing and nursing many broken, confused, and abandoned children to a place of growth and healthy development. Foster care can be a beautiful avenue to bring the hope of the Gospel to the often unseen of our community.

Currently in Lowndes County, there are 185 children in the foster care system. However, there are only 15 certified homes in our city. Therefore, 5 out of 6 children are sent to group homes or foster homes in surrounding counties. When a child is sent away from siblings and family members, the chances of the child being reunited with his or her family decreases greatly.  The number of children being removed from homes grows daily. Without available respite care homes, these children have to sit at the DFACS office all day and stay in hotels at night until a placement can be found. Please take into account that these children did not ask or do anything to deserve being removed from their families. Their current traumatic situations have happened because of choices their caregivers have made. These statistics are related to our community. This is the daily, brutal reality of what takes place in our backyard.

There are a variety of opportunities when seeking to minister to the “social orphans” of our city. As the Church, we understand that the only true lasting hope for any social injustice is the good news of Jesus Christ. The goal of foster care is not only to nurture the children but to cultivate a culture of hope within the entire family unit, local govnerment, and community. This is our desire: to see the Church of our city rise up and foster hope within the brokenness of our hurting community. 

We will be hosting an informational meeting this Thursday night (April 9th) from 6-7pm at CrossPointe Church. This meeting will be a relaxed environment. There will be no sign up sheets or DEFACS workers. This meeting is for anyone in the community who wants to know more about the variety of options available concerning foster care/adoption. Gabe and I will answer any questions you may have about this process. Even if you are not at a place of commitment but you are just curious about the concept of fostering, please come! No pressure just information. We look forward to seeing you!

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foster care, parenting resources

Sovereign Mercy

Currently, we have the joy of raising two young children. We are so thankful to have this opportunity to provide them with a safe, loving home.

The #1 question that I am asked about foster care is “How long will yall have the children?” This is a valid question since foster care is “temporary” parenting. The answer to this question is “we don’t know for sure.” This is a vague answer; I want to bring more clarity to why there is so much unknown.

We would love to adopt. It is not the ultimate goal of foster care, but our hearts are completely open to adoption should the Lord allow it. However, before we would be asked to adopt these children there are many requirements that must be met. Firstly, after the children are removed from the home, the courts decide if the biological parent(s) will receive a reunification plan. This is a 6-month minimum plan where the parent(s) must complete training, home studies, drug-test, etc. If a non-reunification plan is assigned, both the biological father and mother must sign over their rights (unless the courts determine that the parents rights are immediately “terminated” by law due to dangerous circumstances.) Secondly, blood-relatives receive top priority. Yes, even above the rights of the current foster parents. The family is allowed to list relatives and these references must be given the option of caring for the children. Finally, if all parent rights have been terminated and no relatives have come forward to care for the children, we will possibly be given the opportunity to pursue adoption if the courts permit. The children are in our care until any or all of the steps have been met.

With all this being said, there is a lot of unknown attached to foster care. However, there is also SO MUCH JOY attached to foster care. The challenges of dealing with courts, families, and appointments are worth everything just to experience life (even if for a brief season) with these children. We love this season with our children. So much laughter fills our home.

In moments of anxiousness about the future, I dwell on the sovereign mercy of God. The Creator God of the universe knows EVERY detail of this situation. He even knows the exact number of hairs are on their little heads. He is aware of their plight. Every twist and turn of his or her story is under His control.

[Side story: We were “taking a short break” from foster care and felt a sudden, compelling prompting to volunteer our home again about a month earlier than we planned. Denying our desire for “comfort” and pursuing obedience to this calling, we called DEFACS to let them know we wanted to foster again. THAT DAY within hours we received a call about these two precious children. THANK YOU, GOD, for grace to be obedient!! We would have missed out on great joys that these children have brought into our lives.]

Not only is God in complete control, but also He is GOOD. His goodness is displayed in His mercy on our lives. Without Him, we have no hope. On days that feel out of our control (in reality, that’s every day!), I cling to the promise that “God loves these children more wisely than I could ever love these children.” How comforting!! As much love as I have for these children, I can rest in complete peace of the unknown because He loves these children infinitely more. The One who writes their stories loves them with a greater love than I could ever imagine. This is the sovereign mercy of Jesus Christ. He is both supremely sovereign and full of tenderhearted mercy. This is how we can walk this journey with joy. Jesus, only Jesus.

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foster care, orphancare, parenting resources

Flourish 

flour • ish: to grow healthy, to prosper, to thrive 

If I could use one word to describe what foster care means in our household, it would be “flourish.” 

Children who come to us from hard places (neglect, abuse, loss, etc.) are not here by their own choice, nor are these children here by chance. In each of these situations, choices have been made. Whether its birth parents, and/or relatives, social workersjudges, many people have made choices that have led to this hard place in which our children find themselves. When you step back and look at the situation, the circumstance seems so bleak. 

Just as all hope appears to have completely deserted these young recipients of mistreatment and unfathomable loss, the light breaks through; the dawn arises; the budding sprout peaks through the cold winter ground. The glimmer of hope becomes a small sparkle as it gradually bursts into a flood of sunlightdashing its warmth on the tender hearts of hurting children. 

This warm, glowing, radiant light is the hope of Jesus Christ. He restores our HOPE. This truth alone is one that makes my heart sing. Even more, what absolutely humbles me is the beautiful truth that God’s chosen avenue of the hope of which I speak is YOU and its ME. It’s in our smile. It’s in our hugs. It’s in our edifying words.

“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which isChrist in you, the hope of glory.”  [Colossians 1:27] 

After all, orphan care is a reflection of the Gospel. We were slaves to fear. Now we are children of God. He is our loving Father who protects, provides, and pursues us with His unfailing love. This is the joy behind our story of foster care. Through this unique circumstance, ware able to experience the same type of sacrificial care that our Eternal Father has for us! God loves to see His children, who born of dust, become the most beautiful bride for His Son Jesus. He fervently pours out His grace on our lives. He enjoys watching us grow (which includes the times we fall and the times we run). He loves seeing His children embrace all the riches of His glorious grace. He delights when we flourish, thrive, and prosper in the inheritance that He intended for us as His beloved

As I see our children begin to trust, love, smile, and sing, I am filled with joy! This must be how God feels as He walks with us in our sanctification. He must rejoice as we learn and begin to believe that we have truly been freed from fear. We are safe in His arms. Protected by His adamant love for His glory and our good, we are able to run AND fall THEN run again AND fall again; because we know that although we are mortal, fallible creatures, we have been given an inheritance that is imperishable and will never fail. 

I long to see our foster children run freely and laugh uncontrollably because they understand the freedom they are given in our love towards them. But even more than this present moment, I desire with every fiber of my being to see these children run to Jesus in wholehearted pursuit of His Kingdom. No matter what family they belong to on this earth, through Christ these children will belong to a forever family that will never be shaken and to a faithful Father who delights to see them flourish.


From my mother’s womb, you have chosen me
Love has called my name 
I’ve been born again into a family 
Your blood flows through my veins

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

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Uncategorized

Rainbows of Mercy.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:21-26

We received a foster care placement call and immediately felt compelled to accept. Per usual, we hurried to the store to gather some important items for the children. As we were processing what this life change would bring to our “comfortable” lives, there was a brief temptation to become overwhelmed at the thought of caring for two children again. BUT, God was so quick to gently remind our hearts of His promises. Just as we were leaving the store, we looked up in the sky and saw not one but TWO rainbows! The rainbow has always been a symbol of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises. He has promised to never to leave us nor forsake us (Matt. 28:20). He has promised to always provide for our needs (Phil. 4:19). He has promised that in obedience there is everlasting joy and peace (Ps. 16:11).

John Piper once said, “The worst of all times is the best of all times for missions.” This is so true. Sin entered the world through Adam and with sin came brokenness, pain, and death. But Jesus is near to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18). He entered into our broken world and suffered innocently at the hands of evil men. He suffered and died so that the curse of sin and death could be broken and hope could be restored through faith in Him. Jesus pierced the darkest hour of history with the brightest light of hope that this world has ever known. He is alive and He is actively making all things new.

Every single moment is new. Every moment is created completely unique by the God and Father who is upholding the universe by the word of His power (Heb.1:2-3). Every single moment of every single day God decides to be utterly faithful to His character and purposes. If you or a loved one are in a very dark place, do not be overcome with fear or doubt. Look up! See the rainbow moments of your life and believe that in this very moment great is God’s faithfulness. Jesus shouts in our pain, “I will pour down mercies upon mercies!” And for eternity past, now, and forever He is faithful to His promises.

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