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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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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foster care, orphancare, Orphanprevention, Respite care

Safe Haven

“It is important to realize that we care for orphans NOT because we are rescuers but because we are the rescued.” -David Platt

There is nothing within our sinfully depraved, selfish hearts that would cause us to care for others (especially others who have suffered traumatic loss through very unique and challenging circumstances.) All is grace. Grace to love and grace to sacrifice. Without the grace of God in our hearts we would not be doing what we are doing today.

I pray that knowing this truth is comforting and encouraging to you! We are not special. We are not more qualified. We are not more spiritual. We are just like you. We work jobs, we love serving our church, we love traveling, and we love spending quality time with our friends and family. I pray if God is prompting your heart to pursue orphan prevention through foster care that you would have the grace and confidence to step out in faith knowing that your Father will be with you every step of the way.

I understand that everyone’s calling to orphan care will look very differently. That is the beauty of the Gospel. We are all unified by our love for Christ and his creation; yet, our obedience to this love has many diverse avenues within the Church. Encouraging, advocating, and providing meals and resources for adoptive/fostering families are all beautiful avenues of this ministry. Just last night, I needed two pencils so that our current foster children could finish their homework. My next door neighbor not only provided the two pencils but also brought over homemade chocolate chip cookies. However insignificant this may seem, it was huge act of love for the two young girls who were removed from their home earlier that day.

In this blog, I do want to highlight one specific avenue of orphan care/prevention: respite care.
We have been able to host two respite care placements in the past two months. Both of our experiences have been wonderful!! In respite care, the certified parents are called and asked (you do have the ability to decline if the requested placement does not fit with your current schedule) if they would be willing and able to receive a placement for a night or a couple of nights until a more permanent placement can be made. To my knowledge, many calls are made in urgency of needing to remove the children as quickly as possible for their safety. If the parents choose to accept this short-term placement, the social worker explains the details and coordinates their arrival later that day. The duration of the stay is very brief, but we have learned that it can be the most wonderful time to intentionally love these children.

Last night we received two of the sweetest girls (7 years old and 9 years old). I have to be honest, I have been amazed with all our foster children’s politeness and genuinely kind attitudes. (I know that this is not always the case and that is okay too). But, I want to debunk the myth that all foster care children are emotionally unstable and have pretentious behaviors. I love doing respite care. Because the time of their stay is so brief, it causes us to be very intentional with our attention and affection towards the children. We enjoy the opportunity of providing a safe haven, a warm meal, a clean bed, and childhood fun (movies, wii, reading books, etc.) to children who have recently suffered traumatic loss that is in no way a result of their own fault.

Just like any other calling in our lives, respite care does not require perfection or a completely clean house. Respite care just requires a willingness to care. If only you knew how often I would say “Hospitality just isn’t my gift. I can’t cook. I hate cleaning. Our house is our haven from work and ministry. I just don’t think I could ever let someone come live with us.” Yep, 100% verbatim what I have said in the past. Like I stated earlier, “all is grace”. God’s grace in my heart allowed me to see past my “self” and learn how to host little children in my “haven” despite my imperfections. I pray that God continues to allow us to offer our “haven” as a safe haven for children in need.

If you ever have any questions about any of the ministry opportunities concerning mentoring, respite care, foster care, adoption, etc., please contact me via email calliegbailie@gmail.com. I may not know that answer, but I would love to learn with you! We want to be available as a resource for all families.

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foster care, orphancare, parenting resources

One Night of Childhood

She will always have a special place in our hearts. “B” (11 year old girl) was our very first foster care placement. We had received a call around 3:00pm about a child who needed a temporary home to care for her until her more permanent home was ready to receive her. This type of foster care placement is called respite care. Respite care is a very temporary stay (just a few of days). This a great way to care for children in need of a home if a longer “commitment” of time is a hindrance to you. IMPACT training classes are required to be certified for respite care, but it is totally worth the effort!

We were told she had been in and out of the foster care system at least 3 times. Because of this constant transition, she had previously exhibited behaviors that were challenging. Empathy is the key here. To be taken from your mother who is loved dearly three different times and placed in three different homes each time is not a normal childhood by any means. I cannot imagine the pain of loss this child has experienced in such a short amount of time.

As the car pulled into the driveway, Gabe and I said a prayer together blessing our home and our time with her. We opened the door to see a young girl carrying one bag of clothes and a bookbag. We awkwardly hugged and introduced ourselves. As we went inside, she immediately picked out “her” room. She then commented on our Christmas tree saying, “I love Christmas. I like this tree. My mother could not afford a tree this year.” We sat down on the couch with caseworker as she explained B’s story a little more. We talked about medicine, school routines, and food allergies. I will admit it was a lot to take in and I was getting overwhelmed thinking about the responsibility of caring for this child. Just as my eyes began to glaze over and I was beginning to become flustered, the verse “My grace is sufficient for you” washed over my mind. Praise God that my capability comes from the promise of His grace in my life.

Once the social worker left, B opened up and began chatting with us about everything under the sun. She was not shy and we were slightly surprised to see how well-behaved and polite she was acting. We went out to eat pizza, watched “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs II,” and drank hot chocolate. It was such a fun night together!

We were under the impression that she would be with us for at least a week. However, late that night we received a call that she would be leaving at 7:00am the very next morning for her new permanent home. We chose not to tell her until we woke her up the next morning. We wanted the one night we had with her to be very special for her. We wanted to pour our love out for her and give her a night of normal childhood!

This may seem romanticized; it truly was a great night. Having the opportunity to give a child something every child deserves: love is very fulfilling. But, I must be honest about something that is not a romantically portrayed image of foster care. The sinful nature, that is, my pride. As we were eating dinner I realized an emotion in my heart that I am ashamed to admit. I felt a certain insecurity; I felt pride. As we sat with a child who was obviously much older than our marriage I thought to myself, “What are people thinking about us right now? Are they judging this situation? Do they think that because of her appearance and behaviors that we have failed to care for this child?” This placement was not the cookie cutter family portrait. This was not a cute little baby. B was a young girl with poor hygiene and special needs who was in desperate need of love and care. These terribly honest thoughts were a revelation of sin in my heart that the Lord needed to chip away and He did later that night.

As we were driving home from eating pizza, B began to make up a song and sing it quietly in the back seat. These were the exact words that she sang to herself just loud enough for us to hear, “Jesus loves all of the children. Jesus loves every boy and girl. He cares about every child. Jesus loves me. He died on the cross for my sins. We believe in Him. We are His princesses and His princes. Jesus loves every child.” Tears streaming down my face, I humbly thanked the Lord for this beautiful reminder given through this beautiful soul. We rejoiced when hearing of B’s childlike faith.

I share this with you because I think there is a tendency to think that we are “saviors” because we have chosen to care for orphaned children and children in need of a temporary home. This could not be further from the truth; we are frail, imperfect human beings who are striving to serve the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. Without the grace and mercy of God, we would not choose to love selflessly. By nature, we are all self-centered, egocentric humans who love ourselves more than anyone else. The beauty of the Gospel is that because God chose to love us in our self-centered depravity, we can now choose to love others with a selfless love. In a moment of ugly weakness, Jesus shattered my pride into a million pieces. Through the sweet, sincere song of a child He brought those pieces back together to form in my heart a compassion that only He could create.

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foster care, orphancare, parenting resources

Small Victories

If I could describe this week in one word it would be: small victories. Okay, that’s actually two words. Thursday was officially one week since the day we took two little ones into our care. Because of confidentiality, I will call our kids K (3 year old girl) and B (11 month old boy). K and B were brought into our home by the DEFACS social worker. In the foster care process, most of the time you receive a call about a situation, agree or decline to care for the children, and the child(ren) are brought to your home that day. Yes, that day!! Two hours after we received the call to be exact. We were nervous, excited, and overwhelmed by the thought of entering parenthood. I will never forget the memory of throwing baby items into our buggy one hour prior to their arrival without any clue of how our world would be rocked.

Gabe is a natural dad (I can’t brag on this man enough!!)  B immediately reached for Gabe at our first meeting. K was much more hesitant, which is understandable considering she is older and more aware of what was happening. We listened to their story, showed them to “their” rooms, and played with the one toy we had managed to purchase at the store. K warmed up within about 30 minutes. The first night was one of exhaustion (for all of us). Actually, let me rephrase this; the first week was one of exhaustion. We kept asking each other, “Will we ever sleep again?” (Of course the answer is yes, but this was a serious question at the time.)

One night, I remember leaving K’s room as Gabe was leaving B’s room. Somehow, by God’s grace, we had managed to put them both to sleep at the same time. As we walked out into the hallway, we did a little victory dance. That is the moment the words “small victories” popped into my mind. “Can we do this?” “Will this ever be normal?” “Are we capable of being loving and equipped parents to these sweet little strangers?” Honestly, there were moments I would have answered no. Now, I can confidently answer yes; but, I realize we will not become equipped and acquainted all in one night. It will not even seem manageable and normal to us within one week. It will be a process of becoming a family. It will be one small victory after another.

As I write this blog a week later, I can tell you that by God’s grace and the unbelievable blessings of our family and friends, we are in a much better condition than the “shock” we experienced the first couple of days. So, today we celebrate! We celebrate the opportunity we have been given to minister to these sweet children and their family. We also celebrate the Gospel and how darkness will be restored to light. We choose to celebrate the moments of pain, exhaustion, and insecurity, because we know that as we lay those moments of weakness before the Lord, He will be faithful. He will be our strength. He will be our wisdom. As we take one step of obedience at a time, He provides the grace we need for that moment alone. We continue step after step. Then one day, we look back at the road we have traveled and see the journey was one of pain and beauty. Through the moments of weakness, we are molded and shaped into the image of His perfect Son, Jesus. The fight is hard, but as we endure, small victories become our song of celebration.


Here are a few of the small victories we are celebrating today. (Please mentally picture Gabe and I doing the most silly, awkward celebration dance. It will make for a better read!)

-I was called Effie, Jessie, Chelsea, and Calvin; now, I am referred to as “Mrs. Callie.”

–The 11:00p.m. bedtime has now become 8:30p.m.

— K went from sleeping with all the lights on to now using only a night-light.

— B has shown much more personality and vocalizations.

— We went from a 45 minute “getting dressed” frenzy down to 20 minutes (still a frenzy).

— K and B are developing a taste for fruits and veggies.

— I can now change a diaper in 2 minutes instead of 8 minutes.

— K went from pull-ups to potty training.

— K and B enjoy daycare/nursery with minimal tears.

— Our house is now baby proofed with plenty of toys.

–Tantrums have decreased drastically as laughs have filled our home.

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