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, 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, Orphanprevention, parenting resources

Bittersweet Goodbyes

“Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Foster care, adoption, biological parenting are very different, yet very much the same. Any and every form of parenting is hard work. Parenting is sacrificial. Parenting is temporary. Period.

I have previously mentioned the “shock” of parenthood we felt the first couple of days with our foster children. I have many friends with new born babies and teenagers who experience the very same “shock” in almost every new season of life. Every season of life has difficulties and joys whether it is a season of childhood, singleness, career, marriage, parenthood, etc.

In the blink of an eye, seasons come and seasons go [time tends to speed up the older you become, or so it seems]. Some seasons of life appear all too short, while other seasons feel as though to last f-o-r-e-v-e-r. In reality, regardless of the number of days allotted to a specific season of life, all seasons are just that: seasons. Every season has a beginning and an ending accompanied by a beautiful and/or challenging in between period. In light of our unfathomable eternity, seasons come and go before we even understand all that was lost or gained in that given time.

The beautiful bitter sweetness of seasons is that these periods of time are ever-changing. Understanding this truth makes living in the current season that much sweeter, as well as, making the exiting of the season sometimes quite painful. As we grow and change in this brief lifetime, seasons will come and go along with the people and experiences of each moment. Although a season will not last forever, the experiences and transformations to which a season impacted our lives will resonant throughout eternity.

Foster care is a more “evident” temporary lifestyle, because the goal of foster care is the reunification of the family unit. Restoration is truly our hearts’ desire. This does not mean that the ending of a season with our foster children is painless. There is grief that comes when parting with a child you have grown to love and cherish as your own. I do not want to belittle this “bittersweet pain” in any way. Jesus is with us at this very moment. We choose joy because we are not “losing” these children. We choose to view reunification as a means of celebration. God is in the business of restoration and we want to help others pursue this in any way possible. Not every situation will be joyful. There are definitely situations of reunification that foster parents must cling to the power of God’s sovereign goodness even in the bleakest of situations. Every reunification situation will be unique.

In our current situation, our foster children are being reunited with wonderful family members who we pray will continue to care and love them as we have. We are celebrating that the Lord has allowed us the opportunity to “stand in the gap” for these precious children. We are celebrating all that He has accomplished in our hearts during our time together as a family. We are celebrating that although we may no longer hold these sweet kids in our care, we now have the ability to become nurturing influencers in another child’s life. We are celebrating that our current foster children have gained a safe environment with loving family members. As we process this change in season, we are reminded of the reality that there are so many children in need of Gospel-love. We want to open our arms even wider to receive whomever the Lord intends to give us on this journey.

However, I do want to say to our friends and family please understand that comments such as “well, this is good practice for your own kids one day,” or “I could never do that because I would be too attached to the children,” do not ease our pain in any way. Firstly, these were our children. We are real parents, just like you! We feel all of the same joys and struggles that you feel as a parent. This is not a trial run. This is the real deal just in a very brief season of life. Secondly, I want to encourage you to never limit God’s plans for your life with walls of fear, safety, and comfort. We are attached. Yes, it’s very painful to part with these children we love dearly. I understand that not everyone is called to become foster parents, but to our friends and family, I can testify to you that there is nothing special about us that makes us able to handle this pain more easily than anyone else. God’s grace is sufficient for all. In every circumstance, we can trust that He will provide the grace needed to endure and even embrace His will for our lives.

In this moment of pain and joy, I am clinging to the verse, “Jesus came not to be served but to serve.” We want to exhibit this characteristic of Jesus’s humility as much as possible in this circumstance. Like all parents, we were given an opportunity to selflessly love and nurture two sweet little babies in a traumatic time of need. Just like all parents, we were not guaranteed a certain number of days with our children. The Lord gave us time as a gift to steward with the help of His Spirit in our lives. Just like all parents, we loved sacrificially with little to no thankful understanding from our children. Just like all parents, there were challenges and joys. Just like all parents, our time of parenting was temporary.

With the reality of this truth, I ask myself and I would ask you the same questions, “How are we investing the time we have been given with our children (spouse, co-workers, friends, and neighbors)?” “If we made a pie chart of our time, what would fill up the most space? Business and activities, social media and ESPN, or family devotionals?” “How much of our time is spent for the Gospel pointing others to Jesus and making disciples?” Through our experience with this sudden change in season, I want to gently but boldly encourage you to invest your time wisely.

“Time is precious. We are fragile. Life is short. Eternity is long. Every minute counts. Oh, to be a faithful steward of the breath God has given me.” – John Piper, Life as a Vapor

“Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreath; the span of my years is as nothing before You. Everyone is but a breath even those who seem secure.” Psalm 39:4-5

“What is your life? You are a midst that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesian 5:15

“Conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed [or ransomed] with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood, as a Lamb
unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:17-19

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