Archives for posts with tag: foster care

Grammy 80th Birthday photo McMinn Family with Grammy, PoppyAfter taking a year and a half hiatus, I am back to blogging about Christian adoption success! Life gets in the way of our dreams and desires, and the Lord teaches us things while we take a break from our activities. What I have learned in almost 18 months of not writing on this blog, is that Orphan Care is still very important to me and my husband, and we want to be encouragers to Christians who feel God’s call to provide foster care and/or to adopt.

This year I am homeschooling only my adopted children, with the departure to college of my youngest biological child.  Although I miss her and our other grown children who live and work on their own, I must say that things have settled down nicely and my adopted kids are all at really wonderful points in their lives – which means they are easier to parent, and a blessing to be with.  The ups and downs and hard-work of the last 11 years have been tiring, and sometimes terrifying, BUT God is good and He has brought all of us to a great place.  Each of our 5 adopted kids profess faith in our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, are bonded strongly to our family, are doing well in school, and most important, have developed love, joy, and character.  There are a few things we are all still working on, but I can say I look forward to getting up in the morning to be with my kids all day long.  This is a tremendous encouragement to me, my husband, and all those folks we try to encourage regarding adoption.

Our good friends have taken in a 2 year old boy and we are tickled with his progress. Of course it has been a huge change for their family, very tiring, and at times chaotic, but when I see that little guy, I know the Lord is doing an amazing thing for him and his new forever family.

I have also become friends with a woman who does foster care. She inspires me that at our age, we can still make a difference in the lives of kids, whether for a short time, or on a permanent basis.

Cary, my husband, and I have decided to start a local support group for orphan care providers, that will be based on Christian principles. God has orchestrated all of the details, and our first monthly meeting will be in May. We have a facility, have received some grants we applied for, and have promotional materials we designed and had printed. We have been sharing them with adoptive, foster and kinship families, and are excited to be used by the Lord in this way.

At the end of this month, I will be giving a presentation at a local gathering of child care providers, including foster, adoptive, and kinship parents, regarding our new support group.  I have put together a powerpoint as an outline, and will upload it onto this blog for interested readers.

We had the opportunity to host 7 South Africans for one overnight last month here on the farm. They are singing/dancing ambassadors for Horizon International, a Christian organzation sponsoring AIDS orphans. It was a treat to get to know these humble young men whom Christ has redeemed from the devastation of the pandemic that is killing millions of Africans. Again, God uses every opportunity to help those He loves, died for, and was resurrected to save.

I’ll end today’s post by recommending several excellent books that I have recently enjoyed reading, all promoting the cause of orphan care.

I Beat the Odds, by Michael Oher. The subject of The Blindside tells of his childhood of neglect, his joining the Tuohy family, and his acension into the world of professional football after earning a college degree. Told in a truthful, poignant, yet private personal way, this book is full of the reasons that Christians should do the right thing and provide orphan care, and also excellent improvements that could and should be made in the foster care system. Mr. Oher is a gentlemen through and through as this is not a celebrity ‘tell all’, but a revelation of his life, and what he is now doing to help others in similar situations. Excellent for orphan care providers to understand where their kids might have come from, and for social workers to learn some things to do, and not to do, when trying to help kids.

Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis. Wow! This is an inspiring book and not just for young women. How far should Christians be willing to go in order to obey James 1:27?  Katie traveled across the world, but also left a comfortable life in order to adopt a van load of girls, change a whole community, and love the unlovely because she loves Jesus Christ!  At 55, I was encouraged to fight the good fight and never stop. I was also reminded that just loving my kids every day is the most important thing I can do.
Living by a Leap of Faith; Tom and Debra Ritter. Real life account of a real life family doing real life things on a super-sized level. Precious, precious, precious is all I can say. I wish I had read this years ago before I started adopting. This family is living proof that God provides for those He calls to follow Him. Written in an easy to read style, with many practical suggestions and ideas, this will encourage every Christian family to consider adopting, not just one child, but many.  An absolute treasure, and I wish they were my neighbors.

Adopted for Life; Russell D. Moore. A Southern Baptist Seminary professor, Moore speaks about his adoption journey, and encourages the Church to be more engaged in orphan care. This is a must read for church leaders, and men will appreciate a Dad’s point of view and heart. Scripturally based, the book challenges Christians to follow God’s call to vist orphans in their distress – to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

All of these books are worth purchasing for yourself, your local library, and especially for a friend or family member whom you want to encourage to begin, or continue on, their adoption journey.

PS:  One of the many things I did on my hiatus, was to develop two websites, with blogs, for two of our family businesses.  Please feel free to stop by!

http://www.blessedcreekfarm.com

www.expandinghorizonsmedia.com

Our home school support group has a couple of Christmas traditions that we enjoy.  Today at our annual Christmas Brunch we collected shoebox gifts for foster children in our county.  Our 20 families filled 40+ shoeboxes with age appropriate gifts, festively wrapped and labeled them. 

Next week we will go caroling at our county’s Human Services building to bless the social services workers there, and deliver our shoebox gifts.  Home schoolers singing Christmas carols at a government building?  Well, why not!  Last year we did it, and they invited us back!  One gentleman told me he had worked there twenty years and no one had ever come caroling.  He loved our ‘heritage’ songs.  I hate political correctness, but if that’s what it takes to get an open door to share the love of Christ, then so be it!

Foster families and kids often have a tough time at Christmas.  Kids are displaced from their birth family – for good or bad – and extra mouths to feed, and extra gifts to purchase can stretch the budget of already stretched families.  A simple shoebox full of fun gifts can make a child feel loved and special.  I took  my kids to Dollar Tree and we each filled one.  The older kids helped the little kids fill theirs. It was easy, fun, and we know these modest treasures we will bring smiles to kids on Christmas.  I asked my older adopted daughter if she remembered receiving Christmas gifts while in foster care.  She said she got a few gifts, but not as much as now.  She thought foster kids would really like it that people thought about them and wanted to bless them.

The Christmas season is a great time for families or groups of families to reach out to orphans.  Whether by giving wrapped gifts, food, or time, love can overflow as we all do a little, so a lot will get done.

What can your family, church, or social group do to come alongside orphans this Christmas?  There are many ideas, so pick one and get started blessing others.  Be sure to share the greatest gift of all – God’s Son Jesus Christ, born to earth, so we could all be adopted into God’s Kingdom.

There are many well run Christian orphanages in the world.  One in particular, Casa de Fe in Shell, Ecuador, is close to my heart.  We have supported their work and receive their newsletter, ‘Fingerprints of Faith’.  Patti Sue Arnold is the founder and director.  She started caring for outcast children a few years back, and now the orphanage is home to more than 50 unwanted Ecuadorian children of various ages.  Many have minor birth defects, the reason they were unwanted.  If you have extra funds or time,  contribute in any way you can to this ministry.  Then, consider adopting one of it’s children, or helping another family to do so.   lacasadefe.org

Orphanages are not forever families.  Orphanages, even the best, are simply substitute institutional care for kids who do not have a mom and dad to love and provide for them.  Orphanages should be a transitional safe place, like foster care should be, until permanent placement with a family is arranged.  Sadly, many orphans age out of these institutions because the Christian church is not doing its job of adoption.  The Christian church is seemingly content to support orphanages, but does not want to advance to the next stage of orphancare:  placing these children with Christian families.

Why should placement in a Christian home be top priority for orphans, versus the children remaining in a well-run orphanage?  Well,  Christian families are God’s plan for growing His Kingdom.   An institution can never provide what God had in mind for the family, His families.  Dad, happily married in loving life-long covenant to Mom, produce offspring through procreation, or adoption.  Within this marriage, Dad shepherds, disciples, provides for, and protects the family.  Mom is helpmeet to Dad, nurturing and teaching the children.  Through the ups and downs of family life,  parents and children forge lifelong bonds that help transition the children out of the home to marry, produce, and parent the next generation. The cycle is repeated.  If one parent is missing, half of the work and bonding doesn’t get done.  If both parents are missing, nothing gets done.  What happens to the subsequent generations?

We Christian families have an opportunity to change the life of orphans, one or more at a time.  We simply need to begin by helping each other adopt the orphans of our nation and the world.  Whether from an orphanage, or foster care, orphans need a forever father and mother to show them the way to the next successful generation.  And to God be the glory.

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