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June 16, 2017

Adoption and the God Who Moves Mountains | Family Friday

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God taught us through adoption that His heart is for the fatherless; He will move mountains to place the lonely in families. My wife Julie saw Ellis’s picture while I was in Rwanda with Compassion, and she instantly felt like he was our son. She tried to push the feelings away; after all, this boy was already 3 years old and had a special need that would require daily care. Try as she might, she couldn’t get this precious face out of her head. She pictured him with our family everywhere — on walks, at the park, etc. Meanwhile, over in Africa (before Julie told me about Ellis) I was talking to my team about adopting again. But, surely this wasn’t the right time. We had just moved, taken a substantial pay cut, were figuring out some new medical issues with Katee, and I was still learning my new job. Yet, we could not ignore the ways God was revealing His plan for our … Continue reading

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June 14, 2017

My First Father’s Day as a Foster Dad

The-Gobena-Story

I remember the first time I saw my girls. I had butterflies in my stomach. At first it was a picture on my Iphone. Then I remember walking into the agency and I saw them through the window blinds. The youngest had long (and I mean long!) black pigtails and sat next her birth mom quietly. The oldest was energetic and busy. We met our first two foster daughters that day in March 2012. Before we met them, we talked with their birth mother. She was concerned because she knew we didn’t have kids and thought maybe we just wanted to steal hers. She was also concerned we were the sixth home the girls were going to in less than a year. Both April and I made it clear why we were foster parents. We were there to support both her and the children. April graciously let her know that we would probably … Continue reading

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June 13, 2017

How a Farm Turned an Orphan Into a Leader: Meet Kolya

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Kolya knows the powerful impact of being loved while living in an orphanage. And because of it, the future just got brighter for kids in Ukraine. Meet Kolya. He was just 13 years old when he entered the Constant Christian Presence (CCP) program at Loubetin. Looking for acceptance,  Kolya connected with friends who had a reputation for being wild. But what Kolya didn’t know was that God had plans for his life. As Kolya grew, he spent time with volunteers at CCP–listening to them talk about God and the Gospel. They offered him the acceptance he craved, and when it was time for him to age out of the orphanage, he moved into the Lifesong Ukraine transitional program where he was mentored by loving house parents in a Christian home.     “The chance to live in a transitional home gave me strong motivation to change my life for better. I wanted to use this opportunity wisely.” –Kolya He did use the opportunity wisely. He received his college degree to become an … Continue reading

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June 9, 2017

When the Surprise Is a Son by Saturday | Family Friday

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While still living in Guatemala as missionaries, we felt a clear call to return to the U.S. to pursue adoption. After arriving home, we began our home study in June of 2015. I remember asking our worker about the timeline. She commented that no later than October, she would have our study completed. I remember thinking, “Wow! As early as October, we need to be ready.” However, with our first adoption taking about 2 years, I didn’t really think anything would happen that quickly. You can imagine my surprise, getting a call from our worker on a Tuesday, just weeks after the home study was done, asking if we would consider an emergency placement of a 3 year old boy, who needed a home by Saturday! We needed to decide if we wanted our profile to be presented to the birth mom THAT night! Then, if she selected us, we … Continue reading

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June 7, 2017

How to Be a Remarkable Father Through Adoption

Father's Day

My first Father’s Day was a doozie. My wife and I were in the early days of being home with our newly adopted son, and my wife was on full bed rest with 1 week to go before delivering our second son. I was in my final weeks of a rigorous seminary program, and I was balancing all of the above with a full-time job. And yet that first Father’s Day stands out in my mind as one of the best days of my life. Though I was terrified of doing it all wrong, I was thankful to finally be a dad. This Father’s Day will be my 5th, and though I still have plenty to learn about parenting, I’ve gained a few lessons from fellow dads who have also adopted and are ahead of me on the journey. Here are 3– 1. Don’t consider adoption “a mom thing.” Make it your interest, too. When my … Continue reading

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June 2, 2017

The Life We Never Imagined | Family Friday

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With each of our three adoptions, we have come to a deeper understanding of the Father’s sovereignty … and the beautiful joy that comes out of the adoption tragedy. One quote, in particular, kept us going in spite of the storms. “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.”  This rang especially true during the adoption of our daughter, Edie from Hungary. We struggled financially, spiritually, and emotionally. Our situation, in the world’s eyes, was telling us we were crazy for going through with this adoption. Many times we were discouraged and scared. We lost a referral. Both of our fathers had surgeries. One of our dads endured cancer treatments. We struggled to meet the emotional, physical, and academic needs of our boys. We faced negativity from people in our lives who did not understand our call to adopt again. And, of course, we felt the … Continue reading

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May 31, 2017

15 Ways to Be a Foster Care Friendly Church

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Foster kids need the church. Foster families need the church. At the close of National Foster Care Month, here are 15 ways to be a foster care friendly church– Teach Educate, educate, educate. Host informational meetings for would-be foster parents, but also for members of the church family who simply want to learn more about foster care. Add foster care discussion to existing (paid/volunteer) staff training. Many children who come from hard places have unique challenges and behaviors that require extra love and patience from those in authority. Host foster care licensing opportunities on campus. Open these classes to church families and members of the community. Not only is this decision helpful to the local foster care agency, but it sends a clear signal to foster families that your church will support their efforts to foster. Provide Organize meal trains for new placements. If your church family provides meals to new moms, be sure to include foster parents … Continue reading

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