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July 3, 2017

Who Is the Orphan in America?

When you hear “orphan in America,” who comes to mind? The truth may surprise you. Since the United States lacks traditional orphanages it can be easy to believe that our country is void of orphaned children (whether literal or social). Yet, in reality, the need to love and care for vulnerable children in our country is vast and growing greater all the time. Since many–if not most–of today’s orphans in the U.S. can be found in foster care, here are 3 facts to consider about children in the system: 1. 428,000 children are in foster care in the U.S. Consider this: The 4 largest football stadiums in the United States could be filled to capacity and still not hold all the children who are currently in the system. FYI: Roughly 102,000 of these children are currently eligible for adoption. 2. 8 is the average age of a child in foster care in the U.S. According to milestones established by professionals, … Continue reading

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June 28, 2017

5 (Simple) Things Every Man Can Do to Help the Fatherless

Adoption is optional, but helping the fatherless is a Biblical mandate. Here are five things you can do to help children who don’t have a dad at home. 1. Pay attention. Who are the kids in your church who don’t have the daily, regular encouragement of a loving dad? It is rare for a church not to have kids who fall in this category. What can you and your family do to be supportive? Can you invite a child to join your family for a ballgame or trip to the zoo? Can you pray regularly for them? 2. Be intentional. Chances are, kids in need aren’t going to seek you out. You’ve got to reach out to them … and probably more than once. If you know a hard day is coming up (maybe Father’s Day or the anniversary of a death or divorce), let the child know you care. Fatherless kids often … Continue reading

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June 26, 2017

See a Family Recently Reunited! | Bolivia Update

Sometimes loving children as Christ loves them means absorbing our own hurts in order to create less hurt for them in the long run.  Specifically, here at Fundación Esperanza–also known as Lifesong Bolivia–a key element in our work is identifying children who could possibly be reunited with a biological family member. On one hand, we love these kids and want them to stay in our care. On the other hand– We know that living in a loving family environment is always better than living in an orphanage. Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to see 2 sibling groups leave our care to be reunited with their families. And though our hearts ache for this loss of daily, regular contact with these kids whom we love, we are simultaneously thrilled that these children will know the joy of growing up with their family. Meet one family Most recently, we were involved with the reunification of 5 siblings with … Continue reading

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June 23, 2017

When Staying Alive Depends on Being Adopted | Family Friday

We adopted Philip and Arthur from China nearly one year ago. Both of our sons have cerebral palsy. Philip, 4 yrs., was unable to self-feed, walk, or speak when we brought him home. He is now doing all three! Only God. Arthur was in serious condition, although we didn’t realize the extent until after many appointments and testing. On gotcha day he could not even hold his head up. He needed to be held and cradled like a newborn even though he was almost 3. The muscle tightness described in his medical file turned out to be spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. He was also silently aspiring everything we fed him. Surgery was done to insert a feeding tube and slowly he is growing stronger. Arthur is now able to stand with support and attempting a few steps. Many doctors have said that because of the shape he was in he … Continue reading

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June 19, 2017

Why Dads Are Vitally Important to Orphan Care

It’s no secret that the orphan care space is dominated by women. God has created women to be nurturers, and many are doing good work nurturing vulnerable children. But God has called men to a specific task as well–to protect and provide for our families and to help father the fatherless children in our midst. In May, a group of dads gathered at CAFO2017 to discuss their role. Specifically, they answered the who, what, how, and why of men in orphan care. Here are some highlights– The Who “Why are men important in orphan care? You’re the spiritual leader of your home, and this is a spiritual crisis. 340,000 children in foster care is a crisis of epic proportions.” –Scott Lundy, Arrow Child & Family Ministries The What “I had a watershed moment where God dealt with me, saying, ‘J.T. what’s important in life? What’s not going to rust? What’s not going to burn up? And what’s not going to blow away?’ –the life … Continue reading

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June 18, 2017

9 Ways to Encourage Your Families This Summer

What are your plans this summer? Why not plan to encourage adopting and foster families in your church or community? See how easy and impactful it can be. Here are a few ideas to get started: Host a cookout for adoptive/foster families Hold a special time of prayer during a service for those in process Jot a note of encouragement to each adoptive/foster family in your church Invite adoptive/foster to share a testimony of what God is doing/teaching them Create a date night opportunity for adoptive/foster parents by providing free childcare at church Organize a mission trip for those in your church with a heart for orphans Resource for families in your church: Are you familiar with Both Hands? Both Hands is a unique fundraiser with eternal benefits. Both Hands helps families fundraise for their adoptions by assembling a team a team of volunteers (friends/contacts of the adopting family) and coordinating a service … Continue reading

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June 16, 2017

Adoption and the God Who Moves Mountains | Family Friday

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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