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Rob and I started to seriously consider adoption in 2009, but it seemed as if doors were being closed to us in every direction.  We were told that we could not adopt from China.  Our ages disqualified us from adopting from several countries, and at the time Korea was also not an option for us.  We were very discouraged, and gave up pursuing adoption for a while. 

In 2010, we felt adoption tugging on our hearts again, and after listening to one of Pastor Rick’s “Just-Do-It” messages, we decided to step out in faith and look into different adoption programs again.  This time, we were told that we could adopt a special needs child from Korea.  I wasn’t sure if that was the right thing for our family, so I decided to visit my cousin who had recently adopted her son from China.  Her son was considered special needs due to his cleft lip and pallette. Over Labor Day weekend, I flew to Indiana to visit her. The instant I met her son, Isaac, I was in love.  He was the cutest, sweetest boy I had ever seen! He truly brought joy to his entire family. Alone in her guest room on September 6, 2010, I wept as I told God that I would do whatever He wanted. I was open to any child He would give me.

In October of 2010, Rob and I met with a social worker and we officially started the adoption process.  To our amazement, we were told that the laws in Korea had changed and they had re-opened the standard process to our agency.  That meant we would most likely be matched to a healthy baby boy!  We started the arduous process of home studies, fingerprinting, and filling out form after form after form...after form!  Seven months later we received the email we had been waiting for!  We were matched to a beautiful 8-month old baby boy! It was truly love at first sight!  We received 6 pictures and a general description of our son.  The second we saw him, we knew God picked him out just for us.  But it was even more confirmed when we saw his birthday--September 6, 2010!  It was the same day I told God I would do whatever He wanted!

Robert didn’t come home until he was 23 months old.  It was so difficult to wait for him for 14 months.  But now he is a happy, healthy, smart, beautiful 3 1/2 year old.  He is our greatest joy and our greatest gift.



Are you considering adoption but don't know how to get started? Join us the first Wednesday night of every month for Thinking About Adoption, or call us at 949-609-8555!

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In Orange County alone, around 3,000 in the foster care system, over 150 of whom are waiting to be adopted.

Court Appointed Special Advocates are ordinary people with the desire to make a difference in a child’s life. A CASA volunteer visits their assigned child in the foster care system regularly, interacts with social workers assigned to their case, and makes recommendations to the court. They ensure that the child’s best interests are protected and help them on the journey to a lasting, lifelong family of their own.

Children in the foster care system can struggle with low feelings of self-worth, difficulty in school and trouble relating to others – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Having the stable presence of an adult they trust can make all the difference. With a CASA volunteer, children are more likely to find a safe, permanent home, are half as likely to re-enter the foster care system.

Becoming a CASA is a great way to impact the lives of vulnerable children in our community. For a commitment of 2 hours twice a month, you can help change a life!

If you would like to learn more about becoming a CASA in Orange County, please visit their website http://www.casaoc.org/advocate/ or sign up for a local information session. Dates and times of upcoming sessions are below:

 

MARCH

Date: March, 11th 2015 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Venue: CASA Training Room

Address: 1505 E. 17th Street, Second Floor, Santa Ana, CA, 92705

 

Date: March, 28th 2015 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Venue: CASA Training Room

Address: 1505 E. 17th Street, Second Floor, Santa Ana, CA, 92705

 

APRIL

Date: April, 7th 2015 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Venue: CASA Training Room

Address: 1505 E. 17th Street, Second Floor, Santa Ana, CA, 92705

 

Questions about join the CASA Orange County program? Contact us at orphans@saddleback.com or call the Orphan Care line at 949-609-5555.

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Your presence will make a difference this Saturday night. 6:00pm at the Lake Forest Campus.  The Orphan Care Initiative community gathers at PEACE night where your voice matters- you’ll also hear what God has been doing what He has in store for you.  You are making an impact for his precious children locally and globally!

 

Here's a few great places to get connected to the Orphan Care community, starting THIS SATURDAY:

  

PEACE NIGHT  THIS Saturday, February 28th – 6:00pm in Tent 3

Meet friends and get exciting updates from the Orphan Care Initiative this weekend! We will start at 6pm in Tent 3 on the Saddleback Church Lake Forest Campus, head to regional breakouts and come together for the Orphan Care Initiative breakout at 7:30 in room 303. PEACE Night is also a great time to learn how to go on an Orphan Care PEACE trip. Learn how to take your next step and get involved! 

 

THINKING ABOUT ADOPTION OR FOSTER CAREMarch 4th - Wednesday - 6:30pm-8:30pm

Have you considered adopting or fostering, but aren’t sure how to get started? Every first Wednesday of the month from 6:30-8:30pm in MO2, families from our church who have adopted and fostered share helpful overviews and answer your questions in a no-pressure environment. If that time doesn't work for you, we’d still love to talk to you. Free to call or meet with us for more information on fostering and adopting! 

 

JOIN OUR LOCAL AND GLOBAL ACTION TEAMS You can serve in ways too numerous to name, but here’s a sample:  Serve orphans and vulnerable children in our neighborhoods.  Play with children temporarily housed for their protection in Orange County, serve an individual foster children by being their volunteer/mentor in the court system, help teach local churches in orphan care, come alongside adoptive or foster families.  Serve in sponsorship, social media, website development, writing, hospitality/event hosts, or advocacy. There’s a place for you!

 

RWANDA: EMPTY ORPHANAGES STRENGTHEN CHURCHES

There’s room for you!  Join an upcoming trip.  Learn more this Saturday or email orphans@saddleback.com.

 

Interested? Just let us know and we will find the exact spot for you, your family or your small group. We’ll help get you connected and provide any necessary training.

 

Have questions? Need more information? Connect with us by email (orphans@saddleback.com) or phone (949-609-8555)! We can't wait to serve with you soon!

We know that considering adoption often raises many questions in families. Though it may be overwhelming as you begin this journey, know that here at the Orphan Care Initiative, we have amazing adoptive families that have been in your shoes and are here to support you every step of the way!

As you begin to consider adoption, it’s important to ask the right questions. It’s healthy to consider all the implications of what bringing a new child home will mean for you and each member of your family. Here are ten questions to think over as you consider the adoption process:


Why do I want to adopt?

What are my biggest fears regarding adoption?

Do my close family and friends support my decision to adopt?

What personal experiences do I have regarding adoption?

What, if anything, do I need to “let go of” before I adopt?

What support and resources do I have or need to further develop before I adopt?

What are some misconceptions that others close to me have about adoption?

How do I anticipate that adoption will change my life?

If I don’t adopt, what will my family do?

What in my life is my biggest barrier to adoption?


If you are interested in fostering or adopting and would like help answering these questions or any other question you may have, join us for our Thinking About Adoption or Foster Care information session every first Wednesday of the month from 6:30 to 8:30 in MO2. Families from Saddleback who have adopted and fostered will share helpful overviews and answer your questions in a no-pressure environment.

We’re also always available by phone (949-609-8555) or email (orphans@saddleback.com).

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When the sun sets in Gishita, Rwanda the sky turns to dark blue velvet. Stars twinkle timidly and lights from little homes dotting the hillside turn on one by one. The hills—bright green during the day—roll on in succession, with only the moon to light their division.

At night Bellia and her 6 year old adopted daughter Marie sleep in the same room. The quiet of home comforts them and Bible verses on the white walls whisper love and peace over them. Two cows low in the next room.


For years in the orphanage, Marie went to sleep in a dormitory with more than twenty other girls, praying for a mother to tell her goodnight. She woke up without a mother to dress her in clean clothes. She breakfasted in a room with a hundred other children, and no one to make sure she got enough food to eat. She trekked home from school to a concrete building with no one to welcome her. She closed her eyes without anyone to tuck her in and kiss her forehead.

Now, for the first time, timid Marie knows what it is to have someone who cares just for her as she falls asleep under Rwanda’s velvet night sky. In her husky child’s voice she babbles stories about her day, wonders aloud about everything she sees. She asks her mother serious and silly questions about what it means to be a girl navigating life at 6 years old. 


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Her mother, Bellia, is a Community PEACE Trainer – a volunteer who trains families from her church about healthcare. As a mother to four grown children, Bellia’s heart has always been for children. When she heard teaching from the PEACE Plan about God’s heart for the orphan, she decided to adopt Marie. She now also assists other families who have reunited and adopted by doing home visits and providing parenting support.

 “I decided God has done well for me, so I will do well for God’s kids,” she says.

Little Marie has been part of her new family for several months. It’s her custom when she meets new people to proudly introduce them to her mama. The blossoming love they share is evident to anyone who visits their home. Because of the local church and Rwanda Orphan Care Sponsors, Marie and Bellia’s unfolding story is made possible. Sponsorship allows Bellia to provide Marie with all the necessities, as well as her school fees and medical insurance. 

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Bellia (left) with Marie (center) and Bellia’s grandson. All photos taken and used with permission.


“GETTING TO ZERO” UPDATES

We are excited to announce that Esperance, an orphanage in Western Rwanda that was using children to grow and harvest pineapples, is down to just two children left waiting for families!

When we began working with the local churches in that area in 2013, there were 130 children living and working in Esperance. Now 128 of those children have left the orphanage forever and each has been embraced by care of a loving family in the community – with your support and the diligent efforts of the local church in Rwanda!


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