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Why adoption? One adoptive father from our ministry shares what adoption has meant to him, his family, and his little girl (originally posted by Karl Shreeves):

 

This shot of my daughter is worth a million to me, but not because it’s a nice photo. Certainly people relate to it, and they’ve given me kind words about her gleeful expression, or how it takes them back to when Daddy pushing you on a swing was one of life’s greatest joys. Her delight’s genuine, and you can see it. But, while it’s great to create a good image, there are many things that are more important.

What makes this image special is that in it we see changed lives – my daughter’s, my wife’s and mine. We adopted my daughter. I can’t imagine what it’s like for anyone to grow up without loving parents, but it makes me wonder whether she would have had moments like these. On the other hand, I now know what my wife and I would have missed; thinking what might not have been makes me weep.

Too many children grow up without families. There are about 163million orphans in the world who have lost one or both parents (and one is too many). Consider, on the other hand, that there are about 1.4 billion families (households) if only about 1 in 9 [families] adopted one child – we could close every orphanage! Not every household can do so, but others would (and do) adopt two or more. And, of the 163 million orphans, many still have a parent and a viable family if we worked to help them remain in family and reunite with family. My point is that this should be a solvable problem.

To be direct, what about you? If you’re thinking about enlarging your family, give it some serious thought. I wasn’t sure I wanted to adopt. If I’m honest, I was basically dragged into it. But my fears, concerns, worries and hesitation vanished the instant I held my little girl for the first time. Now I thank God that He didn’t let me off the hook on this one. When you become an adoptive parent you give a lot, but you get a lot more than you give. For every smile we’ve put on our little girl’s face, she’s put a hundred on ours. I think it’s one of God’s ways of teaching us what’s really important.

 

Are you considering adoption? Come check out our monthly “Thinking About Adoption or Foster Care” seminar this Wednesday, January 6th from 6:30-8:30pm in the MO2 Gathering Room of the Lake Forest Saddleback Church campus, or call 949-609-8555 for more information.

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“God showed up. In a hug. In a smile. In a handshake. In the presence and lives of some of the most gracious people I had ever encountered.”

Feel what it’s like to go on an Orphan Care PEACE Trip in this amazing mini documentary from one of this summer’s Saddleback PEACE teams created by Chris Hartwell. Get a taste of what it’s like to help train families and lay social workers in local churches in Rwanda, and sit in the home of Rwandan families who have adopted with the support of sponsorship.

 
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You will see the families that Saddleback Orphan Sponsorship helped.  Sponsorship helped the Rwanda church do what the church is called to do. In this video you will see the faces of families with children rescued from the orphanage who now have a home. We are grateful to those who have given to Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship for making a difference in the Rwanda church, the Rwanda family and the life of a child forever. 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor and helping children leave the orphanage in Rwanda, visit www.saddleback.com/sponsorship.

If you would like more information on how you can go on a Rwanda Orphan Care PEACE Trip, email orphans@saddleback.com or call 949-609-8555.

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Perhaps, like me, you’ve been tempted to worry for your children that adoption will affect them, especially in the long run. When I am tempted to fear this is my prayer:

 If something in them is ruined, may it be apathy. If they are disrupted, may it be for the plight of the orphan and the widow, the sick and the lonely, the refugee and the homeless. If this does, in fact, create baggage down the road, may they experience the peace that comes in unloading their burdens on the only One who can fully bear the weight. If they are uncomfortable, may they embrace the presence of the Spirit, our Comforter. If they are ever questioned or teased for the differences in their family, may the Spirit strengthen them in every way, and may the experience increase their compassion and empathy. In this Land of Opportunity, may they take every opportunity to show the mercy that they have been shown. I’m not advocating for a life riddled with uncertainty and inconsistency for our children. They need safe rhythms and security, and one of our primary roles is to protect them. But as we do, may we protect them from a life anesthetized by comforts that blind them to the needs of others. We are called to love and to live sacrificially. May we help them see there is a story bigger than their own. As we teach our children that Christ has done the monumental work of saving the world, may we never forget to show them how He invites us to join in the incremental work of loving our neighbor, even when it means disruption. Obedience leads ultimately to joy and freedom. He turns disruption into a gift.

Originally posted as The Gift of Disruption by Katy Rose Oct 20, 2015 on Kristen Welch’s blog wearethatfamily.com

If you would like information on how to begin your adoption or foster care journey, email us at orphans@saddleback.com or call the Orphan Care Initiative at 949-609-8555.

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Charlotte is a 28-year-old Rwandan mother of three. When you walk into her home, the first thing you notice is how tidy she keeps her house. 

The second is the barely restrained joy that seems to radiate from her three children, Shadrack, Ivan, and Chantel, as they bounce around the room. Looking at them, you would never guess that Shadrack and Ivan were recently rescued from lives of isolation in the orphanage when Charlotte adopted them a year ago. 

Charlotte knows exactly what that sort of deprivation feels like - she and her two younger sisters grew up in an orphanage. She still chokes up when she shares how difficult life was for them after losing their parents in the genocide. Charlotte became caretaker of her sisters, eventually marrying young because she saw it as her only option to continue providing for her siblings. 

Charlotte’s pastor praises her courage and her heart as an adoptive mom. “She’s a great mama. Whenever she sees a child who has a problem, she is quick to help because she knows what that is like.”

Shadrack, her 16-year-old son, sums up simply what it means to him to have a mama, papa, and a home to call his own. “The difference between here and the orphanage,” he says, “is I have freedom here.” 

Sponsorship has allowed Charlotte’s family to purchase a cow, the milk from which she uses to feed her family and sell at market. As Shadrack and Ivan proudly display the cow to visitors, it’s easy to see the pride they have in their new forever family. 


“GETTING TO ZERO” UPDATES 

  • This summer’s Orphan Care PEACE Team trained seven churches in Kigali in how to start orphan care ministries. Those churches have begun gathering their members and casting the vision to care for orphans!
  • Orphan Care PEACE Teams helped raise up adoptive families and train lay social workers in Rwanda all summer! You and your family can go to Rwanda to be apart of the amazing transformation God is doing - email orphans@saddleback.com for more information.

If you would like to begin sponsoring a family in Rwanda to adopt a child from the orphanage, visit saddleback.com/sponsorship. Questions? Email orphans@saddleback.com.

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Fall has arrived, kids are back in school, and it's a great time to get connected, learn, and gain the tools to help your family and other families! Whether you are new to orphan care, or have been around a long time - there is a spot for you to grow and learn! Gain some new insight to help your kiddos, or to serve vulnerable children locally and globally.

We hope to see you at one of these great opportunities:


Orphan Care Skills Training – Oct. 24 from 9am-1pm in the upstairs Refinery classroom

Learn how to end the orphan care crisis by helping children remain in families, reunite with families or regain a family through adoption can only be done through healthy churches helping launch healthy families. You’ll learn an overview of the practical advanced skills that you can use in your own family and give away to a church. Learn the skills churches need in parenting children from hard places using Trust Based Relational Interventions, Adult Attachment and Trauma Informed Care.

 

Adoption/Foster Care Support Group – Meets Tuesdays 11am-1pm, starts Oct. 27

Join other parents as we listen, learn, and grow together. This season's Adoptive and Foster Family Support Group meets on Tuesdays from 11am to 1pm in the upstairs Refinery classroom on the Lake Forest Saddleback Church campus, starting October 27. The support group will be studying from the DVD curriculum The Connection: Where Hearts Meet written by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Elizabeth Styffe. Unfortunately, no childcare is available.


Questions? Email orphans@saddleback.com or call the orphan care line at 949-609-8555!

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