The greatest adversity is the loss of a mother's touch. Sadly, for children whose mother is HIV positive, 16% of these children will be orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS by the time they reach their 18th birthday. This has obvious tragic implications in the life of a child.
A new report has been released highlighting the effects of
HIV on children whose mother is living with HIV. Sadly, the report by the PEPFAR Orphans and
Vulnerable Children Technical Working group, in partnership with Management
Sciences for Health and the Human Sciences Research Council confirms that
children are at serious risk for adverse emotional, physical and developmental
outcomes when their mom is living with HIV.
Even in areas with high treatment, 16% of children will, by age 18, be
orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS.
The report also found a significant decrease in the graduation rates and
higher incidences of anxiety and depression.
The study describes that children are also at increased risk for sexual
exploitation and early sexual debut when a mother is too ill to protect and
care for them. In every arena, children suffer because of HIV.
What can be done to provide hope and healing for mothers and
children infected or affected by HIV? At Saddleback, we care about mothers and their
children infected and affected by HIV. PEACE teams travel to help local
churches come alongside mothers and children. They help churches provide HIV testing and guide mothers into early
treatment. Church-based health care
workers volunteer to check on the mother’s health and help with HIV
medications. Ordinary members of
Saddleback Church work with local churches, providing training to youth on
how to prevent HIV.
The Bible says, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he
has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that
captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be
set free.” (Luke 4:18) You are invited to join a PEACE team that
helps women living with HIV and their children.
For more information on joining a PEACE trip; firstname.lastname@example.org
OVCsupport.net, PEPFAR.gov Consequences of Adult HIV for Affected Children:
Modelling the Impact (September 2014)
Keep an ear out this week – on Wednesday October 15th,
Kay Warren will be featured on Focus on the Family, discussing the role of the
church and every believer in caring for orphans. In the hour long segment,
Kay re-tells her journey with HIV&AIDS from the time God broke her heart
for the hurting, leading her to a passion for the many people living with AIDS,
and for the children who were left orphaned and alone by parents who died from
this disease. Her message is a call for the church to step up and speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.
“Mothers [who are dying] in
every country ask the same question: who will take care of my children when I
die? Does the church have an answer? Does your church have an answer to that
Kay Warren’s first experience with HIV and orphans came
while flipping through a magazine where pictures of men, women and children,
weak and dying from the horrific disease, shattered her, illuminating to the
brokenness of the world and her own heart. This one small experience sent her
on a journey on which she became, what she terms, “gloriously ruined” and “dangerously
surrendered” to God’s will for her life. Kay now calls on the church to take up
the cause of those who cannot stand up for themselves – children living outside
of parental care.
Every believer can play a role in ending the orphan
crisis. As Kay asks, “If you’re going to be ruined, why not be ruined for the
kingdom of God?”
If you have a
heart to help orphans or are considering adoption – we are here to talk to you!
Simply call the Saddleback Orphan Care line at 949-609-8555, and we will
connect you with people with adoption experience who would love to answer your
If you missed Kay’s message, you can listen to her speak
at the Christian Alliance for Orphans summit: http://kaywarren.com/accepting-the-call-to-care-for-orphans-kay-warren/
When ten-year-old Gideon was born in Western Rwanda, his mother was overwhelmed with the thought of caring for a child. Physically disabled without the full use of her legs, she used crutches to walk on the hilly dirt roads and could find shelter only with her brother and sister-in-law who advised her to place her son in an orphanage nearby.
Since that time, Gideon lived in the orphanage, working daily on the hillside growing produce to fill the orphanage’s coffers. He labored without the affirmation and love of a mother and father to help him through the day. Gideon had food. He had a bed. He had a place to live. But it wasn’t home.
Recently the Rwanda Purpose Driven/PEACE Orphan Care Initiative began teaching the local churches about the effects of orphanages on children. Church members learned that life without the one-on-one care and attention of a parent takes a serious toll on children’s’ mental, physical and psychological development. Once they heard that families were God’s best design for children, the churches near the orphanage resolved, “If the orphanage is this bad, we must get the children out quickly.” They committed themselves to finding loving families for all the children in the orphanage, including Gideon, as soon as possible.
Volunteers from the local church tracked down the story of each child and invited their relatives to the orphanage to meet their children again and receive parenting training and support. The church members used the training received from the Rwanda Purpose Drive/PEACE Orphan Care Initiative and taught the parents about the children’s situation in the orphanage, God’s Heart for the orphan and were presented an opportunity to reunite. Gideon’s mother was one of the family members in attendance.
Her heart broke for her son as she sat there, yet she felt helpless to change his situation. She raised her hand to state her fears, “I understand the orphanage is bad, and I don’t want my son to be here, but I don’t know what to do. I don’t have another choice. I cannot take him to the place where I am staying- it is too small and the people who are kindly accommodating me won’t allow my son. Is there anyone who can help me find a different living situation- where I will have room for my son? I am in a training program for the disabled. I have a good job and can care for my son if I just have a little help in finding a new place to live. I’d like my son to leave this orphanage today, but I can’t take him home with me today.” Her love for her son and eagerness to never part from him again was palpable and everyone in the training longed to help.
From the front of the room came the words every mother wants to hear. A pastor who had been visiting the orphanage and providing some of the training looked at her and replied, “Yes, the church will help you. I know your son. I have spoken to my wife and we have agreed to offer our home to you for your son until you can make the preparations for him to come back home to live with you. You do have another choice. My wife and I and our family- we will be your other choice.”
“Can he go with you today?” the mother asked hopefully, having watched her son hop from her lap to the arms of the Pastor all through the training.
“I want my son to leave the orphanage right away.”
“Yes, today,” the pastor replied as the room broke into applause.
The pastor committed to take Gideon home to become part of his own family until they could find a different living situation for his mother. Gideon’s mom would be able to visit and interact with the son she had been separated from for so many years.
The orphanage staff couldn’t believe their eyes. “We did not believe it was possible for children to be reunited with family. We thought families were too desperate or poor. Surely a mom with such disabilities wouldn’t be able.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” the Pastor gently offered. “The church is a family to families. When the church steps up and steps in, the load is lighter and the road is brighter. We are not alone.”
The church volunteers who are trained will make home visits and check on Gideon in the home. They will provide more parenting training and sponsorship support as he leaves the orphanage and ultimately is reunited with his mom.
Leaving the orphanage later that day, Gideon sat on the pastor’s lap in the big white van, waving at everyone passing with both hands. From his ecstatic grin it was easy to see his overwhelming joy at being free from the orphanage and the hope of being reunited with his mom soon. He waved wildly at every passer-byer on the road. The church leaders that had provided the training road along in the car, singing praises to God all the way.
“Gideon, you look like you are running for President, greeting everyone on the road as we ride,” one of the church trainers offered gleefully.
Gideon didn’t answer. He just kept smiling and waving, as if announcing the joyous news.
For the first time in many years, Gideon will be taken care of by a mother and a father who will give him the care and attention he needs to flourish until his mom is able to care for him too. His mom had already made plans to visit the next day. Gideon has a home. He has a family. The road ahead looks brighter than ever before.
If you would like to sponsor a family in Rwanda to be able to provide a home to children from the orphanage like Gideon, please visit www.saddleback.com/sponsorship.
Left: Gideon and his mother
Right: The pastor and church volunteers address parents at the orphanage
(all photos used with permission)
“GETTING TO ZERO” UPDATE
"No child belongs in an orphanage - every child deserves a family. And the churches are leading the way on this! Families are in churches.
- Pastor Rick Warren, addressing a crowd of 12,000 at the Rwandan national thanksgiving rally
This summer in Rwanda, Pastor Rick hosted a delegation of 100 pastors and leaders from all over the continent of Africa who are looking to bring the PEACE Plan to their countries. These pastors were impressed to see how Rwanda is leading the way in emptying orphanages using the local church, and many are looking forward to bringing the vision to their own countries.
This fall, brush up on new relational skills and grow healthier connections with your children and loved ones with one of our series of
classes and support groups designed just for you! Whether you are an adoptive
or foster parent, a relative caregiver, or just someone looking to learn skills
to work with children who come from hard places, there’s a place for you to learn in
Caring for Children
Impacted by Trauma and Grief
Are you a parent, teacher, childcare worker, mentor, or just
have a passion for helping children? Join us for this cutting edge 7 week/14
hour workshop on how to recognize the signs of grief and trauma in children and
how to intervene to get them back on the path of healing and connection.
Wednesday nights from 6:30pm-8:30pm
Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 12, Nov.
Register here: http://saddleback.com/event/13169657801/Caring-for-Children-Impacted-by-Trauma
This 7 week training, perfect for relative caregivers as
well as foster and adoptive families, will help you and your family understand
the effects of trauma on your child. Learn to understand your child’s experience
with attachment and acquire practical techniques for promoting trust and
creating a safe environment for your child. Join a community of families as we
come together to be equipped with skills to create a tighter bond with your
child and a healthier relationship.
Class dates: Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Oct. 22, Oct. 29,
Nov. 12, Nov. 19
Portable room 301/303 Saddleback Church Lake Forest Campus
Register here: http://saddleback.com/event/13192012665/Trauma-Informed-Parenting-Classes
Adoption & Foster
Care Support Group
Join other adoptive and foster parents for 13 weeks of
support and encouragement as we learn how to better relate to our children.
The Connection: Where Hearts Meet is an interactive small
group study designed to help you and your child build lasting, loving
connection. You will be encouraged and equipped with practical help based on
Biblical truths and research-based interventions specifically developed for
adoptive or foster care families.
The support group meets Tuesdays from 11am to 1pm.
Support Group will meet on the following Tuesdays: Sept. 30,
Oct. 14, Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 11, Nov. 18, Nov. 25, Dec. 2, Dec. 16, Jan. 6,
Jan. 13, Jan. 27, Feb. 3
Location: Upstairs classroom of the Refinery building on the
Lake Forest campus of Saddleback Church.
Questions? Email us at email@example.com or call the
Orphan Care Initiative at 949-609-8555.
This blog has been adapted from a post on Dr. Karyn Purvis’
site Empowered to Connect.
For more helpful trust-based parenting tips, visit their resources page.
To order The Connection, a 13 week small group study for adoptive and foster
parents written by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Elizabeth Styffe, click here.
When people hear our kids ask, “May I
have a compromise?” they tend to look at us a bit funny. They seem completely
confused when we respond to our kids as if their request for a compromise is
normal. But at our house it is normal. In fact, it’s a request we hear no less
than a dozen times each day.
We began teaching our kids to ask for
compromises when our now five-year old daughter was only two. We figured that
she was old enough to have a conversation with us, so she was old enough to
begin learning how to compromise.
One thing we’ve noticed over the
years among kids who are adopted or in foster care is that they tend to have
control issues — sometimes really BIG control issues. Many kids (and parents)
struggle with control issues, but this especially true for adopted and foster
kids that come from homes or situations where most, if not all, of their world
was out of control. Sometimes these kids had to raise younger siblings,
or had to fend for themselves to find their next meal. Sometimes these kids had
to use control and manipulation to stay safe, both physically and emotionally.
And some of these kids resorted to control as an attempt to mask their
lack of trust and feed their desire to avoid being hurt, neglected, or
abandoned ever again. Control is often an “all or nothing” proposition for
these kids, and when they come to our homes they aren’t willing to easily give
up the control they’ve worked so hard to get.
In our home we’ve decided we are
going to help our kids deal with their control issues not by taking control
away from them, but by sharing control with them. Share control with our kids?
Sounds crazy. After all, we are the parents so we need to show our kids
that we are in control, right? The thinking goes that they need to respect our
authority or everything will devolve into chaos. We followed this way of
thinking for a while, but showing our kids that we were in control was NOT
working. As we tried to suddenly take all the control away from them what we
got in return were power struggles and the very chaos we were trying to avoid.
What worked, however, was a very simple solution…compromise.
The insight that helped us grasp this
approach was actually something that Dr. Karyn Purvis said – “If you as a
parent share power with your children, you have proven that it’s your power to
share.” This helped me understand that I get to decide when and how much
power to share when I offer my kids a compromise. And offering
compromises doesn’t mean that I lose control or give my kids all of the
control. It means that I teach them how to share power and control
appropriately and by doing so, I teach them an essential skill for healthy
Here’s how a compromise works at our
Me: Son, please go clean your room.
Son: (who is playing a videogame)
Sure mom. May I have a compromise?
Me: What’s your compromise?
Son: May I finish this level on my
game and then go do it?
Since that is an acceptable middle
ground I will typically say sure and let him finish the level before going to
clean his room. Of course this is an ideal conversation. Often times it goes
more like this:
Me: Son, please go get your room
Son: (who is playing a video game)
Ugh!! Can’t I just finish this level first?
Me: Whoa! I don’t like that tone.
Are you asking for a compromise??
Son: Yes.?Me: I’m listening.?
Son: May I have a compromise?
Me: Sure! That’s a good job asking
for a compromise!
Learning compromises takes practice
for both kids and parents. As they learn this skill, it’s important to
praise your kids when they ask for a compromise correctly (even if you have to
prompt them). Still the risk remains that your child might not hold up his end
of the deal. So, as you start using compromises it’s important to remind
your kids that if they don’t hold up their end of the compromise, then you
won’t be able to offer as many compromises in the future. Contrary to
what I thought would happen, my kids have always held up their end of the
compromise. As a result, we have had far fewer control battles.
By using compromises our kids have
learned that they have a voice. They know that I can’t always give them or
agree to a compromise, but they also know that I will as often as I can.
And the funny thing is that they now are able to accept ‘no’ much better
than in the past.
Remember – compromising is NOT about allowing our
kids to argue or debate with us, nor is it about losing our control or giving
them all of the control. It is about sharing power – our power.
Compromises give our kids a voice and allow them to RESPECTFULLY
ask for what they want and need. And compromises give us as parents the
opportunity to teach our kids an important way of relating that builds trust