Mike and Brenda Crary are ordinary Saddleback Church members
who responded to Pastor Rick’s challenge to step out in faith by going on an
Orphan Care trip to Rwanda in the summer of 2014. They decided to bring their
entire family, and together through Saddleback’s Orphan Care Initiative they
learned how to help equip local churches to empty orphanages. They thought they
knew what was in store for them, but as often happens on a PEACE trip, God used
them in a way they never expected.
As part of their home visits made with local church members,
Mike and Brenda stopped by to check in on a family prior to their reunification
with their 17-year-old daughter. This family had placed their daughter in the
orphanage long ago thinking it would be the best place for her. It wasn’t until
they heard from their local church about the harm caused by institutional care
that they decided to reunite.
The mother, Mama Evette, was tending to newborn twins as she
waited with anticipation for her daughter to return home from the orphanage for
good. As the Crarys held the newborns and chatted with the family, they learned
that Mama Evette was a genocide survivor who had given her life to Christ at a
local church sometime after the genocide. Soon after, she married her
ex-boyfriend when he gave his life to Christ. They had recently had the twins
whom the Crarys were now admiring.
Noticing the babies’ strong startle response, Mike shared
how all babies have the inborn reflex to raise their hands when they feel the
sensation of falling. Mama Evette was astounded. She told the Crarys how she
had been praying about this behavior and was deeply worried her babies were
experiencing demonic attack. Friends had even visited and advised Mama Evette
to take her baby to the witch doctor for treatment. But in faith, Mama Evette
had refused to go because she was now a believer in Jesus.
Brenda further explained how premature babies exhibit the
behavior more frequently because their developing nervous systems are highly
sensitive. Mama Evette confirmed that the twins were born prematurely. Excitement
filled the room as this mother realized both her babies were healthy and
growing normally. God had listened to Mama Evette’s prayers and responded by
granting her the reassurance she craved through the Crarys’ visit.
God could have chosen anyone to answer Mama Evette’s
prayers, yet He orchestrated that the Crarys would travel to Rwanda to be the
vehicle of his love. It didn’t take any
special skills – just knowledge they already had, training they received, and a
willingness to say “yes” to God. Because the Crary family had the faith to go,
God used them in the lives of Mama Evette and her babies.
If you are interested in joining Orphan Care on a PEACE trip
like Mike and Brenda, join us at the monthly PEACE night gathering on at 6pm in
Tent 3 on the 4th Saturday of every month, or contact us at
email@example.com or by phone at (949) 609-8555.
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
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
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!
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
11th 2015 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
E. 17th Street, Second Floor, Santa Ana, CA, 92705
28th 2015 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
7th 2015 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Venue: CASA Training Room
E. 17th Street, Second Floor, Santa Ana, CA, 92705
Questions about join the CASA Orange County program? Contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org or
call the Orphan Care line at 949-609-5555.
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 CARE? March 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 email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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
What are my biggest
fears regarding adoption?
Do my close family
and friends support my decision to adopt?
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
We’re also always available by phone (949-609-8555) or email