Get Informed

Rss


For children with disabilities, the care of a family can mean the difference between life and death. In Rwanda, families can struggle to know how to support children with special needs in the midst of a culture that stigmatizes disabled children. The challenge can become so daunting that parents sometimes abandon disabled children. The local church in Rwanda is stepping into the gap, affirming God’s love for every child and providing practical support to families caring for children with special needs. As part of the Orphan Care Initiative’s strategy to help all children remain in family, reunite with family, or regain family through adoption, children with disabilities living in orphanages who were once considered “unadoptable” have found permeant, legal, lasting families who are making amazing sacrifices to give them the care they need.

One Presbyterian church in Rwanda has begun a school for special needs children, which not only supports the children but has become a place for struggling parents to come together. Saddleback Orphan Care PEACE teams have come alongside these parents, encouraging them to start a support group to share their unique struggles in a safe space in the church, and providing them with skills to parent their children from hard places. Through Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship, as of this Spring, two of the families who adopted their children from the orphanage are receiving monetary support from their local church, in addition to three of the families who had been struggling to carry on.

Parents in the support group share that they have never before been able to talk to anyone about the challenges they face caring for their children. Being in community in the church with other families walking the same journey has lifted their burden and has helped them know that God sees them and cares about their family.

Thanks to the generosity of Sponsors, these families can now devote more attention to the care of their children and are being cared for by their local church family. Where they and their children once experienced isolation, they now have a community that can come alongside them in the tough times with practical help and shared experience.

If you would like to support a family in Rwanda through Sponsorship, visit www.saddleback.com/sponsorship or email orphans@saddleback.com for more info.

Blog Image


Categories:

If you could be a part of emptying the foster care system in Southern California would you do it? We feel God wants to do something new in Southern California like He’s doing in Rwanda. Soon Rwanda will be the first country in Africa to empty their orphanages and place every child into a family. This is being accomplished through a church-to-church strategy with cooperation with the local government.

Come join us for a night that will go down in history as when the churches in Southern California said they were not going to leave vulnerable children stuck in the foster care system anymore! We'll have representatives from the County of Orange along with ministry leaders from many of the largest churches in Orange County to launch this vision with us. This event has been a year in the making and will be a night you don't want to miss!

All things are possible with God and you have a role in the possibilities. “For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

A light dinner will be provided. Space is limited so please RSVP here today so we can plan accordingly. If you have any questions simply call us at 949-609-8555 or email orphans@saddleback.com

See you there!

Categories:

The country of Rwanda is approaching its goal of closing all orphanages throughout the country as children are being placed in families out of the orphanage or reunited with their families. Despite this progress, in some orphanages children remain waiting to receive a family – either because finding a willing family is a challenge or often times, there are orphans ages 18 and older who grew up in the orphanage, never learned life skills to survive on their own, and therefore feel unable to leave the orphanage setting. What does all this mean for the work of “Getting to Zero”? Even when orphanages have closed, the task of caring for vulnerable and orphaned children is far from done.

 

The work of the Orphan Care Initiative goes far beyond simply “closing orphanages.” The tools and training we provide through the work of the local churches in Rwanda is developing a child welfare system for a country that will ensure that no children grow up outside of family care. If you take the case of the United States, we have no orphanages – in their place we have a system for identifying vulnerable and parentless children, sourcing families to foster and adopt them, and training and monitoring those families so that they are successful. If you look at Rwanda through that view, the work has only begun. There is now a stellar example in Western Rwanda – where the Orphan Care Initiative has focused our efforts at the request of the government – of what it looks like to reintegrate children into families well with the wrap around support of the church.

 

However, much of the rest of the nation returned children to families without the wrap-around support of the churches, which is so critical to the long-term success of an orphanage-free child welfare system. Our most recent Orphan Care PEACE trip saw this firsthand as they conducted trainings in Kimonyi, an example of an area where the orphanage recently closed but families had never received any information on how to address the trauma their children have experienced in the institution. When the government realized these families were struggling, they specifically asked for the Orphan Care Initiative to intervene with training and support.

 

Getting a child out of an orphanage and into a family is only the start of the journey of helping that child and family succeed long term. In that way, future Orphan Care PEACE teams remain critical to delivering several important, world-view shifting messages:

1) The value and need for adoption in a culture coming out of dependence on orphanages.

2) Teaching churches how to deliver the evidence-based adoptive parent training that allows families to help heal hurts of children who have come from the orphanage and other hard places.

3) The truth that EVERYONE in the church is called to care for the orphan, and the church can help members get on mission in this area in a variety of ways.

 

The Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship is a piece of this support system designed to help children remain in, reunite with or regain family through adoption. Families brought into the sponsorship program receive support to help care for their child in the form of a monthly amount from their local church. As part of sponsorship, parents become part of a savings group to learn how to grow and manage their money, and they receive lay social work support from the church and agree to attend parenting training. In return, the families agree to use the funds to pay their child’s school fees, enroll them in medical insurance and tithe back to their local church. Because these funds go directly to the family from their local church, many families receiving sponsorship don’t know there is a Western donor on the other end, they just see it as their local church coming alongside to support them.

 

If you would like to help families who are adopting children out of orphanages through the Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship, please visit saddleback.com/sponsorship for more information on how your giving can help in Getting to Zero.

Categories:

“God sets the lonely in families…” Psalm 68:6a NIV

The newest addition to Patricia’s family weighed little more than 2lbs when she arrived. A stroke of luck had led security guards to a tiny baby girl abandoned in a bush near Patricia’s home, alone, underweight and still attached to her umbilical cord. At one month old, the hope of survival for this little one looked bleak. Families in the neighborhood were hesitant and unwilling to take the baby in, anxious about the degree of care she would need and nervous she wouldn’t survive.

Patricia, however, was moved with tender compassion for this child. Already a mom of 4, Patricia has a heart for children and had heard about God’s heart for the orphan, so she volunteered to take in the baby. With no guarantee of how long she would get to mother this fragile child, Patricia stepped out in faith choosing to meet this orphan’s needs in any way she could, starting with her need for family. By God’s mercy, the nearest hospital assessed Patricia’s little one and proclaimed she was in good health! And the story doesn’t end there…

Rescued from certain death, this little girl Francine is now a beloved and permanent member of Patricia’s family! After four months of fostering, the Rwandan government offered Patricia the opportunity to finalize her adoption and legally make Francine a forever daughter in Patricia’s family.  

"I love children. It's a blessing to have children. I have hope for her future. I know she is mine" -Patricia

The story of Patricia’s daughter Francine is one filled with hope. This mother has physically modeled for her daughter, her friends, and her community what God has done for every believer spiritually: Rescued us from death and given us life as beloved and legally adopted daughters and sons of God’s own family! Now one of 5 siblings, Patricia’s daughter will grow up healthy and strong and connected to a physical family with the opportunity to have a relationship her loving heavenly Father as well.

Rwanda Orphan Care Sponsors serve not only families, but churches too. Your Sponsorship allows Patricia’s local church to come alongside her in this endeavor. Your faithful giving empowers Patricia to meet her newest daughter’s need for a family as she continues to meet the array of emotional, relational, medical, and financial needs of her family as a whole. When families come around an orphan in their most critical moment, your sponsorship is a critical way in which the local church can come around their family.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 
Jeremiah 29:11


If you would like to start sponsoring a family in Rwanda like Patricia's, visit www.saddleback.com/sponsorship.

Categories:

The Stinson family has been on a journey to chase after the things on God’s heart. Since early in their marriage, Christy and David recognized that caring for the orphan is a call and privilege given to every Christian. James 1:27 says, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father is this....caring for orphans and widows in their distress” The Stinson's realized that becoming a disciple of Jesus is not just about learning, it's about obedience and daring to step out towards desires that God has has put within our hearts. As a result, advocating for orphaned children has become a hallmark of their life.

After having three wonderful biological children and navigating the challenges of a full house, an awareness and passion for vulnerable children pushed them out of their comfort zone towards children in need of a family. After they stepped out, imperfect and uncertain onto the waters towards Jesus in hopes of changing the world of a child through adoption, their world was also beautifully changed. After a journey filled with many ups and downs, they have grown from a family of five to a family of nine! 

After adopting four children, you might think that the Stinson family's passion to run towards orphaned children has wained. However, they have seen with their own eyes how much a family means to vulnerable, orphaned children, and they have tasted the indescribable treasures that come from drawing close to these precious ones so close to our Father's heart. Their next step of faith is introducing their church family at Saddleback San Diego to the call and the gift of Orphan Care Ministry. On Sunday, as lay leaders in the Orphan Care Initiative, they hosted an informative meeting about adoption and foster care. Their team began to reveal many of the diverse ways in which any believer can make a difference for orphans and vulnerable children locally and all over the world!

Recently a CBS 8 in San Diego featured the Stinson Family in a news story: 

CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

If you would like more information on adoption or foster care, or if you would like to serve with Orphan Care at the Saddleback San Diego campus, email us at orphans@saddleback.com or call the Orphan Care Initiative at 949-609-8555.

Categories:


 

Saddleback Events

Stay Connected