October 14, 2019
The Word of God makes it clear that believers are to care for the orphan, defend the fatherless, and meet the needs of the least, the lost, and the lonely. Justice For Orphans is all about advocating for Christians to adopt and/or foster vulnerable children. We have actually seen families respond to this call, but sadly only a small percentage (around 3%) actually bring children into their homes through adoption or foster care. This leaves us asking, what about the 97%? Are they off the hook? Nope! Nada! Not at all! Scripture makes it clear that we are all called to care - not just care about but to care for as in do something.
So what can you do? We offer some very easy but very specific steps in this week’s Orphans No More podcast with guest, Don Stoffel. Don is an Orphan Sunday Coordinator in Western NY and a Central Regional Director for Every Child Ministry. Join us as we discuss how vital it is for volunteers to wrap around families, how observing Orphan Sunday goes beyond just 1 day of the year, and how we can transform the foster care system here in New York through a *weekly prayer call. Listen in and be inspired to do something!
*To participate in the weekly prayer call for NY contact Don Stoffel at email@example.com.
October 9, 2019
When Tina and Randy Kacirek traveled to Ukraine in 2004 to adopt their daughter Grace, they had no idea how it would change their lives. Out of fear they said “yes” to the screeching, sickly 15 month old and brought her home. Through Grace the Kacirek’s eyes were opened to the horrific plight of special needs children in overseas orphanages.
Tina could no longer sleep at night knowing that children with special needs who did not get adopted ended up in adult mental institutions even though they were just school aged. The Kacirek’s put their faith into action and adopted 4 more special needs children from Eastern Europe. Along the way they established Grace Haven Families, a ministry that creates healing environments and support for orphans and adoptive families. Children who have been institutionalized have very unique needs and their families need support on their parenting journey, Grace Haven provides that community.
Tina Kacirek is one of the 28 featured authors in the book Hope For the Adoption Journey by Katherine Piper. Her story is featured in Chapter 2 and is entitled “Grace Found.” You can also listen to our conversation with Tina on our Orphans No More podcast right on this website by clicking here.
September 30, 2019
You see a photo of a child needing a family. You decide to pray for that child. You realize that God is asking, “Why not YOUR family?” So you step out in faith and bring the child home. After all, you have access to resources and a network of friends and family that will help you help this child with special needs. Just when you had it all figured out, this journey turns out to be harder than you ever thought it would be. Your family and marriage struggle, your adopted child struggles, your village struggles as it isn’t quite prepared for an internationally adopted child with trauma. What do you do when the struggle is real? According to adoptive mom, Lisa Strutz, you “guzzle God’s grace from a garden hose.”
While still very much on this roller coaster adoption journey, Lisa shares her story of struggle and healing in this week’s episode of our Orphans No More podcast. Lisa authored Chapter 9 “Healing Rain” of the book Hope for the Adoption Journey which was co-written by 27 other adoptive and foster moms also sharing their beauty from ashes adoption stories. Join us as we chat with Lisa about trusting God in the struggle as He pours healing rain into us like we pour into our kids.
September 24, 2019
Foster parents know what other foster parents need. Foster parents need help. While James 1:27 compels us to care for orphans and widows, only about 3% of Christian families actually welcome children into their homes through foster care or adoption. So, what does that mean for the 97% who don’t? They get to hold up the weary arms of families who are on this ministry-mission field by fostering them with blessings.
Dutchess County foster mom, Angela Paganelli, along with her church, the Evangelical Free Church of Clinton Corners in NY, established a ministry called - Foster Blessings. The members of this small congregation in the Hudson Valley are making and delivering homemade meals to foster families when they welcome a new foster placement into their homes.
Learn how Angela and her church are fostering hope in the lives of children and families in their community by listening to our conversation on our Orphans No More podcast. You can find out more about Fostering Blessings on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/FosterBlessingsMealsMinistry/
September 16, 2019
An unborn baby’s exposure to alcohol in the womb is the leading cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities in the U.S. The disabilities caused by such exposure fall under the umbrella of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). While it can be assumed when adopting internationally, especially from Eastern Europe, that a child could most likely have FASD what may be surprising is that 70% of children in the U.S. foster care system have FASD.
September is FASD Awareness Month and the topic of the 9/16/19 Orphans No More podcast with guest, Natalie Vecchione. Natalie and her husband are adoptive parents of 2 children, one diagnosed with FASD. She is also a board member and social media coordinator for NCFASD, a North Caroline based nonprofit creating FASD informed communities.
In addition to this informative podcast episode, below please find several links to more resources pertaining to FASD:
Not Exactly As Planned - Book
Trying Differently Rather Than Harder - Book
Phillip May UNC Study
Lack of Resources Article
Affiliates for NOFAS in NY
50 FAS Facts
Center for Health Article
September 12, 2019
What do you do when you are on the mission field in Brazil with a 3 year old and a 10 month old? You adopt of course! That’s what Ashely Whittemore and her husband, Richard did.
Here in the U.S. adoptive parents have access to a plethora of resources to guide us along the journey of parenting children with trauma histories. But living in the Amazon is much different than having access to Amazon - you can’t just order help online and have it delivered to your jungle doorstep. Ashley and her family felt isolated and alone at the beginning of their adoption journey which took them along the path of the beautiful and the ugly.
Ashely Whittemore is one of 28 adoptive mom’s who share their story in the book, Hope For the Adoption Journey, by Katherine Piper. She penned chapter 6, The Beautiful Ugly.
September 3, 2019
When we welcome a child from a hard place into our family, he or she brings the hard place with them into our home. Often foster and adoptive parents find themselves feeling isolated, ill-equipped, and alone. We can question why God would abandon us in the middle of our obedience to His call to care for the orphan. But He has not abandoned us. He’s actually inviting us to go deeper with Him.
God Himself invites us into this suffering season to teach us how to trust Him who never fails us. Philippians 4:13 says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (NKJV). All things include hard things, messy things, on my face before the Lord things. As we keep our eyes on Him, the author and finisher of our faith, we experience blessings we would not have experienced apart from the suffering.
Our latest podcast guest, Susan Woodward, shares her experience from 15 years of fostering over 50 children, 3 of whom she and her husband have adopted. Susan is also one of 28 moms who have shared their blessing in the midst of chaos stories in the book Hope for the Adoption Journey by Katherine Piper. Listen to our conversation with Susan on this week’s episode of Orphans No More.
August 22, 2019
How can a church mobilize its congregation toward missions, increase its compassion quotient, and impact families in its community? What can help a church engage every member in outreach, involve families in ministry, and prevent children from entering foster care? The answer is quite simple - CarePortal.
CarePortal is an online technology platform that churches are utilizing as a ministry and discipleship tool and it’s having a huge impact nationwide and locally in the Capital Region of upstate NY. Liberty Church USA in Schenectady, NY, hit the ground running when Justice For Orphans launched CarePortal in Schenectady County in November 2018. They have been knocking it out of the park ever since. In just 8 months their congregation has served over 130 Schenectady kids by meeting needs such as providing bunk beds, strollers, and even replacement windows for local families in crisis. The impact of meeting these physical needs extends far beyond providing material goods. Liberty Church is seeing the lives of children and families transformed through relationships that were established when the church stepped into the lives of families in their community through CarePortal.
Join us as we chat with Pastor Dennis Graham-Parker of Liberty Church USA in Schenectady along with their CarePortal Point Person, Alyssa Dabravalskas. Listen in as they share about the impact CarePortal has had on their church and community on this week’s episode of our Orphans No More podcast.
August 12, 2019
Have you ever thought that you should be rewarded with sunshine and roses for obeying God? That everything should work out for good because you love God and followed his calling? Many adoptive and foster parents can testify that while it all worked out for good in the end, the journey to get there was more like storm clouds and thorns.
Author and adoptive mom, Katherine Piper, shares that she was blind-sided by the challenges she faced after she adopted her special needs daughter from China 5 years ago. Feeling isolated and needing to hear from other moms on the same journey, Katherine searched for a book or resource to help her find hope. When she didn’t find one, she decided to write one. The result, HOPE for the Adoption Journey, which is a compilation of 28 post-adoption stories from moms who have survived the trenches.
August 5, 2019
According to James 1:27, the purest way we can demonstrate our faith is by caring for the vulnerable among us. Orphans No More podcast guest, Bethany Hoyt did just that when her church wrapped around a family in crisis. In the process, their eyes were opened to one of the most vulnerable of God's creations, a tiny baby born at 21 weeks gestation. With only a 4% chance of survival baby Hailey would not have been considered a viable fetus under the Reproductive Health Act here in NY. However, she not only survived, but thrived after being adopted by Bethany and her husband, John. Today, Hailey is a vibrant 7 year old bringing joy to her family and all who know her. Listen in and hear why we must be doers of the word (James 1:22).