Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How Are You Caring for Orphans?

We know, it’s a tough question to consider, especially with a lack of interest and at times an almost resistance throughout our country, including the American church in general related to the issue of orphan care.  We will get into this in a moment…

But first, happy Fall to everyone!  It is so much fun living in the North again and being able to see (and feel) real changes in seasons.  Our Fall last year was interrupted by Hurricane Sandy, and we had not yet moved into our new home.  Here are some quick updates from our last blog: Our kids are doing very well in school, especially Micah in Kindergarten.  Joey continues to love his job at Cairn University, though it has been a very busy fall semester, and both Joey and Sarah continue to enjoy their teaching ministry at NorthStar Academy.  NorthStar’s enrollment is doing very well so far for the 13-14 school year, so thank you for your prayers for this.  Joey has been approved to start his doctorate in March.  We continue to be involved in our local church.  Both Joey and Sarah are involved with AWANA.  In August we started a new small group and we currently have four families involved, and Joey helps with the leadership of this group.  Also, we have recently been asked to serve on our church’s small group leadership team.  We continue to appreciate your prayers for our family.  Another prayer request back in the summer was related to our finances, and though things are still a bit tight, God continues to faithfully provide for our needs.  We continue to remain at 78% of our estimated funding for adoption, and you will see the latest updates on this process at the end of this posting.

Now back to the question at hand… “How Are You Caring for Orphans?”

As a family we continue to be challenged by this question, because caring for orphans means much more than just adoption, though this is the clear path that God has led us to pursue in this stage of our lives.  Each day that Joey walks down the hallway to his office at Cairn, he passes by a colleague’s door that has a simple, yet powerful quote, and the implications are huge when it comes orphan care.  “Helping the poor is not liberal.  It is Biblical.”  We continue to wonder as we now enter month number twenty-two of our adoption journey, just who is it that God has in store to be added to our family.  However, as we wait, ways to care for the orphan are abundant around us, and God continues to give us opportunities to advocate for orphan care, not just at the Good Shepherd’s Fold in Uganda, but in other divine appointments that he continues to bring our way.

You may have recently heard about a news story about a Florida teenager named Davion.  He recently went to a church in the Tampa area in search of a forever family, and here’s a part of his story from the Tampa Bay Times (see link below) “’I know they're out there,’ he told his caseworker. Though he is shy, he said he wanted to talk at a church. ‘Maybe if someone hears my story . . .’”  Davion’s story has obtained national attention, and even Leigh Anne Tuohy, the mom portrayed in The Blind Side a few years ago has weighed in on Davion’s story (see link below).  Over the past few weeks, over 10,000 requests to adopt Davion have been made.  One family is out there to be that forever family the Davian so desperately needs.  But, what about the other 9,999 families?  Another article was recently published (see below), and here is some of the plea to these other 9,999:
“When I read that you flooded phones and almost crashed a website with your heart for Davion, it encouraged me that families still exist who might fight for these…Even when the issues are too big for our minds, or seem like too much to handle, that doesn’t invalidate all those Scriptures in the Bible…Within church culture, the concept of ‘the family of God’ is stated as a reality, but without adoption – the very thing on which Christianity is founded in the sense of Jesus giving His life to allow others to be adopted into the family of God – without that, the family of God becomes more like a Christian club…So to you, the 9,999 who don’t end up adopting him, please don’t quit…There are thousands of Davions out there.  They need you.”

Regardless of the state of the American public, and American church related to orphan care, consider how you could get involved in helping solve the crises of orphans all over the world.  As we were early in the process of considering to the choice to pursue adoption, a friend recommended a book to us called Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care, and since then not only have we read it multiple times, but we have been able to even share sections of it in Bible studies and with other friends.  This week this same friend recommended another book called Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adoption
Product DetailsProduct Details

A quick update on our process: continue to pray for the staff at Good Shepherd’s Fold as they continue investigations of children and their eligibility for adoption, and if eligible, if they are the right fit to join our family.  We continue to be at 78% of our estimated funding needed for one child, and we continue to trust in God’s timing and provisions for this.

Thanks for your support of our family in the adoption process.  Our next blog posting (and yes, it will be sooner than three months from now) :)  will focus on the many things that the Good Shepherd’s Fold is doing in Uganda.  Recently, we were able to meet with the Director of GSF, and God is doing some amazing things there.  Finally, don’t forget about Orphan Sunday (http://orphansunday.org/) this week – November 3rd!  There are some great videos posted on their site http://vimeo.com/channels/593323/72235614 and http://vimeo.com/channels/593323/74664039).

Blessings to you all, and enjoy the Fall!
Joey, Sarah, Zoe, Micah, & Caleb


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Past Time for Some Updates?

We trust your summer is going well.  There have a few changes for our family since our last blog post, and we have outlined these below.  Thanks for your continued support of our family and interest in our ministries and adoption process.

Ministry Updates:
Joey has wrapped up his first school year at Cairn University.  He continues to enjoy his ministry to college students and the opportunity to teach future teachers.  This summer has been fairly light, as he is only teaching one course, which happens to be taught online.  He is also preparing for his courses that he will teach this fall.  He will have a heavy teaching schedule and will continue to supervise student teachers. 
Would you pray for his continued ministry to students and that God would continue to provide for the needs of Cairn University?

Sarah continues to teach for NorthStar Academy, the online school of the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS).  She teaches middle school and high school physical education and health.  The school continues to have around 700 students from over 70 countries.  It continues to be amazing that we are able to have such global impact on students through the avenue of online education.  The school did struggle with enrollment in the 12-13 school year, and Joey was forced to take a significant pay cut and some teachers had to be laid off.  Thankfully Sarah was not affected by these cuts and layoffs, and she will continue to teach the same courses in the 13-14 school year. 
Would you pray that NorthStar’s enrollment would increase?

Joey’s role has recently changed at NorthStar.  He has been serving as the school’s academic principal and teaching some courses for the past few years, and because NorthStar is online, he could fulfill this role anywhere.  However, because of the enrollment challenges and financial cuts that were made, a difficult decision was made to transition Joey's role back to strictly teaching with NorthStar.  The positive impact through all of this is that Joey will have direct contact and ministry opportunities with a much broader base of students.  While this involves a financial setback, the direct ministry impact with the students is exciting and reminds us of the initial draw God put on Joey's heart when he first started with NICS over twelve years ago.  We are trusting God to provide for the school and for our family.  This change has placed further strain on our finances, as the salary difference of being a principal to being a part-time teacher is decrease of around 70%.  An increase in enrollment at NorthStar will help this situation.  He will teach some high school world history courses in 13-14.    
Would you pray for Joey as he makes this role adjustment?

God continues to allow us to get to know others better and be involved in our church, Bible Fellowship in Yardley.  It appears that we will be co-leading a small group with another family this fall, Sarah may have opportunity to increase her role with some ministries, and we will be involved with Awana.  We are so grateful to be a part of a great church.

Adoption Updates:
We are now in month #18 of our adoption process with The Good Shepherd’s Fold.  All of our required paperwork has been completed, though depending on the timing of things in the future, it may need revised again.  We continue to prefer a girl under age 5 (Zoe continues to tell us, “I want a sister.”), but for the past few months there have not been many girls in the orphanage who are eligible for adoption.  Back in April/May it appeared that we might receive a referral soon and head to Uganda sometime during the summer.  However, all doors abruptly shut on child possibilities back in May, leaving us discouraged, but we continue to trust that God will bring the right child(ren) for our family. 

We are at 78% of our estimated $15,000- needed to adopt one child.  As a friend from Mississippi who is also in the adoption process said earlier this week, with more delays and waiting, this allows for more opportunity and time to see God meet our financial needs.  Most likely it will be another month (mid-August) until we know anything further on the adoption front.

Family Updates:
Zoe, Micah, and Caleb are enjoying their summer break.  We created a “summer bucket list” together, and we are making good progress working through the items on it – such as our first camping trip, going swimming at a pool in our neighborhood, play dates with friends, vacation Bible schools, and a day trip to the beach (which is only an hour from our house).  Joey’s parents were able to be with us from Korea in July, and we had a great time with them.  We were able to go to NYC for a couple days with them.  The boys continue to love riding bikes and building legos, and Zoe continues to read a lot and play with her rainbow loom.  Of course it cannot be all fun and games for summer break, as our kids’ parents and grandparents on both sides are involved in education and know the value of not taking a total break from learning over the summer. :)  
School starts up again around the last week of August.  Zoe will be in second grade at the local public school (only two blocks from our house).  Micah will be starting Kindergarten (he will go to a Christian school in the AM, and the same public school as Zoe in the PM).  He continues to receive speech therapy, and we ask that you pray that he continues to make good progress toward his IEP goals when he starts school.  Caleb will be in preschool at the same Christian school as Micah in the AM.  Sarah will be busy for sure with school drop-offs and pick-ups. 

Prayer Requests:
  • Would you pray that God will meet our needs, not only for our adoption process, but also for our regular living expenses?  As mentioned above, the past few months have been difficult, and the upcoming months appear to be tough too.  If you are interested in contributing to our family and ministries, see the information on the right hand side of our blog page.  Any one-time and/or monthly gifts would be greatly appreciated.
  • Would you pray that we would receive a referral for a child or sibling group in the near future?
  • Would you pray that God would continue to lead us to His choice of ministry opportunities for our family to be involved?
  • Would you pray that our children would have a great start to the 13-14 school year?  Pray especially for Micah that he will have a great year in Kindergarten.

Thanks again for reading this post and for your prayers/support for our family!

Joey, Sarah, Zoe, Micah, & Caleb 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Even in the Waiting, God is Still at Work

Do you believe it? I mean really, waiting on something is really hard, but do you believe the title of today's posting? 

We have recently been struggling with the continued waiting process associated with adoption. It is hard to imagine that we were approved to adopt through the Good Shepherds Fold (GSF) nearly 15 months ago and that we were in a position to receive a referral for a child or sibling group nearly 13 months ago. Then, God directed us to move, to leave our home and friends and a wonderful church in Mississippi, as He opened a door for something that Joey has always had a dream of doing - ministering to and teaching college students.

We are adjusting well to life in Pennsylvania. Joey is indeed loving his teaching ministry in the School of Education at Cairn University, and we are slowly making new friendships and connections as we get to know the area. We love having Sarah's parents nearby, as they have helped us so much through this relocation process. We are a now a part of a great church, and our kids are no longer referring to our home as "the new house". Zoe is liking school again as she nears the completion of 1st grade, Micah is on track for entering Kindergarten in the fall with an IEP for his continued speech delays, and Caleb made so much progress on his speech issues that he no longer needs any type of services/therapy.

We have recently had some conversations with friends about the continued waiting with our adoption process, and we continue to rest in the fact that God can make this happen, though the timing now (though not later) seems discouraging and confusing at times. One of our pastors recently challenged us to remember that true Biblical faith when asking God for wisdom and direction can be found in James 1:6-8. It says "be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do."

In our prayers to the Lord, we can "come boldly to the throne of our gracious God" (Hebrews 4:16), and know that "the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." (James 5:16)

Here are some quick praise updates since our last blog post: 

  1. Our homestudy was revised for Pennsylvania on March 8. We are approved for up to 2 children (siblings or non-biologically-related), of either gender, ages 0-5. 
  2. Our government paperwork process (I-600A) was submitted, we were fingerprinted again, and we talked with the officer assigned to our file today, and our I-600A has been updated and approved! It is set to be mailed to us today too. 
  3. GSF is continuing to work through referral possibilities for our family and is trying to get a court date scheduled this summer, which means we could be travelling to Uganda as early as potentially July. 

Would you pray the following for our family as we continue the waiting process?

  1. Pray that we would not be discouraged or become weary as we continue to wait. 
  2. Pray for the staff at GSF that speedy investigations can occur so we can receive a referral for a child or children soon. 
  3. Pray that God would provide the remaining finances needed. We have now received 78% of the estimated $15,000 needed to adopt one child. We will then need an additional $5,000- if we receive a referral for two children. 
  4. Pray that we would indeed be able to travel to Uganda as early as potentially July for the required court dates and to bring our new child(ren) home. 

We leave you with some links recently put together by Heather Green, a short term missionary serving at GSF. It is still crazy to think that one or two of these could be a part of our forever family soon. Enjoy the pictures and the video.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support for our family. Blessings to you all!

Take care,
Joey, Sarah, Zoe, Micah, and Caleb

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Quick Praise & GSF Video

I know, two postings within a span of less than a week.  Good grief!

Anyways, we wanted to share two quick things with you:
1. A Quick Praise: Thanks for your continued prayers and support for our adoption process.  Did you notice the thermometer jump on our blog page?  We received word today that a lady (name withheld intentionally) that we never met at a church that we have never attended that supports us (yes, you read that right), specified in her will that a gift be given to our family.  She was an active supporter of missions and simply wanted part of her estate to go to us.  Crazy right!  Not in our Father's world.  So, now we are now at 78% of our projected need of $15,000, which is the projected amount for us to be able to adopt one child.  We are still being considered for multiple children, which would add an additional $5,000 per child.

2. GSF Video: The amazing folks at the Good Shepherd's Fold have a new promo video for their ministry, and you can see it below by clicking on the link.  It's still hard to fathom that one or more of these children in this video could be a Beeson in the near future and have a forever family.

Romans: 8:14-16
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God...you received God's Spirit when He adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba (Daddy!), Father." For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.
Blessings to you all!
Joey, Sarah, Zoe, Micah, & Caleb

Friday, January 18, 2013

A New Home & Now Moving Forward Again

First of all, a late Happy New Year to everyone!

We are now settled in our new home in Pennsylvania, which means that we can move forward again on our adoption process.  We moved in the third week of December, and the major renovations were finally completed the first week of January.  Our children have started off well in their new schools.  Zoe is attending a school that is two blocks from our house, and Micah and Caleb are attending preschool about 10 minutes from our home.  We have also been regularly attending a new church, and we are in the process of becoming members and seeing how we best fit and can be used in this church.  Joey has taught a mini-term course at Cairn University, and the spring semester starts next week. The pause phase of our lives over the past six months is ending! :)

As mentioned in our last posting, we are close to receiving a referral.  The Good Shepherd's Fold has some potential fits for our family, and we had a good recent conversation with their director.  Most likely it is appearing at this point that we are being considered for a sibling group.  Zoe definitely wants a sister, and the boys both want another brother.  We may get both, and we are excited about what the Lord has in store for us soon.

However, we need your prayers for our latest delay (which is on our end versus GSF's end).  As a result of our move from Mississippi to Pennsylvania, we are required to revise our home study based on our new address.  This seems like a simple thing, but we are finding it to be quite difficult.  Please pray that God will lead us to the right social worker in Pennsylvania who will be able to help us navigate this revision process.

Also, thanks to some year end gifts, we are now at 72% of our projected need of $15,000, which is the projected amount for us to be able to adopt one child.  If we receive a referral from GSF for a sibling group, we will then need an additional estimate of $5,000 per child for this process.  We appreciate your continued prayers for our family and that God would meet our remaining financial needs to make this process a reality.  As always, we also want to thank you for your consideration as to how God may use you to put us in a strong position to be able to say yes to a referral soon and continue this process to providing a forever family for a child or sibling group.

Blessings to you all,
Joey, Sarah, Zoe, Micah, & Caleb