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
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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