Every Child

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Posted 2/24/15 at 9:33 PM | Bethany Christian Services

A New Family Tree

In honor of Black History month, guest blogger Dr. Steven Timmermans, executive director of Christian Reformed Church of North America, shares how our nation’s roots in racial reconciliation helped to plant the seed for a family tree he and his wife never imagined.

Dr. John M. Perkins has been a contribution of relocation and racial reconciliation. Raised by his grandmother and extended family of sharecroppers, Perkins’ early life was marked by racism. He was 17 when he lost his brother to a fatal shooting by a police officer. He moved to California where he started a family. Ten years after his brother’s death, Perkins accepted his son’s invitation to attend church, and there he found new life in Christ. In his early thirties, he moved to Mississippi and founded the Voice of Calvary Bible Institute.

When my wife and I traveled to Mississippi for a conference more than 35 years ago, we never expected the life-changing challenge we received from Dr. Perkins. His words changed our lives forever. Perkins shared that Scripture calls the races to be reconciled, just as God reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and that God has given us a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). He said that he considers his life to be a holistic ministry—an effort to free us all from the bondage of racism and repair the damage racism had done. FULL POST

Posted 2/17/15 at 9:40 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Loving and Living Well

If you had to choose, would you use your last $40 on groceries this week or to take your sick child to the doctor? Would you spend it at the gas station so you could get to work or at the pharmacy so your child could get well?

The high cost of healthcare has forced many parents to make these difficult choices. Acacia Bamberg Salatti is the Director of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She recently joined me as an Every Child podcast guest to share about provisions in the Affordable Care Act that provide medical and preventive care for many of the families and children Bethany serves—single parents, vulnerable children with significant medical needs, and teens aging out of foster care. Listen here. FULL POST

Posted 2/17/15 at 12:52 AM | Bethany Christian Services

8 Ways Infertility Changes You

8 Ways Infertility Changes You Forever -- Before You Parent

 Can good ever come from suffering? It sounds like a cliché, but any believer who has faced life-changing challenges knows that profound insights and newfound wisdom often result from the trials we endure in life. Wendi Kitsteiner shares changes she perceives in herself since she began her infertility journey. FULL POST

Posted 2/9/15 at 9:13 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Virtue & Love for Every Family

Two films are being released on Valentine’s Day—Old Fashioned and Fifty Shades of Grey. In Old Fashioned, we witness love that is transformational, while Fifty Shades of Grey promotes transactional relationships without love.

Today’s culture and media promote a lifestyle that we find difficult to relate to. The world is broken, and we as Christians are not immune. We too experience divorce, premarital relations, broken homes, rejection, and a lot of hurt in our lives. We ask ourselves how we and our children can live in the world but not become “of the world”. How do we raise our children to uphold Biblical principles that honor ourselves and God? We need hope and healing. The kind portrayed in Old Fashioned.

Family is the first most common, simple, and successful institution that most benefits a child’s welfare. Keeping families together and bringing families together is the core of Bethany’s work – for the benefit of every child. At Bethany, we seek to serve with love that transforms, heals, and provides hope to families.

FULL POST

Posted 2/9/15 at 9:04 PM | Bethany Christian Services

3 Myths about the Cost of Adoption

The average cost of adoption, $20,000 to $30,000, represents a major investment­—one that leads some to wonder why it is so high. Speculation has also led to some myths about the cost.

  • Adoption costs are exorbitant.
  • Adoption agencies “line their pockets” with inflated fees and profit from “selling” children.
  • High adoption costs prevent many interested families from adopting.

Bethany’s fees are based on actual costs for the services we provide, which is not only our practice but also a requirement of our accreditation by the Council on Accreditation. In other words, we cannot profit from providing adoption services. Our fees for both domestic and international adoption are structured based on the costs of our adoption services, such as conducting home studies, providing counseling for both expectant parents and the prospective adoptive families, and processing various legally required documents and court filings. Further, COA requires a number of hours of training for the adoptive family, which we provide through paid Christian professionals who uphold our gold standards and best practices. FULL POST

Posted 2/8/15 at 10:26 PM | Bethany Christian Services

The Church & The Government - Helping You Together

What happens when a Baptist church and government officials climb over the wall that separates church and state? You might expect a fight, but First Baptist Church of Simpsonville, South Carolina is not your normal church. And as it turns out, folks in the Statehouse aren’t the bad guys.

It all started when children’s minister, Dr. Rhonda Littleton, felt God calling the church to do something in the community.

“We spent a year praying, asking God to show us what he wanted us to do,” she said.

The result is a ministry they call “A Home for Me,” that focuses on foster care, adoption, and family reunification—partnering with the state’s Department of Social Services. Is it really possible for a church to work with the government without compromising their beliefs? Dr. Littleton believes it’s not only possible, but something that more churches should be doing. In our recent conversation, she explains how and why. FULL POST

Posted 1/30/15 at 6:32 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Child Slavery—How Can We Not Act?

Human trafficking of any kind is a tremendous blight on God’s world, but the existence of child slavery is particularly incomprehensible for many of us. How can anyone deliberately do such damage to a child for profit? As Christians, we must not merely ask how this can be, but we must act to prevent, protect, and restore. That is what we at Bethany believe we must do for those young lives that do—or could—fall victim to this global abomination.

Ten-year-old Nicole* and her family in Ghana believed a relative’s friend when she said she could give their daughter a better life and education in the states. Instead, she forced Nicole into years of slavery in plain sight of neighbors and customers at the salons where she worked seven days a week to make money for this woman and her husband. Eventually Nicole was rescued by police after an astute observer placed a call to the authorities. She was provided a foster care home through Bethany’s refugee program where she was given security and value as a human­ being—which every child deserves. Today, she is an adult, living productively on her own—no longer a victim of human trafficking—but a survivor. FULL POST

Posted 1/27/15 at 10:48 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Giving Katharine the World

Robyn was a single parent with a young daughter; working, going to school, and living with her best friend when she became pregnant again.

Shocked and scared, she knew she could not parent a second child.

“Abortion was out of the question,” Robyn said. Considering adoption, Robyn started praying and asked God to send her a sign on where to go.

With her mother’s help, Robyn began researching adoption options. When a friend of her mother’s mentioned Bethany Christian Services, Robyn remembered how kind the people at the Hattiesburg office were when she took parenting classes there during her first pregnancy. FULL POST

Posted 1/27/15 at 7:11 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Politics Aside—Help Vulnerable Children

Today's guest post is contributed by Dona Abbott, Refugee and Immigrant Services branch director. Dona has contributed 37 years to the implementation of evidence-based practices in foster care, youth services, adoption, and refugee services programs at Bethany.

Unprecedented numbers of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors have poured across our southern border in the last year to escape the deplorable conditions in their own poverty- and crime-stricken countries. With this new refugee crisis, many Americans have become increasingly concerned about every aspect of immigration. FULL POST

Posted 1/13/15 at 6:38 PM | Bethany Christian Services

The Sanctity of Life … Every Child is Precious

Today’s guest post is contributed by Michelle Simpson. Michelle is a pastor's wife and mother of three beautiful children. She is passionate advocate for orphans and the unborn—holding fast to the truth that each life is indeed sacred. In February 2014, God gave her family the precious gift of their son and brother, Josiah, through Bethany's waiting child program.

When my husband, Ricky, and I began volunteering with a relief organization a few years ago, they showed a video about the world’s orphans. One statistic struck my heart the most: If all the orphans in the world held hands, they would reach around the circumference of the globe, twice. In response, Ricky and I began praying about what God would have us do. We had thought about adoption . . . for the future. As I was pregnant with our second child, it seemed God was stirring my heart consider adoption. It was about eighteen months later when we began the adoption process. FULL POST

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