Every Child

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Posted 3/27/15 at 7:53 AM | Bethany Christian Services

More Families for Special Needs: God’s Call

Today’s guest post is contributed by Melanie Bechtel, a military wife and Bethany adoptive mother of three children with special needs. A dedicated and busy mother of six, Melanie remains connected to her Bethany branch as a speaker for waiting family and new parenting classes.

For health reasons, doctors advised me to not have more children. My husband, Josh, and I were blessed to have Seth, now 13; Caleb, now 10; and Damaris, now 9, but our dream of an even larger family seemed to be over—until we discovered we were both interested in adoption. FULL POST

Posted 3/26/15 at 12:51 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Post Adoption Help for the Adoptee: First Steps

Today’s guest post is by Laura-Valentine, singer/song-writer artist and adoption advocate. She shares candidly and deeply about her ongoing journey as an adult adoptee.

I am adopted.

My parents never hid that fact from me, but it didn’t register for a long time. When it did, I slowly began to address another fact: my birthmother had given me up. Dealing with the lost connection to my birthfamily in China has been a struggle ever since. I started to understand words like “abandonment”. And as I grew, I asked many questions like, Why did my birthparents give me up? Was I not worth it? Did they think they could not love me? I would think about what my life would be like if I had remained a part of my birthfamily. Would I have siblings? A sister? FULL POST

Posted 3/26/15 at 11:47 AM | Bethany Christian Services

Trusting God's Hand

When Jennifer gets ready for work, she never knows what the day will bring. As an administrative assistant at her local Bethany office, she greets guests, supports the staff, and does her part to advance Bethany’s mission: demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting and enhancing the lives of children and families.

Seven years ago, Bethany was nowhere on her radar. Although she’d made a profession of faith at 11, she acknowledges that she walked away from God in her teen years. What began as “freedom” to do whatever she pleased turned into a grueling nine-year drug addiction that dominated every aspect of her life.

“I could not see past one day,” she said. “I assumed I would just keep using until I died. I had even pictured that.” FULL POST

Posted 3/26/15 at 11:32 AM | Bethany Christian Services

Coming Home

Amylynn, an adoptee, grew up with a desire to know more about the circumstances that led to her adoption. Despite being spoiled, wanted, and loved as the baby of her family, her determination to find the missing pieces of her story took her to South Korea, in hopes of understanding her identity and finding a place where she belonged.

I was young when I found out I was adopted, but not too young to have not noticed a difference between me and my siblings. My sister, also adopted, had black hair and brown eyes like me—but my three older siblings were blond-haired and blue-eyed. When I learned I was adopted, not like them, I was baffled and upset to discover my perception of reality was distorted. Mostly, I convinced myself that being “adopted” meant not that I was chosen or desired, but given up, rejected. I didn’t know what I wanted to know, but I searched for answers FULL POST

Posted 3/26/15 at 11:09 AM | Bethany Christian Services

Calling the Ordinary

Calling the Ordinary

Today’s guest post is contributed by Dr. Steven Timmermans, executive director of Christian Reformed Church of North America. Dr. Timmermans is the husband of Dr. Barb Timmermans, a father of seven children and former president of Trinity Christian College.

My wife and I have never believed that only special parents have special needs kids. Contrary to some opinions, angels do not convene a meeting and assign a special needs child to the strongest, most eligible moms and dads. Whether by biological birth or adoption, ordinary parents are called to welcome children with special needs into their families. FULL POST

Posted 3/26/15 at 10:44 AM | Bethany Christian Services

Torn No More – Loving with No Exceptions

Homosexuality has been a difficult issue for the Church. The tone around this topic seems to land at two extremes: hotly debated or not discussed at all. It is a complex issue, especially when advocates on all sides defend their perspectives with Scripture. Those closely following this conversation are likely asking one of two questions: how should the Church respond or when will the Church respond. No response is no longer an option.

Caught in middle are those whose faith and sexuality are key to their identity. Justin Lee is the founder of the Gay Christian Network and author of Torn:Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate. I spoke with Justin about the struggle for acceptance in the Church, and how Christians can follow Jesus’ example of showing love and compassion to every person, with no exceptions. Listen to our conversation here and consider how we are called to care for every child. FULL POST

Posted 3/4/15 at 9:51 AM | Bethany Christian Services

How Shall We Pave the Way?

As the leader of a child welfare and social services agency, I would be remiss to not recognize this March as National Social Work Awareness month—its theme “Paving the Way” for change.

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts social work as one of the fastest growing careers in the United States with more than 650,000 professionals holding social work degrees. The very word social,in all its forms, seems to drive our society like never before. We are “social”when we belong to a group or community. And of course, we constantly engage or interact with others on various social media platforms. Social can also describe our unique personalities, according to the degree we interact with others. FULL POST

Posted 3/1/15 at 8:55 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Family: Saving Children in Zambia

Bethany Christian Services and our partners in Zambia are taking another step forward for family-based care. We are ramping up our efforts to establish foster-to-adopt homes over the next four years for 200 children who are currently on the streets or institutionalized.

Our ministry in Zambia is a prime example of Bethany’s commitment to family-based care. Our Milk and Medicine program, which provides for orphaned babies and babies whose mothers have HIV/AIDS, is, and will continue to be, an important part of the social services Bethany provides in Zambia through our One Family support. The Christian Alliance for Children (CACZ), part of Alliance for Children Everywhere (ACE), has been our partner in Zambia since 2008. Working together with CACZ, we hope to place 50 children in foster homes this calendar year. FULL POST

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

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