Posted 4/22/14 at 11:15 AM | Bill Blacquiere
In 2011, Christ Memorial Church in Holland, Michigan asked if the agency I work for, Bethany Global Services, could help them with their mission in Botshabelo, South Africa, a poverty-stricken township of 181,000 people. Many of the children in this township have been orphaned due to the loss of their parents to HIV and are either cared for by grandmothers or aunts, or left to roam the streets. Many of these children end up in gangs by the time they hit their teenage years. Because we so strongly believe that children deserve a loving, caring family, we have begun a “Foster to Adopt” and family preservationprogram to prevent children from going into institutional care. FULL POST
Posted 4/18/14 at 10:13 AM | Bill Blacquiere |
In 2013 Bethany launched its NOW (No One Without) campaign to overcome the difficulties matching foster children available for adoption in one U.S. state with families ready to adopt in another state. Each state has different regulations and restrictions, making interstate navigation, coordination, and supervision a challenge that can be a deterrent to finding children homes of their own.
Now we are pleased to launch phase 2 of the campaign, expanding NOW to further our efforts to place some of the 102,000 waiting children in foster care. Many children have been waiting for two years or more for a home of their own even though families across the country are ready to adopt. In addition, more than 23,000 kids age out of the foster care system without a family each year. Bethany wants to do everything possible to prevent that from continuing. FULL POST
Posted 4/15/14 at 1:22 PM | Bill Blacquiere
Sometimes the pain of seeing people suffer is almost too much too handle. Our families who adopt children from poverty-stricken developing countries like Ethiopia or Ghana tell us that, when they return to their homes, they are overwhelmed by what they have seen. They have difficulty sleeping and wrestle with feelings of guilt. They are so moved by what they have experienced that they don’t know what to do about it—they aren’t sure how to understand such human misery in light of their Christian faith.
According to best-selling author Philip Yancey, the unsettling they feel is a good thing. Philip’s new book, The Question That Never Goes Away, addresses the same question he raised nearly 37 years ago as a young journalist in his first book, Where Is God When It Hurts? This time, however, he reflects on three events: the tsunami in Japan that took the lives of 20,000 people, the civil war in Sarajevo that killed 10,000 citizens, and the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children and 6 adults dead. Philip was invited to speak at special ceremonies commemorating each of these tragedies.
What good, if any, can arise out of tragedies such as these, and how do we reconcile our faith in a loving God with the ongoing suffering throughout the world? In a fascinating conversation here, Philip shares what he has learned from a lifetime of struggling with these questions. FULL POST
Posted 4/10/14 at 12:51 PM | Bill Blacquiere
If you live in the northeastern part of the United States and are interested in adoption or foster care, you have a wonderful opportunity to join other Christians who will be gathering later this month on behalf of vulnerable children everywhere. The first-ever Northeast Adoption Summit (NEAS) convenes in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on April 25–26, an event that will provide inspiration and training for both pre-adoptive and adoptive parents.
This event grows out of the success of the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ (CAFO) annual Summit that brings together thousands of Christians from around the world who are all dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. I’ve seen firsthand just how helpful this global event is, and I felt we could replicate it at a regional level to meet the growing interest among Christians to learn what it means to provide a safe and secure family to a child. The organization I lead, Bethany Christian Services, is partnering with Adoption Learning Partners, Holt International Children’s Services, and Lifesong for Orphans to sponsor this two-day summit, and we would love to have you join us. FULL POST
Posted 4/8/14 at 10:16 AM | Bill Blacquiere
Susie Reeder is the Minister of Missions at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, an adoptive mother, an advocate for orphan care, and a supporter of the Faith To Action Initiative.
The Faith To Action Initiative is a coming together of like-minded organizations to raise awareness of best practices in orphan care around the world. I’d like to tell you about how a study they provide has changed the life of my church.
As the mother of two adopted children, my personal passion was and is for orphans. But when I became the Minister of Missions at Snyder Memorial Baptist, I was careful not to make my passion for orphan care the church’s passion. I did, however, lead mission trips. During a 2012 trip to Moldova in Eastern Europe, we visited a state-run orphanage, and there I realized that orphan care is God’s passion. Therefore, orphan care should be a passion for every body of believers.
I led a 6-week pilot study called Journeys of Faith, part of the Faith To Action Initiative. Their goal is to move the church from simply supporting orphanages to providing community-based care for those affected by extreme poverty. This study, which focuses primarily on community-based orphan care in Africa, gave us a call to respond to the orphan crisis by engaging our church in providing care to vulnerable children. FULL POST
Posted 4/3/14 at 4:34 PM | Bill Blacquiere
Do you ever feel as if the world is moving at such a rapid pace that you don’t have the time to sort through all the complex issues that come hurtling at us? Or that there’s so much information flying through the digital universe that you can’t keep up with it? Two respected Christian organizations—Zondervan and Barna Group—have teamed up to address this “cultural turbulence” with Frames, an annual series of softcover mini-books, e-books, DVDs, even live events leading the church to think prophetically about crucial trends in society. One of their first “Frames” calls Christians to lead the way in solving the orphan crisis through foster care and adoption. FULL POST
Posted 4/1/14 at 8:42 AM | Bill Blacquiere
Well-known evangelist Dr. Luis Palau has spoken in person to 30 million people in 75 countries; written close to 50 books; counseled business leaders, political leaders, and heads of state; and founded Alliance Ministries, which sponsors more than 400 evangelists globally. But none of this would have happened, he says, without faithful servants of Christ who went to his native Argentina.
Here, Dr. Palau shares why he loves missionaries and their passion for serving others, tells a humorous anecdote about “borrowing” some of Billy Graham’s sermons, and explains why he is such a strong supporter of foster care and adoption. I think you’ll agree that Dr. Palau inspires and challenges us to more boldly share our faith.
Bill Blacquiere is president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services, a leading global family preservation and child welfare agency.>
Posted 3/27/14 at 10:16 AM | Bill Blacquiere
Today’s guest blogger, Rebecca Rozema, LMSW, ACSW, is Bethany's National ADOPTS Program Director. She runs the trauma-informed, post-adoption counseling program at Bethany and provides trauma- and-adoption specific trainings to therapists, foster and adoptive parents, and community organizations.
The television and newspapers are once again filled with images and stories of political unrest, civilian protests, and military battles in a distant country: Ukraine. While we watch with general interest, mixed emotions, and possibly feelings of anxiety and concern, these images and stories evoke a much more complex range of emotions for Ukrainian adoptees.
Adoptees are already dealing with ambiguous loss, grieving a heritage and country that still exist but of which they are no longer a part. This grief is difficult to work through when there is nothing to bury or memorialize, when you are the absent person from a family of origin because of choices others have made for you, and when you are supposed to be happy and grateful to have a new family and better life circumstances. You may indeed be happy, and you may have been old enough to have some say in your adoption plan; however, you still grieve the loss of what still exists but doesn’t belong to you. FULL POST
Posted 3/25/14 at 11:37 AM | Bill Blacquiere
As do other Christian social service agencies, Bethany Christian Services offers help and hope to vulnerable women and their children around the world. It is our privilege and blessing to show each one we serve how much God loves and cares for them.
In fall 2005, Bethany was led to establish a family preservation program for women in Albania. The Shepherding Home Program (SHP) is designed to provide shelter, protection, and counseling to pregnant women while they are placed with local families. Our objective is to help them avoid trafficking, abandonment, abuse, mistreatment, and abortion while they move toward a life of hope and independence. Women come from all over Albania to receive professional services by a multi-disciplinary team of social workers, psychologists, medical doctors, and nurses—in partnership with families who volunteer to host pregnant women. During 2013, 47 women were served and all but two chose to keep their children and developed a plan to care for them. FULL POST
Posted 3/20/14 at 9:21 AM | Bill Blacquiere
It is a myth that spotting a first red-breasted robin of the season means spring is here. Sometimes robins show up early. It is our calendars that indicate when—with or without robins, blooming daffodils, or warmer temps—we can start truly anticipating that sweet aura of hope that comes with this new season of renewal. And today our calendars tell us it is officially spring!
Nowhere is this same kind of life-giving hope needed more than in the lives of children Bethany serves through two of our temporary care programs. With Safe Families for Children, young ones are cared for while their families are experiencing crisis situations, giving respite and hope to both the parents and their children. And in our Foster Care program, children are placed in homes with the hope of reuniting them with their biological families or finding them adoptive families if being reunited with their biological families is not possible. FULL POST