Every Child
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Bethany Christian Services

“Bethany Christian Services is a recognized global leader as a nonprofit adoption and child welfare agency working with hurting families and finding children the sustainable support and essential love they need.”

Posted 12/9/14 at 2:15 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Your Home: The Safest Place for a Child

Could the church replace the foster care system? Historically, when children were abandoned or abused, it was the church that stepped in to care for them. In fact, what we now know as foster care began as an effort in the mid-nineteenth century to place 30,000 homeless children from New York City into Christian families. Eventually, oversight of foster care went to state governments, but the church still has a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate its love for hurting kids and their families.

Dr. Dave Anderson founded Safe Families for ChildrenTM, a ministry in which Christian families provide short-term care for children as an alternative to foster care. Currently, more than 11,000 families in 25 states have volunteered with the program. The organization I lead, Bethany Christian Services, began partnering with Safe Families in 2007, and the results have been staggering. For example, I met an “empty nester” couple in Pennsylvania who have taken in 15 children while other volunteers from their church worked with those troubled families. All but one child was reunited with their family after a relatively short period of time. FULL POST

Posted 12/3/14 at 9:06 PM | Bethany Christian Services

The Ties that Bind

Today's guest blog is contributed by Fred Patten, father of six children.

I heard an old hymn on the radio the other day— “Blest be the ties that bind our hearts in Christian love, the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.” We all know what that hymn is about, but I’ve been thinking about those words “the ties that bind” differently lately. I’ve been thinking about what binds a family’s hearts together. How do we accomplish this binding, this bonding?

I imagine something like emotional and spiritual threads binding our hearts together, looping around and around, each thread weak by itself. But when there are hundreds or thousands of them, the bond is unbreakable. We parents, and our children as well, can make choices that add another binding thread or cut those tender threads that have already been carefully wound around our hearts. FULL POST

Posted 11/25/14 at 6:18 PM | Bethany Christian Services

When Foster Care Fails a Child

Today’s guest blog is contributed by Kris Faasse, Senior Vice President of Clinical Services at Bethany and recent guest host of our Every Child podcast with Steve Pemberton.

With more than 400,000 children in the United States living in foster care and a national average of more than 23,000 youth aging out of the foster care system every year, the need for families for these kids and especially for teens is great. Our N.O.W. (No One Without) Initiative promotes foster care adoption to help ensure that no child goes without a loving family. But what happens when a child gets stuck in the system and has only a secret he cannot share?

At the age of 3, Steve was separated from his five siblings and their unstable, alcoholic mother. His first foster family literally left him out in the cold. His second, where he stayed for a decade, was worse. Subjected to extraordinary cruelty, Steve grew up without positive support, nurturing, or training for success. But what he did have—along with the comfort of books given to him by a benevolent neighbor and read to escape the harsh reality of his childhood—was a keen attention to sounds, faces, and words. FULL POST

Posted 11/18/14 at 10:46 AM | Bethany Christian Services

How Poverty Disrupts Families

When a child is removed from a home because of neglect, you think “bad parent,” right? According to Darrell “DJ” Jordan, that’s not always the case. DJ, a senior congressional aide to U.S. Representative Sam Graves (R-Missouri), explains that neglect is seldom intentional, especially in the African American community.

According to DJ, poverty forces many parents to make choices that on the surface seem neglectful. A single mom buying shoes for her kids instead of paying the electric bill, for example. So when her power is shut off, local authorities remove the children and place them with a foster family. Bad parent?

“Wherever there is a higher concentration of poverty, you have a higher foster care population, and in the African American community, 1 in 4 live in poverty—nearly double the rest of the population. They love their children as much as anyone but don’t have the resources to adequately care for them.” FULL POST

Posted 11/13/14 at 9:25 PM | Bethany Christian Services

The Biology of Adoption—How Science Helps us Love

Today’s blog is contributed by Sarah McCarthy, film director of The Dark Matter of Love.

I didn’t know much about adoption before I started making my film, The Dark Matter of Love. It’s about three Russian children learning to love their adoptive American parents through a scientific intervention. I hadn’t really given adoption much thought, to be honest.

Over the course of making the film, I saw what an incredible difference the love of a family can make to children in a relatively short space of time, and I—for the first time—began to consider adoption as a way to build my own family. I’ve still got a few years before it’s time to start thinking about children, but if I had the chance to adopt a little girl as special as Masha (the main character in the film, with whom I fell completely in love), I’d jump at it. So I learned that adoption is extraordinary and that by adopting someone and loving them every day, you change their biology, making you biologically related even if your genetics are different. FULL POST

Posted 11/11/14 at 3:07 PM | Bethany Christian Services

The Perfect Match: One Forever Family … N.O.W.

Andy and Lisa lived in New Jersey and had a thriving family with three children. Through their ministry and outreach as children’s pastors at their local church, however, they knew their family was not complete and decided to grow their family through domestic adoption. Yet, after more than 18 months of prayerfully reviewing profiles of waiting children available for adoption, they had not decided to move forward to adopt any one of those children. They were conscientious of their children’s birth order and were being taught to rely on God’s timing.

FULL POST

Posted 11/6/14 at 1:04 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Little Miss Anonymous

Little Miss Anonymous

Today, Amy Scott, an adoption specialist, shares her personal adoption story.

Almost 40 years ago, immediately after my birth, I was placed in a garbage bag and left in a trash compactor at an apartment complex in West Texas. One can assume I was supposed to suffocate and be crushed into pieces, and thus erased from existence forever. The fact that I am writing this bears witness to a different outcome.

Proverbs 16:9 reads, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” The people who left me there had purposed murder in their hearts, but God had different steps in mind for my life. According to newspaper reports, I let out a newborn scream at the moment a maintenance man at the complex was in the vicinity of the trash compactor, and he was compelled to climb in and retrieve me. Reports state that I arrived at the hospital within an hour of my birth, with the placenta still attached. The attending physician clamped my umbilical cord and declared me an 8-pound, healthy girl. Criminal detectives sought leads in the case with hopes of charging the person who placed me in the trash compactor with attempted murder. To the best of my knowledge, no charges were ever filed. FULL POST

Posted 11/4/14 at 11:11 AM | Bethany Christian Services

Hi . . . I’m Your Dad

What does it take to adopt a troubled older child?

According to Scott Roley, it takes a lot of love and generous assistance from family, friends, and the church. Scott and his wife, Linda, have opened their home to 14 foster children. In the process of applying for one of those children, Linda was deeply moved as she read the child’s case history. Brenda was 10 years old, had been in 4 separate foster homes, and was sexually abused in each. The couple immediately changed their application to include adoption, and when she moved in the next weekend, Scott greeted her with, “Hi, I’m your dad.”

The organization I am privileged to lead, Bethany Christian Services, placed more than 600 children from foster care into adoptive families last year, but I can tell you from experience that children like Brenda are hard to place. They present a wonderful opportunity, however, for Christians to demonstrate the love of Christ to “the least of these.” FULL POST

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