I was extremely excited and pleased to see seven governmental agencies and departments coming together for the first time in December 2012 to develop the U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity.
Even more exciting is to see their three principle objectives: Build Strong Beginnings, Put Family Care First, and Protect Children. These objectives promote family care as the best way to protect, raise, and care for children. Promoting family care has been Bethany’s practice and goal since its beginning. Strengthening a child’s family, or providing a family for a child, assures a child permanent protection and advocacy. Family care provides generational support and relationship, which a group home or an institution can never provide. While additional services for employment, improved health care, nutrition, and education are also needed, family care is the solid foundation to provide emotional and psychological stability for the family so they can use these outside services.
Recently, I was in China and met with four foster mothers who are strong advocates for their foster children to be adopted. I could readily tell they love and are proud of their children, and they desperately want them to have a permanent, loving family. Because of women and children like these, I praise and thank God that He directed our government to establish these three principle objectives. Their action is good for children, families, and Bethany’s mission—to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
I did not have a personal role in the development of the action plan. However, Bethany’s and my influence came through our partnership and work with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La), Kay Warren, and Elizabeth Styffe of Saddleback Church, whose son Noah was present at the U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity.
I did receive a personal invitation to attend “A Bold Initiative for Children” briefing event at the National Press Club and a celebration at the White House. Additional participants we have contact with and believe are influential are Ambassador Susan Jacobs and Dr. Neil Boothby. Bethany’s role as a leader and advocate is used with the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, the National Council for Adoption, and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Bethany partners and communicates with the above individuals and organizations as well as other organizations of influence on a regular basis.
Over the next 180 days, the U.S. Government will begin to implement this initiative. Bethany will be looking to submit proposals in all three of the principle objectives: (1) Build strong beginnings, through health, nutrition, and family support; (2) Put family care first, by supporting families and promoting permanent family care (adoption); and (3) Protect children, by preventing and responding to violence against and the exploitation and abuse of children.
Because as its mission Bethany envisions a world where every child has a loving family, we’re encouraged whenever we see people around the world focused on families for children and in many projects such as this action plan.