LEARNING TO LISTEN

excerpt from page 159, Glimpses of Hope, a collection of devotionals

by Gabriel Walder


 

When my wife Lindsay and I decided to become foster parents, I was excited, nervous, skeptical, and afraid. She came to me with the idea out of nowhere one day. I knew very little about foster care and even less about what it was like to become a foster parent. I mainly had negative images in mind when it came to the “system.” Kids in and out of care, parents who don’t care, or do care but cannot overcome their problems, under-resourced agencies, a faceless governmental structure that at the end of the day just wanted to do what was easiest, not what was best. So needless to say, when she approached me about whether we should become foster parents by initial gut reaction was “no.”

 

 

At the time, I worked for Loving Shepherd Ministries and I care about vulnerable kids, but to invite them into my home to live with me, eat my food, mess up my living room and sleep schedule was a next level calling.

 

Nevertheless, I agreed to go to the training sessions just to see what it was like. After hearing about the intensity of the need in my own backyard and the lack of good homes, the weight of the problem began to lay on my shoulders. I knew I was being called to stand up. I knew we had a God who cared about the afflicted and fatherless and He was calling me to care alongside Him.

 

Psalm 10:14 – “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

 

 

After a whirlwind of training sessions, physicals, home studies, and background checks we received a call for our first placement before we had even received our license in the mail. On the other end of the line they said there was a little boy named Isaiah who was four months old at the hospital that needed a home. We had 30 minutes to decide. Lindsay drove to pick him up. When she arrived, she was surprised to find a little boy named Martell who was only two months old. It brings tears to my eyes to say that this little boy is almost three years old now and has been my officially adopted son for the last six months. He is one of the biggest joys of my life and I don’t want to imagine my life without him in it.

 

The moral of the story is that if God (and your wife) are calling you to something, you would be wise to listen.

 


 

GET INVOLVED:

  1. Learn more about foster care and adoption here.
  2. Pray for the families considering adoption and foster care in your church and community.
  3. Order your copy of Glimpses of Hope here.

 


 

Adoption in 2019

“Adoption is a journey of faith, from beginning to end.” – Johnny Carr

 

Every year, our adoption staff updates the ever-changing resources and information about agencies, countries and types of adoption so we can best serve the hundreds of people who come to LSM to learn about their options in adoption or foster care.

 

 

A QUICK LOOK AT ADOPTION IN 2019

 

Whether you are interested in adopting or not, please pray for families considering these realities and the children effected by these statistics.

 

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION

 

International adoption continues to trend down. In 2018, only 4,059 children were adopted. That’s a 13% decrease from the year before, and a 82% decrease since 2004! (source) LSM will help you find the country(ies) your family is eligible to adopt from, and provide a list of reputable organizations working in those countries.

 

If you’re considering an international adoption, it’s best to be prepared for a 2+ year wait, spending between $30,000 – $45,000 and bringing home a child at least 2 years old with some level of special needs.

 

 

DOMESTIC ADOPTION

 

If you’re considering an infant domestic adoption, expect a wait of 1-2 years and expenses to be around $43,000 when all the fees are done. (source) The more open you are to gender, race, special needs or drug exposure, the more likely you are to find a match. You should also expect some level of an “open” adoption – meaning that the birth mother will have some kind of involvement in the child’s life. Costs and details vary depending on the agency you choose.

 

FOSTER CARE

 

Reunification is always the first priority in the Foster Care system, so if you walk into this process looking to adopt, you will need to keep an open mind. Children coming into your home often have trauma exposure, attachment issues, have suffered abuse or been exposed to alcohol or drugs.

 

There is a huge need for Foster families who are willing to open their homes and hearts to vulnerable children in the States. What a beautiful opportunity to share the Gospel with these children AND their bio families!

 

IS YOUR FAMILY CONSIDERING ADOPTION OR FOSTER CARE? WE CAN HELP.  

 

We know the road can be daunting! Our knowledgeable staff is here to help you navigate the many decisions ahead. We provide FREE, personalized information and support as you consider the best options for your family. You start with a simple online assessment form. From there, the process looks like this:

 

 

It’s our prayer that many families like yours will answer the call to care for vulnerable children. Through the difficult scenarios, we have seen countless stories of God’s goodness as He knits families together!

 


GET INVOLVED:

 

  1. Interested in learning more about how LSM can help you walk through the adoption process all FREE of charge? Start here.

 

  1. Pray for a family you know who might be considering adoption! The task ahead of them is great, both financially, emotionally and spiritually as they raise a child who has come from hard places. Consider how you can support a family you know who is fostering or adopting in your church or community!

 

  1. Support our Home of Hope families in Haiti where a Haitian couple has brought 12 vulnerable children into their family! Learn more here.

 


 

Helping Families Like You Care for the Vulnerable!

Over the last 15 years, through the time, talents, and treasures of people just like you, we’ve helped 8,000 families navigate the adoption process with personalized resources, all free of charge. We wholeheartedly believe that God has called all of us to care for orphans and vulnerable children. Your prayers and financial support allow us to provide this free, objective, personalized information to those thousands of adoptive families!

 

Here are just a few things people are saying about our free adoption resources: 

 

I can’t tell you how much my husband and I appreciate how thorough you are with your responses and information on adoption. We have been already so blessed in this process by your organization and we haven’t even started the adoption process. You are doing a most excellent thing assisting families like ours in your willingness to serve us. We are grateful to you and so inspired in this process to have you as partners in these early stages.” – Anonymous
 
“We finalized our adoption last fall (2016) with a beautiful baby boy through Bethany Christian Services. The Adoption Resources Team at LSM was absolutely instrumental in directing us toward the pros and cons of domestic adoption so we could make an informed redirection from international. I’m so very grateful for their guidance in those early stages!” – Erin, adoptive mom
“We really appreciated the adoption assessment form and found it helpful for narrowing down what can otherwise be an overwhelming array of countries, programs, agencies, each with their respective requirements. I‘ve sent many people to you as a starting point.” – Indiana family
We are grateful that you have chosen to partner with LSM. Your prayers and financial support are ensuring that thousands of once vulnerable boys and girls are now exactly where they are supposed to be-within the love and safety of a family.

His Hand is NOT Short

Linese* was very young when her father died. Her mother was left to provide for her family alone. Work was incredibly hard to find in their poor community and there were many days when Linese and her siblings went without food. Linese never went to school and even lacked basic medical care for a knee problem that kept getting worse. As her mother took increasingly desperate measures to survive and escape her life’s unfortunate turns, it became clear that something was going to have to change.

 

Linese was just one step away from being sent to live with another family as a child slave (restavek.)

 

 

It seemed hopeless. Linese was just another of the millions of vulnerable children in Haiti, not because she’d done anything wrong, but because death, tragedy and deep poverty had been a part of her country and her family for too long. It’s a story we know all too well. At a conference recently, professor, author and speaker Christena Cleveland said it well,

 

“Sometimes we have a theology of scarcity around justice. But God has abundance to give us and His hand is not short.”

 

His had was certainly not short for Linese, although it was hard to see that in those terribly long arduous days as a child on the brink of disaster. But, through the dedicated work of LSM and the Body of Christ coming together, Linese’s story is not ending as a tragic statistic.

 

You see, our Homes of Hope are a lifeline for desperate children like Linese. And before she was old enough to really understand the ramifications, she was brought into a new family who would love and nurture her. It was something she never could have dreamed of before.

 

Now 14, Linese is thriving. She’s still very aware of the millions of young children in her city that that are sick and need the same life-giving care she’s gotten, even when they can’t afford it. She dreams of becoming a pediatrician so she can help kids just like her who have no way to receive the care they desperately need. And with the full continuum of care we provide through adulthood for our Home of Hope children, she really has the chance of doing just that!

 

Changes like this doesn’t happen without the dedicated, long-term work of those who believe in the justice and compassion that Jesus taught us. So keep fighting in your corner, whether it’s justice, advocacy, adoption, or a host of other hard, day-to-day roles caring for the vulnerable. We all have a part. Linese will tell you a thousand times over that your sacrifices for ONE child are worth it.

 

We’d love to help connect you to ways to live and care for the vulnerable. Here’s a few places to start:

 

  1. Become a Prayer Partner.
  2. Start an Orphan Care Ministry in Your Church.
  3. Become an Ongoing Family Sponsor and bring your whole family along in our exclusive online family room.

 

*name changed for privacy

 

The World of Adoption in 2017

Over the last 15 years, LSM has helped over 7,000 families on their journey through the adoption process.

 

What an incredible ride it’s been.

 

When we began assisting families in 2002, international adoptions were on the rise in the U.S. In fact, over 21,500 international adoptions happened in that year alone. By 2004, the number had grown to 23,000 (an all-time high.) Our services helped families research and choose the agency that best fit their individual needs, walked them through the decisions they needed to pinpoint where to adopt from, and navigated them through the piles of paperwork needed to bring their child home. 

 

The landscape has dramatically shifted since then, but our passion is as strong as ever.

 

adoption

Because of a radical shift in government regulations around the world, and Hague requirements that severely restrict the children who can be adopted outside of their own country, the number of international adoptions in the U.S. slid to just under 5,700 in 2015—a 75% decrease from 2004. With that shift, many adoptive parents turned to different avenues of adoption. Today, approximately 17,000 babies were adopted domestically and roughly 53,500 were adopted from foster care. With all of the twists and turns along the journey, you need to know where you’re going.

 

You need the best personalized adoption information possible—all FREE of charge.

 

If you feel like God is calling you to bring a child into your family, we are here to help. Our adoption resources program will give you the best personalized information throughout your adoption journey. Together, our adoption staff has over 20 years of experience in adoption and are here to answer any questions you have along the way, at no cost to you.

Adoption Infographic-simple

To learn more and begin your adoption assessment, start here.

  

Sources:

U.S. State Department

Adoptive Families Research

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services / AFCARS Report

Christian Alliance for Orphans

Celebrating 15 Years – With Families. For Christ.

15 Year Logo
Fifteen years ago, we had a vision of how LSM might contribute to God’s Kingdom work around the world. Never did we imagine the big picture God had in mind. I can’t say it any better than what the Bible says in Ephesians 3:20—God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” – Ed Schwartz, Founder & President, LSM

 

 

It started in the United States with a desire to help connect adoptive parents with vulnerable children to create permanent families. Quickly, it began to grow. First to Haiti, where we began to provide permanent families for exploited and orphaned children. Then into Ethiopia, where we began our work to keep single mothers and their children together and thriving.

 

15 years of LSM

Get a glimpse of the incredible journey over the last 15 years.

Our lifelong commitment to vulnerable children who were once without hope has nurtured today’s hope-filled adults who are deeply impacting other at-risk children and even entire communities.

 

 

Transforming Generations Graphic - 2

And the most powerful thing is that the work being done today will have a tangible impact on generations to come – all in the name of Jesus Christ!

 

This work is built on the strength and experience of 15 years of ministry and on-the-ground, in-home and one-on-one support of the families we serve. As the Spirit leads, the lives of once impoverished, desperate children are being redeemed to live a radically different story.

 

We celebrate 15 years of ministry this year. We invite you to rejoice with us in the powerful work that we as the Body of Christ are doing together, one child at a time.

Sharing the Christmas Message

Born amidst filth and squalor, the baby drew a deep breath and cried out in the night. Animals shuffled, uneasy at their disturbed space. A ragged young mother gazed upon him with love and fear, wondering if she was at all equipped for the difficult journey ahead.

 

We know this familiar story from 2,000 years ago. Jesus was born and, with that miraculous birth, everything changed.

 

alone sad child on a street

 

Since then Jesus has continued to transform everything we know – making a dark world shine with hope of something better.

 

And yet darkness still pervades so much of what we see around us. Children are left fatherless, vulnerable to abuse, slavery, coercion and fear. Without the knowledge of a loving, saving relationship with Jesus Christ, these children grow up to continue a desperate cycle of poverty, anger and pain. But it doesn’t have to continue.

 

This Christmas, consider how you can bring that message of hope and redemption in Jesus’ name to a child in need. Here are a few ways your family can personally get involved:

Family Sponsorship

 

  1. Consider giving them the gift of a loving Christian home where they can thrive—sponsor a Home of Hope family in Haiti in 2017. Sign up here.

 

multicultural adoption family

 

  1. Thinking about adoption? See what your options are for making an orphaned child a part of your permanent family. We can help answer your questions!

 

Your Powerful Prayers are Empowering Children

 

  1. Sign up to join us in regular prayer for the fatherless. Become a prayer partner here.

 

Sponsoring Haiti as a church family

 

  1. Consider starting an orphan care ministry in your church. Check out our helpful resources here.

 

However the Spirit moves in your family, we hope this Christmas is filled with the love and tenderness that Jesus brings to all who follow Him! May your season be richly blessed.

November: National Adoption Month

By Jen Schwartz, Adoption Resources Coordinator

 

This is National Adoption Month, a chance for us to celebrate everyone touched by adoption! God can orchestrate a beautiful story for so many children with past hardships and little hope through the love of a permanent family.

Read More

What You Should Know About International Adoptions

Last week, the U.S. State Department released a report about international adoptions in the last year—and the results might surprise you.

 

In 2015, U.S. families adopted 5,648 children internationally—the lowest number since 1981—representing a 75% decline since international adoptions peaked at 22,991 in 2004.  

Read More
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