Orphans

PRAYER FOR HOPE: 30 Days, 30 Faces

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THE POWER OF PRAYER IS NOT IN THOSE WHO PRAY, BUT IN THE GOD WHO ANSWERS THEIR DEEPEST CRIES. At Hope Unlimited for Children we have seen God display His power in response to earnest prayer over and over again. Doors that would have remained closed have been opened. Hearts hardened beyond belief have changed. Children’s lives have transformed—and today their own children experience the benefit of our long-ago prayers. Next month we will begin 30 Days of Prayer for Hope. On each of the 30 days leading up to Orphan Sunday (November 8), Hope supporters will receive an email …

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Fits and Starts

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A lesson here, if we will hear it . . . The answers are not always easy, but these are children our Savior loves. And so will we. Enrique is a 17-year-old with a lifetime of bad choices behind him. He was first brought to Hope Mountain when he was 13 and terribly addicted to drugs. He was gone within two hours. Another few months on the streets, and then he was brought to Hope Mountain again. And again, he was gone within two hours. That cycle was repeated over and over again—at least ten times in the next few …

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Moving the Conversation

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This one caught my eye. Because every child deserves a good home — no matter what that home looks like. And we have the responsibility to make sure that homes are safe places for kids. A member of the Hope team sent me a link. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee, have sent a letter to all 50 governors seeking the names of all private foster care providers state inspection and accreditation practices financial information child abuse rates The Senate interest prompting these letters started with a news organization’s investigation …

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Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 2015

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According to Christianity Today, the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Summit has become the national hub for “the burgeoning Christian orphan care movement.” Last year’s conference drew 2,600 foster and adoptive parents, orphan advocates, pastors and leaders from 35 countries. On several occasions it has been my good fortune to attend, to lead topic-specific workshops, and to participate in panel discussions. And I’m looking forward to this year! CAFO Summit 2015 will take place in Nashville, Tennessee on April 30-May 1. While I realize the date is almost upon us, it’s not too late to make your plans to attend! And …

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Privilege, Peripheral People, Rising Lights, and Two Emails

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As I write this, I am sitting in my comfortable East Tennessee home.  My reality is safe, secure, well-fed. But then an email comes from Brazil, telling the story of a family of children brought to our campus, chilling in its matter-of-fact recital of the children’s condition. This group of seven siblings, ages 3 to 17, were discovered in a shack near the City of Youth living in conditions of wretched poverty and malnutrition. The youngest sibling, now a 3-year-old, was a baby who the family ‘adopted’ after he was abandoned by his mother and left to fend on his …

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Five Contexts where Residential Care Works

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A lot of folks are not going to like this post—but these things have to be said. Residential care works. Not for every child, not in every situation, and certainly not when it is no more than the warehousing of children. But, done right, it works. For kids who have been on the streets, for kids who have been trafficked, for kids whose years of being abused, abandoned, or exploited have destroyed their ability to accept love and build relationships, it works. But there is a cottage industry built around blasting residential care. Like the quote in last week’s post …

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Mortal-risk children and residential care

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Eventually, eventually, the story gets okay, but it has a lot of twists and turns to get there—and along the way an important lesson about thoughtful care for mortal-risk children. I’ll also introduce you to a debate that impacts the lives of millions of children. Jaime was a child of the streets. Abandoned by a prostitute mother, he spent his days in begging and thievery—and his nights under an overpass, a piece of cardboard his street mattress. Eventually sent to a shelter, he was adopted for the first time at age seven. By eight, he was back at the shelter, …

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But God. . . (Part 2)

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A little theological digression here before we get back to Graziella’s story… How often in the follower’s life does the story turn on those words? But God. . . The case can be made that the thought embedded there is central to our identity. It is an affirmation that He is the creator, that He is sovereign, and—perhaps most important—that He is actively engaged in the lives of those He calls His own. This whole thing is God’s game, not ours, and He can suspend the rules and change the outcome as He chooses. David said it this way: ”Though …

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But God. . . (Part 1)

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Difficult story here, and I apologize for its graphic nature, but there is no other way to tell it. This orphan stuff is hard, and easy answers almost always elude. But, but, this isn’t our work; it’s God’s, and He is in the business of hard answers. Susan and I first visited Brazil in the fall of 2007. Our first night there, we joined Philip and a group of girls and their houseparents for a pizza party at a local rodizio. The girls were used to American visitors, and all went out of their way to make us feel welcome, …

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Life Wish of a Street Child

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As I’ve mentioned here before, my wife, Susan, blogs at My Place to Yours. She’s my partner on this journey of dirty faith, and this week you get to read her thoughts about a recent story about a street child in Brazil…   Whoever Steals Has to Die That was the headline last week in the Brazilian newspaper. The article (translated below) tells the conversation between a reporter and a 12-year-old boy arrested and awaiting a hearing about his participation in the attempted murder of a thief in the city of Cariacica. Tribune: Did you participate in the beating? Twelve-year-old: …

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