Residential Care

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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A Busload of Hope

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I like the way this story ends. The buses at our City of Youth are absolutely indispensable. They ferry our staff from their homes to the campus, they pick up children from nearby favelas, and they carry our kids to the many off-campus activities—outings to museums and ballgames,  Saturday evening services at our graduate church, and monthly birthday celebrations at the mall. Without them, all of the extras that make our programs work are gone. A few months ago…  a devastating loss. We had sold both of our older buses, and with the help of a great donation from Princeton …

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Hidden Treasures

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I like old wood. I mean really, really old—and really, really like.  And with those qualifiers, last week was a special treat. Susan and I had been looking at a small farm near the acreage we now have. Small, but bigger than our place. We ended up deciding against making an offer, but we spent several afternoons after work walking through the fields and woods. On our second afternoon there, we “discovered” (the land owners had always known it was there) an overgrown and dilapidated 18th century cabin. Not too dilapidated, and not too overgrown, but well past its prime—by …

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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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This IS Family

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Yes, family is the ultimate answer.  But family—as we understand it—is  not always a possibility. Stefani did not fit the profile of the kids who usually come to Hope. She came from a middle class family, with two parents. She was not a typical child of the streets, but in her 15 years, she has experienced a lifetime of hurt, abandonment, and abuse. In her voice: My parents started to drink, and then to fight. My mother was being bi-polar, and the alcohol drove her over the edge. And then my father left. As mom’s drinking got worse, she introduced …

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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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Valentine Cards SPEAK LOVE, Transform Lives

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Many of the girls at Hope have been sexually abused and exploited. Thanks to the grace of God and staff members who SPEAK LOVE, that appalling truth is forever in the past as soon as they reach our campus. Unfortunately, it’s a more difficult and much slower process to change their self-perception. These children have been taught since birth that they have value only as a sexual object. But Hope Unlimited is about transformation. Our story is of a tragic beginning absolutely overwhelmed by a triumphant end. Each February, churches and individuals across the U.S. add a little something to …

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Santa: From dirty streets to a clean sleigh

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Stories. The best ones catch us by surprise, bring a smile, and perhaps refocus our priorities. This one—this week—from (missionary/Hope Unlimited for Children CEO) Philip Smith in Brazil: Christmas 2014 in Brazil. Think hot. Sometimes Santa is not who we expect him to be. Sweltering in the Hope Santa suit this year was a former street kid. Luciano graduated from Hope in 1996, got a good job, married, and became a worship leader at his church. A few months ago, he reached out to me saying he felt called to return to Hope as a houseparent. Then in July, he …

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