Module Two: Priority of Family-Based Care

OVC Essentials Spring 2020 Module Two: Priority of Family-Based Care

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    • #64588
      Leah St. Pierre
      CAFO Staff

      Reflect on any new learnings this week that challenged a previously held belief or philosophy – citing mostly if possible from the Children, Orphanages, Families resource and the Continuum of Care webinar. Do you hold any new perspectives on global orphan care or any that come in tension with these resources?

      OR

      Express any feelings, concerns, or experiences around the complexities of transitioning to family care and how they have played out in your own life and ministry.

    • #64908
      Pam Taylor
      Participant

      As someone who feels fairly well versed in foster care here in the United States, I realized this week how little knowledge I have about global orphan care. I have learned a tremendous amount and realized that some very incorrect misconceptions existed in my thinking. I was not aware of the fact that 80% or more of the children in orphanages have at least one living parent. That was new information for me and I am truly struggling with that number. Knowing that a family environment is the best place for any child to thrive, it is difficult for me to fathom that so many children who have living parents are living in settings that are potentially harmful. When discussing the matter with Trent, my son, we both wrestled with the concept that this issue is so widespread. Here in the US, we are focussing just on the foster care crisis, but how do you even begin to approach deinstitutionalization across the world? I am so very thankful for those of you who are across the globe working on behalf of children and families. I look forward to learning more from each of you as I expand my knowledge in this area.

      • #64945
        Olivia Milliner
        Participant

        Pam- I was so inspired by the Kinnected project in Myanmar that was outlined in the CAFO “Replicable Models of Family Based Care” resource. They way I understood it, true grassroots effort of hunting down families and encouraging reunification is what impacted that community the most. The idea that an families can be reunified and orphanages can be emptied is just incredible!

    • #64932
      Connie Becker
      Participant

      Overwhelming when you hear all the statistics of the amount of orphans and vulnerable children, all the ones with parents in orphanages, large institutions and then how to start to transition them to family based. I have to believe that if God calls us to this He will make a way! They said that orphanages in Uganda went from 60 to 500-600 by 2013. In 2018 Uganda closed 569 orphanages. None of the works we work with were affected so I don’t have any information on it. I was wondering if anyone knows where all these children went and if anyone had transition plans to family based care.

      I enjoyed the Akola Project in Uganda program. Our work is in a small community area like theirs and gave ideas to help us in our area. They work with local church and community leaders to identify women who are already caring for children but have great needs. Small community (village) has social structure to help provide accountability and support to make it safer and effective. Start with local water well, vocational center for training, employment and holistic programs. Love that Akola means she works and that it empowers impoverished women to transform their families and communities. Love that many women in Uganda are taking care of their own children and helping with other children in need. We just need to come along side and help them.

      Gatekeeping! Great reminder when there are so many vulnerable children in this world we need Always focus on the child individually and their need! God set us up in families and to put children in the best FAMILY for them.

      • #64941
        Olivia Milliner
        Participant

        Hi Connie! Do you know how your organization implements gate keeping in the communities you work in? I feel like this component is SO critical to long term safety and belonging for kids. That being said, I feel as if high quality, effective gate keeping could be difficult to implement.

    • #64940
      Olivia Milliner
      Participant

      This module has opened my eyes to new understanding of realistic solutions to the global orphan crisis. Before this week, I had not given much thought to the impact an orphanage can have in a community beyond the conflicting opinions of short-term mission trips. I was unaware of the problem that orphanages create in communities by actually facilitating an increase in orphans. The reality of 80-90% of orphans having living relatives was new information to me. Once I listened to the Continuum of Care webinar and ThinkOrphan podcast, the pathway to deinstitutionalization made a lot of sense. I was so inspired by projects completed by CAFO members across the world.

      As I reflect on all of this, it just becomes so evident that God is using relationship through increased social work to connect communities and support families to heal the orphan crisis all over the world.

      • #64969
        Marsha Baker
        Participant

        Olivia- I agree the case studies were really great resource in all the different ways these problems could be solved and they opened my eyes to great ideas and processes that I had never thought through!

    • #64956
      Marsha Baker
      Participant

      We have been working hard at reunification for several years now in our ministry.  I love the research and understand the importance, however, the reality is extremely difficult.  We are in a very rural, impoverished area where women and children are still seen as less than property to so many.  Success is slow and changing perspective and hearts of guardians that just see children as one more mouth to feed can be daunting.  We celebrate when families are accepting, but weep when children are rejected and/or suffer from guardians that say one thing and act a different way when we are gone.  Even with multiple followup visits we cannot fully protect these children.  At the end of the day, it is again about trusting God to care for them and giving us wisdom in these difficult decisions- beauty and sorrow.  I am on the journey with each of you in this most important struggle!

      • #64958
        Mindy Russell
        Participant

        Marsha,

        You are in the Tulsa area, right? I’d LOVE to meet up for coffee and hear about what Bless The Children is doing in your transition. I agree with you, the mama bear instinct is so strong that sometimes you don’t even want to give the child’s family an opportunity to try. But you are right, these kids are God’s, and they are so much more precious to his heart than we can comprehend. God bless you and BTC as you continue to bravely move forward.

      • #64959
        Connie Becker
        Participant

        Hello Marsha, I serve with Mindy and would also like to spend time with you. My husband Lynn Becker has spent time with Taylor. We are also in a rural area of Uganda and sometimes it is very hard to get anyone to care for a child, seems always to be a burden they don’t want and if they have to they just use them. I still want to keep trying to help in the community to hopefully change this attitude because I do see some Ugandans that are always helping children not their own if they have ways of earning a living. I liked reading about the Akola group in Uganda.

      • #64970
        Marsha Baker
        Participant

        Mindy and Connie- yes Im in Tulsa, lets get together!! My cell is 9183611248 text me and lets find a time for coffee or lunch, I would love that!

      • #65080
        Margaret Hoffer
        Participant

        Marsha,

        Your post really resonated with me.  I very strongly feel that reunification is the best option when possible, but it is so hard for kids when it is not.  Our three adopted daughters came from a very abusive sitution where reunification was not possible.  Our girls have lived with us for eight years now, but we still see the impact on them.

      • #65135
        Debbie Douce
        Participant

        Hi Marsha, I have felt that inner conflict of knowing that reunification is best when possible, and then experiencing the complex reality of it happening. I am not sure if you have teak trees in your region, but I liked Phil A’s illustration, that we are not planting corn, rather we are planting a forest of teak. It takes many years of hard work and patient waiting before you see the fruit of the investment.

    • #64957
      Mindy Russell
      Participant

      We’ve seen in the USA the devastation caused when children are pulled from their natural families due to poverty or lack of resources. It is astounding to consider how that very thing is happening all over the world because someone thinks that “we can do that better”.

      God gives the model of a family because he is a highly relational father. When you view orphan care in the lens of a family it makes so much sense. A small family group. A set group of members. A place and role that is yours. Stability. Predictability. YOUR people that are there to rejoice with you, celebrate you, cheer for you, cry with you, and support you. We as humans thrive in community, and it makes sense that this would be even more important to the vulnerable.

      It feels impossible to get it all right. But as my daughters and I have sang over and over from Frozen II, we need to continue to “do the next right thing” and be willing to listen to wisdom and sound research and continue to change in a direction that will help to produce adults that are better equipped to handle trauma and loss with the help of a family that is theirs. And when our best efforts and good intentions fall short, I pray that God will give us grace and protect the kids that we love so dearly.

    • #64961
      Holly Freitas
      Participant

      This week’s materials have me thinking more about our program’s role in Gate-keeping and more intentional family strengthening. Our child sponsorship program focuses on assessing and meeting child needs, however we should never overlook or undermine the family that provides the daily care, love, connection and belonging. They do something that no one else can do for their child. All of our efforts should support them and help them to recognize the invaluable role that they play in the child’s life. Additionally, we must identify the gatekeepers within the community and support them in their roles of family strengthening, re-unification, identification of family members who can care for children when the biological parents are unable to provide care. This module reiterated things that I knew, but intensified my commitment to family, caregiver, and community strengthening.

      • #65161
        Katrina Brown
        Participant

        Holly,

        Thank you for sharing. That is an interesting thought regarding how child sponsorship can impact the family. Is there a way you see your program expanding that lens towards holistically supporting children (in families and/or their community)?

    • #64980
      Trent Taylor
      Participant

      After reflecting on what I have learned this week, I realized that I had quite a few preconceived beliefs pertaining to global orphan care. Perhaps my greatest misconception was my belief that orphans do not have living parents. I also never realized that there was such a significant need to get children out of orphanages and into families. I also never realized that other countries have foster care that somewhat mimics what we have here in the United States. I always thought that in other areas in the world, there were just orphanages. After completing this week’s work, I can honestly say that my perspective on global orphan care has changed tremendously. It makes me so pleased to know that there are organizations working on getting these vulnerable children out of orphanages and into a real family-like setting. As someone who spent time in foster care, I know that attachment and connection is what heals. I was unable to achieve healing until I was adopted and saw what a true family setting looked like. My wish is for all children to be provided with the ability to connect to a family whether it is their birth family or other. I cannot wait to further my knowledge throughout this course. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity.

      • #64983
        Ryne Isaac
        Participant

        I know where we are working is much like what we heard in the video call today – the idea of foster care is very foreign to most people. Some villages naturally take in children who need help, but there is no formal “foster care” system (at least in the remote parts of the country.

        I was very encouraged to hear how Casa Viva has pioneered that where they are working and created it by working alongside the government. It’s a great model to look into for the areas who do not have a formal system.

    • #64982
      Ryne Isaac
      Participant

      What I’ve been thinking about throughout this week is how we have different expectations for America (my context) and other parts of the world. Here in Tulsa there was a movement within the past 5 years or so to close shelters and get as many children from foster care into homes with families as possible. It was clear to most people involved that a shelter was not the best solution for children. There are still active group or residential homes (our church partners with one), but they are often the “last stop” or suited to care for kids with very specific needs.

      But when the church thinks globally, it’s very commonly accepted to do residential care for kids. We don’t apply what we know is best in our context (family) to the work we are doing or partnered with in other parts of the world.

      Obviously this week creates a lot of tension for churches, like mine, who are invested in ministry that may not be what’s best for the children we are caring for. I look forward to learning more on this topic and dreaming about the future.

    • #64987
      Holly Freitas
      Participant

      It is amazing how God’s timing works. I had no idea that this evening I would be talking with one of our partners who happens to mention during the call… the children who are part of our sponsorship program, who also happen to live in children’s homes. Completely unsolicited, she asked what I think about it and whether they are better off in the orphanage than in their homes. How amazing it was to share not my opinion, but the research and encourage her to consider the long lasting impact of institutional care and what our role can be in helping the care home to identify alternative family care situations for these children. Our studies this week and the pod-cast today prepared me for just this very conversation. Thank you.

      • #65302
        Carlos Ramirez
        Participant

        Holly, This is so neat how God is using what you are learning to inform your conversations! We feel the same way; we are excited to back up our opinions and passion with real research from people who have gone before us in this work.

    • #65077
      Debbie Douce
      Participant

      I have been stirred in so many aspects through the past two weeks of OVC Essentials. I am asking myself lots of questions as I think of our context here, and I am conversing with others about what I am hearing. While meeting with the counselor of an 11 year old this past week who was rescued by her older sister, a participant in the holistic training home we have for young women and their children, I talked about what reunification might look like with the girl’s mother. I said that this should be our goal, to help mom become healthy so her daughter can return. I have been talking about this for months with my team, but the situation is complex. Justice will be a miracle. The counselor expressed uncertainty about reunification. The girl now has a roof and food she told me. (I was a bit horrified that she didn’t mention anything else. Haha) She told me that this little girl didn’t have that stability with her mom. I challenged the counselor’s thinking, telling her that food and a roof are not all that this little girl needs, she needs to stay connected to her mom, that this relationship is key to this little girl growing up resilient and healthy, and we need to find ways to strengthen her family and hope for reconciliation.

      • #65083
        Ana María Sanchez
        Participant

        Debbie how amazing is to read this and get know that God is using you to bring a new perspective where needed. I think that sharing with love what we are learning, it´s a responsibility that we have now since God has allowed us to be part of OVC Essentials and get to know the best options to serve vulnerable children. How encouraging is to read what God is doing through you.

        PD: English is my second language so I´m so sorry for the grammar mistakes. I´m working on it 🙂

      • #65096
        Olivia Milliner
        Participant

        Ana Maria- Thank you for your perspective! Pointing out that it is now on our shoulders to share what we are learning with others really resonates with me!

      • #65290
        Mandy Haffer de Ramírez
        Participant

        Love what you shared here, Debbie! Also love that you challenged the counselor’s train of thought with what you are learning! I think what stood out to me from what you shared is, “The situation is complex.” That statement rings true for so many youth I’ve met in Honduras. I think the challenge for us then becomes, how do we apply all we are learning and best practices in the midst of that complexity?

    • #65081
      Margaret Hoffer
      Participant

       

      The webinar this week really resonated with me.  I work with an organization that does family based care in Ethiopia and we are partnering with multiple organizations to shift mindset and move towards family based care and away from institutions.  This is often daunting, but I loved how the webinar suggested that orphanages be the transition themselves and how a gradual shift needs to be made and not an overnight change.  This week gave me renewed perspective and confidence that systemic change can be happen.  I also loved how Mr. Aspegren explained that a shift needs to be made in focusing from a building to the goal of what is best for children.

      • #65146
        Emily Tiner
        Participant

        I love how you said that this week gave you a renewed perspective and confidence that systematic change can happen, I totally agree! Reading these statistics and then working with Bless the Children Ministries and hearing the stories about each child, I just want to get them out of the current situation, my fix-it quick personality just screams, let’s do it all as fast as we can for the benefit of the child! But this week really encouraged me of how strategic this process is and how intentional it has to be to really go about it in the way that specific child needs.

    • #65082
      Ana María Sanchez
      Participant

      All the data and research has given us a unique picture that past generations did not have. We need to make the best out of it, starting by creating awareness from our closer circles to every area where God allows us to be an influence. And definitely being intentional in praying for the leaders that have decision making around vulnerable children, for them to have a heart for these families. I don´t know the reality in other countries but in Ecuador, where I´m from, the government is perhaps one of the biggest challenges we have to afront when it comes to well being of a vulnerable kid, and yes, every case is different but sadly the common factor is that the government will take the easiest and less expensive solution. As believers, we need to make decisions in order to empower the next generations to be a positive influence on the government and pray for those hearts that are already in the decision-making table for vulnerable kids. Meanwhile, let´s embrace all that we are learning in this OVC Essentials journey in order to serve the best way possible in every place God has called us to.

      • #65134
        Debbie Douce
        Participant

        Thanks so much for your response, Ana Maria!! We have also experienced the frustration of working within the system here and specifically in how the victim is responsible for seeking justice. I love your heart to pray for the governing officials and those making decisions in regards to vulnerable children, and specific to those in Ecuador. I absolutely agree with you that our job is to pray, to serve in the best way possible where God has called us, and to embrace what we are learning through OVC Essentials. Un abrazo fuerte!!

    • #65085
      Alyssa McIntyre
      Participant

      The Continuem of Care Webinar was helpful to me as it so simply laid out the options for a child, and explained the priority fo each option. It was also interesting to reflect on the role of gatekeeping. I spent some time here in the states volunteering as a CASA with the DHS system- making me a small-time gatekeeper, alongside larger ones such as the actual DHS worker, the lawyer, and of course, the judge. In fact there’s actually so much gatekeeping at times that it feels impossible to get anything accomplished. But still children and families slip through the cracks.

      So I imagine in countries that lack the resources and organization for gatekeeping this occurs much more often. My new job in Uganda will require some gatekeeping roles as I’ll play in a part in reunifying children or putting them into a different placement. This week both challenged and encouraged me because I see that it’s completely possible to do the job well, but I have to work hard and see each child individually, in order to ensure that it’s as solid as possible.

      • #65145
        Emily Tiner
        Participant

        Wow, after learning more about gatekeeping, it’s incredible what you’re doing in Uganda Alyssa and what you did in the states when you volunteered. It’s heartbreaking to think that so many children and families fall through the cracks even with so much tireless effort at reaching each one. You’re doing amazing, praying God continues to give you discernment and wisdom as you handle each unique situation as you begin this new job in Uganda. What you’re doing is so needed and such a blessing to those kiddos!

      • #65316
        Amber Allan
        Participant

        Emily, how awesome that your new position will require you to use what you already know and maybe a bit of what you’ll learn with the course about gate-keeping! You’re going to become frustrated by the processes, the things that you see, and the work needed to determine what is best for each individual child but persistence in prayer will be what stabilizes you and renews your passion. I’m so excited for you!

    • #65087
      Heather Hall
      Participant

      Being new to the OVC world, I didn’t think I had too many previously held beliefs or strong feelings related to the types of care available to orphans, but after watching the Continuum of Care webinar and reflecting on my limited exposure to international group homes in the past, I came to realize that I had a pretty big belief, even if it was just subconsciously.  My belief was that any care options where a child was not in a home/family was not the best option for the child.  Watching the webinar and exploring the various resources from this week’s lesson, as well as the Zoom call, really opened my eyes to the myriad of options that are available for orphans and that there is no blanket solution for all children and contexts, but that each case must be evaluated based on the best interests of the individual child.  Again, I am very knew to the world of OVC care, so learning more in-depth about all of the different approaches and solutions was very enlightening to me.

      One point that was briefly discussed in one of the resources this week (I believe it was the webinar) that gave me a new perspective on OVC care was that institutionalized care is 5-10 times more expensive than family care.  I’m sure it’s my Western filter, but my first thought would have been that orphanages would have been the less expensive route and the way to provide the most amount of care to the most amount of children.  Again, I think that speaks to what my Western context has taught me to value as what qualifies as sufficient care.  I’m glad to have learned this new fact, and I think it can be used as a strong point to support family care when talking to an audience that is really concerned about what is most cost effective.

      • #65095
        Olivia Milliner
        Participant

        Hi Heather! I was also shocked at the increase in price for residential care! Thinking of deinstitutionalization as a whole was kind of overwhelming, but when you put the cost effectiveness into perspective, it seems more attainable.

    • #65088
      Heather Hall
      Participant

      My heart breaks for you, Marsha, and the children and families you work with.  I applaud you for being the hands and feet of Jesus in such difficult circumstances.  I pray that Jesus comforts the hearts of you and your family, as well as the children you work with and that God would light a passion in the hearts of new families in your community that would be eager to share their love with a new addition to their family.  Hugs.

    • #65103
      Lesley Harper
      Participant

      I so respect what you are doing, and empathize with your comments about women and children just being property, Marsha.  Here in Mozambique, it is the same, and re-unification without spiritual, emotional and practical food support for the families is a recipe for neglect and further instability / attachment-breaking for the child. Often the end of the cycle of passing the orphan from adult to adult in the responsibility chain, ends with the child being given into premature marriage as young as 12 years old, or even younger in the predominantly moslem areas to the North of our country.   We try to do both family support by sending food parcels and finance monthly to the families embracing one or sometimes as many as 6 orphans, but as a gate-keeping strategy, we now bring all the kids to a monthly or bi-monthly camp so we can provide spiritual input, love and listening, and allow them to maintain the attachments they formed with their foster siblings during the years when they were in the Joy House group home.  I really learned a lot from the Casa Viva project in Costa Rica, with regard to rather directing donor funding towards the support of a ‘Bank  of emergency Foster families’ but at the same time, we have continued to keep a single group home for 6 kids, with 2 alternating foster moms, to avoid the trauma of the kids missing out on a year of school and falling even further behind their peers, due to changing foster situations.

    • #65144
      Emily Tiner
      Participant

      The Continuum of Care was so fascinating to me and really helped me understand what each step was and which was the higher priority over the other. Just from the little I knew about it before, I wouldn’t have known to order them in that way but it makes so much sense now! I would have thought adoption was more a priority than foster care since it’s uniting a child with a family in a more permanent way, so I’m learning so much. I was also overwhelmed by the statistic stating that 80% of children living in orphanages have living relatives, it just makes getting involved in knowing each child personally, their story, their history, and diving into the community so much stronger on my heart so that we can get every child what is truly best for them!

    • #65162
      Katrina Brown
      Participant

      When reading through the Replicable Models for Transition to Family Based Care, I was struck by this quote (from the Kinnected/Myanmar Case Study): “He lacked the knowledge and experience necessary for implementing a structured approach to scaling down residential care, and Kinnected was able to support and guide Caring and Loving Children in its transition toward family-based care.” I realize that I have unconsciously thought that those are “qualified” or “experts”, are the ones who are able to successfully transition to family-based care. This quote challenged that idea, I didn’t even know existed. After reading through this document, it is obvious there are numerous resources and reputable organizations established to helps anyone who wants to transition towards family-based care (and/or expand their spectrum of care). It has less to do with “qualifications”, but more to do with having the wisdom to bring people around you to fill in the gaps in the areas you don’t know. I was inspired by the Pastor’s and Kinnected collaborative effort in finding a solution that fit his community. I also loved that Kinnected worked to empower Pastor Myint’s. Another quote from this case study said, “the next step Kinnected took was to build and strengthen Pastor Myint’s capacity as leader of Caring and Loving Children. Without technical language and expertise, he was unable to engage with key stakeholders.” This case study showed that by Kinnected coaching and walking along Pastor Myint, he was then able to later do the same with other orphanage directors in his community.

      • #65212
        Philip Douce
        Participant

        Katrina, I loved your assessment and reflection from the Kinnected/Myanmar Case Study. I really liked you sharing that your original conclusion was challenged that only qualified or experts are the ones able to successfully transition to family based care and now you have been given a new perspective and new conclusion to think differently about this.

    • #65211
      Philip Douce
      Participant

      It was refreshing to hear a clear description that I totally agree with but had not heard before. The term and description of a “Social Orphan”. Working with and ministering to former street boys and hearing their stories the term social orphan really makes sense and resonates with me. I also like the term and  concept of “Gate Keeper”.

      I am a little cynical about family based c are in the context of foster families working in a culture where a definite hierarchy has been established for those coming into a family. I think it goes back to when Spain conquered and greatly influenced this culture.

    • #65289
      Mandy Haffer de Ramírez
      Participant

      One of the biggest things that stood out for me and challenged past perceptions was the “pull factor” and “recruitment” of orphanages. Wow…

      One year ago, my eyes were opened when I served as an interpreter for a mission team serving at a children’s home/orphanage. It was there that I met my foster daughter and was exposed to the whole world of OVC. I remember my initial response to the work happening there being one of, “These are incredible humans doing God’s work and serving in a capacity I could never imagine!” Yet with time, I have seen the negative effects that such an environment had on our daughter, and many things from the Children, Orphanages, and Families resource brought to mind specific examples. Largely, super high child-to-caregiver ratios, lack of personal, interactive adult relationships, the pull factors of a place offering food, shelter, and education, and so much more. We live in the developing world, and so similar to some of the African contexts mentioned, I would say kinship care is the most common form of orphan care currently available outside of institutions; foster care is nearly unheard of.

      A quote that stood out was, “Cambodia doesn’t have orphanages because it has orphans; Cambodia has orphans because it has orphanages.” Many of the children that I have met here do still have living family members, but get pulled into a system where living in an orphanage becomes a long-term/permanent solution rather than a temporary one.

      A tension I am feeling is that many well-intentioned people, like many of us before being exposed to the challenges, can see the instant gratification benefits of orphanages (food, education, etc.) and think that they are the best solution, but now that we have had our eyes opened, we are called to advocate for family-based solutions. (As a missionary, I am thinking in terms of ministry supporters.) Important, worth it, and definitely easier said than done!

      • #65426
        Danita White
        Participant

        Well said, Mandy!

        While we shouldn’t write off all orphanages as recruitment centers or as the main problem in the orphan crisis, it is true that they are not the answer. Yes, orphanages are needed and there are many orphanage workers who are truly trying to provide and care for children. In certain countries, however, if orphanages did not exist there probably would not be as great a number of orphans because they would have been either kept by parents or brought in by another relative.

    • #65301
      Carlos Ramirez
      Participant

      Before this week’s content, I had never thought about the role of orphanages in the fact that there are so many orphans. Similar to my wife who posted above, I was impacted by the statement, “Cambodia does not have orphanages because it has orphans; Cambodia has orphans because it has orphanages.”

      I also learned that there may be families who are willing to take children into their homes, but they don’t know enough about how the system works or have the necessary training.

      Based on what I am learning, I feel inspired to find families for children in need, as there are many many children in need in my city and nation.

    • #65425
      Danita White
      Participant

      For me, the most surprising thing from this week’s resources was the fact that many children considered “orphans” have at least one parent still living. I can’t imagine anything worse than knowing as a child that you have a mom or dad out there who either can’t be a parent to you or doesn’t want to be.

      Growing up, I was one of those who had a strong interest in orphanages around the world. One of my favorite inspirations was George Müller. I read so many stories of how he cared for over 10,000 orphans during his lifetime. I dreamed about one day opening an orphanage in Russia after hearing that the orphan crisis was especially prevalent there. After doing some research I discovered that most orphans in Russia have that label because their parents lost custody of them due to drinking/drugs or because they were given up by their parents at birth because they couldn’t be cared for or because they had a disability. This knowledge has made me reconsider the whole spectrum of orphan care.

      Since the family is God’s foundational institution of society, our first goal should be to preserve this as best we can. If there are children who have one or both parents still living, seeking reunification for them is the first step that should be taken in solving the orphan crisis. Because we live in a broken world, however, I know that this is not always possible. No child should have to grow up in a home where they are not wanted or where they would be abused by unstable parents. So, the second step would be to find a family for these children where they will be loved and cared for, even if it is not their biological family.

    • #65977
      Amber Allan
      Participant

      Although my response is way late on this, I’m kind of glad I get to respond now considering I’ve had the majority of the course to develop my understanding and broaden my perspective on family care. Like many of us, I spent most of my life assuming that removing a child from their home was often times the answer (with many other factors involved but for simplicity’s sake I’ll leave it at that). Now, I see just why it isn’t always best and should almost always be the last option.

      Although my perspective has broadened and my understanding deepened, the same fears and concerns remain. We work in a small community on the coast of Ecuador where most children have a parent or family member to live with, but it isn’t always ideal or safe, to say the least. I fear what the child might experience and their safety as we take the time to work with the family. Change takes time, and how do you know if that time is worth while or if in reality you’re simply exposing the child to much more risk in the meantime? I see the importance of keeping families together, but I still fear the risk in some cases and worry about how to know when it’s good and when it’s dangerous. It’s questions like this that make us only rely more on the Lord and the promise of his guidance.

    • #74784
      Tricia Wells
      Participant

      Today’s lesson was so powerful for me as it really made me reflect on the care of the Children we serve on our campus as well as in our Foster homes. The part that I found most powerful for me was the discussion of loving specific and the part on Biblical Hospitality. I plan on presenting the idea to my leadership team about surveying staff on which kids they have a connection with to help identify those who have not been able to make that connection outside of the case manager, therapist, etc.

      Today just really opened my eyes to such a bigger picture that in the daily grind, we tend to forget!

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