Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The BFF Visit

Mia & Danie 7/2009

Before we left for China to adopt our second daughter, Mia, I had connected, via the internet, with other families that either had adopted or were waiting to adopt children from Nanning, the city where our daughter awaited us. When we finally got our travel dates, I e-mailed the list to see if anyone wanted me to try to check on their waiting son or daughter. There were three families that replied and sent me small packages to give to their child. Fortunately, we were able to give the three packages to the orphanage staff to deliver to the children who were all in foster care. We soon discovered that one of the children, Danie, just happened to be the best friend of our new daughter. They both lived with foster families in the same apartment complex, on the same floor. The foster mothers were friends, so the two girls played together every day, and attended pre-school together for a time.

Several days after Mia came to us, we went to take a tour of the Nanning Social Welfare Institute where Mia spent the first year of her life. We never did make it into the building. As we walked toward the campus, we were met by Mia's foster parents, and the three children we had inquired about, and their foster moms. Later that evening we had dinner with Mia's foster family and some of their friends, including Danie. It was there that Mia had to say her last good-bye's to the people she knew and loved. We knew that Danie was going to be adopted into a family in Washington state, but we didn't know if they would see each other again.

Last Sunday, 3 1/2 years later, Danie came to visit! Her family was on a cross-country trip and made an overnight stop to visit. Danie stepped out of the motor home and the two of them just stared at each other. Finally, I said, "well, give her a hug!" They giggled and hugged and ran upstairs to play and get re-acquainted. It was as if they started where they left off. It was at that moment that I was reminded of God's grace and his love for orphans. These two little girls had to lose so much - their country, their culture, their friends and their families. I think God honored their brave little hearts and allowed them to not have to lose each other. They share a friendship that is very unique and very special and I know that they will be BFF (best friends forever)!

Dina Ackermann

Friday, July 17, 2009

Families for Orphans Act

Anshula has recently come into an orphanage. She is four years old and alone. Where should she spend her childhood? In an orphanage? In temporary foster care? Or in a permanent and loving family?

The answer should be obvious: a safe, permanent and loving family. Unfortunately, the U.S. government and many aide organizations do not seem to agree. In fact, the U.S. sometimes spends millions of dollars, ensuring just the opposite. And while beloved organizations such as UNICEF keep millions of children alive, many believe it is better for children to live in temporary foster care than in a permanent family. The children of our world need your help to make a change. They need your help to live in a permanent family.

As a founding member of the Families For Orphans Coalition, Joint Council is proud to announce that the first step in making this much-needed change is upon us. In a bi-partisan effort, landmark legislation was introduced into Congress, which will ensure that U.S. government programs, policies and funding are directed towards a singular goal: a permanent family for every child.

The Families For Orphans Act (Senate Bill 1458 and House Bill 3070), sponsored by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) along with Representatives Diana Watson (D-CA) and John Boozman (R-AR) demonstrates our collective commitment to the millions of children living outside of permanent parental care and proactively addresses a global gap in the most basic of human rights - the right to a permanent family.

While the introduction of the legislation is an important first step, there is much more to be done. Now we must ensure that the Families For Orphans Act becomes the law of the United States. To do this, your voice is needed. Speak for those to cannot speak for themselves by supporting the Families For Orphans Act and joining our Call To Action.

What can you do?

Sign the Families For Orphans petition, make three simple phone calls, and get the word out! Here are the details...

1. Sign our Petition!

Sign the Joint Council Families for Orphans Petition
The Petition will be delivered to the U.S. Congress

2. Call Congress!

On July 28th, 29th, and 30th, call your three Members of Congress (two in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives).
You can find your Representative at http://www.house.gov/
You can find you Senators' at http://www.senate.gov/
Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff
For maximum effect, we are asking you to make these calls within this 72-hour window!

3. Get the word out!

Send this email to friends and family. Post to your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blog or website
What should you say or write to your Members of Congress?
This is an issue that is critical to children in need, so speak from your heart. Tell them why ensuring more children living in families is so important to you!
Ask your Senators and Representatives to become a Co-Sponsor of the Families for Orphans Act.

Please feel free to use the following text as a guideline when speaking with your Members of Congress.

"As a constituent of (insert the name of your Congressperson) we are requesting that you support the Families For Orphans Act by becoming a Co-Sponsor of the legislation. For information on becoming a Co-Sponsor, please contact Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator James Inhofe, Representative Diane Watson or Representative John Boozman. Thank you for representing your constituents by becoming a Co-Sponsor of the Families For Orphans Act (Senate Bill 1458 and House Bill 3070)."
More Information

For detailed information on the Families For Orphans Act visit:
The Joint Council website (http://www.jcics.org/)

For minute-by-minute updates, see Joint Council's page on Facebook
The websites of any Families For Orphans Coalition Member (see below)
The Families For Orphans Legislation
On behalf of Joint Council, the Families for Orphans Coalition and the children of our world, we thank you for helping through your support of the Families For Orphans Act.

Rebecca Harris
Government Relations and Communications Manager

The Families For Orphans Coalition

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Special Message from Dr. David Anderson - Safe Families Program

I wanted to send a brief email to let you know how the state's budget crisis is impacting Safe Families. We receive some money from DCFS to help run the Safe Families Program. We were notified late last week that the monies for Safe Families will be put on hold because of the budget crisis. In fact, all the monies that come from DCFS to Lydia Home are put on hold until a budget is passed. At this point, no one knows how long it will take before a budget is approved.

We need your help

1. Could you contact your state legislator and encourage them to aggressively work toward a balanced budget? There are divergent views on tax increases. Whatever side you stand on you could still encourage your legislator to work toward a resolution.

2. Without this money from the state, the Safe Families Program will struggle to make ends meet. Could you help us with a financial gift during this time that we will be without state funds? I'm hopeful the government will resolve this quickly. Please follow the link to make your on-line donation. Safe Families donation A gift of any size would be extremely helpful during this very critical time.

The Safe Families movement has always been a faith journey. The Lord has clearly brought us this far and I am confident He will continue to meet our needs at the very moment we need it. Thanks for your part in this movement.

The Lord gave me this verse earlier this week:

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9: 8

Help get the word out... The need for host homes is greater than ever. We are on track to place 800 - 1000 children this year. The need is especially urgent now as other social service programs are forced to close their doors because of finances. We are constantly looking for others who can join this movement. Please consider the following: Forward this email to families and friends. Contact your church to see if they would be open to a Safe Family presentation. If you quite haven't made the decision to take the next steps to be a Safe Family, click on http://www.safe-families.org/ to begin the process. Pray for this movement of compassion. Thank you for considering this worthy project.

For His Children,
Dr. Dave Anderson
Safe Families

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Safe Family Picnic - July 18!

The Safe Family Team from North Shore Willow Creek has set up a picnic and has invited the South Barrington Family and Friends as well!

These are the details:

Date: Saturday, July 18th
Time: 11am-2pm
Place: The Village Green (this is a park) in Northbrook (corner of Shermer and Meadow) look for the white gazebo! There is street and lot parking at the park.

We'll provide the lunch food items (Hamburgers, Hotdogs, and 3 summer sides)

Please bring your own drinks and a dessert to share!

We'll have picnic tables, but if you would like to bring a blanket and chairs, that would be a good back-up.
There is a great playground for kids and we'll also have a SF kickball game!

Please RSVP to Cecilia at AVoiceForHisChildren@gmail.com

Please include the number of people coming as we are providing food on a per-person basis.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Laptops for Nicaragua

Below is a message I received from Dick Anderson, the Executive Director of OrphaNetwork. OrphaNetwork serves orphaned and vulnerable children in Nicaragua. For more information you can visit their web site at www.orphanetwork.org or e-mail Dick Anderson at dick.anderson@orphanetwork.org.

Here's Dick's message:

"On my last visit to Nicaragua, we launched an Internet cafe in Nueva Vida (refugee camp created from Hurricane Mitch in 1998) at Pastor Berman's church. Thanks to a corporation that replaces the laptop computers of their top officers and leaders every two years, we were able to obtain 8 wonderful laptops which will serve the children in this community that previously had no internet access. The educational opportunities that this provides our children are tremendous. Pastor Berman is also drawing up business plans to open up an internet cafe to the community which would create profits to support the children.

If you have access or know of anyone who is replacing their laptops (easier to carry in our bags than desk tops) and would like to find a good use for them, please have them contact me. If they are in good condition but just an older model, we will be able to put them in play to help our children. We are small without any tech staff, so they must be in working condition. This next group will be allocated to our orphanage at El Canyon where we have almost 40 children and no computers.

Any help you can provide would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much for the interest in the children we serve in Nicaragua."