Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chinese Adult Adoptee Reunion 2010

First Chinese Adult Adoptee Worldwide Reunion 2010, Hong Kong
Theme: Journey Through Adoption
Wednesday, September 29 to Saturday, October 2, 2010
Register at www., then email by July 31st, 2010. (extended by Committee)

The reunion committee is comprised of Hong Kong & Chinese adoptee/orphan volunteers. We are planning our first adult adoptee reunion for September 29 – October 2, 2010 with the goal of coming together to share, support, and bond with other adoptees and orphans.

The reunion program will include group discussion sessions, social activities, and panel speakers. The program focuses on Hong Kong adoption because of the reunion location and availability of guest speakers.

We invite all Hong Kong and Chinese adult adoptees and orphans to register to attend this wonderful event. The planning committee is working with fellow adoptees around the globe, local Hong Kong agencies, and international adoption organizations to plan the program and schedule of social activities.

We hope our website will not only help you register for the reunion and plan your trip to Hong Kong but provide you with additional useful resources and information. We hope to hear from you even if you cannot make it to this reunion so that we can connect you with ongoing and future adoptee events, such as adoptee skype sessions, facebook, yahoo groups, and reunions in other countries. Please visit the Chinese Adult Adoptee Worldwide Reunion Website at

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Children's Closet

The Children's Closet, housed at Calvary Community Church in Schaumburg, provides support to DCFS & Safe families by supplying clothes for boys & girls and New Placement Packs with basic supplies. They also lend small child equipment to families with temporary placements.

Currently The Children's Closet is in need of the following:

* Boys clothing, size 12 and 18 months

* Girls clothing, size 10 and up

* Pack & Plays.
* Car Seats

If you would like to make a donation or are in need of any items contact Lisa at

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shelly's Story

The following, is a story that was featured in the recent Safe Families newsletter. It is written by our very own Shelly Forte from Willow Creek McHenry.

Two years ago I felt God leading me to serve His "least of these". During this time, I kept hearing about the Lydia Home ministry of Safe Families, and wanted to learn more. I had heard stories about families volunteering to open their hearts and homes to children whose families were in crisis, and felt God tugging at my heart about the matter. We have four children of our own so when I talked to my husband about Safe Families, you might imagine how he reacted! He said it sounded like a good ministry...for possibly a different "season" of our lives. So I prayed about it, and waited. For about a year....and then I became restless about the idea of our being able to minister to children in need right in our own home, and what a blessing and teaching opportunity it could be for all of us. This was also about the time when we had made the decision for me to leave my full time job to stay home and home-school the girls. This decision meant things would become pretty stretched financially as we went down to one income, but we knew we were following God. Right about that time, during one of his announcements on Sunday our pastor made a brief mention of Safe Families, and I felt that was the final "whisper" from God on the matter.

After prayerful consideration, my husband and I decided together to faithfully follow God's prompting and to open up our home as a Safe Family. Our children were excited, and we just really felt led to the ministry.

Last summer we had our first Safe Families placement. Since then we have hosted seven children in our home. From six days old right from the hospital to three years old... from a 4-day placement to a 3-month placement and everything in between, we have been blessed by the opportunity to serve these children and families in such a profound yet simple way. These children have truly taught us so much more about ourselves, our faith, and how God provides, and I am so excited about this ministry coming to our church.

This ministry has challenged us, rewarded us, and reminded us of why we are here. Our children love this in-house ministry and have grown spiritually as a result. And finally most important, we are serving these families in a way that God has called us to.

It is our prayer that others will uncover how He plans to use them for His glory through this ministry also.

Shelly Forte'

Friday, July 23, 2010

Impassable Borders

Although I personally have met families that have adopted across state lines, I think the following article is informative and eye-opening as to some of the problems that exist in our country's adoption laws. Let's pray together that these barriers, that keep children from having a forever family, will be removed.
"Interstate Barriers Keep Children in Foster Care, While Willing Parents are Ignored."

By Jeff Katz

For many years I ran an agency in Rhode Island that recruited families to adopt children from that state's child welfare system. Like many such organizations, we had a "waiting child" feature on a local television station. After one of our TV spots showed a seven-year-old black boy named Justin, I got a call from a woman in Massachusetts. She was a lawyer, and her husband was a doctor. Both were black. She told me that they had been considering adoption for several years. They saw Justin and were moved by his story. They prayed. And they decided that they would adopt this child.

But they couldn't. Rhode Island could not legally provide a homestudy to a Massachusetts family. And Massachusetts would not use state resources to prepare a family to adopt a child from another state. This situation repeats itself, every single day, in America. The simple fact is that it is virtually impossible to adopt a foster child across state lines in the United States.

In the most recent year for which we have data, states reported that 71 children were adopted from foster care across state lines by non-relatives. For perspective, consider the fact that the national weather service estimates that 600 Americans are struck by lightning each year. Despite common misperception, the problem is not a lack of people wanting to adopt a child from foster care. Analysis of the most recent National Survey of Family Growth shows 600,000 American women seeking to adopt a child. The vast majority was willing to adopt the kinds of foster children we label "hard to place": black and Hispanic kids, older kids, kids with disabilities. For every waiting child between 6 and 12, there were eight prospective parents.

Given the intensity of the need and the number of families willing to adopt, why is interstate adoption so rare? The primary reason is that we do not have a national adoption system. Instead, we have 50 different child welfare systems, each with its own process for adoption eligibility, recruitment, approval, and training. Even worse, our system has created disincentives for states to support adoptions across state lines. Each state pays the cost of recruiting and preparing its own families, with no compensation if the family adopts a child from another state. In other words, each interstate adoption has a "winner"� (the state that sends the child) and a "loser"� (the state that receives the child).

In the current system, it makes more sense to keep an in-state family waiting indefinitely than to match them immediately with a waiting child in another state. This issue is especially significant in large metropolitan areas that straddle state lines, such as New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Incredibly, this win-lose pattern holds true across county lines within many states.

There is a vast number of variables for both prospective parents and waiting children. Parents entering the system do much soul-searching to decide what kind of child they are able to parent. When a pediatric nurse in a small community says she wants to adopt a child with spina bifida or another developmental birth defect, she may wait years before one is available in her community. Meanwhile, 50 miles away, in another county, a child waits.

It is a national scandal that 25,000 children age out of foster care each year while willing adoptive parents are ignored because they are in the wrong state, or even the wrong county. We must change the incentives in our adoption system so that everyone wins when a child finds a forever family.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Galatians 6:9

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Orphan Sunday

On Sunday, November 7th, Christians around the world have the opportunity to be a voice for the estimated 143 million orphans around the world. I have the privilege of being one of the Illinois State Coordinators (Chicago area), whose goal is to encourage local churches to plan events for their congregations. The following is a press release from Orphan Sunday. Please prayerfully consider how you and your congregation can be a part of this important event. For more information, ideas and resources, visit

(919) 272-2004 July 15, 2010


Orphan Sunday Campaign Aims for 2,000 Local Events Nationwide

MCLEAN, VA — From Christianity Today to Catalyst, the biblical call to “defend the cause of the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17) is on hearts and minds of Christians in a way not seen in generations. Last year, the national Orphan Sunday campaign led by the Christian Alliance for Orphans helped stoke this movement to a new intensity, including more than 1,500 local Orphan Sunday events nationwide. The 2010 campaign aims for more than 2,000 events across America the weekend of November 7, 2010 calling Christians to adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry.

Each Orphan Sunday event is led by local Christians stirred by the plight of the orphan. For these advocates, Orphan Sunday is an opportunity to spread their passion in their church and beyond. It’s also a chance to add echo to a nationwide movement. Events are as diverse as their organizers, from prayer gatherings and sermons on God’s heart for the orphan to student-led fundraisers and foster family recruiting.

Alongside these local events, a national concert will be simulcast live from Colorado Springs to college and high school groups nationwide on the Friday of Orphan Sunday weekend. Featuring The Desperation Band and other artists, the event will challenge American youth to a vibrant, Gospel-centered faith that includes real sacrifice for “least of these,” including orphans.
More than 75 national organizations have joined forces in the Christian Alliance for Orphans to promote the 2010 campaign, including household names like Bethany Christian Services, Buckner, Focus on the Family, Show Hope and Family Life.

“Orphan Sunday calls the Church to make the Gospel visible,” said Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. “When Christians open their hearts and homes in adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry, we mirror the God who did the same for us.”
The website serves as a hub for the campaign, offering event ideas, downloadable materials and ways individuals can partner with orphan-serving ministries to hold local events. The site also contains a map of the country that will highlight local events nationwide as they are scheduled.

“The need of orphans is so vast that no government, no nonprofit can overcome it,” said Jodi Jackson Tucker, national coordinator for the Orphan Sunday campaign. “There’s only one potential source of the love, nurture and belonging that every orphan most needs: that’s the Church.”

There are more than 500,000 children in the foster system in the U.S. today, with nearly 130,000 waiting to be adopted. Globally, an estimated 15 million children have lost both parents. The Orphan Sunday campaign invites Christians to be God’s answer to these needs. As the 2010 Orphan Sunday video puts it, “We set the lonely in families because God set us in His.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Empowered To Connect" Conference

September 10-11, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee

Show Hope is partnering with Empowered To Connect to present the Empowered To Connect Conference on September 10-11, 2010, in Nashville, Tennessee.

This two day conference features sessions and workshops led by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Michael & Amy Monroe. All participants are highly encouraged to attend sessions on both days. Professionals will be eligible to receive CEU credit for their participation in the conference.

Day One of the conference is specifically designed for those focused on serving and supporting others, including social workers, agency professionals, church staff, adoption ministry leaders, counselors, therapists, adoption and orphan advocates, and others involved in adoption and foster care ministries or services.

Day Two of the conference is focused on the needs of adoptive and foster parents (both pre and post-adoption and foster care), but will be equally beneficial for professionals and ministry leaders. Throughout this day Dr. Purvis will explain many of the tools and strategies found in her book, The Connected Child.

Conference sessions will be held from 9am to 5pm on both days. Light refreshments will be provided during breaks throughout the event, with "on your own" lunch breaks scheduled from 12 to 1:30pm.

Early bird registration runs until August 11, so make your plans to attend.

Click the following link for more details and to register online.

For more information, visit our website at

Monday, July 19, 2010

Alliance Webinar Series

The Christian Alliance for Orphans Webinar Series is designed to help individuals like you create and grow effective adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry in local churches.

"The Safe Families Model"

Learn about a transformational alternative to foster care that makes the homes of local Christians and their church community the center of care. This model now serves more than 1,000 youth in the Chicago area each year, and is now being replicated by Alliance organizations and churches in seven states.

Host Church: Willow Creek Community Church

Presenters: Dr. David Anderson, Lydia Homes/Safe Families
Jackie Whitefield, Willow Creek Community Church

Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Time: 2:00 PM Eastern

To register, click:

Each 60-minute webinar in this series will give local advocates access to the knowledge and experience of top Alliance member churches and organizations nationwide, covering key topics on adoption, foster care and/or global orphan care. Every webinar will be hosted by a local church orphan ministry and co-presented by one or more national experts on the subject matter. This pairing will deliver a combination of specialist information and resources alongside a “here’s how it works in a real church” perspective.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Open your eyes both locally and globally. Pray for orphaned children, care for them, and make a place in your heart – and, Lord willing, in your home – for them. Study Scripture and know God’s heart for the orphan.

Rely on the local church as God’s answer for the orphan. Create orphan care ministries in your church that give everyone the opportunity to engage. Create partnerships with churches worldwide, affirming solutions from indigenous churches.

Prevent children from becoming orphaned through advocacy, HIV care and treatment, and general health and welfare efforts toward family reunification when appropriate.

Help with relief, and focus on long-term solutions that are sustainable and wholistic emphasizing education and community development.

Affirm the family as the best place for the healthy growth and development of a child and promote adoption as God’s idea for the health and healing of a child.

Negotiate ways for mobilizing ordinary people to become part of the life of an orphan. Not everyone can or should adopt, and not every child is eligible for adoption, but every person can care for a child who is vulnerable or orphaned.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Picnic 2010

On June 13th, foster, adoptive and Safe Families from Willow Creek North Shore, Willow Creek So. Barrington, and other area churches, joined together to enjoy a summer picnic. Parents had a great time of connecting with other foster & adoptive families while the kids enjoyed face-painting, animal balloons and a playground. We all enjoyed TONS of really great food! Thanks to all who came out. Here are a few pictures of our time together.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Adoption, Foster Care & Safe Families Gathering at Willow Creek

On Sunday, July 18th, DCFS trainer, and Evangelical Child and Family Licensing Worker, Joyce Moffitt will present on the topic, RACE MATTERS. This educational event will focus on the importance of a healthy understanding of race and culture for transracial adoptive, Safe Families and foster families. Whether you are just considering taking this step, or you have already begun traveling the life-changing adoption or foster care journey, this event will be valuable and encouraging. In addition their will be families in attendance who are well acquainted with the unique joys and challenges that you are likely to encounter and we would be delighted to encourage and support you in any way possible.

For those with a foster care license, Continuing Education Training Credits will be awarded.

Date: Sunday, July 18th, 2010
Time: 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Place: Willow Creek Community Church, room 107b (lower level near the Chapel) 67 E. Algonquin Road, So. Barrington IL 60010

Pot-luck meal will be served at 5:00. Please bring a dish to pass. Drinks will be provided.

Child care is available if you r.s.v.p. with the number of children and their ages at

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Family Retreats Scheduled Throughout 2010

Children's Home + Aid has partnered with the United Way to host a series of "Relationship Enhancement Retreats" throughout Illinois and Wisconsin. The retreats are free and open to couples who have adopted or taken guardianship of a foster child, as well as couples who are working toward adoption or guardianship. The 2010 schedule is as follows:

January 22-24
Clock Tower Resort (Rockford, IL)
Registration begins 9/21/09

March 26-28
Embassy Suites (Peoria, IL)
Registration begins 11/23/09

April 30-May 2
Country Inn & Suites (Galena, IL)
Registration begins 12/28/09

July 23-25
George Williams College (Williams Bay, WI)
Registration begins 3/8/10

September 17-19
Grand Geneva (Lake Geneva, WI)
Registration begins 5/17/10

November 5-7
Pheasant Run (St. Charles, IL)
Registration begins 7/6/10

The retreats are interactive and cover such topics as communication, committment, friendship, expectations, and conflict resolution. Fourteen (14) hours of continuing education credits are available to licensed foster families in Illinois. For more information, or to register for a retreat, please call Ann Seigel at (815) 720-2184.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Abba Changes Everything

Dr. Russell D. Moore

The following link is from Christianity Today's Cover Story called "Abba Changes Everything: Why every Christian is called to rescue orphans" by Russell D. Moore, posted 7/02/2010 08:59AM

I encourage you to take some time to ponder this thoughtful article. I'd love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Training Opportunity for Safe Families

Bridgebuilders - Session 2: Guidance on Building Relationships with Parents of Safe Family Kids

Join other Safe Families volunteers for the second of a three-part series on viewing poverty through a Biblical lens. You do not need to be a Safe Family and you do not have to attend all three parts to participate and benefit from any one event. Please mark your calendars for August 21, which is the last session!

Safe Families is built around the idea that what keeps people in poverty is isolation: a lack of stable and reliable relationships to support folks when a crisis strikes. The key to creating a better life for children in poverty is to become that missing support network for parents, in the short term and over the long run. Many of our volunteers have begun building relationships with the mothers of the children who are staying in their homes and continue that friendship after the children have been returned. This is hard work and that requires learning new things about ourselves and about others.

Joel Hamernick is helping us learn those things. He is the Executive Director of Sunshine Gospel Ministries on Chicago's south side and has extensive experience teaching suburban Christians who want to help under-resourced folks.

Here is what people said about the first session:

"What was taught was EXCELLENT. I was not sure I wanted to come, but am overjoyed that I did."

"The session opened my eyes/heart a bit further in trying to see the world and its people through God's eyes."

Saturday, July 17, 2010
10:00 - 2:00
Lunch will be provided ($5 donation requested)
Christ Community Church of St. Charles, Chapel
37W100 Bolcum Road, St. Charles, IL 60175

Please RSVP to Rebecca Cynamon-Murphy at or 773.653.2205. All interest-levels are welcome.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ethiopian Orphans Need Families

The Washington Post May 28, 2010

By Johnny Carr,
National Director of Church Partnerships,
Bethany Christian Services

Americans are adopting fewer orphans from overseas, except from one country: Ethiopia. But international adoption, sending an orphan to live with a family in another country, is most frequently not the best option for many children in need.

I recently returned from Ethiopia, traveling from the outskirts of Addis Ababa to Nazret and Hawassa, several hundred miles south of the city. We were there to meet with local pastors to discuss domestic orphan care. In Ethiopia, the orphan crisis did not receive the media scrutiny it deserved until recent years. High profile adoptions by celebrities including Angelina Jolie, and books, such as "There Is No Me Without You" by Melissa Faye Green, have helped educate many of us concerning the rapid acceleration of new orphanages in Ethiopia. I'm not talking one or two orphanages in a city, but rather five, six and seven orphanages within the span of a couple of years. But the crisis has not stemmed.

According to United Nations Human Development, United Nations International Children's Emergency and Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey, today there are an estimated 5 million orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia; 800,000 of them are AIDS orphans. The country's cities and villages are overwhelmed; Addis Ababa alone has more than 100,000 orphans. The system is overtaxed, and sadly, new orphanages are not the answer.
While most orphanages are built in good faith they are usually built in response to a crisis. In 2009, Americans adopted 2,277 Ethiopian children. It is easy to see that the numbers just do not add up even with the addition of other countries adopting from Ethiopia. We must be proactive in our approach and not just responsive. Orphanages should not be viewed as acceptable long-term solutions for children. Man has made orphanages for children, but God made the family for children. How then do we place as many children in families as possible?

Bethany Christian Services has started bringing together churches in the United States with churches in Ethiopia into long term foster care projects. These are one-on-one relationships; essentially, the U.S. church provides the necessary financing for foster care and the Ethiopian partner inspires its members to help find families and develop loving, local communities. The two churches coordinate their efforts in a symbiotic fashion, working not only on adoption issues, but also any other missions projects that they wish.

These figures I mentioned previously show that the future of Ethiopia's children is heading toward a crisis of epic proportion if measurable and immediate action is not taken. The existing structure of orphanages can only do so much and a large number of orphaned children still remain helpless. They are lost, confused, hungry and crying out for a family that will provide them with the basic human need: unconditional love.

We must continue to create other ways of putting children in families. We must continue to direct our efforts in and through the Church. It is our responsibility as believers - it is our honor and privilege to be able to serve the least of these.

For more information about the work of Bethany Christian Services, please visit

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Webinar Series for Church Orphan Ministries

The Christian Alliance for Orphans is excited to announce the summer schedule for its new monthly webinar series. The series is designed to help individuals like you create and grow effective adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry in local churches.

Each 60-minute webinar will give local advocates access to the knowledge and experience of top Alliance member churches and organizations nationwide, covering key topics on adoption, foster care and/or global orphan care. Every webinar will be hosted by a local church orphan ministry and co-presented by one or more national experts on the subject matter. This pairing will deliver a combination of specialist information and resources alongside a “here’s how it works in a real church” perspective.

The monthly webinars are offered free of charge to church orphan ministries nationwide. For Summer 2010, the schedule includes the sessions listed below.

Save the dates on your calendar today! To register, visit the Christian Alliance for Orphans web site at

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

How to Help without Hurting
As church groups nationwide head out on summer missions trips, learn key principles and practices to ensure that the long-term results are for good. Show an orphan the tangible love of Christ, building on principles that are practical, field-tested and useful for your next mission trip.
Host Church: Saddleback Church
Date: June 30 Time: 2 PM Eastern

The Safe Families Model
Understand the model being replicated in 7 states that essentially replaces the government foster system with the open hearts and homes of local Christians and their church community.
Date: July 28 Time: 2 PM Eastern

The Post-Placement Journey
Dr. Karyn Purvis and Michael Monroe present on equipping foster and adoption ministries to serve families through the joys and challenges of loving children from difficult places for the long-haul.
Date: August 25 Time: 2 PM Eastern

Church to Church Partnerships to Care for Orphans in Haiti
Practical advice, principles and practices for how your church can wisely partner with indigenous churches to care for orphans in Haiti and beyond.
Date: September 29 Time: 2 PM Eastern

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Adoption Update: Costa Rica

The following information is taken from the blog of The Joint Council on International Children's Services.


Costa Rica is in Central America and has one of the highest standards of living in that region. With a booming tourism industry and an expanding investment in renewable energy sources, Costa Rica's unemployment rate is 6.4%. Costa Rica also has a long relationship with promoting and encouraging democracy and human rights, and has recently elected Laura Chinchilla of the National Liberation Party to be President. During Chinchilla’s campaign she made a promise to advocate on behalf of children and women. UNICEF estimated that 36,000 children, or 2% of the country’s children, are orphaned.

Intercountry Adoption:

The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI) is the authority that regulates child welfare, including domestic and intercountry adoptions for Costa Rica. PANI encourages adoption by Costa Rican citizens before intercountry adoption. PANI allows the international adoption of abandoned children who are five years or older, unless the child has siblings or would be difficult to place due to medical conditions. The requirements for parents who want to adopt vary depending on the adoption service provider. PANI requires that prospective parents must be between the ages of 22 and 55 and that foreign couples must be married for more than five years.

Costa Rica recently become party to the Hague Adoption Convention in 2008 in order to increase the safety and protection of abandoned children in the country. PANI emulates the Hague Convention’s goals, and also has their own mission, which is to promote and ensure “the rights and full development of minors and their families.” Due to past cases of abuse, PANI now prohibits private adoption in order to protect the children and parents from scams and fraudulent adoptions; all adoption cases must be processed through PANI.

For a list of Joint Council member organizations who work in Costa Rica, click on the following link.

Children’s Welfare:

Unfortunately, Costa Rica has a negative history with child trafficking and abduction cases. In 2008, there were 692 reported cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children, with only 337 perpetrators convicted; this information was provided by the “2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.” In order to cease child exploitation, PANI has created programs to care for children in danger, and has so far offered help to youths in 51 cases of commercial sexual exploitation. PANI also works alongside UNICEF to ensure the protection of Costa Rican children. UNICEF has helped PANI facilitate the creation of 13 local offices and to hire 95 local child protection officials.