Monday, May 30, 2011

Illinois Cuts Christian Foster Agencies' Freedom to Make Placement Decisions

Please be in prayer about this very important issue that is affecting foster care and adoption in our state.

May 27, 2011
Written By: Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans

Mirroring scenarios being played out in multiple states, the application of a new Illinois law denies Christian foster agencies the right to make child placement decisions as they have in the past. Previously, Christian agencies that desired to place children only with married couples were free to refer unmarried or gay couples to other agencies. The new law bans this freedom-of-conscious practice for any agency that has a contract with the state. At least one agency—the Catholic Diocese of Rockford—has felt forced by the law to choose between its religious convictions and continuing services it has provided for years. The Diocese currently serves about 2,300 of the 15,000 children in the foster-care system.

The most chilling aspect of this new law is that the state appears so ready to trample the religious liberty of quality Christian organizations. It is a denial of the very tolerance the new law purports to advance. True tolerance would allow pluralism and diversity, enabling religious organizations to remain consistent with their religious conviction.

The Miami Herald reports on this issue in an article published today

A recent op-ed by Tricia Fox, CEO of Catholic Charities of Peoria, argues that exemption should be to protect the free exercise of religious conviction in “Civil Unions and Faith-Based Agency Rights Can Co-exist,” (

The current newsletter of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance—which provides tremendous thought leadership in identifying and countering threats to religious liberty—offers a further window into similar efforts taking root around the country and in Congress. (

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Church Adoption Funding Webinar

What is the #1 barrier to Christian families adopting?


Join LifeSong for Orphans for a church adoption fund webinar on June 16th at 2pm CST to learn the most common barriers to churches creating Adoption Funds...and Lifesong's Solutions to overcome the hurdles!

Register now to reserve your spot!

Once upon a time from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Red Card Kids Curriculum for Families

The Red Card Kids ministry works to advocate for children at risk by creating curriculum for churches and families to use in order to better educate themselves and others to the needs of these children.

Check out this video at for more information about Red Card Kids curriculum.

* The program is not a “self-serving” program to advance its own specific agenda. Instead it encourages families to find a way to participate in one or more concrete ways using an ever-growing list of projects sponsored specifically by other missions.

* The target audience of the curriculum – families. We want to encourage and empower children to become advocates for the largest unreached group in the world – their own peers – children at risk.

* The lessons and activities are highly interactive and interesting for all participating.

* By having parents participate in meaningful activities with their children, we build family unity.

* By engaging children at a young age to recognize they do not have to be an adult to make a significant contribution, they will develop lifelong habits of praying, interceding, and contributing in a variety of ways.

* It extends beyond the classroom to the home and neighborhood.

* There are significant opportunities for involvement, including the suggestion to explore how your church is already involved with children at risk.

* The final beneficiary will be the 1.2 billion kids who need our help.

* The appeal of “a course in a box” makes it easy for a church to sponsor the program and reduce the preparation time for the teacher, thereby significantly increasing the appeal and usage of the program. Everything needed for promotion, preparation, and presentation of the curriculum is included on the CD/DVD set.

* Promotional materials are customizable by the church to include their name, logo, and contact information.

For more information visit

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Day on the Farm

Join Willow Creek Community Church’s (all campuses)
Adoptive, Foster and Safe Families

A Day on the Farm
Family Picnic and Service Project

Saturday, June 11, 2011
7:30am – 3:00pm (come as early as you can)
3N645 Ponderosa Drive, St. Charles, IL

Recently purchased by the Scott family from Willow Creek Community Church, the Leap of Faith Farm property has been abandoned for 5 years.

Our desire is to spend a day working on repair and clean-up projects on the property to make it into a wonderful haven for abandoned and abused children who have been adopted or in foster care, as well as veterans of war.

Leap of Faith Farm will eventually provide healing for through meaningful connections with animals, the environment, and the community.

Children are welcome. There will be activites and work projects for all ages. Children will also be supervised in caring for the animals. Please bring potted flowers for the smaller children to plant.

A catered picnic will be served.

Please r.s.v.p. to Dina at It is important that you include the number of children and their ages.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Buckner Seeks Volunteers to Deliver Shoes to Orphans in Russia & Ethiopia

DALLAS, TX – Shoes for Orphan Souls is currently accepting applications for trips to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and St. Petersburg, Russia this fall. Both trips are scheduled from Oct. 6-15.

The trip to Russia will focus on delivering shoes to and bonding with children in orphanages.

Reb Wayne went to Russia with Shoes for Orphan Souls in November 2007. A native of Austin, Texas, he said the cold was a shock, but the trip was worth every minute.
“When we got to the orphanage and I was told we were their first visitors in a year. I understood my purpose and it was life altering,” Wayne said.

He has been back to Russia once since that trip and plans to go again later this year. He has kept in touch with several people from his original mission trip team, and said that besides those friendships, the biggest blessing has been working to raise funds to sponsor two young boys he met at one of the orphanages he visited.

Travelers to Ethiopia can expect much warmer climates.

The Ethiopia trip involves spending time with children in the communities, distributing shoes and putting on a Vacation Bible School.

Leona Wynne went on the first Buckner mission trip to Ethiopia in November 2009. She said she was struck by the beauty of the country and the contentedness of the people.

“When we arrived at the school where we would be working with 200 young children, they were all in a huge circle singing a song of welcome,” Wynne said. “Afterward the mayor of the village called Getahun, the country director for Buckner, to let him know how appreciative the people were to have us visit and share our hearts and much-needed shoes.”

“I think it’s important not only to get out of my comfort zone but to see how other cultures live and not assume I know what their experience is from what I’ve seen on the news,” Wynne said. “The first thing I noticed in Ethiopia was how happy and joy-filled they were with very little of what we’re used to.”

For more details, view the trip flyer for Russia at and for Ethiopia at or call

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Local Adoption/Foster Care Conference This Weekend!

Open Hearts, Open Homes Conference

The Chapel’s Fourth Annual Foster Care, Safe Families, and Adoption Conference sponsored by the Compassion for Kids Ministry.

8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The Chapel:330 S. Old Rand Rd., Lake Zurich, IL

Registration is $30 and includes a light breakfast, coffee, a catered lunch, a variety of breakout sessions, resources,networking opportunities, and DCFS training hours.

For more information and to register, go to

God cares deeply about children who need families.
And he calls us to care for these children too.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and
widows in their distress” (James 1:27, NIV).

This need is as real today as it was in James’ day. Attend the conference and discover how God might be calling you to care for children in need!

This year’s keynote presentation will be given by Todd Wilson, adoptive parent
and senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois.

BREAKOUT Sessions:

Beginning Your Adoption Journey (Bethany Christian Services)
This session will cover the opportunities available to adopt children internationally and domestically. The process involving application, home study, foreign country procedures, profile development, and legal issues, as well as other relevant topics will be discussed.

Discovering Our Unique Role— Men Only (RICK EGBERT, Pastor of Campuses, The Chapel)
Sorry, ladies, this session is only for us guys. We’re going to eat man snacks, make man sounds, and talk man-talk. If you’re a dude and considering or actively involved in adoption, foster care or Safe Families, join us for a spirited talk about your God-given role.

Breaking Through Barriers– Understanding Sensory Processing in Children
(Connections Day School)
Parents will learn about the seven senses, how they contribute to our day-to-day functioning, and what it looks like when one (or more) of these systems “aren’t right.” We will also discuss strategies and activities parents can use at home with their children to help alleviate
the challenges that come with sensory processing difficulties.

The Heart Gallery Of Illinois
The Heart Gallery of Illinois is a gallery of professional portraits of children in the foster care system who are eligible for adoption. In this session we will discuss how these children get chosen, what we can do to prepare our hearts and homes for the special needs of these hard to place kids. Find out how you can get involved with the Heart Gallery in your own church or community to create awareness and advocate for these precious children.

The Ministry of Foster Care (One Hope United)
The mission of Foster Care is the reunification of children and their families. Foster Care families and the staff at One Hope United play the dual role of protecting children and strengthening families. This overview will shed some light on the foster parent’s very important role in this complex, but rewarding, process.

Encouraging Healing and Coping Behaviors in Kids with Tough Starts
How do we convey the love of Christ and teach coping behaviors to children who struggle with quick tempers and intense reactions? Attendees will discuss approaches for teaching a child to trust, to wait, to lose their temper in a moderated manner, and calm more quickly after a “melt-down.”

The Trans-racial Family (Evangelical Child and Family Agency)
This session will provide an overview of the stages of racial awareness, including how to answer challenging questions from your child, family, friends, and the community. The session will also include an interview of a foster/adoptive mother and her trans-racially adopted, 15-year-old daughter.

Funding Adoption (Lifesong for Orphans)
The cost of adoption can be a challenge. This workshop will give you practical tips on removing the financial barriers to adoption through innovative funding tools, including turn-key solutions to Church Adoption Funds, and effective Adoption Grants & Loans. Learn more about Lifesong for Orphans at

Special Panel Discussion: During lunch we will hear several amazing stories of how compassion has been shown to kids. Members of the panel include a long-time foster mom, a single foster dad, adoptive parents, and an adult adoptee. Attendees will also have the opportunity to submit questions to the panel.

Contact Laura Grimes at or call 847.281.3438 with questions or to volunteer for the conference. For more information and to register, go to

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hope for Orphans Institute

The Hope For Orphans Institute is a new initiative that addresses various critical issues in the local church orphans ministry movement, equipping lay leaders and pastors as well as the professionals that serve them. One of the most important issues facing adoption advocates within the church today is the growing number of at-risk, special needs and older child adoptions among believers.

Several changes in the adoption landscape in recent years have led to this increase. However, as a result, ill-equipped families may be at a greater risk for disruption than ever. This two-day event will also equip local church orphans ministry leaders and advocates to be a blessing to families adopting at-risk, special needs and older children.

Some of the country’s leading professionals in the field will share invaluable insights and biblical wisdom about how the local church can best serve these children and their families. Click here for more information on the speaker panel.

The Hope Center
2001 W Plano Parkway
Plano, TX, 75075

September 16 - 17, 2011
Early Bird Registration (through 6/15/2011): $99.00 per person

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Parent & Child Story Time

Summer is just around the corner. What better way to enjoy the summer than with a good book with your child!

Please come join The Chapel's "Compassion for Kids" Ministry for a story time and related art activity.

The story topics they will be reading will be on foster care and adoption.

Story: Wished for You: an Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond
Art Activity: What are your wishes? Make a creation out of clay or draw a picture of your wish.

Extended home activities: Do you have wishes for your mom, dad and birth family? What are they?

•Saturday, June 4 10 a.m. – Chapel Grayslake, 25270 W IL Route 60
•Wednesday, June 8 10 a.m. – Chapel Libertyville, 1200 American Way

Story: Forever Fingerprints by Sherrie Eldridge

Art Activity: Fingerprint painting that represents yourself and your families.

•Saturday, July 9 11 a.m. – Chapel Grayslake, 25270 W IL Route 60
•Monday, July 11 10 a.m. – Chapel Libertyville, 1200 American Way

Story: God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Art Activity: Make a picture of you and your families

Extended home activities: Begin your lifebook or create another page of your lifebook.

•Saturday, August 6 10 a.m. – Chapel Grayslake, 25270 W IL Route 60
•Wednesday, August 3; 10 a.m. – Chapel Libertyville, 1200 American Way

If you are interested in being a volunteer for a story time contact Laura Grimes at Small fee charged. Check back later to register.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Really Cool Opportunity for Children Adopted from China

The following message is from Jenny Bowen, Founder and CEO of Half The Sky, an organization that supports orphans in China.

The national training program that will finally allow Half the Sky to bring a caring adult into the life of every orphaned child will officially launch on Children’s Day, June 1. It will be called The Rainbow Program. This Children’s Day, we ask for voices instead of money.

We told you that great things are about to happen for China’s orphans. Now we call all adopted children who began their lives in China to join us in celebration at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing!

On June 1st, Half the Sky and orphaned children from welfare institutions all over China will come together to celebrate a remarkable new era by singing together – “Let the World Be Filled with Love.” Through the magic of the internet, we invite all Chinese adoptees around the world to join us onstage!

Simply visit our website ( and follow the directions to download a singalong video. Then videotape your child or children listening to playback through earphones and singing along. When you have a video ready to submit, email us at and we’ll tell you how. We will take all the individual videos and bring them together into one incredible film that will be projected behind a live children’s chorus. You can be sure that we’ll make a DVD of this extraordinary event available to all who participate.

It is not important to sing the words perfectly – children who know no Mandarin at all can participate. What is important is that our children – wherever they are in the world – have the opportunity to stand behind their little sisters and brothers in China as we celebrate this dream come true.

There’s no time to waste. Our deadline for submission is midnight on May 15!

Come truly be a part of our One Big Family.

With love and gratitude,

Jenny Bowen, Founder and CEO

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Asian Cuisine Class Benefits Adoptions from Asia

A west suburban fundraising committee is hosting a great little cooking event for Gift of Adoption Fund on Sunday, May 15, from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. at Kendall College, (900 North Branch, Chicago).

It is a unique opportunity to learn about how to cook Asian cuisine from Kendall College professors in their instructional kitchens. The funds raised will directly support the adoption of a child from Asia.

During the event, you will learn to cook Shitake Potstickers with Ponzu Dipping Sauce,
Cucumber Salad , Chicken Pad Thai, Beef Stir Fry with Udon Noodles, Lemon Grass Bread Pudding with Raspberry Sauce.

The tickets are $85 per person which includes the cooking class, a tasting reception/cocktail party and a copy of the recipes to take home. It is a great ladies event!

For more information or to R.S.V.P. visit

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May is National Foster Care Month...You Can Change a Lifetime!

Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to shine a light on the experiences of the more than 400,000 children and youth in the foster care system. The campaign raises awareness about the urgent needs of these young people and encourages citizens from every walk of life to get involved – as foster or adoptive parents, volunteers, mentors, employers or in other ways.

With the help of dedicated people, many formerly abused or neglected children and teens will either reunite safely with their parents, be cared for by relatives or be adopted by loving families. Many children would not have to enter foster care at all if more states provided support and services to help families cope with crises early on.

Thanks to the many advocates, child welfare professionals, elected officials and support groups around the country, the total number of children in foster care has decreased over recent years. But more help is needed.

Every year, approximately 30,000 young people leave the foster care system without lifelong families – most at age 18. On their own, these young adults must navigate a weakened economy offering fewer jobs and less support for vital services such as housing. They need – and deserve – caring adults who love and support them.

We call on all Americans to join us in helping to change a lifetime of a child or youth in foster care. No matter who you are or how much time you have to give, you can help create permanent, lifelong connections for these children and youth.

All children — including the 424,000 American children and youth in foster care — deserve a safe, happy life. Young people in foster care especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them.

For more information visit

Willow Creek Community Church will be hosting a Foster Care Prayer Vigil on Sunday, May 15th from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. for more details, see the April 25th post on this blog.