Adoption and the Church: The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful~ Traci Cline

This week’s blog comes from Traci Cline, ROOMs Board President. Traci’s heart for caring for children and families has a long history and stretches across her entire family. We are thankful for the compassion and empathy she brings to our team and how she always leads by example. 

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27 NIV

There are many ways to look after the orphans and widowsThere are many ways to show love and to offer support and guidance.  For my family, adoption and orphanage care have been the way we have lived out this verse. These ideas didn’t just grow over night. We didn’t wake up one day and know exactly how to live this out, it has been decades in the making.

It all started with my first mission trip to the Philippines. While there, I met a seven-year-old girl named Mica and fell in love with her. She was dangerously thin and filthy, and she had pink eye in both eyesTruth be told, by worldly standards, she wasn’t cute.  But her smile It lit up her pink eyes and the teeth that were too large for her tiny frame. We got to know each other, and each day she would say “Traaacceee, I lob you.” I loved her too, and I dreamed of what life would be like if I could take her home. Through that time, I realized then that I had the capacity, through Christ, to love any child with an unconditional love.

Fastforward several years, past several more mission trips, to a crowded, hot room at the Social Welfare Institute in Guangzhou, China. My husband and I had traveled with my sister and her husband to be a part of their adoption of my first niece.  We sat and witnessed eleven anxious families receive the baby they had long been awaiting. As the babies were carried from across the hall and placed in the arms of their forever family, a light bulb came on for me: “This is it:  this is taking care of the orphans.This is beautiful. This is pure and faultless. This/these children are my mission.

Wsoon started our own long, winding process of adopting biological siblings, ages 4 and 5, from TaiwanAdoption was the only thing that made sense to us. There were too many children who needed homes, so many who needed someone to say yes to them. We were ecstatic with our choice as were many of our friends and family.

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After bringing home our own kids we realized we needed/wanted to do more. We became involved with ROOM and through ROOM we helped our church become connected with an orphanage in Honduras. We have made lasting relationships with the kids there and learned their needs. Because of this relationship this orphanage is now a cleaner, safer place to live. 

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We need more people interested in getting to know the needs of orphanages. We need more people willing to stand in the gap. We need to be the church who cares for orphans. There are an estimated 153 million orphans in the world (source: Unicef, 2011)Whether you are in a child-raising stage of life or notyou can partner with organizations looking to improve the orphans overall quality of life. You can partner with individual orphanages, local and abroad. Find out their truedeep needs — not just sending them once-a-year Christmas presents. We need to be willing to support or be adoptive parents, to support or be foster parents.  We need to be willing to support the caregivers who care for children who have no parents. 

We need to care about the orphans, some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. We need to show them God and His love.

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The Beauty of Relationships~Kacey Bolin Barahona

This week’s blog comes from Kacey Barahona (Bolin).  After the loss of her son, Jesús, Kacey struggled with understanding her purpose and vision in Honduras. However, the Lord reminded her that her purpose and vision is the same: Love is transforming. The same love that transformed her son, herself, the community they live in, so many that have witnessed their love, and her family has the power to transform us all.  Jesús’ legacy is a legacy of Jesus’ transformational love. And I am so proud of how Kacey has carried that forward into her love of Hogar Enmanuel.

Hogar Enmanuel has been a place that has helped my hurting heart heal so much. This year our relationship has grown and I have felt more like a part of their family than ever. After losing Jesús their arms were open to me. Through Hogar Enmanuel hope has born into my heart. It is one of the few places I am seeing beauty arise from these ashes.

 

What I love so much about Enmanuel is the relationship we have formed. It did not come quickly or super easily. Both I and the staff had our share of reservations. But with each visit a beautiful relationship began to form. In the past year alone they have shouldered the grief and pain of losing my son with me. And they have welcomed me to shoulder with them the burden of trying to raise nearly 100 kids when all too often they have less than they need.

They have poured out their love on me. I have poured out all the love I have on them.

Something beautiful has formed from this.  We have genuine relationship.

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Something changed for me when each of them chose to hug and love me in my most broken state. They have seen my tears, wrapped their arms around me, and committed themselves to encouraging me through the good and difficult days.

Something changed for them when I worked my way under the burden they carried and found a place to shoulder it with them.

We know we are in this together.

I can truly trust them because I know they truly love me. And they can truly trust me because I truly love them.

Now we are seeing God do incredible things. Our relationship has brought a partnership that is founded on love, understanding, and hope. Together we talk about the most basic needs and the biggest of dreams.

They confidently share their needs and dreams with me because they know while they continue their job I will do mine.

I will do everything I can to amplify their voice. I would hold their needs and dreams like a burden upon my shoulder and do all I can to see them come alive.

It is not a heavy burden. Alone, it is a burden too heavy for them. It is a burden we can carry together.

As ROOM we can use our resources to meet needs. We can use our reach to raise funds for their needs and connect others. We can share the needs and dreams with all of you. We can use our relationships with other ministries to make more happen.

We can do what we do best- share about the amazing homes, staff, and children we have relationships with and show the world how to get involved.

We can keep dreaming with them, pray with them, and work with them to see needs met and dreams come alive.

We are seeing it happen.

An empty supply closet was refilled.

Nutrition improved.

A discipleship program started for the teenage boys.

The youngest children started learning about Jesus.

These dreams are already happening. And we are still dreaming!

We are believing to see kid’ s church come to the kids that are too small to go!

We are dreaming for team building and staff discipleship and training activities.

We are dreaming for supplies to make the kitchen safer.

We are dreaming for more staff that can fill in gaps.

We are dreaming for nutrition to continue to improve.

We are dreaming.  We are seeing these things come true.

I never imagined my relationship with a children’s home could be what my relationship with Hogar Enmanuel is. Together we are seeing God do incredible things. The staff is dreaming again. They know there are people that love them. They know their voice is being heard. They are encouraged and hopeful.

Relationship matters because it goes beyond what I can do for you. Relationships says I love you before it says anything else. Relationship says we both have something to offer. We both matter. Relationship says together is better than alone. In relationship we spur each other on. Relationship funnels the power and the love of our God to earth and incredible things begin to happen.

This is just the beginning.

To learn how you can connect to and help fill crucial needs at homes like Hogar Enmanuel, please email kacey.bolin@gmail.com or kyleandcassiem@makeroom.org!