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“God didn’t call us to easy” Testimony of the Knights

From our FIG Awassa Directors Greg and Charisa Knight:

The beginning: 17 years ago with a momma’s heartcry and a dad’s face to face visit with orphaned children.

The blessing: 2 crazy loved Ethiopian boys who have rocked our world and the HUGE privilege of being able to serve hand in hand with our Ethiopian brother and sisters bringing hope to children and families in Awassa through Project HOPEFUL Awassa 

There is so much more to these stories that I think I would have to have a 2 hour video. I am going to sum them up quickly with Things I Have Learned Through Adoption:

1) Don’t put God in a box.  My boxes that God busted open:

  We put under age 3 because I didn’t want to full with “baggage” (Ab was almost 6 when he came home to us)
  I am not traveling with Greg because I can’t handle it (terrified of planes!)    (God said yes, you can )
  I don’t want to meet or have any relationship with birth family. It’s too emotionally complex.  (We did and now have a beautiful      relationship with them and I can’t imagine not having it! I am sooo glad God busted that one!)
  special needs parameters.  We went from “minor correctable special needs” to wishing we had opened that up more during our    adoption to now if we were currently do an adoption would much broader and include HIV. Be sure to keep an open mind and heart for that decision.

2) Remember that God is faithful. 

When we accepted our first referral for a little guy who was 7 months old, the whole slow down in Ethiopa happened and I was a mess thinking that the […]

About to Jump…

This post is by our Waiting Child Director, Jenni Johnston:

Our home is about to be open to foster children. I keep going back and forth between being super excited and super depressed about the whole thing. I’m so excited to see what God has in store for our family. I’m excited to see the miracles and lives changed forever because we gave God our YES.  We didn’t give God our “super pumped up, I want to change the world!!” YES. We gave him our “fine, I guess… since things didn’t play out our way” YES.

2013 has been my nightmare.

Starting in 2011, I began begging my husband and God for a little girl in Russia, who had HIV. I had seen her picture and knew she was my daughter. It took 11 months of me crying, praying, and yelling for my husband to feel the same way. Those were some bad months!  I began to see my husband as the obstacle in my way rather than the love of my life. We ended up in marital counseling… Not my best moment. The problem was, I KNEW, without a doubt, she was my daughter. I no longer could focus on anything else.

March 2012: My husband came home and said God changed his mind. We started the process and got to meet our princess on November 26, 2012. It was AMAZING.

She and Josh bonded. She was so proud of her new father!

When it was time for us to leave we promised her we would be back for court in a couple months. She cried and said she would wait for us.

By the end of December there were rumors about US/Russian adoptions being banned. As the weeks passed it […]

The Orphan Crisis Without Adoption

We could spend hours or days (or longer) debating the question of whether everyone is “called” to adopt or whether it is even a call or a command or whether the Church is necessarily failing because everyone hasn’t adopted.  Today, we set those questions aside and talk about non-adoption options for supporting orphans, or maybe even preventing them.  Let’s discuss “caring for widows and orphans in their distress.”  James 1:27.

Project HOPEFUL operates a number of programs specifically designed to address the needs of widows and orphans in the countries where we operate.  For example, our Hope + Sisterhood program in Uganda, Ethiopia, and soon, Guatemala, partners women and families from the United States with women who are HIV positive from these countries.  The goal of the program is to give the women a “hand up” out of poverty and to help them become self-sustaining as a family.  Many of the women in our program are widows or have been abandoned by husbands upon learning of their positive HIV status.  Most have children, some of whom are positive.  Rather than continue the cycle of poverty and relinquishment for adoption, the Sisterhood seeks to empower these women to start businesses and use the financial support they receive for six months to plan for the future and family sustainability.  For more information about our Hope + Sisterhood, check out our website:  http://projecthopeful.org/hope-sisterhood/

Village of Hope cares for special needs orphans in San Lucas, Guatemala and teaching them about the love of Jesus Christ.  VoH welcomes families and children into its “Village” where these individuals are loved on by house parents, provided food, shelter and education.  The goal is to create a loving home where the people we serve […]

Addicted to God Through the Orphan

This post is by our staff member, Jen Knapp:

Two years ago today, with great anticipation, I boarded a flight for Accra, Ghana. My husband stayed back with our other two daughters. I was finally going to bring Juliana home! The last six months of our second adoption had not gone at all how we expected. Not a surprise…now that we’re veterans! It was like a bad dream you couldn’t wake up from. Everything that was supposed to happen didn’t. Every promise that was made was broken. Every extra
documentation the Embassy asked for wasn’t enough.

Friends fasted. Neighbors cried. Government officials petitioned. We could not find favor in getting Juliana her Visa to come home. Thirteen weeks felt like thirteen years.

Until. God showed up.

He showed up in a very unexpected, powerful way through the organization I am writing this post for. Out of no where, I was reminded about an article I had read the previous winter. The article was in People Magazine about the founder of Project HOPEFUL. God prompted me to remember this article SO THAT I could find them at the right time. It seemed like God wanted to manifest his power and presence through the favor of this organization. And He did just that. Project HOPEFUL was used by the Lord to bring justice to a part of our adoption case that was unjust.

I was reminded again this past weekend of the responsibilities I have as a follower of Christ to grow up. To mature. The bible says in 1 Peter “like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” [1 Peter 2:2-3]. […]

Adoption Is Not About You

A post from our staff member, Deb Steiner

There is an article circulating on Facebook right now entitled, “Marriage is not for you.”  As a single person, I read the title and thought, “You got that right.  Apparently.”  Ha!  But then I read the article and realized that the title was just one part of what this husband was saying.  Marriage is not for you . . . it’s for family and for your spouse.  It’s laying down SELF for another person (and family) in a total and complete way.  It’s not about you.  

November is adoption awareness month, and I’m just going to say it:  Adoption is not for you.

I am a huge advocate for adoption in those cases where a child is truly in need of a family (more on that in another post).  My brothers were adopted; my three children were adopted; I have supported countless friends in their adoptions.  It would be crazy to think I’m anything other than an {huge} adoption advocate.

And yet . . .

I don’t want you to adopt.  I don’t want you to adopt if you think it’s a fad.  I don’t want you to adopt if you are doing it for your ego or to receive accolades from people you do and don’t know.  I don’t want you to adopt if you have a savior complex.  I don’t want you to adopt if you are filling a God-sized hole in your heart.  I don’t want you to adopt if you intend to treat your children who were adopted differently than your biological children.  {This seems painfully obvious.}  I don’t want you to adopt if you think you have to.  I don’t want you to adopt if you can’t say now that it’s FOREVER.  Please, don’t adopt.

Over the last couple of years we have seen […]

Pearls, anyone?

A post by our FIG director, Traci Heim:

I’ve been thinking about orphans lately.
Shocking, I know.
I talk often with people about all aspects of adoption, and cost is something that always comes up.

Always.

So today I’m thinking about orphans and cost.

I will tell you that cost is a widely misunderstood concept; most often because its scope has been minimized to something as inconsequential as dollars and cents.

As in: How much does the typical adoption cost?

In monetary terms, one could say that the average eastern European adoption of an HIV+ child lands right around $24,000 to $27,000.

Is that it?
Is that the cost in its entirety?

I recently heard a TV evangelist caution people considering adoption to “count the cost.”
He eluded to mental illness, sexual abuse, and behavioral issues as things to very carefully consider. It was clear that he considered it far to high a price to pay; the underlying message was that in his mind, these children weren’t worth the cost.

Here’s the thing.
He wasn’t wrong to identify those areas as areas that cost something.
They do.
Where he was absolutely wrong was in assuming that the price was too high.

The true answer to what an adoption costs is:

IT COSTS EVERYTHING.

IT COSTS YOUR LIFE.

IT IS WORTH IT.

What we all need to understand is that every person,
every child,
every orphan
is worthy of the cost.

We know this because Jesus paid for our salvation with his life.
How can the redemption of someone else not cost us the same?

He died to redeem us.

In adoption, we live to redeem them.

Matthew 13:45
The kingdom if Heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all he had and bought it.

Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said suffer little children, and […]

Not Impressed.

A post from Tesney Davis:

Rescue those unjustly sentenced to die. Don’t hesitate to step in and help. If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business.” Will that get you off the hook? God knows what you know. He’s not impressed with weak excuses. -Proverbs 24:11-12, NLT & The Message mash-up

Since God first wrecked our lives in a most excellent (and most difficult) way through adoption, I’ve gone back and forth, to and from extremes. At first I was all “full throttle ahead, everyone should adopt, and why aren’t they” with my approach.

Then I felt The Lord pressing me to be a little more graceful. I felt him nudging me to be quiet for a while, to listen, offer support, and to let him change hearts. I started learning more about adoption. I visited other countries and saw first-hand how family preservation is so much better IF it’s feasible. I got in touch with Kirill’s birth mom, learned his birth story from her perspective, and realized that family of origin is always the best option. But it isn’t always an available option. 

For Kirill, and most orphaned children with intensive special needs, adoption is probably the only solution. This is where my passion has been re-ignited over the past few months. I’ve felt God telling me it’s time to speak up again. Maybe a little more boldly than ever on behalf of orphaned children with special needs.

Orphaned children with special needs. Let’s talk about that. Let’s allow the reality of their situations to sink in for a moment. A child with special needs with a loving, nurturing family will have some obstacles to overcome. A child with special needswithout a family…well, their obstacles are almost insurmountable. Depending on the country, […]

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    I know why you THINK you can’t adopt or be involved in foster care….

I know why you THINK you can’t adopt or be involved in foster care….

A post from one of our staffees, Jenny Clark:Orphan Sunday 2013. (On this day last year, I announced on my blog that I was officially starting the process to adopt a child with Down syndrome. I would have NEVER imagined that a short 71/2 months later that baby would be born and become mine.) I know why you think you can’t do it, because I used to think it too. And I know why we think that way. One reason is that we have convinced ourselves that we are not “called”. Our Western churches teach us that we are required to show up for church each week, and give money to support that church. We are required to be “good people” so we can make it to heaven. The rest, we are told, is based on “being called”. No need to go on a mission trip if you are not called. No need to help the poor unless you feel called. No reason to reach out to widows if you don’t feel called. Worst of all we have been taught that we can spread the Gospel just by our actions or inviting someone to church. If you don’t feel called to open your mouth and spread the Good News, then that is cool. Leave it to the missionaries and the preachers who feel “called” to share the Gospel. That mindset is where I believe our attitude towards adoption and foster care was born. It is optional. It is not my problem unless I feel called. Leave it to the people who do feel called. The second reason is very simple. Americans have an idea of what […]

Through Tears…..

A post from Dawn Patterson, Director of Hope + Sisterhood, Uganda.

As much as I love Uganda and truly do long to be there….life in Uganda is hard.  Very hard. Days are long and the work is never done. Most families don’t eat dinner until 8:30 – 9:00 at night and rest…..I don’t know that there is a word for rest in Uganda.

One of our beautiful HOPE+ sisters has cancer. I met Sarah for the first time in January 2013. She is a precious woman with 4 beautiful children. She lost her husband to AIDS in 2005.

We got to see Sarah again in September when we visited her. She was very weak and we were told she had cancer.

But she still had the sweetest spirit about her.

Sarah had a hysterectomy 2 weeks ago. This was done at Mulago hospital in Kampala. I have never heard anything good about this hospital. Apparently, her brother and sister sold whatever possessions they could to come up with the funds to have the surgery. They didn’t ask for help or funds…..they didn’t even share that Sarah was having the surgery. I don’t know why but I suspect it was because they didn’t think there was anyone to help.

Today, my dear brother Richard spent the day at the hospital fighting to get Sarah the blood transfusion she has needed for two days. We have a good friend who is a nurse who just happens to be in Uganda and she went to meet Richard at the hospital to help assess the situation. Here is her message to me after her visit:

“OK. Just left hospital. She does not have uterine cancer, she had cervical cancer. Typically surgery fixes cervical cancer depending […]

Hope + Businesses!

It’s hard to put into words all that we have seen and wrap my head around how such a small financial gift for 6 months can literally change a life forever.
We visited several of our sisters’ projects.  I was moved to tears more times than I can count.  The joy that radiated from these women is indescribable.  I was so proud of each and every one of them.  When I hugged them, I didn’t want to let go.
Edith has a hair salon and it’s amazing.  Annette actually constructed her store HERSELF.  Juliet grew her small road side stand and is now working from a beautiful store.  I could go on and on.  And when I have reliable electricity and more internet, I will probably do that.
Please, please, please consider being part of this amazing program.  You will be blessed beyond words and you won’t regret it.
This is what redemption looks like.