It was after a Focus on the Family broadcast during Adoption Awareness Month four or five years ago about Antioch Adoptions that God first started tugging us toward orphan ministry. We had decided we couldn’t afford to adopt but perhaps God was calling us to help others instead. Antioch Adoptions provides fee-free services in Washington state in an effort to get kids into homes. We figured that if they could do it so could we. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Years later, God has opened our eyes and hearts to a much bigger picture than adoption.
Over the past couple years, we’ve taken in hundreds of hours of conference audio, webinars, and books that basically led us to this conclusion–Everyone is called to orphan care (not adoption, orphan care). Orphan care comes in all shapes and sizes.
As you read the story, see if you can pick out all the different people and ways they helped orphans.
About 3 years ago, Patrick and I had a vision to see an Ethiopian orphan hosting program come to our church–these programs bring eligible orphans (usually ages 8 to 15) to the U. S. to spend 4 to 8 weeks for a “cultural experience.” Many of these children are able to find forever families. The problem was no programs to that country existed, and we were not equipped to start one.
We had all but forgotten about it when an old friend called and said, “I’ve just been hired by AWAA to start an Ethiopian hosting program in Maryland, do you want to help?” Um-mm…yeah!
Ten months later, 5 families (coincidentally all acquaintances of ours) welcomed Ethiopian children into their homes for a month. Throughout that month, the community came together to provide lots of American experiences to the kids from a trip to the zoo to an old-fashioned, American birthday party. Generous donations from the community allowed us to send an extra suitcase back with each child packed chock full of stuff for their orphanage.
By God’s grace, each of the 5 children have families (either their host family, a family they met while here, or a family who was able to connect to their host family some other way).
Recently, one of the families traveled for their court date in Ethiopia. They needed someone to watch their kids while they traveled. We volunteered but needed someone to watch our dog since the kids were allergic. Another host family volunteered.
It may seem trivial as you read it, but from where we watch, the beauty of the community working together to bring these 5 children home is astounding…
it’s the Gospel in action.
Patrick and Melissa, who was adopted from Korea as an infant, have two biological children and a son adopted at age 2 1/2 from Korea. In May they, started a paper chase for a sibling group from Ethiopia. They reside in Maryland where they started a ministry called Grafted Families. Its goal is to serve Gospel-centered churches as they care for orphans and vulnerable children. Melissa also has a photography business that specializes in adoption homecoming and foster family photography. You can get to know Melissa better on her personal blog and Patrick on his personal blog.