Thank you for attending the Fields of Grace event last Sunday. I’m glad that you all could make it and enjoyed meeting you.  I also appreciate you filling out the information form and letting us know how the ministry can serve you.   As things progress, I’ll send you updates on things that are happening within the ministry that you might want to participate in.  Our next big event will be the babysitter training for folks that would like to serve the foster families in the area by being trained babysitters. I’ll send out dates, etc on this as things get firmed up. The timeframe we are looking at is August.

One thing you can do now that would be a great help is to forward this email on to other families that you know of so that we can let them know about future ministry events.

Also, I’m not going to send a bunch of emails out on this list, but if you want to be removed, let me know and I’ll take your email off…


John Steczkowski


In celebration of November as National Adoption Awareness Month, Show Hope and Steven Curtis Chapman, along with Focus on the Family and FamilyLife, helped to lead the charge this past Sunday, November 8 – also known as “Orphan Sunday” – for a live event in Nashville with one goal: raising awareness of the more than 140 million orphans worldwide.

The webcast is now available here. Take some time to watch it and let us know if God is touching your heart to be part of what God is doing in Central Texas or around the world to care for the “least of these.”

Our good friend Jason Kovacs (@jasonkovacs on Twitter) of Abba Fund (@abbafund on Twitter) recently did a post on their blog with updated global numbers regarding the orphan population.

True numbers are hard to get as there are many different definitions of what makes one an orphan. But at the end of the day, I’d rather not use the word orphan. To me, that dehumanizes the situation much like the word fetus does to an unborn child. These numbers represent little boys, little girls. It is someone that has been created by God. He or she has been created to do great things, God has great plans for them — until sin got in the way and disrupted those plans.

Here are a few of those statistics. Click over to Jason’s post for them all.

  • The most recent estimate is that there are approximately 145 million orphans in the world (UNICEF 2008). For this number, an orphan is defined as a child who has lost one or both parents.
  • More than 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, over 11.6 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In 2007 67.5 million Children in South Asia and East Asia had lost one or both parents due to all causes.
  • Included in the 2008 estimate of 145 million orphans are more than 92 million that have a surviving mother—-with whom they most likely live.
  • Approximately 15 million children are “double” orphans—growing up without either mother or father.  That’s about ten percent of the whole 145 million.

Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people “age out” of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services. Several foster care alumni studies show that without a lifelong connection to a caring adult, these older youth are often left vulnerable to a host of adverse situations:

Earned a high school diploma         54%
Obtained a Bachelor’s degree or higher     2%
Became a parent                 84%
Were unemployed                 51%
Had no health insurance             30%
Had been homeless                 25%
Were receiving public assistance         30%

What’s your role in changing these numbers? It can be overwhelming to look at the 145 million number. I don’t think we can help 145 million children but we can look into the eyes of ONE child and say, “what can I do for you?” or to come alongside a young couple and say “how can I help you adopt?”

This video was shown at the recent Catalyst Conference. Grab a tissue.

Catalyst 2009 Compassion Moment from Catalyst on Vimeo.

The Big Picture

tapestry03lgOur daughter is almost seven years old. I have heard others say that this is around the age she will begin to question more about her adoption, her birth family. And I have seen it. With the understanding of a young child, she knows the story of her adoption and is very proud of her ethnic heritage. But I know the day is coming where she will wrestle with her identity.

This past Sunday, our pastor taught from the book of Acts. He showed us “the big picture” of Paul’s life. How God used his life to impact the early church in a dynamic way. You don’t have to look very hard to see he has a sordid past. Throughout his ministry, God used Paul’s history (family and education), his brokenness and sin, his conversion, his associations and relationships, and his circumstances to further spread of the gospel and bring thousands to salvation. (To see the full sermon, click here and look for the Sept. 20, 2009 sermon entitled “It Is Written.” You can download the sermon notes there, or listen to or watch a video of the sermon.)

In our ladies’ Bible Study last week we learned about shifting control of our past. For some this may be family issues, for others it may be facing personal sin or the sins of others. Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 speak of Immanuel, “God with us.” Coming face-to-face with Immanuel makes me ask the question, was God there even in the yucky parts of our past? And if so, how does this change how I view the pain from the past? My conclusion is this: He was there, He knows all.

And so when we come to Him with our pains from or questions about the past, it’s not new to Him.  Romans 8:28 also tells us that He alone draws on the canvas of our lives and uses it for a greater good. Like the backside of a tapestry, we may see only a mess, but God sees the big picture, a masterpiece. And like He did with Paul, God can us our past as a platform for His greater purpose.

And so I am comforted with the knowledge that the circumstances of our daughter’s life are part of a bigger picture. One that God has been painting since the beginning of her life. He knew her in her birthmother’s womb, and she is fearfully and wonderfully made. He has great plans for her. She is His masterpiece.

Though she knows Jesus, I look forward to introducing her to Immanuel.

I Never Knew

Grown In My Heart blog has a “carnival” going on now.  It’s titled What No One Told Me About Adoption and asks the questions

  • What did people forget to tell you about adoption?
  • What did they omit or conveniently not tell you before you adopted or relinquished your child?

It’s an interesting read.  Check it out here.  Scroll down past the comments and read what others have shared.

What are your thoughts?  We’d love to hear from you.

I recently came across a blog post by Shaun Groves on the topic of God’s will for adoption entitled For The Few Or Almost Everyone?

You may remember Shaun as he joined us for a Sunday morning several years ago. He’s a singer/songwriter who is also a strong advocate for the fatherless and adoption.I just added his blog to our blogroll.

His post discusses God’s universal will, those commands that apply to everyone, the entire church versus God’s individual will, how He calls each of us uniquely. And the ultimate question Shaun asks is this: where does adoption fit? Is everyone called to adopt? I don’t believe so. Is everyone called to support those who adopt? Again, I don’t think so. (Shaun’s blog has a pretty big following as more than 50 people weighed in with their thoughts on the topic.)

But, is everyone called to live out James 1:27 is some form or fashion? I believe we are but would add that this can look dramatically different to each person.

Some will care for the single mother in their neighborhood, watching her children, bringing her meals, fixing her home. Others will go on a mission trip to provide care and hope to the fatherless in other countries while sharing the ultimate hope of the gospel. Others will financially support those who go. Others will bring a foster child into their home. Some will support someone in their small group who is adopting. And yet others WILL adopt.

To me, a member of Hill Country Bible Church, the question is this: are we, as a body of Christ-followers, characterized by our desire to broadly and individually support adoption and orphan care?