Posts Tagged ‘Adoption’

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.

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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.

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The KidSave Summer Miracles program brings orphaned children from foreign countries to the United States to enjoy a five week summer visit with a family. These are older children, ages 8 through 13, who have little or no chance of finding adoptive parents in their own country.

Austin is currently hosting seven children (five girls and two boys) from Columbia. Click here to read more about these children. The Austin KidSave blog gives up-to-date information on their summer visit so far. While the boys are already in the process of being adopted, the girls have not yet found families. Listed below are several upcoming events that give prospective families an opportunity to interact with the children. For more information please contact Stephanie Karasick at stephaniekarasick@sbcglobal.net.


Saturday, July 18, 11 am – 3 pm
Westlake Beach on Lake Austin   
Kidsave 10th Anniversary  Celebration – We especially hope previous host families and Kidsave invloved families can join us for this celebration
This will be a bring-your-own meal and beverages event. Admission fee will be $8 for adults age 12 on up and $5 for children age 1 to 11.

Sunday, July 26, 2 pm – 4 pm
Bowling Event, Dart Bowl, 5700 Grover Avenue (512) 452-2518 (west of Lamar Blvd and just south of 2222).
Please RSVP to make sure we have enough lanes! Shoe rental donated by Dart Bowl and reduced Kidsave event rates of $7.50 per person for 2 hours of bowling.

Sunday, August 2, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Austin ‘s Park and Pizza, 16231 North IH-35 (Grand Avenue Parkway exit, near Pflugerville)
Video arcade games, miniature golf, go-karts, bumper boats, tea cups, Rio Grande train, laser tag, batting cages, indoor and outdoor climbing walls, pizza, pasta, salad, and soft drinks.

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I wonder if we really understand the state into which we are all born—a stranger to the family of God; a slave to sin; an object of the justified wrath of God.

But when you turn from your sin and trust in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death for your sins you, at that moment, are adopted into a new family. God the righteous Judge becomes your merciful Father.

C.J Mahaney says, “It would have been extraordinary enough for God simply to redeem us, to forgive our sins, to declare us righteous. But he does not stop here– he makes us his children (Gal. 4:4-7).”

Think about that. What would that look like if our salvation stopped at being declared righteous? If you have adopted a child, you have experienced the point at which you cross over the line from caring for the orphan and abandoned, to grafting them into your family. That’s exactly what God, the Father, has done for us.

Have you ever wondered whether God loves you? Wonder no longer. His adoption of you is the richest proof. If you have never trusted in Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice for your sins, if you have never been grafted/adopted into the family of God for eternity please read more here. Today could be your adoption day.

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Three years ago we launched Fields of Grace — An Orphan and Adoption ministry to help the church understand God’s call to care for the fatherless and give them real, practical opportunities to live that out in Austin and around the world.

In that time, we’ve traveled the world, including seven times to serve the children of Monterrey, Mexico, and one time to East Asia to love on the children living in an orphanage there.

We’ve also hosted the Heart Gallery during National Adoption month and have hosted three Austin-wide adoption seminars working closely with our friends at Grace Covenant Church, Matt and Julie Kouri and their ministry, Bridges of Grace. Over the years we’ve made new friends with couples from Austin Stone, First Evangelical Free Church of Austin and many other churches.

We’ve built relationships with local foster care and adoption agencies to care for those in our community who are in the foster care system to train the members of Hill Country Bible Church to be licensed foster care families. We’ve also just launched our first post-adoption support group that will meet once a month and address the unique issues adoptive families face.

Our ministry has grown within the Hill Country Association of Churches as well. Alan and Dawn Rust of Hill Country Bible Church Pflugerville and Mick and Tracey Hooper of Hill Country Bible Church Northpoint have also launched orphan and adoption care ministries. It’s exciting to see the leadership of these churches make caring for the fatherless a core element of how they reach Austin with the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ. We’re now meeting on a regular basis to share best practices and learn from each other.

We recently traveled to Dallas with both couples to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit held at Irving Bible Church and its Tapestry Ministry. We learned a lot of new things, had some great fellowship and came back re-charged to bring the message of the gospel for orphans to our churches.

It is from that conference that we finally made the decision to launch this blog. You see, to this date, I’ve been blogging about many of the things that we’ve been doing on my personal blog. So it wasn’t difficult to migrate that content here but now will include all sorts of content related to our ministry. But this blog isn’t about me or my wife, Anita. You’ll here from us but you’ll also hear from other Fields of Grace leaders including John and Rhonda Steczkowski, Lee and Heather Ballard and others.

We’ll blog from our Global Outreach trips (we actually have a group leaving this Friday, June 26, to work with Back2Back Ministries in Monterrey and you’ll be reading about that trip from Lee and Heather Ballard with first-hand obervations of how God is using us to be His hands and feet there.) In fact, Lee and team were introduced and prayed for today at church. Lee talked about how each of us is called to live out James 1:27 and what that looks like in Monterrey as we work with local children’s home and the local churches there.

We’ll also be writing about happenings within Hill Country Bible Church and how you can get plugged in with other families that have been touched by adoption. We’re on the verge of launching our Adoption Financial Assistance program soon and we’ll tell you that about that program here.

So, thank you for coming to visit us and how God is at work to care for the fatherless. As Dennis Rainey said during the Summit V conference in Dallas, “Aslan is on move. God is at work caring for the fatherless.” We are privileged to be called by God to be part of the work he’s doing to be a Father to the fatherless in Austin and around the world.

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Heart Gallery at HCBC, Austin

Tonight, we’re at Hill Country Bible Church setting up for the public showing of The Heart Gallery of Central Texas. The gallery is part of a whole schedule of activities we have in store for November.

From their website, they describe themselves as the following:

“A project of the Adoption Coalition of Texas and CASA organizations across Central Texas, The Heart Gallery of Central Texas is both an art exhibit and community education effort. The Heart Gallery features professional portraits by renowned documentary and portrait photographers of children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted. The goal of The Heart Gallery of Central Texas is to elicit support for and interest in the lives of these children – and ultimately find each child and sibling group a “forever family.”  Many of the foster children featured in the gallery are older or special needs children, minorities, or members of a sibling group.  All are considered hard-to-place children. We plan to keep the Heart Gallery moving until all of the children are adopted!”

dsc_00051We’re excited because this is one of our first big outreach activities to encourage those in our church body to consider being part of the domestic foster and foster/adopt program.

If you attend HCBC NW, we encourage you to peruse the exhibit, which will be on the lower level near Roaster’s Coffee and directly above that area in the 2nd floor hallway. It will be on display starting Nov. 14 through Nov. 23.

If you have questions, e-mail us at fieldsofgrace@hcbc.com.

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Re-pro-duc-tion, a noun, circa 1650-60, the combining of re and production, defined several different ways.

  1. The act of reproducing or the condition or process of being reproduced.
  2. Something reproduced, especially in the faithfulness of its resemblance to the form and elements of the original; a fine reproductions of a painting by Matisse.
  3. Biology: the sexual or asexual process by which organisms generate new individuals of the same kind; procreation.

Anita and I had some folks over for dinner tonight from Hill Country Bible Church Pflugerville, who also have an adopted daughter from China and are interested in continuing what we’ve done at HCBC-NW at their church – a reproduction of sorts of Fields of Grace.

We met with them more than a year ago and they are now ready to get started. It’s exciting to see where they are, to see what they are nervous about but most of all to see their energy and passion for casting a vision for their church of how God calls us all to care for the fatherless, the most helpless of the world.

If you are interested in joining with them, drop us a note here and we’ll be sure to connect you. We’ll be praying for you Alan and Dawn.

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So what have we been up to with Fields of Grace lately? Well, with November being National Adoption Month, we’ve got quite a few things planned. See below the full list.

Heart Gallery of Central Texas November 15-23
HCBCNW considers it a privilege to host this portrait gallery of Central Texas foster children. The Heart Gallery provides awareness of the need for adoptive families, and more importantly helps find permanent families for children. Please take time to view the gallery and pick up additional information.

Foster/Adoptive Community Fellowship November 15
Come celebrate the opening of the Heart Gallery with other foster and/or adoptive families. We will have a potluck dinner and fellowship and the gallery will be open throughout.

Foster Care Information Meetings November 19 and 23
There’s a critical shortage of loving, secure homes that will unconditionally commit to making a difference in the lives of these hurting children. We will be holding 2 identical meetings to provide information and answer questions for those interested in becoming Foster Parents. Training to come in January 2009.

Beth Guckenberger, Author of Reckless Faith November 22
Beth Guckenberger and her husband Todd established Back2Back Ministries to help orphans—the poorest, most defenseless members of a needy populace of Monterrey, Mexico. Come hear Beth share about how God used her experiences to grow her faith into a reckless faith—a willingness to trust even when you don’t understand. Pick up a copy of her book in the Resource Center. Also, take a look at some of her interviews here.

Tree of Lights November 30
For the second year, the HCBCNW Tree of Lights will include the wish lists of Central Texas Foster children. Please stop by and pick up a tag or two to provide a special gift for these children.

Adoption Loan Fund Beginning January 2009
We are announcing an Adoption Loan Fund program, beginning January 2009. While many believers are stepping out in faith and following God’s direction to care for orphans and expand their families through adoption, seemingly insurmountable financial obstacles along the way often discourage them. By establishing an adoption fund, we can minister to HCBCNW families by removing the financial barriers frequently faced by adoptive families.
Full details on all of these activities can be found at our website at http://www.hcbc.com/fieldsofgrace.

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Adoption Seminar

Today, we conducted the second of our Adoption Seminars for Fields of Grace in partnership with our friends at Grace Covenant Church. who have a very similar ministry as we do but have named it Bridges of Grace. We partnered with them last year as well and are looking at other ways we can share ideas and best practices together.The purpose of the adoption seminars is to inform those who are interested in adoption of what the process entails and give them a realistic look into what their lives will look like during the process and once they return home with their child. HCBC’s Community Impact Pastor John Short opened the morning with some opening comments and prayer. Following John were Michael and Amy Monroe, from Irving Bible Church and leaders of the Tapestry Orphan and Adoption Ministry there. They did a great job of describing their various adoptions and drew the parallel of each of us as broken and hurting children that also need adoption into Christ’s family. They are very passionate about living out James 1:27 and are serving as an incredible resource to other churches, like our’s, that are still finding their way with their orphan ministries.I then had the opportunity to moderate a discussion with six different families that have experienced adoption in different ways. Two elders from Hill Country took part — Terry and Joanne Melle talked about their experience having adopted their son 19 years ago domestically.Adoption Seminar Panel David and Nancy Redding are somewhat early in the process of adopting internationally so they had a very different perspective. There were four other families, some that had adopted multiple times, some just international, some just domestic and some dipped their toe in both waters. We now realize that we are missing an opportunity to have someone who has experienced foster parenting and then adopting. There’s always next year.The remainder of the seminar included Greg Vestri, president of Food for the Hungry and Tracey Eilers, executive director, of the Adoption Coalition of Texas, both discussing other topics related to the call to care for the fatherless. We were blessed to have Dan Baker close us in a short time of worship and Matt Cassidy, Senior Pastor of Grace Covenant, closed the day with some brief comments and a closing prayer. If you ever want more information on what we’re doing, send us an e-mail to fieldsofgrace@hcbc.com. We’d love to hear from you.

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