What's it like to visit a real orphanage in Russia?

     When ministry teams from the USA visit orphanages in Russia, we usually experience smiling children running up and down hallways, much laughter, and many hugs.
     It is difficult to get the children to open up and let visitors know what is really happening in their lives. 
     We have asked our ministry teams in Russia to try to find out more about the children’s dreams, their worries, and how we can pray for the children.
    In the last monthly newsletter of Big Family Mission, we share with you some of the conversations that our team from the Kommunar Church had with children at the Gatchina Orphanage and Internat School.
    Our thanks to Sveta and Andrey Ziablitsev for their report.  You can read the newsletter here.

See the hamster?  Children's pet rat was drowned in the toilet sink.

Orphans need more understanding from adoptive parents

   The early separation of children from their biological parents can trigger genetic changes that can affect how they think when they grow up, according to a study made by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine.  
   The conclusion: adoptive parents should be more understanding to keep the orphan's mental health development as normal as possible. 
   This finding comes from a small-scale study of 14 children who grew since birth in institutions along with same number of children raised by biological parents as controls. In the study, children’s genomes from blood samples, were profiled and examined to determine biological processes in their systems.
   Said one researcher:  "Our study shows that the early stress of separation from a biological parent impacts long-term programming of genome function; this might explain why adopted children may be particularly vulnerable to harsh parenting in terms of their physical and mental health."
    You can read more about the study here.

Share your love with an orphan today!


Coach Dungy will encourage adoption in Super Bowl video

     As football fans gather today to watch the Giants take on the Patriots, winning Super Bowl Coach Tony Dungy is hoping to spread a personal message in households across the country.
    A free downloadable video is available online for local game-watching party organizers, which features Coach Dungy and his wife Lauren, an Edgeworth native and former Edgeworth Elementary teacher. 
    The couple, who have adopted, will greet thousands of football fans entering the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI with a 30-second public service announcement they recorded. Their personal appeal frames the current orphan crisis and the need for broader adoption awareness.
     The Dungys are involved with The Adoption Journey Project, a group of organizations working to encourage more couples to consider adoption.

Why does God allow so many orphans in the world?

How do we answer the difficult question of why God allows so much evil in the world?

In Mark Mittelberg's book, The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask, he suggests these "points of light":

First point of light: the world is as Jesus predicted
Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble;" it's good to know that we follow a Savior who really gets it – who sees this fallen world for what it is, and who (contrary to many other religious leaders) tells us the truth about it.

Second point of light: evil was not created or caused by God
The Bible is clear: God is not the author of evil. But he did create us as real human beings with the ability to love and follow him … or not. Unfortunately we chose the "not," and brought sin and evil into the picture.

Third point of light: the cause behind most suffering is human
While it doesn't remove the pain, it can be important to remind people who are tempted to shake their fists at God for the suffering in the world that the vast majority of human pain has been inflicted directly or indirectly by other humans.

Fourth point of light: we live in a fallen world
There is also suffering due to what some call "natural evil" – pain that results from events and disasters that are not caused by humans. The Bible shows, however, that these are the result of the curse we live under due to human sin – see Genesis 3 and Romans 8.

Fifth point of light: God will finally judge evil
Some people criticize God (or those who believe in him), saying, "A good God would eradicate evil." My question for those folks is, "Okay, are you ready to be eradicated, since you – like me – are to some degree evil?" Seriously, I'm glad that, although God will judge and wipe out evil, he's chosen not to yet, out of patience for us and for our friends (2 Pet. 3:9).

Sixth point of light: God suffered too
It's easy to forget that the Holy God of the universe chose, out of love, to humble himself, become one of us, and ultimately to suffer in ways none of us every will (or ever could imagine) in order to purchase our redemption (Phil. 2). As a result, he can not only forgive our sins and freely give us salvation, but also sympathize with all we're going through (Heb. 4:14-16).

Seventh point of light: God can bring good out of bad
Though this truth is often bantered about in ways that are insensitive to the person who is suffering, it is still true that while bad things happen to God's people, he promises that he'll bring good – sooner or later – out of everything we experience (Rom. 8:28).

God promises to bring good out of everything we experience... visiting with orphans

Adoption, child welfare, orphan care symposium coming to New York

The Joint Council on International Children Service's 36th Annual Child Welfare Symposium will be held in New York City, April 16–18, 2012 at the Conference Center, 130 E.59th Street, New York, NY.
The Symposium brings together 200 professionals in the area of child welfare, adoption and orphan care for three days of information gathering, idea sharing and networking. All those with an interest in ensuring that children live, grow and flourish in a permanent, safe and loving family are invited to attend.
This year, sessions cover topics such as post-adoption nutrition, the future of international adoption, and the changing media landscape with regard to permanency solutions for children.
Speakers include Rita Soronen, Executive Director of the Dave Thomas Foundation, Kathleen Strottman , Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and Ambassador Susan Jacob from the U.S. Department of State. 

Big Family Mission encourages adoptions by Christian families in Russia

Safe Families for Children™... alternative to temporary foster care

Safe Families for Children™, developed by Bethany Christian Servicesis a national movement of compassion that gives hope to families in crisis. 

This network of host families help parents who need to temporarily place their children due to unmanageable or critical circumstances. A host family provides a loving sanctuary and serves out of a sense of compassion and love.

Safe Families is not foster care or adoption. In foster care, children are wards of the State and families receive compensation for taking children into their homes. Host families receive no compensation for caring for children, and parents voluntarily place their children with them. 

Children whom you host are also not believed to be victims of abuse and neglect. The goal of the Safe Families ministry is to offer support in a time of need and reunite children with their families in a stronger, more healthy home environment.

This temporary care for children in need gives parents time to establish stability in their homes. Can you open your home to a family going through a troubled time? Reach out with God’s love and compassion to embrace those who need help in your community.

Parents remain involved in Safe Families approach

Parents place their child into your home voluntarily. Children are not in the custody of the State. Parents are actively involved in their children’s lives and will develop a relationship with your family. Bethany staff work with the parents during this transition to identify steps to regain stability and be reunited with their children quickly and safely.

Interested in hosting an orphan from Latvia or Ukraine this summer?  Click here.