Wait No More: One Family’s Amazing Adoption Journey

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This book by Kelly and John Rosati details the easy and hard of their adoption story.  In an interview by Focus on the Family, Kelly said "John and I like to encourage folks who are feeling that urge, that gentle pushing of the Lord’s hand at your back, to get involved with foster care or adoption. Don’t be afraid to go for it. There could be a child out there who needs you desperately. You could be the one to make a difference in his or her life. God may have a new adventure in store for your family. Be open. Follow where God leads."

If you feel that urge and are ready to get more information, please visit the foster care, adoption, and contact us pages here on our website.  We are eager to meet and work with you! 

Five Ways to Prepare for Announcing Your Adoption Plans

by Lydia Huth

Now that you’ve chosen to pursue adoption, how do you share the news with your loved ones? While there’s no “right” approach to the conversation, there are several ways to prepare yourself for the best possible results.

1. Be informed.

Most likely, your friends and family will have questions. Be prepared to explain the adoption process, and decide in advance how much of your story that you will feel comfortable sharing. If you experienced a personal challenge that led to your adoption plans, it is all right to let your loved ones know that you would prefer not to discuss it at this time.

To help the conversation along, you can create a FAQ with answers to questions like “When will you get your baby?” and “What if the birth mother changes her mind?” Another option is to prepare a list of adoption-safe terms and their definitions, such as “birth mother,” so that your loved ones will feel equipped to talk to your child.

2. Consider past experiences and be aware of all possibilities.

Of course, there is no way to predict what their response will be, but be prepared to lovingly address concerns and shared excitement. Awareness of all possible responses will help limit disappointment and confusion during the actual conversation.

Also, remember that your close family members might be experiencing the loss of their expectations for grandchildren or nieces and nephews. It’s important to express empathy for these potential feelings and listen to their struggles—this is yet another way that you can be Christlike in your adoption journey!

3. Be confident and excited about your decision.

If you’re excited and confident, you are striving to foster that environment for your circle. However, if responses turn out to be less positive, you will also have confidence in your decision and support within your own immediate family.

You can develop these emotions in a variety of ways, including a preparatory pep talk with your spouse or a cute adoption announcement photo shoot!

4. Remember that your immediate family needs to make this decision for yourselves.

We love our friends and family, and we hope that they’ll support us. However, the decision to adopt is ultimately one that your immediate family must make. While being open to outside opinions is wise, you have to know what is right for your family, as well as what you are being called to do. Looking after your immediate family, and your adopted child, is a priority!

5. Seek a support group with similar experiences.

No matter what you experience in the adoption process, you are not alone! The internet and your local community provide countless ways to connect with other future adoptive families and current adoptive families of all kinds. Having this strong support group will help you navigate your challenges—and they can give you hands-on advice as you talk to your loved ones.

Ready to begin pursuing adoption, or have questions that you need answered? We’re excited to welcome you into the AGAPE family! Find out more about our adoption services HERE.

 

Foster Care Crisis

by The Huffington Post

There is a need for more foster care parents across our nation including here in North Carolina. This article by The Huffington Post explains the need and encourages your involvement.  "Foster parenting can be incredibly challenging, and might just be the most difficult “job” a person tackles in one’s life. At the same time, it can also be the most rewarding job a person does in his or her lifetime." says Dr. John DeGarmo a leading expert in parenting and foster care. 

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Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-f...

More Than You Can Imagine

by Kevin Kolbe

How does the Bice Family feel about fostering? "You are going to get more out of this by giving a part of your life to this kid than you can ever imagine", that's how! While we’re not all called to adopt or foster, we can certainly be thankful for those families that follow the Lord’s lead to open their homes to kids and we can support them with a donation to Change for Life!

Building a Foster Care Village, Part 5: Support Groups

by A Fostered Life

This is our last installment of the Building a Foster Care Village video series.  If you have not seen the previous 4 videos, please take a moment and catch up! Today's video talks about the benefits of a good Support Group.  Friends and family are wonderful, but there is a time where those walking a similar path are what you really need.  

Building Your Foster Family Village, Part 2

by A Fostered Life

Building your foster family village, by A Fostered Life, continues today with part 2. We hope you enjoyed Part 1 of this series, and if you haven't watched it we recommend you watch it first.  

In this video, Christy discusses not hesitating to take the time needed to find the right people to make up your village.  She covers pediatricians, dentist, psychiatrist and more. 

Building Your Foster Family Village

by A Fostered Life

A Fostered Life does such a good job in this video series we wanted to post it for all our foster families. In today's video Christy talks about the proactive role of the foster parent to build the village for your child.  There are many resources available to you and the positive investment of this village on the child in your care and your family are valuable. 

Tip for New Foster Parents: Visual Schedules

by A Fostered Life

When a child enters your home as a foster child one way to eliminate further trauma is by giving them knowledge of what to expect. What do we do next? What is the routine for mornings and evenings? This video by A Fostered Life shares a great idea that has worked for many foster parents - Visual Schedules! 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEH11xdHr5...

What do Youth Appreciate about Foster Parents?

An interview with teens in care

by Megan Holmes

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If you are a foster parent have you wondered about the impact you are making?  Maybe you just have not been able to see the difference you made.  This article is the encouraging word you've been looking for! Megan Holmes wrote this article based on interviews she did with teens in foster care and as she said, "Although it may seem as if your foster or adopted youth is easily angered, agitated, and frustrated with you, know that they greatly appreciate you for your genuine concern. This is something some youth have not yet experienced while in care."

Source: http://fosteringperspectives.org/?p=1023

A Leap of Faith

by Kevin Kolbe

One AGAPE of NC's fostercare families describes fostering as "a leap of faith". Meet the Waters family in this month's video. They share how they see the impact they are making in the children in their care. Fostering, adoption or giving to Change for Life is a way everyone can make an impact!

Our annual giving funds support the placement of foster and adoptive children across the state, the ongoing care and training of our foster and adoptive families, and our efforts to raise awareness of the services AGAPE of NC provides to children and families in North Carolina. 

AGAPE of NC is a 501-c3 organization. Your gift is tax deductible. You can find more information about giving to AGAPE of NC on our website at agapeofnc.org/donate.

Aging Out of the Alabama Foster System

by The Fostered Butterfly

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This blog is the hard reality of one girl's experience.  She is now working as an advocate for foster children and her story is compelling and worth reading.  We can and must learn from the past if we want to do better in the future and the children in our care deserve our best. 

"By the end of my senior year, I lost both parents, failed my high school graduation exam, had no money, no transportation, no support system (nor friends or family) and my foster parents did not want anything to do with me, as they told me, “I’m not daughter material and I will never be.” The Department of Human Resources stated that if I wanted to exit the foster system, I was to uphold I steady job and place to live, with letters of recommendations to go with. Well, I met a potential roommate who would let me rent a room for a reasonable price and I located a job at a local food restaurant in Troy, AL. It didn’t work out with the job because of transportation and I had called and applied everywhere I could think of, without transportation.”  

AGAPE of NC needs your help to address situations just like this here in North Carolina.  This is why we are launching two homes that will cater to the independent living environment for young adults (18-21 years old). One of the homes is located in the Winston Salem area and will be accepting males 18-21 years of age from all over the state. The other home is located in the Durham area and will accept young women 18-21 years of age from all over the state. While we are excited to expand our services this is just the beginning and we continue to look for couples and singles that would be interested in serving this population.

Source: https://thefosteredbutterfly.com/2017/06/0...

Can I Serve AGAPE if I’m Not in Social Work?

by Lydia Huth

Do you feel called to serve the foster children or adoptive families in your community, but don’t have a background in social work? No matter what your previous experience, you still have skills that can be invaluable to our mission.

Not all of AGAPE’s staff members and volunteers come from a background in social work. For example, administrative assistant Kaye Orander has experience as a corporate law paralegal but is now sharing her talents with AGAPE. “If you’re passionate or interested,” Orander explained, “contact us and let us know your background. You may be exactly what we need! Our staff has lots of wonderful ideas but limited resources, so we may have a project that we need to do, but can’t complete yet.”

Even if you can’t spend time working with AGAPE, you can serve through being a connector. If people in your network have talents that you think could benefit AGAPE, encourage them to reach out to us! You may be instrumental in bringing someone to our team at just the right time.

Of course, no matter what your background is, you can always pray for AGAPE and the people with whom we work. Pray that God’s will may be done in AGAPE and that the families and children in our community would find the support, strength, and healing that they need.

If you would like to get involved or have any questions about serving with AGAPE, please contact Kaye Orander, our administrative assistant, at 919.673.7816 or korander@agapeofnc.org.

Church Families open Homes to Children caught in Opioid Crisis

By Gracie Bonds Staples - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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This article is about a group in Georgia that is doing work through churches for children and families similar to AGAPE of NC.  But it is not just a problem in Georgia or North Carolina.

Nationwide, the number of children in foster care increased 8 percent from 397,000 in 2012 to 428,000 in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Why churches? AGAPE of NC is prayerfully seeking safe homes and forever families where children will experience the hope, healing and the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.

Source: http://www.myajc.com/lifestyles/parenting/...

Igniting a Spark

by Kim Scott

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Thirty-one percent of Christians consider becoming foster parents, while only 3% follow through and become licensed foster parents. This statistic should resonate within the soul of every Christian given that Jesus calls all of His followers to care for the poor, the widowed, and the orphaned. I know that this is not an easy decision, but I want to share with you all a few reasons to seriously pray and use discernment if you have ever considered becoming a foster parent. I believe that when we align our wills with God’s will for our lives and make room in our home for someone without a family, we are showing God’s love in a very tangible way. This love—God’s love—cannot be understated.

First, it’s important to recognize that becoming a foster parent is not only about you, it’s also about loving vulnerable kids and families. Many people feel like they may get too attached to the children they are fostering and fear the hurt they might feel if the child is reunited with their family. I understand why one might be afraid. But we must ask ourselves: Don’t these kids, like all children, deserve someone who will be attached to them and will love them through the difficulties they may be facing? Foster parenting is about providing love and having compassion for a hurting child. To be sure, this does not mean that becoming a foster parent is easy. In times like this, it is important to remember that God does not call the equipped— God equips the called. Even though it may not be easy, it will be worth it! Foster parenting is one way we can be the hands and feet of Jesus. In other words, it is one way we can do the work of Christ. It provides the golden opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ in a very practical way, which could make an eternal difference in the life of the kids and their biological families. Imagine the impact on the children as they hear prayer and the word of God in their new home. Imagine the peace the biological families would feel knowing that their children are in a loving place. Although there will be struggles, I believe that the efforts will pale in comparison to the significant impact that you could have on their lives and your own. God has a plan and a purpose for each of their lives, and you get to play a small, but vital role in helping them and their purpose. Every child has a destiny designed by God found only in an identity with Him.

There is a great need for families willing to welcome these kids into their homes so they may have the chance to discover a relationship with Christ and become all that God has called them
to be. Being able to pray for and with the kids in your home, while watching them begin to pray and develop their relationship with Jesus through what you have modeled, is an eternal reward. You can sow the seeds of faith into their lives that will reap an eternal harvest. Watching the kids learn to pray and begin praying for their biological parents produces an indescribable joy. Knowing that you have provided love, safety, prayers, and care for a child as they are navigating through their circumstances is one of life’s greatest rewards.

Becoming a foster parent provides so much opportunity to share the Gospel. The light of Christ is at its brightest when people see people loving children. You can change the world one child at a time through foster parenting. This a very powerful ministry. My prayer is that this brief essay will ignite a spark in you, and that you will seek God’s will with discernment to see if this is a ministry He is calling you to. 

Four Ways to Pray for Adoptive and Foster Families

by Lydia Huth

No matter where you are in life, you can support the adoptive and foster families in your community through your prayers. After talking with adoptive parents and AGAPE staff members, these four points have been highlighted as great ways to start praying for families in your community.

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1. Pray for emotional, mental, and spiritual preparedness.

Adoption and foster care bring many unknowns, and it is impossible for a family to plan for all possibilities. Pray that the family may have the reassurance that they are in God’s hands and that they will be equipped to handle whatever may happen.

2. Pray for a smooth transition.

Unexpected or not, changes will come as families transition into adoption and foster care. Pray that the development will be free of challenges and obstacles.3. Pray for confidence and strength in God.

Pray that the family will place their trust in God and that they will rely on Him to provide their strength. Also, pray that they may have faith in His plan and reliance on His goodness.

4. Pray that they will be examples of Christ to one another and to their family’s new additions.

If a family has been called to adoption or foster care, they have the opportunity to live like Christ in all-new situations that have a deep impact on those close to them. Pray that they will be able to live vulnerable, honest Christian lives that will help children see the reality of God’s love.

With these four concepts as your jumping-off point, look for how you can specifically pray for the families in your community. Reach out to them and ask for certain places where they need prayer, and don’t forget to follow up with them after time has passed to let them know that you are still thinking of them.

Foster Care is Always Changing

by Kim Scott

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Foster care is changing constantly and in order to continue to meet the needs of children and families in our state, we must adapt as well. Currently, there are more than 10,000 children in Foster care in North Carolina which is a 25% increase from previous years. Statistics show that 15% of the children in foster care remain in care longer. Subsequently, more than 500 children age out of foster care without finding permanent homes. When children don’t have permanent homes it leads to higher rates of homelessness, incarceration, unemployment and increased opportunities for these children to be victimized.

North Carolina lawmakers passed a law in 2015 to extend foster care services to 18-21-year-old young adults who are currently in foster care. This law became effective January 2017.

In light of the new law, AGAPE will be launching two homes that will cater to the independent living environment for young adults (18-21 years old). One of the homes is located in the Winston Salem area and will be accepting males 18-21 years of age from all over the state. The
other home is located in the Durham area and will accept young women 18-21 years of age from all over the state. While we are excited to expand our services this is just the beginning and we continue to look for couples and singles that would be interested in serving this population.