by Kirsten Poggenklass
Loneliness. Rejection. Anger. Fear. Many of us have felt these feelings at various points in our lives, but for children who are orphans or who live in foster care, these emotions can be an everyday reality.
Today, there are more than 4,000 kids in foster care in Iowa. For some of these kids, living with foster families is the only family life they will ever know.
Feeling a prompting from God to provide loving care for foster kids and orphans, several families at Stonebridge Church have taken steps to get involved and make a difference. For some, it has been to care for children on a temporary basis as needed, and for others, it has meant the life-long commitment of adoption.
“Taking that first step can be very scary and bring lots of changes to your family life,” shared Tracy Kamphaugh, “but it also brings peace and joy when we know we are walking with Jesus in what He called us to do.” Tracy and her husband Jason open their home to care for children in need through the Safe Families ministry supported by Stonebridge Church. While they always felt a calling to foster care or adoption, they weren’t sure how God wanted them to get involved until they learned of Safe Families.
“Safe Families has given us a way to love and serve others as a family, and that has been our biggest blessing,” Tracy continued. “We feel like God is teaching us how to really love others. To move beyond just wanting to help others and love them unconditionally where they are at, like Jesus loves us.”
Similarly Matt and Cassy Townsley, as well as Sarah Hermanson felt led by God to seek out children in need of care. For both of these families, this has meant the desire for a life-long commitment of adoption.
“I always wanted a large family and we weren’t able to have additional kids,” said Sarah. “I learned both through my journey with infertility and adoption to trust in God, rely on His timing and His answers to prayer. I now have two amazing children to love and who love me. I’ve learned that sometimes the answer to prayer is outside of our imagination!”
“Safe Families and adoption are really about showing Christ to those that might not otherwise have the chance to be exposed to His love,” noted Cassy. “It has made us much more dependent on God and caused us to check our heart motives of why we do what we do.”
There are many reasons not to take this leap of faith and make the sacrifice for kids in need. But, for these families, it’s about obeying God’s calling to use the gifts and resources He’s given them to bless others.
“It’s scary starting the journey to adopt no matter which road you choose,” shared Sarah. “Trust in the Lord, ask for help and know he’s chosen just the right child(ren) for you and he will give you the strength to be the parent they need.”
“Jump in!” encourage Matt and Cassy. “Get some initial information and just start praying about it.”
There are lots of kids who are still in need of God’s love. Help us celebrate National Adoption and Orphan Month by learning about ways you can help. Learn more at www.iowakidsnet.com and www.safe-families.org.