Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Your "click" can help Caroline's Promise earn $100,000!

Help us Reclaim Hope For Orphans!

We have been nominated for a Vivant Gives Back Project and we need your help!

During the first phase (nomination period) you can vote each day to endorse Caroline's Promise. On June 11 if we are in the top 20 charities in our region we will advance to the second phase, the Voting Period.

At the end of the voting period the charity with the most votes will receive $250,000 and the charity with the most votes in each region will receive $100,000!

You will vote through your facebook account. So click the link below, login and remember to vote every day!


We're looking for 10 volunteers who are on facebook daily and can help us promote the Vivant Gives Back Project! Your task will be to talk up this opportunity and get as many people as you can to vote daily for Caroline's Promise. If you'd like to help, please contact LisaHolbrook@CarolinesPromise.Net

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thoughts From Our South Carolina Director

In a small hut in Africa I ducked to miss the woven grass and enter into the small room where a boy lay face down. Inside, an elderly woman has almost finished bathing his bleeding, lacerated back. The eyes of his older brother watch on half filled with relief and half with sorrow for what his brother has endured. Joining the work, I help dress the wounds and promise him I will never let this happen again. Not to him or any of the kids in his community.

Finishing, the boys walk out with us where the community has gathered. African drums beat, bodies sway and the most beautiful African-accented voices sing: You have taken my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh. A heart of flesh, a heart of flesh. You have taken my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh. Waking from the dream, the harmonizing voices seem to still fill the room and not until months later did I realize that this song is scripture.

Sitting at the 7th annual Orphan Summit someone quoted from Ezekiel 36, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh,” and my mind wandered back to the hut, those boys and the beautiful truth of what God can do for a heart of stone.

Sometimes even when it comes to orphans and orphan care, we all can have hearts of stone. Believing that our thinking is the only way, that adoption is THE answer or that child sponsorship is the golden ticket. This summit the board of Caroline’s Promise South Carolina and I engaged our hearts and minds on behalf of orphaned children and had some stony parts of our hearts softened.

Challenges and testimonies were varied and all added to the other. Angela Minter challenged us to think about the unborn. She stands weekly on a sidewalk outside an abortion clinic sharing her testimony of aborting two of her babies and the deep regret she carries. She calls out for others to choose life, instead. Then there was Carolyn Twietmeyer who is mom to 14 children. Seven were adopted. Being interviewed by Family LIfe about adopting children with HIV, Carolyn works as president of Project Hopeful advocating for HIV-positive orphans and my heart broke for the hopelessness so many of these children shoulder alone.

Dr. Karyn Purvis of Empowered to Connect shared strategies and findings on parenting children from hard places. Brian Fikkert challenged us that sometimes helping hurts more than empowers. He offered strategies and higher-level thinking when it comes to international aid and orphan care. Then, a doctor from Kenya, Florence Muindi, gave a passionate plea for us to move past the initial response of adoption and child sponsorship to the more permanent answer of empowering churches in communities all around the world to be the answer. But ultimately, she added, we must listen to what God is calling each of us to do because we each are called to do something.

So as the Summit ends, my hope is that we will allow God to give [us] a new heart and put a new spirit in [us]; [to] remove [our] hearts of stone and give [us] hearts of flesh open to do his will. He is the master of reclaiming hope for orphans while shaping us, former orphans, in the process.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thoughts From Guyana

Margaret spent some time in Guyana with Angie and shares her thoughts of the experience:

"Margaret has hijacked Angie’s blog for a few minutes. Here are my reflections…

We headed out this morning….first to town for a last minute Guyana shopping experience….although it doesn’t come close to navigating the Guyana driving experience! Driving (or riding) is always an adventure. Now, with shopping complete we were off to Plastic City where we eagerly awaited our response to the Community Health Fair. All week long we’ve been talking it up to the residents, passing out flyers and encouraging people to come.

This morning, we greeted people as we walked down the dirt road leading into PC. We unloaded and set up three 10×10 tents, borrowed some tables from the local rum bar, taped up health posters on the old wooden fence, and set up stations for registration, foot care, blood pressure, diabetes testing, height, weight and BMI. Around 2:00 pm people began trickling in….old, young, moms, grandmas, a few overweight and most underweight. My job was to take pictures and video, as well as talk with folks as they sat and patiently waited their turn. I observed folks listening intently to a breast cancer survivor talk about her experience. I watched a Granny with a foot infection get a pedicure and she was thrilled as the others listened on to take care of their feet properly. People left, told their neighbors, and soon others came – even towards 6:00 PM. All in all, we saw around 60 people which is an incredible turnout for the first time. Most of all, I watched relationships and trust being developed. I saw the front lines of Community Health Evangelism in action, sharing health…..loving in Jesus’ name."

To read the rest of the story and see pictures from Margaret's time in Guyana click here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Journey - It Continues

On April 30 close to 300 people experienced The Journey. Eyes were opened, hearts were touched, and people were moved to action on behalf of orphans in our community and around the world. We are so thankful to all of the sponsors, volunteers and guests who made this event possible!

It's not too late for you to join the movement that is Reclaiming Hope for Orphans!

We need your help to minister to kids like Mario, Nafeeza, Will, and Sonia.

Your one time gift or monthly commitment will empower Caroline's Promise to continue the work that is changing lives in the U.S., Guyana, and Guatemala. Thank you for partnering with us!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Help Us Get Ready for Guatemala Trips!

Over 30 people will minister with Caroline's Promise in Guatemala in July. We'd love you to help us collect items for our ministry there! Deadline for donation of clothing is May 20. All other items are due by June 3.

White 3x5 index cards
Large saftely pins
Quart zip lock bags
Children's summer clothing and sweatshirts or light jackets - sizes infant - children's 12

Crochet needles and yarn (any color)

Children's books in Spanish (preschool - 4th grade)

Medical adhesive tape
• Antibacterial cleansers (ex. Betadine)
• Topical antibiotics (ex. Neosporin)
• Scissors
• Tweezers
• Cotton swabs/cotton balls
• Topical steroids (ex. Cortisone)
Antihistamines (ex. Benadryl or Zyrtec)
• Pain relievers (ex. Ibuprofen, Aspirin or Tylenol)
• Eye wash

• Anti-diarrheals (ex. Pepto-Bismol or Immodium)
• Bandages (any size or kind)

Local Church to Host Adoption Seminar:

Westside Fellowship in Elon, NC will host an Adoption Seminar

Saturday, May 21, 2011
10:00am until Noon

Westside Fellowship
(beside Western Alamance High School)

1651 North NC Highway 87
Elon, NC 27244

Guest Speakers from the following Organizations will be there:
Love Links
Children’s Home Society
Bethany Christian Services
America World Adoption Association

Please register at www.westsidefellowship.org/adoption

Child Care will be provided (registration required for child care)
For more information call 336-524-0098 or email info@westsidefellowship.org

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thoughts From The President of Christian Alliance for Orphans...

Jedd Medefind formerly led the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, and now serves as President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans.

“Government makes a very poor parent,” lamented a friend recently. She’s served children in the U.S. foster system for three decades and wasn’t dismissing government’s role in protecting children from abuse. She’d just seen too many times to count that bureaucracy, regulations and hired hands cannot provide the things children need most.

This awareness of limitation, however—disappointing as it is for many government planners—also gives shape to a positive vision. To do right by foster youth and orphans worldwide, we must not seek a single “grand solution.” Rather, we must look first to caring families, especially those supported by a community of faith.

My friend’s observation about the inadequacy of large-scale parenting is affirmed by the research. The statistics awaiting young adults who “emancipate” from the U.S. foster system without being adopted are sheer tragedy. By their mid-20s, less than half are employed. More than 80 percent of males have been arrested, versus 17 percent overall. With women, 68 percent are on food stamps, compared to 7 percent overall. As a lead researcher concluded after a sweeping 2010 study, “We took them away from their parents on the assumption that we as a society would do a better job of raising them. We’ve invested a lot money and time in their care, and by many measures they’re still doing very poorly.”

This reality is just as evident globally. Studies almost universally show that even short stints in orphanages can produce a spectrum of negative consequences, from stunted size and intellect to emotional trauma. One startling yet representative study in Romania by Harvard professor Charles Nelson found that up to age 3, children’s IQ decreased by nearly one point for every two months spent in an orphanage.

All this is not to say that large scale efforts to care for orphans are not required. Physical needs like food, water and medicine can—and sometimes must—be effectively addressed by large institutions. But for a child to thrive, not merely survive, much more is needed. These are things government simply cannot provide: the love and nurture of family.

This realization ties us in a Gordian knot. We have a mass scale need that cannot be solved en masse. Roughly 500,000 children live in the U.S. foster system. Globally, 18.3 million orphans have lost both parents. Yet meeting their fundamental needs is best done one child at a time, with the open hearts and homes of caring families. No bureaucracy, no assembly-line service delivery, no government declaration can produce that.

So it is that faith convictions must play a defining role. Simply put, the morality of a God-empty universe requires only that we ensure our own genes survive. The sacrifices required to love an orphan or foster youth are, quite simply, too great. This is especially true in light of the wounds many carry, from physical deformity to emotional trauma. The strongest, perhaps only, motivation sufficient to embrace this challenge is an animating conviction that every child is created in the image of God and of immeasurable worth. Likewise, it is the faith community sharing such convictions that can provide the support and practical aid a family needs to walk this joyful-but-challenging road.

Does all this suggest governments and large NGOs have no role? Certainly not. It’s just that any serious approach to improving outcomes for foster youth in the U.S. and orphans worldwide must center on families. In the U.S., this includes strategies that promote and incentivize adoption as top priorities, including tax credits and active recruiting. It also requires lowering bureaucratic hurdles that currently make both adoption and fostering painfully complex. To enlist those families most likely to participate, it’s vital that religious agencies and individuals be welcomed and respected.

Globally, orphan initiatives must also emphasize family-based solutions. At the front end, micro-credit, health and related efforts that help keep families intact are vital. When needed, orphanages should be used primarily for transitional care. Ultimately, a full spectrum of responses should include local adoption and foster families, small orphan homes, and (whenever local families are not available) inter-country adoption.

What this can look like is increasingly visible across the U.S. and beyond. In Colorado, church families have taken the lead role in caring for foster youth—cutting the number of “waiting” children by more than 50 percent in two years. Similar church-based efforts can be seen from Florida to Arkansas to Illinois to Texas. These and countless other churches are involved globally as well—including inter-country adoption, international church-to-church orphan care partnerships, and support of indigenous adoption movements from Ukraine to Ethiopia.

Children facing the world without parents know profound want, and a vast spectrum of creative, compassionate responses are certainly needed. But if we are serious about meeting their deepest needs, no mass-produced solution will suffice. It must happen one by one, in the homes of families motivated by faith and love to transform the life of a child.

(Reposted from the April 22, 2011 post of http://conhomeusa.typepad.com/)