Thursday, April 17, 2014

‘Forever families’ congregate

Blue Ridge Community Church holds an informal meeting about foster-to-adopt

It was standing room only at Blue Ridge Community Church Saturday, Nov. 9 as families met to learn about the process of becoming a forever family to a child
in need.

Family — The Jordans are a foster care  adoption family. Photo provided

Family — The Jordans are a foster care
adoption family. Photo provided

The Foster Hope Foundation hosted “Foster Forever Families Rally” to educate Christian families interested in fostering or adopting a child, according to David Gaines, founder and president of the foundation.

Gaines, who was adopted and has one adopted son, explained why the event was focused on Christian families interested in foster care or adoption.

“The government agencies cannot promote Christianity,” Gaines said. “Christian families can introduce (the children) to Christ. Christian families can raise them the way they should be, as the word of God says.”

Donald Tordoff, associate pastor at Blue Ridge Community Church, said he felt encouraged as a pastor to see the church and Foster Hope Foundation coming together to help children in need in the community.

“I was on the street pretty early in my life,” Tordoff said. “I see this as a way of God redeeming what my story was with abuse and divorce by me being able to help organize a more immediate way for kids to get what I did not have.”

Refreshments were served to nearly 100 guests in attendance, double the amount expected, according to Tordoff. Among those were current foster and adoption parents who were given the opportunity to share their personal stories.

Shawn Horrell, a mother of three adopted children, shared her story of trials and triumphs during the process of adoption.

“Adoption is a journey of faith and difficulty,” Horrell said. “But it’s also a beautiful picture of God’s love and completion.”

According to Horrell, she and her husband adopted their first child, Jason, and planned to have biological children. After months of unsuccessful fertility treatments, Horrell said she and her husband completely gave their situation over to God.

Horrell, a former school teacher, said her answer to prayer was a boy named Tony in her class who was in need of a family.

Following the adoption of Tony, Horrell faced another difficult situation in which the birth mother of a child they wanted to adopt changed her mind at the last minute. After several weeks, the birth mother decided she was unable to care for her baby and gave the child back, Horrell said.

Seven adoption and foster care agencies were represented at the rally. Among the representatives was Liberty professor J.J. Cole with Family Life Services, a division of the Liberty Godparent Home.

Cole said the rally was important because of the need in Virginia for families to adopt.

“There are a thousand children that can be placed for adoption that we’re trying to find families for,” Cole said.

Cole, a social worker, shared why she believed the event was important for the Christian community.

“There are so many children that can benefit from Christian families,” Cole said. “I think the Christian community needs to step up. If we’re Christians saying we want to make a difference, this is the way to do it – by hosting events like this one.”

Tordoff, who is also the vice president of Foster Hope Foundation, said not everyone is meant to adopt.

“God’s got to be the one that prompts you,” Tordoff said. “It’s not a good idea to just run out and adopt because it’s a romantic idea. There are a lot of challenges with it. And I think my role is to help people realize that God is the one who has to birth this idea (of adoption) in you.”

“The Virginia Governor’s team included the family of Darrell Jordan, 2002 alumnus and communications director of the House of Representatives, in their new campaign to promote foster-to-adoption and to find homes for the waiting available-to-adopt foster children in Virginia,” Jordan’s update said.

“Liberty alumna Janet Kelly is part of Gov. McDonnell’s cabinet, serving as secretary of the commonwealth. She is leading the @VirginiaAdopts initiative for the Governor,” Jordan said.

According to Virginia Adopts’ twitter account, it is an initiative launched by Gov. Bob McDonnell to match 1,000 waiting children in Virginia’s foster system with permanent loving families.

For more information on Virginia Adopts, follow them on twitter or visit virginiaadopts.virginia.gov

For more information on the Foster Hope Foundation, visit fosterhopeinc.org.

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