My journey to become the Executive Director of The Hope Effect started twenty-one years ago when God dramatically kicked open the door into the world of orphan care.
Out of the blue, my wife Christie and I sensed we should pursue adopting a child from overseas. Although we felt called to adopt, how it would become a reality was a mystery to us. It would require us to overcome many challenges, not the least of which were the adoption and travel fees…which would exceed $30,000.
But within one year, through the power of prayer and the crazy generosity of an 18-year-old girl (who actually funded the adoption!), I was holding my precious daughter Sydney in my arms.
Like many people, I was unaware of the orphan crisis. Sydney opened my eyes to the millions of children who live without families in the world – many of them over the age of five.
Fast forward to seven years ago. My wife and I responded to a simple Facebook post about a little girl in need of a family overseas. We started the process to adopt again – this time with an older child who spent the early part of her life in an institution.
My daughter Mia joined our family when she was 12 years old. Every day I wake up and experience what statistics tell us – that children develop best when they are in a family environment, that institutional care of children before the age of four is devastating, and that good-hearted people are the key to change.
The Hope Effect
A few years ago, my wife and I joined Joshua and Kim Becker in dreaming about The Hope Effect, a nonprofit organization that would change the way the world cares for orphans. We are passionate about seeing orphans cared for – not in institutions, but in families.
For the last few years, I’ve served as the Executive Director on a part-time basis while I pastored a growing church. However, as The Hope Effect prepares to enter our fifth city, with exploration already underway in our sixth location, the demands of The Hope Effect are outpacing the time I can give to it while also leading the church.
I had to make a choice – a choice to either hire a new leader for the The Hope Effect or step away from my roll as pastor. The demands of leading both are just too great for my limited capacity, and I love both too much to continue to provide limited leadership to either.
The Big Decision
As you might imagine, the decision was agonizing. After many conversations with leaders from both organizations, I have made the decision to pursue The Hope Effect full time. Our last day at our church will be Sunday, September 29, and I will transition to a full time role with The Hope Effect in October.
This is obviously a big change for our family. I have been in church ministry for the last 25+ years. Simply put, Christie and I have never gone to a church without having a key to the building. But while we are saddened because we will not be experiencing the deep and meaningful relationships unique to pastoral work, we are confident in the new chapter God is writing for both of us.
I’m also excited to have more opportunities to share our passion for changing the way the world cares for orphans. Check out our website if you’re interested in having The Hope Effect speak at your event, whether it’s a church service, community event, podcast, or any other forum!
We look forward to seeing the ways God will use The Hope Effect to change the way the world cares for orphans. Thank you for being part of the journey…we can’t wait to see what happens next!
We know every child deserves a family. Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, loving, and stable family environment. And during the first few years of a child’s life, that family bond is critically important.
But unfortunately, that’s not the reality for millions of children around the world. So many kids are living without the love and care that only a family can provide. Too many young children are placed in an institution shortly after birth and spend their early childhood years in an orphanage.
Thankfully, you are changing that! Your partnership is changing the way the world cares for orphans. And you are making a difference in the lives of children like Lupita, a young girl in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Lupita’s mother worked as a house cleaner for several different families in Chihuahua. When she became pregnant, she decided she did not want to keep her baby. Thinking she’d found a solution, she made a deal with one of the families that employed her, agreeing to give the child to that family.
A few months later, Lupita was born. Her mother upheld her side of the deal and gave Lupita to her employers, who then registered the child as their own daughter. But almost immediately, Lupita’s mother was filled with regret. She contacted the authorities in an effort to get her daughter back. As the custody dispute began, Lupita was placed in an infant care institution at just one month of age.
She would remain in that institution for more than two years.
As her case dragged on, Lupita became a casualty of the system. Legal processes and paperwork delays resulted in this little girl growing up in an institution during her first critical years of development. But thankfully, Lupita’s life was about to change!
The Turning Point
When Lupita was two and a half, a family visited the institution where she was living. And not just any family – they had been trained and certified to provide family-style care in Chihuahua! They met Lupita and were immediately touched by this little girl and her story. Shortly after that visit, our team began inquiring about the possibility of this family caring for Lupita.
There were several obstacles to overcome. Specifically, Lupita had a few medical conditions that would make caring for her a bit more difficult. She had been diagnosed with anxiety, ADHD, and a heart murmur. But the family was ready to welcome Lupita into their homes and their hearts. They began caring for her, and finally, Lupita began to experience the love of a family.
And that’s not all! As the legal case surrounding Lupita continued, her case file had been buried at the bottom of a growing pile. But once she was placed with a family, her case file was finally opened and examined more closely. It was discovered that Lupita’s grandfather had been looking to take care of her, and her case was re-opened.
After receiving loving family-style care for six months, Lupita was reunited with her biological family. Her grandfather welcomed her back with open arms and was legally able to take her home. We’re so thankful that Lupita had the opportunity to learn how to bond with and trust her foster family in preparation for going home to her biological family.
What an amazing ending to this chapter of Lupita’s story…and we know a wonderful new chapter is just beginning!
Thank you for being a part of Lupita’s journey. If you’d like to make a difference in the lives of more children like Lupita, we’d be honored if you’d support our work in Chihuahua. Simply click the link below to send your gift.
Thank you for changing the way the world cares for orphans!
Big news! Thanks to you, our project in Santa Rosa, Honduras, is FULLY FUNDED!
We first told you about our work in Santa Rosa earlier this year. Along with our partner organization Legacy of Hope Foundation, we are providing family-style care for children in times of transition as they await a more permanent solution.
We knew our awesome supporters (that’s you!) would show up in a big way to care for the children of Santa Rosa. What we didn’t know is that you would reach our fundraising goal so quickly…18 months earlier than expected! Amazing!
You are making an incredible difference in the lives of so many children! A few months ago, we told you about Samuel and his journey to a forever family. Now, we’d like to share two additional stories of children whose lives you’re changing.
Mario came to our transition home when he was only a few days old. He was abandoned almost immediately after birth, and he was found covered in ant bites and other marks. Because of his heartbreaking condition, Mario was admitted to the hospital to receive medical care.
Shortly after that, DINAF (the equivalent of CPS in Honduras) confirmed that nobody was going to come forward for Mario. That meant he would be going through the abandonment process and would be eligible for adoption. Because of that, he was placed in our transition home to wait for an adoptive family.
Mario is now three months old, and we are so excited to say he is thriving and growing! He’s reaching new milestones and recently began rolling over. At his young age, the family-style care he is receiving is so important physically and developmentally. Because Mario has been in a family environment, he will be able to bond more quickly with his adoptive family.
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Mario!
Cristofer has a very different story, but one that also illustrates the importance of family-style care. He is five years old and has been living in the transition home for more than a year. Cristofer is awaiting a foster family.
Cristofer’s parents are unable to care for him, so he needs a permanent home. But because of his circumstances, he is not eligible for adoption. While we search for a long-term foster family for him, he’s being well cared for in our family-style transition home.
As of now, Cristofer has been in this family-style environment for more than a year. He’s been receiving quality education, nutritious meals, and excellent psychological and medical care.
Thanks to you, Cristofer is the experiencing the love, support, and stability of a family. And we know that when he finds his foster family, he’ll already understand what it means to be loved and valued.
You are making such a difference in the lives of children like Mario and Cristofer! Thank you for your support and generosity…you make all of this possible.
We look forward to continuing our work in Santa Rosa, Honduras, and providing you additional updates along the way. Thank you for changing the way the world cares for orphans!
Samuel sat quietly as he processed the news. He looked through pictures of his new home, and his eyes grew wide. The moment was finally here, and it was starting to feel real.
About seven months earlier, Samuel had come into our transition home in Santa Rosa, Honduras, where we work with our partner organization Legacy of Hope Foundation to provide family-style care for children awaiting a more permanent solution. Samuel had spent most of his childhood in a poorly-run orphanage, leaving him with many effects of institutional care – including great loss and trauma.
When Samuel was just a small child, a family came to volunteer in the orphanage where he was living. The family met and interacted with many of the children, but they felt an instant connection with Samuel. In this moment, they began to pursue him – to bring him into their family. They began the long journey to make sure Samuel knew he was loved and valued by a forever family…even if he had yet to fully comprehend what those words meant.
After a time, Samuel came to live in our transition home. We are grateful that our Legacy of Hope partners were able to work closely with his adoptive parents to help Samuel begin to build a relationship with his forever family. During those seven months, Samuel created a life-book which helped him connect his past to his present and future. And because of the family-style environment of the transition home, he began to understand what it meant to be in a family.
Samuel slowly let his guard down and learned to trust. He was able to connect with his adoptive parents while waiting for the adoption to be finalized, and he started to understand that he would one day share their last name. Even on the hardest days – like when court dates were changed and there were missing signatures on paperwork – Samuel knew his family loved him and would be there for him.
A few weeks ago, Samuel went to live with his forever family. The night before he left the transition home, he had his favorite meal and made chocolate cupcakes. It was a celebration – a celebration of him, his adoption, and his new family.
Today, The Hope Effect and Legacy of Hope celebrate with Samuel’s adoptive family as they are finally able to hold and cherish this little boy – their son. Today, we celebrate the stories of all the children our transition home has served. Siblings who have been able to stay together after being removed from their family, teen girls who have been able to care for their babies and learn what it means to be a mother, and abandoned babies who have been placed into safe and loving families.
And today, we celebrate you – the incredible, generous people who make this all possible! You are changing the lives of children…children like Samuel, and so many others. We are incredibly thankful for your partnership and support. You are doing great things. You are changing the way the world cares for orphans!
*This post was co-written with our partners at Legacy of Hope.