A Practical, Memorable Adoption Event
Are you curious about what adoption and fostering is like? Would you like to explore the possibility of adopting? Are you an adoptive family who could use refreshment and training for a challenging aspect of orphan care? Join us, Christy and Jonathan, and others from Grace Church of Alexandria who are going to the Northeast Adoption Summit in Lancaster, PA, on April 25-26, 2014.

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What To Expect

Bethany Christian Services, our adoption agency, is pulling out the stops with this summit to raise awareness of children who are waiting for family to call their own and to provide training for the adoption community on a variety of issues. The summit includes 4 general sessions and 41 breakout sessions. For us personally, we’re eager to hear:

  • how to explain to your children in age appropriate ways that they are adopted;
  • understanding how trauma in a child’s life affects them and how to care for them when they come to your home.
  • Johnny Carr, the pastor who for seven years has overseen our agency’s relationship with churches;

Register To Go
There’s really something for everyone at this conference. Register here. Cost is reasonable, at $69 per individual and $120 per couple. And it’s drivable distance from the Washington D.C. Metro region where we and many of our readers live. If you’re in the adoption process and waiting for a child to be placed in the home like we are, this counts toward your required continuing education.

If you decide to attend, let us know and we’ll connect with you there!

Summit 10
If you’re able to make it to Chicago on May 1-2, 2014, don’t miss THE Summit, Summit 10, organized by our dear friend Elizabeth from the Christian Alliance For Orphans. Summit 10 is vastly larger and with many more workshops, general sessions, and breakouts. We’d love to make it to Summit 10, but alas can’t make it to Chicago this year. Here’s our recap of Summit 9.

This post first appeared at the Matíases’ adoption blog: www.littlebirdproject.com

We’re pleased to announce the launch of Grace Church’s Adoption Fund!

Why a Fund?
Grace Church of Alexandria is deeply committed to “caring for orphans in their distress” (James 1:27). The surge in adoption and orphan involvement by our church family demonstrates this. And this summer, someone from Grace Church anonymously donated $500.00 to start a fund to help church families who want to adopt. This initial seed money, we hope, is the beginning of a robust fund that provide grants and interest-free loans to help families with the cost of adoption. The elders have enlisted Lifesong for Orphans to administer the fund, which is being done at no charge.

Lifesong Logo

How Do I Give To the Adoption Fund?
Help add to the $500 that is initially in the fund!

**When you give, specify that your gift is for “Fund P386 Grace Church of Alexandria.” P386 is GCA’s account number at Lifesong.

1. Give online now by clicking here.
Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 5.19.57 PM

2. or Mail a check to:

Lifesong for Orphans
Attn: Grace Church of Alexandria Adoption Fund P386
P.O. Box 40
202 N. Ford Street
Gridley, IL 61744

Your gift is tax-deductible. You can give to the fund generally, or you may specify an individual or family from church who is adopting whom you intend the gift to help. No admin costs will be deducted from your gift, so 100% of what you give will help member families with the cost of adopting, which may include application fees, paying hospital costs of a baby’s birth, travel costs to another country, home study costs, etc.

Who Can Apply To the Adoption Fund?
Any member of Grace Church of Alexandria is eligible to apply for financial assistance from the church adoption fund. There are 2 easy steps.

1. Fill out the application.
Click here to download the application

2. Send your application to Lifesong for Orphans.
Lifesong will process your request and give Pastor Garrett Lee a recommendation as to whether you are eligible for funds, as well as the amount of financial assistance Lifesong recommends for your situation.

Please pray with us that the Grace Church Adoption Fund will help our church open our homes to orphans and demonstrate God’s gospel love to the community.

Questions?
Pastor Garrett Lee is Grace Church’s fund administrator. See him with your questions.

The Fine Print

  • Donations of $250 or more will automatically receive a tax receipt. If your gift is smaller and you would like a receipt, please request one with your gift.
  • To give for a specific family, that family must already have an approved application at Lifesong – so check with the family before sending in your gift.
  • Because of IRS tax law, Lifesong cannot promise that your gift will go toward a specific adoption, but Lifesong understands your preference in giving and has a history of honoring donor requests.
  • PayPal takes a 2-3% admin fee for online donations.

 

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At Grace Church we’ll be observing Orphan Sunday on November 24, 2013 at 9:30 am Adult Bible Class and 10:30 am Worship Service. Since November is Adoption Month, we set aside a Sunday in November to think about God’s heart for the fatherless and how it should stir his people to care for children in need. Come join us! Here’s what’s coming up–

9:30 am Adult Bible Class – Special Guests From Romania Reborn
We’ll be hearing from Romania Reborn, a local ministry which sponsors relief and missionary work among orphans, abandoned babies and other needy children in Romania. This vital ministry was started by a friend of mine when she was 20 years old. Learn about Romania reborn here: www.romania-reborn.org

10:30 am Worship Service – Orphan Sunday Theme
Testimonies, video, songs, prayers, and preaching about the gospel truth of adoption and how this motivates us to care for orphans to make God’s adopting love tangible.

Wondering more about Orphan Sunday or why adoption and foster care are such a big deal at our church?

I AM LOVED from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

New! Grace Church Adoption Fund

September 18th, 2013

We’re pleased to announce the launch of Grace Church’s Adoption Fund!

Why a Fund?
Grace Church of Alexandria is deeply committed to “caring for orphans in their distress” (James 1:27). The surge in adoption and orphan involvement by our church family demonstrates this. And this summer, someone from Grace Church anonymously donated $500.00 to start a fund to help church families who want to adopt. This initial seed money, we hope, is the beginning of a robust fund that provide grants and interest-free loans to help families with the cost of adoption. The elders have enlisted Lifesong for Orphans to administer the fund, which is being done at no charge.

Lifesong Logo

How Do I Give To the Adoption Fund?
Help add to the $500 that is initially in the fund!

**When you give, specify that your gift is for “Fund P386 Grace Church of Alexandria.” P386 is GCA’s account number at Lifesong.

1. Give online now by clicking here.
Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 5.19.57 PM

2. or Mail a check to:

Lifesong for Orphans
Attn: Grace Church of Alexandria Adoption Fund P386
P.O. Box 40
202 N. Ford Street
Gridley, IL 61744

Your gift is tax-deductible. You can give to the fund generally, or you may specify that you intend the gift to help a specific individual/family in the church who is adopting. No admin costs will be deducted from your gift, so 100% of what you give will help member families with the cost of adopting, which may include application fees, paying hospital costs of a baby’s birth, travel costs to another country, home study costs, etc.

Who Can Apply To the Adoption Fund?
Any member of Grace Church of Alexandria is eligible to apply for financial assistance from the church adoption fund. There are 2 easy steps.

1. Fill out the application.
Click here to download the application

2. Send your application to Lifesong for Orphans.
Lifesong will process your request and give Pastor Garrett Lee a recommendation as to whether you are eligible for funds, as well as the amount of financial assistance Lifesong recommends for your situation.

Please pray with us that the Grace Church Adoption Fund will help our church open our homes to orphans and demonstrate God’s gospel love to the community.

Questions?
Pastor Garrett Lee is Grace Church’s fund administrator. See him with your questions.

The Fine Print

  • Donations of $250 or more will automatically receive a tax receipt. If your gift is smaller and you would like a receipt, please request one with your gift.
  • To give for a specific family, that family must already have an approved application at Lifesong – so check with the family before sending in your gift.
  • Because of IRS tax law, Lifesong cannot promise that your gift will go toward a specific adoption, but Lifesong understands your preference in giving and has a history of honoring donor requests.
  • PayPal takes a 2-3% admin fee for online donations.

 

Christy and I have learned that in Virginia over five thousand children are in the foster care system. And 1,300 of them are legally free to be adopted; they are ready and waiting for a family to call their own. To help you learn about the opportunity of fostering, sign up for Change Who Waits, a free two hour event on Saturday, May 11, 2013.

You’ll hear from current foster parents about the joys and pains of foster parenting, and you’ll hear stories from people that grew up in the foster care system. Be inspired and informed about the process to become foster parents. And connect with several foster care agencies that will be present and explore how to start the process of changing the future of these children.

What: Change Who Waits Foster Care Rally

When: Saturday, May 11, 2013, 10 am to 12 pm

Where:
 Cherrydale Baptist Church in Arlington.

Interested, But Can’t Make It May 11?

An additional rally will be held in Chantilly at nZone on June 9, 3-5 pm. If you decide to attend one of these rallies, let us know! We hope to go too.

UPDATE–The Chantilly rally has been postponed till November 2013, for National Adoption Month. It will not be held in June as originally planned.

This post originally appeared at OperationFirefly, where Christy and I blog about our adoption journey and share adoption-related news and resources.

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Adoption.

Foster care.

Global orphan care.

And what individuals and the church can do about it.

These are the themes Summit9 in Nashville, TN, will explore on May 2-3, 2013. Come join a contingent of members from Grace Church of Alexandria who are going to strengthen our church’s heart for the orphan. This practical, gospel-focused event is for every believer, from families open to fostering and adopting, and believers who want to know how to care for fatherless children, to pastoral staff, and professionals in the orphan care field.

Location: Brentwood Baptist Church, 7777 Concord Road, Brentwood, TN, 37072

Conference Schedule: See the full schedule here.

Register Now.
Goop news! Members of Grace Church save $50 off registration because our church is a member of the Christian Alliance for Orphans.

Toward a Life-Affirming Culture

January 27th, 2013

Sermon Title: Toward a Life-Affirming Culture
Speaker: Jonathan Matías, Pastor
Text: Genesis 1:26-27; Exodus 21:22-25, Psalm 139:13-16; James 1:27
Description: Thoughts on life, love, our community, and the cross on the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade.
Play

At Grace Church this Sunday, November 4, we’ll be observing Orphan Sunday with churches across the globe. As November is Adoption Month, we set aside the first Sunday in November to think about God’s heart for the fatherless and how it should stir his people to care for children in need. Come join us! Here’s what’s coming up–

Sunday, November 4
10:30 am Worship Service – Orphan Sunday Theme
Preaching, testimonies, video, and songs about our spiritual adoption by God and how this motivates our care for orphans.

Sunday, November 11
9:25 am Adult Bible Class – Panel Discussion on Adoption & Foster Care
Come with your questions at a Q&A with four Grace Church families who have adopted or provided foster care.

Sunday, November 18
9:25 am Adult Bible Class – “Ministering to Women With Unexpected Pregnancies”
A social worker from Bethany Christian Services will discuss how to minister to couples who find themselves in unexpected pregnancies and are considering abortion vs. adoption, or who have made an adoption plan for their child.

Wondering more about Orphan Sunday or why adoption and foster care are such a big deal at our church? Check out more info here. And take a look at this video explaining what Orphan Sunday is all about! I’ve gotta say–we’re honored that our adopted son is featured at 0:55 in this video!

Orphan Sunday 2012 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

 

You’re Invited to the Alexandria Vision Dinner

Grace Church invites you to the Alexandria Vision Dinner on November 2, 2012. This is an informal dinner where our church will gather with other area Christians to:

  • learn about the crisis of high teen pregnancy and abortion rates in Alexandria;
  • hear how Sanctity of Life Ministries (SLM) is responding with a new gospel centered initiative;
  • learn how churches and individuals can make a difference.

What: Alexandria Vision Dinner
When: Friday, November 2, 2012, 7 pm (6:45 pm registration)
Where: Alexandria Old Town Hilton, 1767 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Who: Hosted by Sanctity of Life Ministries
What: Includes a talk by SLM CEO Stan Kellner, a Q&A time, and there will be an opportunity to give at this event.
RSVP: by October 29 to Jillian Kain, Reservations Coordinator, 703.780.4700 or jillian.kain@slmpregnancy.org (also let Pastor Jonathan Matías know so he can save a spot at the Grace Church table)

A Christian Medical Clinic In Alexandria

SLM is looking to turn their Alexandria pregnancy care center into a medical clinic with an ultrasound machine to increase its effectiveness in our city. When the SLM Fairfax office became a medical clinic with an ultrasound machine, the percent of clients who chose life grew by 40%! Since the Alexandria office does not currently have an ultrasound machine, women sometimes say they would rather have an abortion than travel to the Fairfax office to get an ultrasound. We can work together to change this! Goals for the banquet include raising $65,000 so SLM qualifies for a matching grant offered to them, equipping believers to pray for this initiative, and informing us how to volunteer in Alexandria.

Join Us!

Our lead pastor Jonathan and his wife are going to host a table at the dinner. If you’d like to join them, or you have questions, please let Jonathan know by writing him here. If you have a friend who would like to come with you, please let him know and he’ll save space at the table. Grace Church of Alexandria invites you to come learn how you can be a part of bringing the gospel to women in crisis and being a voice for the unborn.

The last few years, God has been moving in the heart of our church family to take measures to confront the the global orphan crisis. It’s been amazing over the last 3 years at Grace Church of Alexandria to see that:

  • two children were adopted internationally;
  • one child was adopted domestically;
  • one member got a job with America World Adoption, an adoption agency;
  • one member works for the Christian Alliance for Orphans;
  • several families are considering adoption or foster care;
  • every 1st Sunday in November on Orphan Sunday, we have a service focused on God’s heart for the fatherless.

In addition, the Lord has drawn to our church:

  • a member who was adopted transracially;
  • a birth mother who chose an adoption plan for her child;
  • a family who, when living in China, came across neglected children in an orphanage, so they volunteered their nights and weekend to minister to these neglected children, and later provided foster care for one child.

This is not something the pastors worked to bring about. Rather, this is just a way God has been working, stirring our congregation to be ”fathers to the fatherless” (Psalm 65:5) and “visit widows and orphans in their affliction” (James 1:27). As we’ve seen this moving of God’s Spirit, we’re working to cultivate Grace Church of Alexandria as a haven for families who are opening their homes to needy children, and to equip our congregation to take further action to show Christ’s love to orphans.

To this end, here are a few resources to inform you about the global orphan crisis and describe steps you can take to minister to orphans:

Open Your Eyes to the Global Orphan Crisis: The Christian Alliance For Orphans
The Resource Library of the Christian Alliance For Orphans introduces the plight that 153 million orphans face across the world.

Learn How Adoption Works: Operation Firefly
While Christy and I adopted a baby boy this year, we’ve continued blogging to give others a window into the adoption process. Check out our posts at Operation Firefly to see the ups, downs, joys, and tears of domestic adoption.

Hear How the Gospel Fuels Orphan Ministry: Together For Adoption
The audio and written resources of this ministry show show how orphan care in the U.S. and across the world flows from an understanding of the cross, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Consider Fostering and Adopting: Adoption Agencies

I highly recommend these agencies as you consider if God wants you to foster or to adopt children who need a place to call home. Both agencies work in the Washington D.C. region and across the country:

America World Adoption
Bethany Christian Services

For more resources on ways you can make a difference for orphans, check out these posts by Grace Church of Alexandria.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” Psalm 65:5-6 (NIV)

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