Building a Children’s Home? Ten Thoughts to Consider

In our work with Casa Viva, we have the privilege of interacting with a variety of people around the issues of children separated from their first families. We are deeply aware of our shared calling and common motivation to care for children in need. As people have come to us seeking insight on the particulars [...]

September 28th, 2016|Tags: , |

The Threshold Is a Sacred Space: The Casa Viva Story

The story of Casa Viva is a story of children, family, and the local church. As the founders, we can see that it stretches from our childhood summers visiting grandparents in Nebraska to our present work in Costa Rica caring for children through local families and the local church. We are well aware that our [...]

September 16th, 2016|Tags: |

Listening Hearts. Shifting Focus. Five Tips for Hurdling Over Alternative Orphan Care Conversation Starters

Watching the Olympics, I find myself mesmerized by the skill, timing, and rhythm of the hurdlers. With ease, they keep their momentum moving forward until the finish line is in sight. But what happens when their tempo is suddenly interrupted by an injury or when another athlete unexpectedly comes into their lane? They fall down—sometimes [...]

August 18th, 2016|Tags: , |

Foster Care in Panama: Our Journey

Growing up in the U.S. I dreamed of moving to Africa to start an orphanage. But I met and married my husband at a young age, and in 2008 we moved to Panama City, Panama, with our then three-year-old daughter. Our new Panamanian church had a volunteer program that involved holding babies and playing with [...]

July 25th, 2016|Tags: , |

Two Stories of Transforming Good Intentions into Best Practices

“Be brave, be fierce, be visionary. Mend the parts of the world that are within your reach. To live this way is the most dramatic gift you can ever give to the world. Consider yourselves assigned.”                           ~Your Assignment by Clarissa Pinkola Estes Even without reading her words, many impassioned young people [...]

May 18th, 2016|Tags: , , |

A Place to Call Home, A Person(s) to Call Family

Millions of children in Africa are growing up in orphanages, residential care centers, and children’s homes. Most of these institutions identify themselves as “homes” and “family” to these children. But are these residential care institutions really “home” or “family”? I grew up in an institution, and it didn’t feel like a family and I didn’t [...]

March 22nd, 2016|Tags: , , , |

Family First: A Global Partnership Between Roblealto and Bethany Community Church

Roblealto Child Care Association puts families at the forefront of its work with vulnerable children in San Jose, Costa Rica. Roblealto supports a holistic approach to restore at-risk children to loving and supportive relationships with their parents and provides resources for parents to achieve self-sufficiency for their families. Roblealto’s programs include four child care centers [...]

February 23rd, 2016|Tags: , , |

The Role of Parent Education and Support in Strengthening Families and Improving Child Well-Being

We all know that parents and other individuals responsible for the daily care of children (usually referred to as “caregivers”) need good parenting and caregiving skills to support their children’s healthy development and well-being. Most parents and caregivers do fairly well raising their children without receiving any parenting education or external support. However, some do [...]

January 21st, 2016|Tags: , |

One Step at a Time Toward a World Without Orphans

A World Without Orphans—it’s a huge dream that lives in the hearts of thousands of people who believe that every orphan should live in a loving family and work toward this great goal daily. I sincerely believe in it too. And I know that the church is capable of solving this problem through welcoming the [...]

January 4th, 2016|Tags: , |

Lectio Divina: Listening to God’s Heart for Children

The Faith to Action Initiative works to educate and mobilize Christians to respond to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children, upholding the vital importance of family and community. In doing so, we engage with a variety of different Christian traditions with the goal of working together to care for children and families in collaboration [...]

December 11th, 2015|Tags: , , |

La Providencia: A Lifelong Commitment to Care

Anthony’s* feet swung from the chair, hardly touching the floor. He was eager to talk and happily answered the government-appointed psychiatrist’s questions, unmindful that he was being evaluated. She asked him to draw a picture of where he lived and who lived with him. He drew a picture of his house with a mom and [...]

November 10th, 2015|Tags: , |

Finding Life After Institution

In Kenya, a movement of remarkable new leaders is working to assist young adults who have aged out of institutions and are trying to find their way in life. This network of people is the Kenya Society of Careleavers (KESCA) organization, “by and for adults (18+ years), who spent all or part of their childhood [...]

October 29th, 2015|Tags: , , |

Strengthening Children and Families Through Agricultural Development

Roots. They dig deep into the soil, drawing up water and nutrients so the rest of the plant can flourish and bear fruit. If roots are infected, or too shallow, or lacking essential nutrients for survival, the entire plant will become susceptible to disease and fail to thrive. Similarly, children rooted in chronic poverty are [...]

October 16th, 2015|Tags: , , , |

Protecting Children in Post-Earthquake Nepal

It’s hard to visit Nepal and not be awe-struck by God’s handiwork: the soaring mountains, the fields of golden mustard, the laughter and artistry of Nepali people. Yet this same beauty has at times made Nepal particularly vulnerable to poverty and natural disaster. The mountainous topography makes infrastructure a constant challenge, and for decades scientists [...]

July 30th, 2015|Tags: , , |

Learning from Jesus to Serve Children

I spent ten years serving the world's most vulnerable children as a humanitarian professional, but it took having my own children for God to teach me some important lessons about the humility and sacrifice required in serving children, and appreciation for the adults who love and care for vulnerable children up-close. I loved my career [...]

June 17th, 2015|Tags: , , |

Out of Isolation and Into Families

In Armenia there are around 4,500 children living in residential institutions, a situation caused by the weak social protection system, an insufficient number of community-based services and lack of gate-keeping mechanisms due to overall weakness and inefficiency of the system, leftover from the Soviet Union. In the last decade, the Government of Armenia (GoA) initiated [...]

March 20th, 2015|Tags: , , |

God’s Word: The Heartbeat of Love for the Orphan

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 Where in the world today is the church responding to the orphan crisis? Ethiopia, home to [...]

February 26th, 2015|

The Invitation and Hope of Advent

The season of Advent is upon us. Advent, which means coming in Latin, invites us to slow down and actively wait with great anticipation for the birth of Christ. The rhythm of Advent draws us closer to God in hope, preparation, joy, love, and through the presence of Christ Himself. In the midst of the [...]

December 18th, 2014|

The Concentric Circles of Strengthening Families

Millions of children around the world are orphaned. I feel helpless to take action in terms of these staggering facts. What can I possibly do to help with throblem? I feel so overwhelmed by the issue. But, understanding the importance of strengthening families is something I can wrap my mind around. In fact, it is [...]

September 7th, 2014|

When the Church is Moved

Growing up in a small southern town, my travels by the time I made it to college consisted of trips to my grandparents’ farm in Kansas and one failed family vacation to Six Flags in Texas. I was raised in a Christian home in the heart of the Bible belt and participated in everything from [...]

August 20th, 2014|