As most of you know, last weekend we hosted our conference for adoptive and foster parents here in Atlanta, Hope at Home 2012. I am going to share some photos with you from the weekend, but I'd like to take a moment just to share with you how Hope at Home started. About three years ago we had an event at our church, Northlands, where an amazing man who is a pastor in Ukraine and a key leader in the Ukraine Without Orphans movement, spoke. The audience was primarily adoptive parents, and afterwards some of us made ourselves available to pray with these dear parents for the issues they were facing with their adopted children. It was such a joy for us, and the Lord showed up as we prayed, releasing hope and fresh wisdom for each situation, and the parents went away feeling so encouraged. As we prayed I had such a strong sense that God was calling us as a local church to be more intentional about this ministry and that the need for adoptive and foster parents to be encouraged and strengthened was huge.
After sharing this with Susan Hillis, who had also been feeling the need for an event where adoptive and foster parents could come and be refreshed and encouraged in the Lord for the calling of this unique and often intense parenting role, we soon met with the elders of our church and it became clear that God was opening the door for us reach out to this group of people in our community. Many of us at Northlands had either adopted or were adopted or had walked closely alongside adoptive families and we felt our hearts were full to overflowing with a desire to share with other parents what we had so freely been receiving from our wonderful God for ourselves. Our focus seemed clear from God-- we were not promoting adoption, although most of us have a passion for it; nor were we focusing on ministry to orphans. We felt a clear call from God to focus on the intense and powerful love that Father God has for adoptive and foster mothers and fathers, for His heart is as passionate about you dear one as it is for orphans and for the children adopted from hard places. We believe that God has such good plans for our families and that He is an ever present help as we love our children through all the stages of their lives.
So last weekend we had the BEST time as we
welcomed each father and mother:
had a great time of fellowship, food and live jazz at our
H@H After Party:
enjoyed hearing interviews with adoptive parents:
learned from amazing breakout speakers on 12 different topics close to our hearts:
and soaked in the ministry of the spoken word and song:
One of the things I loved about this weekend was that it took so many people to make it happen and to me that is a clear and very real display of Father God's love for us parents. He is extravagant in His love for us and that just fills me with Hope for my Home. For if God is for us, who can be against us my friends?! He is BIGGER and is an Ever Present Help for us in our times of need.
Blessed be His Name!!
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