2 days left, 3 GREAT Reasons to Give

Only 2 days to go until the big Walk!  With that in mind, here’s a reminder of where the funds will go – The CALL, Project Zero and Immerse Arkansas.

If you haven’t already, please register or donate today at www.walkforthewaiting.org!

These 3 organizations meet the critical needs of youth in (and aging out of) foster care. To see what how the funds will help waiting children, take a look at these videos:

The CALL

Project Zero

https://vimeo.com/124646372

Immerse Arkansas

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Why Stefan Walks (for other foster youth)

Some of the most influential advocates for waiting children are those that have experienced foster care first-hand.  The following is from Stefan who has participated in Immerse for the last couple of years.  A handful of youth from Immerse are walking on behalf of waiting kids and they’ve put a team together “The Overcomers.” To show your support, please sponsor them here.

From Stefan:

I lost my parents at a young age, although my biological father raised me for several years before he passed. Even afterwards, I didn’t spend any time in foster care until just before my senior year of high school. In the short period of time between being brought in to the system and exiting it, I experienced a great deal of hardship. Bullying. Hunger. Depression. However, I can’t look back on what I went through and think for even a moment that I had it anywhere near as rough as many of the youth I lived with. Some, like me, were orphans, but had spent nearly their entire life up to that point in the system. Others had been the victims of unimaginable abuse, and of them a few had even been abused to the point of permanent mental and physical injury. Many of us had been born with assorted disorders and syndromes, which limited housing options and all but disintegrated any hope for a sense of normalcy.

I spent one year watching all of this. Experiencing it. Coming to understand the suffering that results from having too many mouths to feed, and not enough people to help feed them. The most common theme that I came across, however, was the dreaded feeling of waiting for nothing. Being told, “Everyone gets their chance, be patient,” and not even knowing what that chance will bring you, if anything. Many of the boys and girls I met were very young. Even amongst 9-year-olds, 10-year-olds, or even younger than them, there were always one or two that never had any expectation of a family one day taking them. They didn’t see a reason to wait for a guardian angel, because they’d never known anything else.

I at least had the boon of being old enough to age out shortly after coming in, but every part of me aches when I think about who hasn’t left yet. Who’s still there, suffering daily. Waiting for a forgone conclusion, and wondering why they should even bother to wait, instead of just resigning themselves to suffering alongside so many like them, in a system that is bursting at the seams because it has no one to help lighten the burden. In the end, it’s not the caregivers who suffer the most, it’s the ones they have to care for. And even so many of them are heartbroken at how powerless they are to provide for their wards. 

If am to walk, I walk not only to provide opportunities, but to relieve pain from a wound that’s needed healing for too long now. If I walk, I don’t do it to erase the past, but to repair hearts and souls so they can grow anew. And if I walk, I will walk because walking is the absolute least I can do for those I suffered alongside during that one singular year.

I walk so that the children I lived alongside can one day walk together with me, and have the love and support of a family at each of their backs.

4 Days – Kids without moms

Only 4 days to go! If you haven’t already please donate or register at http://www.walkforthewaiting.org!

With Mother’s Day around corner, many children in foster care or waiting for adoption will be acutely aware of a mother missing in their life.  Adoptive father, Nathan James, passed this along on Facebook and it’s worth underscoring.  What about the thousands and thousands of kids in America that could not pick their mom out? And what about the kids that would not even have a mom in the lineup?

From Nathan:

I came across this today. It is absolutely amazing. It is a great demonstration of the bond between a mother and a child. But I couldn’t help but think about all the kids that never experience this bond. We expect adults to be functioning members of society, but if they never have this bond, if they never know permanence in the form of a loving parent, how can much be expected of them. Even if you have already watched this, watch it again and think of all the kids that don’t have this – there are pictures of about 200 kids up for adoption in Arkansas here: http://theprojectzero.org/heart-gallery/all-children. There are about 100,000 kids in the US that are available for adoption right now.

To help waiting kids in Arkansas, become a sponsored walker at http://walkforthewaiting.org or feel free to donate to my families’ effort to raise funds and awareness at http://walkforthewaiting.org/jamesfamily.

Hats off to Nathan and Amy, who like I said, have adopted several.  Now these kids have a  mom and a dad, and they’re connected.  Here are a few members of the James Family singing for Walk donations. Sponsor Nathan, Amy and crew by clicking here.

Rickey’s Team – “My mom loves me…”

With 5 days to go until the Walk, there are a few folks that we think will reach their goal if everyone knows why they’re walking.

Rickey and family.
Rickey and his forever family.

Take Rickey, age 7, for instance.  His adoptive mother began to tell him about the Walk for the Waiting and that she was planning on signing up to raise money for foster children waiting for their forever families.  Immediately, Rickey said, “I wanna do that!”  Rickey took the helm and family has gotten behind him to form Team Rickey.

Rickey has raised $70 toward his goal of $250.  Do you know someone that might want to sponsor him by clicking here?

Here’s why Rickey’s walking:

“It’s fun to walk. I am walking for kids who are waiting for their families. It’s important because they are waiting on a home. It’s important to me because I was waiting on a family. I am raising money for kids to get home with a bed, a roof, toys, a mom and dad that are nice, parents that teach you, food, and love. God helped me find my mom and dad. My mom loves me and keeps me safe now! Every kid should have that.”

Rickey 

Again, please help Rickey meet his goal and let’s help many more children find a mom and dad that love them and keep them safe!

If you’re still waiting to get involved, register or donate today at www.walkforthewaiting.org.

Whatever it takes – Pullin’ for the Children

Today begins the one-week countdown to Walk for the Waiting! If you haven’t already, please register to become a Sponsored Walker or donate today.

We want to make sure this moving story hits your radar before you show up for the Walk.

If your eyes have been opened to the plight of kids in foster care, you know the restless feeling of, “I need to do more.”  As you foster and adopt, you see some good things happen, but you also see a lot of children with broken hearts and crushed spirits.  There’s an urgency that develops and desire to do whatever it takes to make sure every child has a family.

Meet Marc and Jamie.  They’ve been fostering for 5 years and have adopted 3 boys.  In short, they’ve done more than their share in caring for waiting children.

Marc, Jamie and crew.
Marc, Jamie and crew.

But they’re not content to stop there.  Marc has described feeling the weight of waiting children on his shoulders, and he’s decided to do something more.  You can find more details here, but Marc is harnessing 4,500lbs (1 pound for each child in Arkansas’ foster care system) to his body and will pull it for a mile at War Memorial Stadium as a physical representation that he “pullin’ for the children.”

Not only that, but he’s set a goal of raise $15,840 ($3 for every foot he pulls), to help support The CALL, Project Zero and Immerse Arkansas.

Marc practices at War Memorial to pull for waiting children.Marc, thanks for walking, thanks for pullin’, for these waiting children!

If you want to sponsor Marc, click here to visit his page.

We’re pullin’ for you Marc!

“A Gift from God” – Why Connie-Jo Walks

Among our Walkers this year are staff members of The CALL, Project Zero and Immerse Arkansas.  These are passionate people giving their lives to help every child have a home. Some of these employees even take their work home with them, like Connie-Jo with The CALL.  Here’s why Connie-Jo walks:

I am walking for a teenager. After being abandoned by her mom at 2 days old, then being transferred from home to home within immediate family for several weeks, her first foster placement occurred when she was only 3 months old. Over the next 12 years, she was in and out of foster homes, in shelters, back with her dad for short periods of time but unsafe, back in shelters and additional foster homes – until the death of her father, when she was finally placed in a residential group home.

Abandoned, rejected, cast aside dozens of times, she was never shown value or unconditional love by anyone, until affiliation and prayer through The CALL resulted in her final placement and ultimate adoption. In sincere answer to prayer, this placement is a gift from God and this teenager, now 17, is the most precious of treasures. I walk to declare to the world that this she IS valuable, that she IS loved no matter what, that she matters above and beyond all else; and I walk to honor God’s trust in me.

Thanks for all you’re doing, Connie-Jo! Go to http://www.walkforthewaiting.org to become a sponsored walker or to donate now.  See you on 5/2!

Prayer team for the Walk

As we’re quickly approaching the Walk, there is a small group of folks that are connecting via email to pray for the Walk and for waiting children.  Here’s a note from Kara Gilmore this morning that will encourage and challenge all of us.  If you’d like to join the prayer team, please shoot Kara a note (gilmore.kara@gmail.com).

Here’s the invitation to pray from Kara:

I am so thankful for each of you joining this journey of prayer as we approach the Walk for the Waiting!
John 6 records the account of Jesus feeding the multitude with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. As I was recently reading this passage, I was so encouraged to thank God for the loaves and fish He has provided for the multitudes here in Arkansas!
First of all, the multitudes in the passage are many. They are hungry. They need. And, Jesus asks his disciples, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”. The disciples surely thought, “We can’t meet these needs, Lord.”
This reminds me of the foster children in Arkansas. They are many. They are hungry, albeit for food or for family.  They need.
And, we have only a few loaves and a couple fish. We are only human and see our limitations clearly. “We can’t meet these needs, Lord.”
But, Jesus gives thanks! He thanks His Father for the limited amount and distributes to the disciples. In the same way, He still distributes to us! He still invites us to feed the hungry with His power and He will be the one to provide! Isn’t it neat how He gave to the disciples and the disciples had the opportunity to hand it to the hungry men, women, and children?! His invitation still stands!
Let’s thank Him today for the multitude of children, whose faces and names and stories He knows!
Let’s thank Him for pulling these organizations together and for forming them through His church!
Let’s thank Him for the many, many families He has touched and called to foster, adopt, and mentor these precious ones!
Let’s thank Him for distributing through us! What a party to do this with Him.
Let’s thank Him for being Lord, for providing for all of us, and for loving us all so much.
When He looked upon the crowd, He had compassion on them. We thank Him for his compassion and mercies! Let’s start our prayer journey thanking and worshiping Him today for all He has already done and what He plans on doing.
He is good!

Katrina walks for Brady & Noah

One of the best things about Walk for the Waiting is getting to see and hear the many stories of what God is doing in foster care and adoption here in Arkansas.  I’m exited to share who Katrina walks for:

Katrina and family with Judge Hon. King

 

I walk for a little boy named Brady that is as tough as nails but has a heart that is more tender than he’s willing to let anyone know.  I also walk for a boy named Noah that finds joy in the simplest things and will instantly put a smile on about anyone’s face. 

I walk for the victims so they will have opportunities to become overcomers.  I walk for those that don’t believe in love anymore so they will have a chance to experience unconditional love.  I walk for those that know only the chains of abuse, neglect, addition, and poverty and that their legacy will be changed for their future generations.  I walk for those that don’t believe themselves worthy so that they  would see themselves as priceless.  I walk for redeemed and restored lives.   I walk because I am adopted.  Adopted by a Heavenly Father that extended His grace, paid the price, and gave me a new name. 

I walk because I’m CALLED.

As I tucked my son, Brady, in bed tonight, I asked him what he would tell people if they asked him why they should adopt.  He said, “so kids would know not everyone hates them.  So they would know someone loves them.  That a family loves them.”

I walk because of LOVE.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Katrina. And to Brady’s point – I wonder how many children are going to bed tonight believing that everyone hates them – likely many. May we do our part to change that.

You can sponsor Katrina here as she walks to end the wait! If you’d like to share why you’re walking, please send an email to eric@walkforthewaiting.org.

Please resister to become a Sponsored Walker today or donate at www.walkforthewaiting.org!

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