Friday, October 14, 2011

Family Showcase: The Dewberry Family

Today is the start of Family Showcase, where I plan to tell you about a family that is in the process of adoption and/or involved in orphan care.

You can call me biased if you want to. I don't care. I'm starting with my sister's family. They are Joe and Nicole Dewberry and their newly adopted son Kolya. Are they cute or what?

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Joe and Nicole found Kolya through New Horizons for Children. NHFC is an orphan hosting program for kids from Latvia and Ukraine. Kolya is 14 years old and from Ukraine. Nicole and Joe hosted Kolya last Christmas and adopted him in the Spring.

So first I want to tell you about New Horizons for Children. What an amazing program. Twice a year (Winter and Summer) NHFC matches orphans with host families here in the USA. The kids are between the ages of 6 and 16 and come to be hosted for 4-5 weeks. These kids are all carefully screened and interviewed and there is no obligation to adopt them. BTW - NHFC is not an adoption agency. This hosting program is a great way to minister to an orphan that may have never had a positive Christian family experience. It's like bringing the mission field home to you. Around 60% of the kids end up getting adopted.

Wouldn't you just love to give some of these cutie pies the best Christmas ever?

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Here are a few big reasons this hosting program is so important. 1) Some of these kids have never lived in a home with a happy, loving family. Just imagine the impact you could make in the life of a child. 2) As orphans age their chances of getting adopted decrease every year. Most people that want to adopt are interested in babies and toddlers. Perfectly healthy older kids hardly have a chance of getting adopted without hosting programs. 3) At age 16 orphans are forced to leave the orphanage. Often times they have only a backpack full of clothes and a few personal items. The statistics for these kids are just awful and you will find out their chances for even surviving if you visit the NHFC website. 4) There is a reason the NHFC runs it's program during the Winter and Summer. For about a month twice a year the orphanages close down for staff vacations and maintenance. The kids are bussed off to camps where there is little to no supervision. Just imagine what would happen if 100 kids were at a camp with 2 or 3 adults. Total chaos!!!!! Poor sanitation and living conditions, fights, rapes, beatings & robberies. It becomes survival of the fittest. When a child gets hosted they get to avoid going to camp and get to spend that month in a real home with a real family where they are safe and loved.

If you are at all interested in hosting a child or donating towards a scholarship for a child please visit the NHFC link. They are currently recruiting host families for the Winter program. If you know of someone that you think would be interested in hosting, please tell them about NHFC.

Now I want to tell you about the Dewberry's. Nicole and Joe have wanted to adopt for several years and have worked with at risk kids in their churches youth group. They have a heart for older kids and orphans. When they heard about NHFC they started praying and picked Kolya. It was a divine match. It has become obvious that Joe and Nicole were meant to be Kolya's parents and he was meant to be their son. They love this program so much that they have become regional coordinators for NHFC. They help with recruitment, host parent training and host family support while the kids are here. Nicole also recently went to Ukraine to help interview the kids for the Winter program. Joe and Nicole also have developed a heart for the Ukrainian people and desire to do more than just host and adopt kids. They have been praying and working towards starting a program for the older kids that have to leave their orphanages. They along with NHFC and some friends from our church want to give kids a chance to have a place to live so they can learn about Christ, go to school and learn job skills.

Well, God moved mightily while Nicole was in Ukraine last month. First, He allowed her to meet a special boy named Sergiy. Joe and Nicole are going to host him this Winter. Joe and Nicole are prayerfully considering adopting him. You can follow their new blog here.

Here is Sergiy.

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The second wonderful thing that happened on that trip was that Nicole had a divine appointment with Pastor Viktor and his wife Tanya. This amazing couple has already been ministering to orphans including older kids that have "timed out" of the program and are on the street. This couple has a small church on about 2 acres of land and has dreams of building several buildings, improving existing buildings and becoming a place for these "timed out" kids to go. Le Ann Dakake who is the founder of NHFC was also there and it was decided then and there that this was an opportunity that God was obviously orchestrating. So a partnership between NHFC and The Way of God's Grace was formed. You can learn all about that partnership and their ministry on this blog.

Here is Le Ann Dekake (founder of NHFC) with Pastor Viktor, his wife Tanya, and 3 wonderful NHFC volunteers including my sis.

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I am constantly amazed at all God has done in the lives of Joe and Nicole in just one year. This time last year they were praying about hosting a child. One year later they have a wonderful son, are volunteering for a program they are passionate about, preparing to host 1 more boy, and now helping Pastor Viktor and Tanya with this critical ministry; giving them partners in the USA that can help fund their ministry and staff it with volunteers in the form of short term missions teams.

Our God is amazing!!!! He took a couple with no children who really wanted to be parents and had a heart for older orphans and has turned their lives upside down for His glory! Only God could do all that in 1 year. And I'm so excited that I literally have a front seat view to see all of this happen. I have a new nephew and I am so incredibly proud of Nicole and Joe for stepping out (several huge steps in fact) in faith.

Please join in praying for New Horizons for Children, The Way of God's Grace and the Dewberry Family. If you are led to financially give to either ministry or help the Dewberrys with finances to host Sergiy please visit the links above for donation into.

I am helping with several fundraisers for the Dewberrys including selling tickets to Belk's charity sale on November 5th ($5 each) and you can buy more than one, Packs of 8 notecards that Nicole has handstamped for $7 and Survival bracelets that Nicole and Kolya have made for $8 each. Please let me know if you are interested in any of those items.

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For His Glory!