Check out our Facebook page for the latest information, resources, and events from Heartland’s Orphan Ministry. You can also email us at orphanministry@heartlandpaducah.com.

The most important influence in a child’s life is his or her family. When children grow up in an orphanage or in foster care, that positive influence is missing. Their life feels unstable and out of their control. There is no support structure to pick them up when they fall. They feel like they don’t matter. You could be the one to pick them up, love them, support them, and be their family. You can change a child’s life in an incredible way, and in turn, they will change yours. We would love to meet with you to discuss different adoption options and the support resources that are available. Adoption is something YOU can do, and we can help!
Unfortunately, there are times when a child needs to be removed from his or her family due to abuse or neglect. The removal can be permanent or temporary. The state’s goal is to reunite children with their parents whenever possible. They will work with the parents on addiction issues, parenting plans, and provide other resources with the hope that the child can return to their parents and grow up in a better environment. While this process unfolds, these kids need a place to stay and a family to love them.

If reunification isn’t possible, the child becomes available for adoption while remaining within the foster system. The state partners with foster families to provide care for these children during this difficult time in their lives. Foster families are needed to provide:

• Emergency care: Placement of the child for a short period on an emergency basis, and usually with short notice.
• Respite care: This is temporary care provided by another individual with the expectation that the child will return to the current foster home. Families providing respite care can support foster families by caring for the foster children for a few hours, over the weekend, or sometimes a longer period depending on the needs of the family.
• Long-Term placement: Longer term placements may be necessary for children who are unable to return to live with their parents in the near future.
You can provide a safe place for kids who are going through a scary and difficult time in their lives. Your love and support can change their lives. If you are interested in Foster Care, you can reach out to your local Department for Community Based Services Office at 1-800-232-KIDS (http://adopt.ky.gov). Or you can contact one of the following private agencies:
• Benchmark Family Services (Therapeutic foster homes): 710 H.C. Mathis Drive, Paducah – www.benchmarkfamilyservices.org
• NECCO (Foster care & adoption): 125 Eagles Nest Drive, Paducah – www.necco.org
• Sunrise Children’s Service (Foster care, independent living services, group homes): 3503 Clinton Road, Paducah – www.sunrise.org
Hosting is inviting an orphan from a foreign country to live in your home and experience family life for a limited period of time. Most programs occur over the Christmas holiday or during the summer. You do not need to be interested in adoption to participate in a hosting program, but host families can advocate for their hosted child to help find his or her forever family during their visit. Host families do frequently end up adopting their hosted children, which can be a great outcome for everyone.

Through hosting, the child can experience a family, American culture, and other hobbies and activities that might not be available in their home country. They can also receive life-changing medical care while they are here. In short, you can show a child love and give them hope, changing their lives forever.
Giving your hard-earned money to support orphans is one way to bless these vulnerable kids. Whether that means donating directly to an adopting family for adoption expenses, contributing to offset the cost of a mission trip, sponsoring an orphan through a non-profit, donating to homes and hospitals in foreign countries that are operated as alternatives to orphanages, or providing funds for organizations that target child trafficking, you can make a difference. Check out our Facebook page for ideas and areas where funds are needed, or reach out to us via email (orphanministry@heartlandworship.com) if you would like to discuss ways to support a specific orphan ministry.
If adopting, fostering, or hosting aren’t for you, you can still give your time and show your love in other ways. Volunteer to bring meals to a family you know that just adopted a new child. Volunteer to provide medical services to hosted children. Volunteer to provide a product or a service to a family holding an auction to raise money for their adoption or hosting fees. Advocate for a child in need of a forever family through social media or through friends and family. Travel and volunteer in an orphanage or a medical facility providing care to orphans. Together, we can create a supportive system for orphans everywhere until they find their forever home.
God is powerful. Prayer is powerful. Remember orphans in your prayers. Pray for adoptive parents and adopted children. Pray for children in foster care and orphanages. Pray that these children will have strength. Pray that they will have hope. Pray that they will have love, wherever they are.