Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Heart Gallery of the Capital District

And now these three things remain:  faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13

On any given day there is an average of 40 children available for adoption in the Capital District.  These kids, right here in our own back yard, have been in foster care and are now freed for adoption.

We recently talked with Lori Pirrone, the Adoption & Foster Home Finding Supervisor for Schenectady County Dept. of Social Services Schenectadycounty.org and the Co-Chair of the Heart Gallery of the Capital District Inc.  Lori explained that the Heart Gallery is a traveling portrait gallery featuring dozens of children from about 10 different local counties.  The purpose of the galley is to put faces to the statistics because there is such a great need for foster and adoptive parents in the Capital Region. JFO has featured the Heart Gallery at our annual Orphan Conference each October as well as for Orphan Sunday in November.  It will be on display again at our Love In Action:  Finding Families For NY’s Waiting Children event on May 16th.

Churches and organizations can borrow the Heart Gallery to display at their events.  It’s free of charge to use and a simple request form just needs to be completed.  The gallery can also be viewed on line by visiting:  captialregionheartgallery.org

When someone sees a portrait in the Heart Gallery and would like to find out more about a particular child they can contact Lori Pirrone at 518-388-4399 or email her at lori.pirrone@dfa.state.ny.us and she will connect interested families with the proper county worker for that child.

Let’s step out in faith and put our love into action by bringing hope and love to a child in the Capital District.  Adoption and foster care is demonstrating God’s love in tangible ways to the waiting child – right here in our own back yard!

Hearts of the Father Outreach

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.  Malachi 4:6

We talk a lot about adoption and foster care.  Just as not everyone is called to adopt or foster, not every orphan is adoptable.  However, that does not absolve us from our responsibility to care for orphans as highlighted in James 1:27.  So we also talk about global orphan care – caring for orphans around the world beyond adopting or fostering.

Recently we interviewed John Moritz from Sheffield, Ma.  He and his wife, Libby, founded Hearts of the Father Outreach which establishes homes of refuge for orphaned, abandoned or abused children in Ghana, Uganda, West Africa, Southern India, and beyond. Hearts of the Father Outreach was established after John and Libby endured deep personal tragedy.  In 1992 they tragically lost their 3 precious children, Joshua 11, Kristen 9, and Daniel 8, in a car accident.  As God walked with them through their grief, He also touched their hearts for the orphan.  As parents without children, their hearts ached to ease the pain of children without parents, and so Hearts of the Father Outreach was established.  

The Moritz’s travel 6-8 times per year to visit their homes of refuge which are small, family-style homes with a mother and father  as house parents to up to 26 children.  John pointed out the wisdom of children remaining in their birth countries where they can grow up and make difference in their home communities.  Hearts of the Father Outreach has also established a foster care-style system with a sponsorship program so more kids can grow up in safe families.  To learn more about Hearts of the Father Outreach visit their website heartsofthefather.org

With God – All Things Are Possible

…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “move from here to there” and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.     Matthew 17:20-21

Recently we sat down with Ravena, NY couple, Al and Lori Collins, to talk about their adoption of 2 little girls through the foster care system.  The Collins’s, who have 2 biological sons, Zach 25 and Jarrett 22, attend Rock Solid Church in Hudson, NY.  Lori shared that for years her heart ached to adopt internationally, but Al was opposed because of the many unknowns involved.  A few years ago Al reluctantly agreed to take the foster care classes with a local agency.  What really changed his mind was seeing these 2 little girls at their church.  Rock Solid is a church of many foster and adoptive families, including the Pastor’s family.  When Al and Lori first saw Destiny and Caitlyn, who were 3 and 4 years old at the time, they just knew the girls were theirs, even though they were with another foster family at the time.  Al and Lori began spending as much time with the girls at church as they could and began doing respite with them for the foster family who had the girls.  Destiny and Caitlyn had been in foster care for 4 years at that point, so the Collins’s inquired about the possibility of adopting them or at least becoming their foster parents.  They agency told them “no,” they wouldn’t move the girls to another family because they’d been moved around enough.  Believing that these little girls belonged in the Collins family, Lori shared that she spent a lot of time praying, crying, and praying some more, and then finally contacted a lawyer who also advised them that they didn’t have a chance to get the girls.

But, God in His Word, promises to move mountains when we step out with that mustard seed of faith.  When the Collins’s learned of a placement hearing for the girls, they contacted another lawyer who advised them to go to the court hearing.  Even with no legal rights Al and Lori went to court, but the case never made it before the judge that day.  Before the next hearing date the county contacted the couple stating that they’d reconsidered, but informed them that there was no way the judge would agree to placing the girls with them.  However, mountains were indeed moved and on July 19, 2012 the judge never even questioned their request and placed the girls in the Collins’ home and did something that was also unheard of – he scheduled a possible adoption date for December 17, 2012.  The adoption became official on that date, miraculously the Collins’s were even in court to finalize their adoption on the exact same day that their pastor and his family was finalizing the adoption of their little boys.

Today, Destiny 7 and Caitlyn 6, are healthy, soccer playing, ballet dancing, horse riding, happy little girls with a forever family!  To hear more of the Collins’s adoption story download their radio interview on this site.  *Show will be added to site soon!

Adoption = Exceedingly Abundant Blessings

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.  Unto Him be glory…     Ephesians 3:20

Recently we sat down with Buffalo, NY mom, Summer Spitz.  Summer has 3 bio kids from a previous marriage and she and her husband, Dave, have adopted 5 children together.  Their story testifies of God’s awesome ability to do exceeding abundantly beyond anything we could ask or think.

After failed IVF attempts and a heartbreaking miscarriage, Summer and Dave decided to be content with the 3 children already in their family.  They did have a heart to help local families and children in the foster care system but didn’t intend to adopt.  That all changed when they brought 4 month old Owen into their home, and then newborn Sara.  The Spitz’s adopted these two precious little ones through the foster care system, but God had even more in store for their family.

Summer had read an article in People Magazine about Reece’s Rainbow  reecesrainbow.org, an organization that helps raise funds and find families for special needs orphans in overseas orphanages.  Summer was drawn to a little girl in Ukraine with Down Syndrome they called Lyla.  Though Dave was not initially on board with the idea, the family did eventually begin the adoption process to bring Lyla home.  Unfortunately Lyla was hospitalized with a heart condition and the family was told that the only way Lyla would leave the hospital was to go to heaven.  With their adoption paperwork complete they made the painful decision to adopt another child, a little girl named Belle, also from Ukraine and also with Down Syndrome who they brought home in December 2010.  The family held out hope that they still could adopt Lyla, so they kept their adoption paperwork current and made plans to adopt again.  In January of 2012 they adopted again, but again Lyla was in the hospital and unavailable.  Dave helped choose a child from the Reece’s Rainbow website and the family settled on another child with Down Syndrome from Ukraine, a little boy named Gavin.  It turned out that Gavin was in the same orphanage as Lyla, and when Summer traveled to Ukraine to bring Gavin home, Lyla was out of the hospital.  The family, now out of resources for a 3rd adoption, prayed another family would step forward to adopt little Lyla.  Summer had the brief opportunity to meet and hold Lyla and was overcome with the sense that Lyla was her daughter.  Agonizingly Summer had to leave Lyla behind, but with a grateful heart knowing that Lyla had somehow led them to Belle and Gavin and virtually saved the lives of these two little ones.  Upon returning home from Ukraine with Gavin the family learned that the other possible family for Lyla was unable to adopt her after all.  The only thing now standing in the Spitz’s way was the finances for a 3rd international adoption.  But, God accomplishes His purposes and He was clearly at work here.  The Reece’s Rainbow community, as well as many others, contributed the resources needed for the Spitz family to return to Ukraine 9 months after adopting Gavin – this time to bring Lyla home once and for all!

To learn more about the Spitz family adoption adventure visit their blog:  http://luckytolovelyla.blogspot.com