Monthly Archives: May 2014

Fostering by Faith

No unbelief made him (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.  Romans 4:20

Just as God promised Abraham and Sarah children and they waited in faith for God to fulfill that promise, foster parenting is also a walk of faith.  And just like any walk of faith, as we walk and wait on God, our faith grows and He gets the glory.

As JFO continues to celebrate Foster Care Month we recently talked with foster and adoptive mom, Deana Zoeller.  Deana and her husband, Doug, of the Capital Region in NY, have fostered by faith 10 children, adopting 2 of them.  They currently are fostering a 3 year old with special needs as well.  Deana shared with us that she and Doug take God’s call to care for orphans in James 1:27 seriously.  In God’s perfect timing He brought biological brothers, Jadiel age 5 and Jadin age 6, into their home 4 years ago.  The boys came, as most foster children do, having suffered much trauma in their young lives.  Today though, they are both doing spectacularly.  Deana talked about how, as foster parents, we have to deal with the child’s past but we also get to call out who God created them to be.  Foster care is truly a saving a generation ministry!

To hear the Zoeller’s story from this website click on “Events” then “Radio Show” and choose the 5/23/14 episode of Orphans No More.  

Amazing Adoption Adventures

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.  

These verses from Ephesians 3 perfectly describe many of the amazing adoption stories we’ve heard.  Since adoption was God’s idea, when we are willing and obedient to answer God’s call to adopt, it releases God’s power into our lives.  God does do more than we can ask or imagine – we experience Him greater than every before, children are rescued, and God gets all the glory!

Recently we chatted with Sherrie Wixtrom from Orange County, NY.  Sherrie and her husband, Karl, had desired to adopt from the time they were teenagers.  As a married couple pursuing parenthood and experiencing infertility, they began their adoption adventure with the 2 separate adoptions of their sons through open domestic adoption.  Open adoption is when one or both biological parents have some contact with the adoptive family.  Though some families might feel threatened by maintaining some type of relationship with the bio parents, the Wixtroms shared that is has worked for their family.  Though the birth moms are not involved in the day to day lives of the children and even live in different states, it has been a blessing for everyone involved.

The Wixtrom’s next adoption experience came through the foster care system in Atlanta where they eventually adopted 4 children (3 of them siblings) all of whom have a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  As the family settled into the hubbub of life with 6 kids, they relocated to Orange County, NY.  It was in NY that God called them again to “jump off the faith cliff” as Sherrie stated.  This time they felt led to adopt 2 teenage boys from China.  This adventure was nothing short of a miracle as the boys were 8 months away from aging out of the Chinese adoption system.  International adoption is a process that can take a year or more depending on the country, age, and gender of the child.  And since China is a Hague country, the paperwork process is much more lengthy.  God always accomplishes His purposes and everything from the paperwork to the finances came together in record time.

If you are interested in adoption but think it’s impossible, remember that God does do immeasurably more than we can ask or think.  To hear the Wixtrom’s adoption story from our Orphans No More radio show just click on “Events” then “Radio Show” right here on this website and choose the 5/16/14 episode.

God Sets The Lonely In Families

A Father to the fatherless…is God in His holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families…Psalm 68:5-6

God certainly set the lonely in families in Possum Trot, Texas!  In 1997, Bishop W.C. Martin of Bennett Chapel in Possum Trot, and his wife Donna, began doing foster care.  That one act of love inspired 23 families in their small church and community to eventually adopt 78 children out of the Texas foster care system.  The Bishop is author of Small Town, Big Miracle, published by Focus on the Family.

Recently I asked Bishop Martin why he and his wife started fostering.  He passionately explained that, “God saved us so we can help save others.  Adoption and foster care is a generation saving ministry.”  When he learned that there are over 20,000 children in New York State in foster care, Bishop Martin declared, “Pastors in NY must sound the alarm!  There are enough churches in NY to wipe that foster care system out completely!”  He also added that, “A change must come.”  To hear more of my conversation with the Bishop listen to the 5/9/14 episode of Orphans No More radio show right on this website – just click on “events” and then “radio show.”

Bishop W.C. Martin will be our keynote speaker for our Love In Action:  Finding Families For NY’s Waiting Children event this Friday, May 16th.  This free 2-part event includes a Pastors’ Brunch from 9am-noon (pre-register on this website at “Events” and “Love In Action”) and a Main Event at 7pm which all are welcome to (no preregistration required).  If you have questions call 518-779-2279.








Love In Action Event

LOVE IN ACTION:  Finding Families For NY’s Waiting Children

Friday, May 16th at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church – 63 Mountain View Ave., Albany, NY 12205

Keynote Speaker:  Bishop W.C. Martin


GENERAL SESSION:  7pm (all invited)

*Preregister for the Brunch on this site by clicking “Events” on top right of our home page.  Then click on “Love In Action” for registration form.  Preregistration for brunch is required for a head-count for food.  THANK YOU!


Ministering to the Least of These Through Foster Care

Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me….Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  Matthew 25:34-40

Eric and Sandy Besenfelder are an upstate NY family who’ve been fostering for the past 4 years.  Foster care was nothing new to Sandy, who grew up in a family who fostered dozens of children throughout her childhood.  Sandy’s heart was open to fostering, but since they already had 5 daughters of their own (ages 5-17) Eric wasn’t so sure.  His heart was changed though after hearing an Orphan Sunday message Pastor Stan Slager brought to his congregation at Gospel Community Church in Coxsackie, NY.  That was over 4 years ago, and since then, the Besenfelder’s have fostered 2 dozen children and presently are fostering a precious 2 year old that they’ve had since she was 5 weeks old.  The Besenfelders believe that we are called to care for the least of these and foster care is a way to do just that.  To hear more of the Besenfelder’s story you can listen to it on this website by clicking “Events” and “Radio Show” and choose the May 2, 2014 episode of Orphans No More.