If you’re part of a family, and we know you are or have been at some time, you understand the different roles family members play.
If you have experienced orphanhood or a family tragedy in some way, as 700 children and families of Restoring Hope have, what does that mean for the roles of the family?
The village church pours love into the holistic care of the child, through their primary caregiver (within their biological family).
Extended family is already such an integrated and natural presence in village South Asia and extended family plays an important part in a child understanding the dynamics of community.
Families in a village are multigenerational and diverse.
By supporting these children, you are ensuring their emotional needs are met. They belong to their biological families, as well as their local village church families.
Children can invite their whole family to church with them, which creates potential for them to be rich spiritually, not just economically. We aim for these children to rise out of poverty, being the first in their families to graduate college and have reliable incomes. We also nurture the children to care for others as servant leaders, pouring into their communities.
So how do we collect updates on the children after reunification to their biological families?
There are 65 pastors committing “forever-care” to their flock of up to 10 children. The majority of the children used to live with the pastor for over a decade, but after the 550 children were reunified back to living with their biological families, these 65 pastors now travel to visit the child’s home twice in a year.
These twice a year reports are completed until the child is 17. Then, once a child graduates from college and exits our program funding, we plan to follow up with them into their early young adult years more casually. Although, an alumni program has already formed in two regions for the 25 graduates! We find the children reaching back to us and creating their own means of connection after adulthood! Restoring Hope will help to fund cluster and alumni gatherings seasonally to continue to help support these lasting connections of support within our network of care.
Pastoral care is longlasting!
When biological family isn’t healthy or present, there must be additional support to orphaned and vulnerable children.
This is often when Restoring Hope is introduced to the needs of child.
What helps a child in need?
Investigating the life surrounding a child is needed in order to prioritize family. Making choices for these children, much like we would do for a child of our own, to be placed with a grandmother, an aunt, or another member within the extended family, would be considered a first choice for a child.
This preserves a family.
What is the primary role of a pastor in our network now that the children are living with their families?
Other than the 2x annual visits, Pastors have organized subregions, called “clusters” to gather the children together with their families (in the summer and winter also). These large scale events take a lot of planning and hosting! Updates will begin to shift to more heavily sharing about the ways our staff are training and implementing family strengthening programs also. The trainings are also available to the communities though church gatherings, cluster gatherings, and even at 6 specified locations (of which 2 have built playgrounds on the property).
Our 65 pastors and village churches have accessed a new way to engage the community and identify more orphaned and vulnerable children in their community.
Playgrounds, for example, are a portal by which communities of children and families gather. What a blessing to be able to interact on the church grounds with families — we hope more of residential centers will transform to family-based care.
When we talk about a child in need, we are looking into the entire biological family and circumstances surrounding the family’s needs to better care for the child.
The role of family is so important to orphan care and to Restoring Hope’s mission of holistic renewal of the orphaned and vulnerable child.
Now, rather than helping 10 children in residential care on the site, the church can host hundreds of children and families that can play on the grounds. The impact of family care through parent training, holistic support to children, and the good works they can provide to the community by receiving the needs in their community is truly Restored Hope.
One thing is for certain: EVERY child that was reunified with their biological family has BONDED!
Every child that remains with family and is not unnecessarily separated from them, has a chance to have lifelong bonds.
Pastors miss the children living in their own homes, but the transition has been fruitful to reconnect the children with their biological relatives — after these 3 years, we see the fruit that a family bond has produced!
It may not have been so easy, but after pandemic lockdowns, and no place to travel, the relationships between family members grew. There was time to interact and be in a home together. Now that the children have bonded with their biological relatives, there is always mention of the relationship the child has with their…
The 700 Restoring Hope children have these vital connections to help them thrive in lasting relationships.
Now their dreams have changed.
We often hear reports of how they child wants to make a good living to give back to their family and the ministry of Restoring Hope in some way!
“I want to take care of my…Grandpa”
“I want to make sure my…Grandma… is taken care of”
“I want to help give back to my…Aunt…”
Restoring Hope‘s missions has always been aimed at creating future leaders who serve their community (through families first)!
We are just at the beginning of seeing that happen!
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