Original Letter of Introduction, April 2013 (unnessary parts of the letter have been edited out)
Monique and I would like to say thank you for all your support over the years. We greatly appreciate your friendships, wisdom and prayers and hope that this finds you all doing well. God has continued to bless us and our family. It is exciting to see Daniel and Lydia adapting to their new world and becoming a part of our family. Most of you are aware that after adopting a little over a year and a half ago, I accepted a position with Ukraine Orphan Outreach. I wanted to personally say thank you for all who responded with prayer and support last year. As a direct result of that support and many like you, UOO was able to open up a much needed transition home for six aged out orphan boys in Kramatorsk, Ukraine in December. We also had a very successful weeklong camp for 50 orphans and children from hard places. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for you all. We could not have had these life changing successes without you!
Last year (2012), after leading a team of ten missionaries to Ukraine, I remained for another week doing research for UOO’s transition home and orphan care in general. In the process of traveling and meeting with other like minded individuals and ministries, the true magnitude of the ongoing orphan crisis in our world began to hit me. The realization that the orphan crises was not slowing down, but in reality was getting worse, forced me to take a long hard look at the root causes and to see where an impact could be made to slow or stop it. In other words, how could we take both a preventative approach, as well as, a reactionary approach to our world’s orphan crisis?
For those who are orphan advocates, the stories of the trauma these children have gone through as orphans are horrific. Our son Daniel was beaten and harassed on numerous occasions in his orphanage and the young orphan girls were prostituted out in cooperation with the local police. No child should ever have to endure this type of childhood if it can be prevented. The problem is that this is just one story of just one child in one orphanage. There are countless other young children just like our son all over the world. We hear stories like these all the time from other parents and ministries and in many cases even more horrifying. The unfortunate reality is most of these children will live with the after effects of these abuses all their lives. Even harder to comprehend, is that a vast amount of children living in orphanages today have a caring parent or relative who would love to care for their child, but due to poverty, social issues or lack of education, they have no other resource or option but to surrender them to government ran institutions. Knowing this, it became obvious to us that we needed to find ways to help families keep their children in loving homes and prevent more children from unnecessarily ending up with stories like our children. So in December of last year (2012), after much prayer, reflection and research, Monique and I stepped out in faith and started a nonprofit called Vision for the Children International (VFTCI). With over a 150 million orphans in our world today, VFTCI was created out of a desire to stop this tremendous influx of children into government ran institutions and orphanages. Our desire is to help change the conditions that cause parents to abandon their children to a hopeless future, simply because they live in an environment that gave them no other option. We are currently partnering with local community leaders to aid them in creating a community network of support, education, and resources that will strengthen the family and give a vision of hope for the children.
We are extremely humbled by this opportunity to help make a difference and desperately need your prayers. Doors have opened up to us in the country of Georgia in which immediate change and impact can be a reality. The current situation for some women in the country of Georgia is deplorable. They are undervalued and considered second class citizens. When daughters become pregnant out of wedlock many choose abortion to hide their mistakes or worse, the mothers are physically forced and restrained by family members while doctors abort their unborn child. An unwed woman with child is an embarrassment to their families and they are often abandoned, forsaken and cast out. Many end up on the streets begging or a few of the fortunate ones end up in government run shelters. For many, prostitution is the only way they can survive and care for the child they are desperately trying to hold onto. Without intervention, a mother will not be able to adequately care for her child and will have to surrender the child to an orphanage This life, as a social orphan, is vulnerable to abuse, loneliness, emotional lack, suicide, prostitution, crime, child labor, sex trafficking and the susceptibility to HIV/AIDS. It is because of these conditions, we are excited to announce that we are working towards the opening of our first home for abandoned mothers with children. We just cannot continue to allow families to be separated, when merely shelter, education and a supportive community can keep a child in the loving embrace of its mother.
It is a very real and tangible reality to change the world of many children and create loving supportive families and communities in the process. We do not have to allow children to suffer the loss of a family and end up in government ran institutes. The reality is, YES, you and I can make a difference.
Since that letter was written, so many wonderful and miraculous things have happened. For one thing, we did open up a home for abandoned mothers with children in the city of Tbilisi Georgia and have since rescued six mothers and seven children, in addition to these mothers and children, we have also rescued another mother and her 4 children in the city of Zestafoni Georgia. It is exciting to watch as families are given new life and children are filled with joy and given the safety of a loving home. In the coming weeks, I will be adding more posts, success stories, inspiration, fun and the realities of life. For some of you who are on our mailing list you will have already read some of these stories. If you would like to receive our newsletters please shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name and address and we will get you added to the list. You can also stay current by checking out our website www.vftci.org or following us on our Facebook Page: Vision for the Children International. I apologize for the long gaps between posts but it is my goal to post on a more regular basis in the coming year and include all of you in our ongoing journey. Oh and please overlook the occasional miss spellings and grammatical errors, I never was that good in my English classes growing up and I am very thankful for auto correction on these programs :).
“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you an not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Vision for the Children International