Working on a website is harder and more time consuming than I ever thought, but it is very exciting to think that Agape Ranch is making it's journey from a vision to reality! Here we go! I'm going to take a moment and give a big shout out to Kacey Colwell. She is ever so patient with me as we work through the website process. She is an excellent web designer and a forever sister-friend. Love you, Kacey!
Agape Ranch was birthed out of a deep seeded discontent from Tim and me - what Bill Hybles calls our holy discontent. Check out Hybles' book, Holy Discontent, and go through several knock-out rounds with the Holy Spirit and grab a hold of yours :)
The reality that children will be taken from their homes today... TODAY! because of the abuse and neglect they've endured. As bad as that home was, that's the only home they knew: TRAGEDY #1.
Most likely, if they are from a sibling group, they will be separated into multiple homes: TRAGEDY #2.
Over 50% of the children in my county are placed outside of the county, which means the children will not be able to see their siblings for a very long time: TRAGEDY #3.... STOP here for a second. If you are a parent like me, my mind immediately goes to my children. If for some crazy reason my children can no longer be with me, what would happen if they were separated for a unknown period of time, unable to see each other? A part of their hearts would die. TRAGEDY #3 totally stinks.
I have some adult friends who grew up in bad foster homes. They were taken from an abusive and/or neglected biological homes to enter unloving foster homes: TRAGEDY #4.
Many children in foster care have sensory disorders, developmentally behind, act out in rage, etc. which can lead to foster parents giving up, asking for removal, and children being placed into a different foster home: TRAGEDY #5. My David was one of them. At age 4 1/2, we were his 5th foster home. He wiped poop on the walls, broke almost every toy he touched, hoarded food, and solved problems through physical violence. I still remember his first night with us. One of my sons had a toy David wanted, so he punched him in the face. Problem solved. The toy is now his. What a bad kid, right? No. The reality was he had three different sensory processing disorders, was two years behind in his development, and had various speech challenges. He could not communicate clearly and learned to use his strength to get what he wanted. He was practically screaming for help and needing someone to take notice. Fast forward three years... we've adopted him, he received Occupational Therapy, I've processed emotions and choices with him, and a boy who couldn't communicate and used violence is now an honor roll student and is typically the first one to volunteer when I need something done around the house. He needed someone to stop, notice, and fight for him.
So. Many. Tragedies. So many more than what I've listed here, but the story does not have to end here. There is hope. There is hope of healing through Jesus. There in lies our holy discontent. Our broken world, producing broken children, BUT there is HOPE in Jesus because He can make us whole again... Beauty from ashes.
So, here we go! We will take care of God's orphans and His children who need our care. While they are with us, they will experience His unconditional love and we will share the hope they can find in Him.