Tag Archives: Adoption

A Pastor’s Amazing, Agonizing Adventure of Adopting Special Needs Children

Ralph loves Ana and each of his adopted children.

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve been to many camp meetings across the country, chances are you’ve sat under the bold preaching or inspirational worship leading of pastor and evangelist Ralph Watts. The pastor emeritus of Columbus West Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, is used to sharing Bible stories and passages that point to Jesus Christ. But his own story points to Christ, too, one that is nothing short of remarkable. He and his wife Karen have fostered a total of thirty-five special needs children over the years, and have adopted fourteen. Continue reading

Adopted Daughter Discovers the Road to Truth Leads to Grace

Laura Tonks (right) with brothers at time of adoption.

By Megan DeBruyn

Growing up in a large family in Flushing, Michigan, American life was all that Laura Tonks ever knew. That is, until a chance encounter with her Korean birth mom forty-three years after she was given up for adoption changed everything. Continue reading

Fairfax Church Adopts Syrian Refugee Family

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Photo: The airport welcoming team with the refugee family.

By Carl Stagner

Earlier this year, a report was released indicating that the total number of displaced persons in the world is higher than it’s ever been. At the end of last year, the refugee agency for the United Nations estimated the figure at more than 65 million people.* Staggering statistics like these suggest to some that finding solutions is a lost cause. But Fairfax Community Church, our Church of God congregation with campuses in Fairfax, Virginia, and Clarksburg, Maryland, determined that something had to be done. Boldly stepping into unknown territory, their missions staff cut through red tape and navigated a myriad of challenges until they got the answers they were looking for. Because of their efforts, Fairfax Community Church now celebrates the “adoption” of a Syrian refugee family. Continue reading

Church of God Families Offer Hope to Children, Parents in Crisis

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By Carl Stagner

The church used to do it. Government stepped in, however, where the church left off. In the past fifty years—at least—churches became more and more inward-focused, sheltering themselves from a “contaminated” world. But it didn’t used to be that way. Orphanages were established by believers. God’s people were once the loudest champions for the poor and afflicted. Too often in recent years the church has run away from problems it once ran toward. Several Church of God families and their congregations have discovered one avenue consistently taking things in a different direction. They’ve partnered with Safe Families for Children to care for children from homes caught in the midst of crisis. A redemptive solution to the need for foster care, Safe Families is now being offered as an effective resource for the Church of God movement through Be Bold Academy. Continue reading

Kentucky Church Holds Adoption Sunday

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By Carl Stagner

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”—James 1:27 NRSV

On the first Sunday of December, CrossRoads Community Church of God in Elizabethtown, Kentucky held a special celebration service to celebrate adoption into God’s family and, at the same time, raise awareness for the orphaned. What originally began as an idea to share the story of a couple in the congregation who had adopted a child from Ethiopia, turned into a large-scale event involving many families. “We realized that we also had a couple that was adopting a newborn from a birth mother in Florida,” Pastor Ed Shonkwiler explains, “and another couple who are foster parents with five natural born children and six who are in the foster-care system. So we decided to take each of their stories and share them with the congregation.” Continue reading