We are excited to share this post from Cheryl Bentsen, a wife and an adoptive mother to two beautiful children. She and her husband Jason started gathering adoptive and foster families in their home just over a year ago. Since then, God has used them to encourage dozens of families to find fellowship and encouragement along the adoption and foster care journey through their nonprofit, LoveMoves.Us.
The Text That Changed Everything
Can God use a text to change the trajectory of your life? If you ask my husband and I, the answer is a resounding YES! Over a year ago, we sent out a simple text to foster and adoptive families that God had placed in our lives.
“We are getting some foster & adoptive families together on Friday night. We’d love for you to come! Bring your kids and a snack to share!”
Reply after reply came flooding in: “Yes! We will be there!” “Yes! Can’t wait!” “Yes!”
We began to worry … Would we have enough room? What about our carpet? What about all of the kids? Where will we put them in the middle of February in Chicago? In the unfinished basement? The questions and worry continued until the first family walked through our doors.
A Place to Belong
Soon our house was buzzing with families from all stages of the adoption process. Foster parents were connecting with one another about licensing questions and others were sharing their wisdom of years of experience. The kids were laughing and playing. They didn’t have to explain to this crew why their mom or dad had a different color of skin. Everyone had a place to belong.
As the last family left that night, my husband and I closed the door behind them and looked at each other. We sat for a few minutes in total awe of what had just happened in our living room. Families connected with one another and were so grateful for the night. They left encouraged and realized they were not alone in the journey. They saw hope in their circumstances, peace in their decisions and a reaffirmation of the calling God had placed in their lives to care for the orphan in their own home. So we decided to do it again the next month, and the next.
Growing the Gatherings
By summer, we had hosted four Family Gatherings in our home. God provided us with a catering partner who gave us meals at cost so we could feed families dinner. Friends stepped up to serve as our childcare team so parents could have some much needed adult time. Families invited other families and shared about the support and encouragement they were receiving. God was answering prayers and we were able to see it month after month. A local church saw the impact and jumped in to cover the costs of turning our Family Gatherings into a full-blown non-profit to serve foster and adoptive families—LoveMoves.Us.
Over the past year, God has provided 4 other homes and leaders to host monthly Family Gatherings throughout Chicagoland, and we still need more as the ministry continues to grow. Over 50 families have been a part of what God is doing in orphan care. Several churches are engaged in serving foster/adoptive families by helping provide childcare volunteers and resources. Local catering businesses are even joining in to create healthy meals at very little cost.
The body of Christ is coming together to support families that at times feel isolated and alone. We have moved people into action by serving foster families with meals as they receive new placements. Another church supported a local foster agency with school supplies. A women’s Bible study created and prayed over care bags given to foster & adoptive parents and children with a note of encouragement and hope.
By following His lead, a simple text started a great adventure. We are humbled to be able to serve foster and adoptive families and to walk alongside them in their journeys. Though there were many questions as this began, God has answered them even more than we could have imagined. He has shown up in ways we never expected and we can’t wait to see where He continues to lead us.