Summer 2011 News
2011 Annual Auction
The Auction is an amazing production every year, as anybody who comes can clearly see. I experienced it from the “inside” for the first time this year. It is an awe-inspiring thing to watch as dozens of people come together to prepare for one day of fellowship, reunions, giving and joy. This year was absolutely no exception.
The Auction was a great financial success as God blessed us with over $400,000 through all of our supporter’s generosity! This will supply funding for over 12% of our budget for 2011. We are thankful to our supporters, all of the volunteers that made the Auction possible and thankful to God for blessing our work. It is all done for His glory.
We also made an exciting announcement about the Promise Fund at the Auction this year. More information on this project, which will help to provide safety, stability and spiritual guidance to the needy children and families that we serve, will be available very soon.
The date for next year’s Auction has been set for Saturday, August 4, 2011. We look forward to seeing you there!
2011 Annual Auction
Experience of a Lifetime
One of our foster children had the opportunity to have a once in a lifetime experience this past month thanks to some hard work and a great interest in science. Chris, a recent graduate from DeKalb High School says he has always been interested in science. He has taken just about every science class he can, and this year, he finally decided to put his interests to the test and enter the science fair. His project focused on creating ethanol from grass, instead of the more commonly used corn.
During our converstion, Chris said, “I see how much more advanced [kids that enter the science fair] are at collecting data and analyzing the scientific method, and I wanted that experience before I went to college.” It’s clear after just a few minutes of talking with him that he has a true thirst for knowledge.
This was Chris’ first time ever entering the science fair, and due to his hard work he actually placed second at State, after working through rigorous rounds of testing at both Dekalb and Regionals. Due to his high placement, he was given the honor of attending the International Science Fair in Los Angeles this spring. “I did a lot better than I expected” he said with a grin.
“The greatest honor was actually getting second place at State” Chris told me. “Many students have had the opportunity to attend Internationals, none from Dekalb have placed at State before.”
Going out to California was a great experience for Chris. It was the first time he had flown in a plane and was, by far, the farthest he had ever been from Indiana. Not only did Chris have the experience of meeting dozens of new people, but he also was given two days to visit tourist sights like the Walk of Fame, Hollywood and even witness the taping of a TV talk show! Chris also had the chance to meet Dudley Herschbach, a Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry. Needless to say, it was a trip of many firsts for Chris.
Unfortunately, he did not place at Internationals, but the experience was still wonderful. It was amazing to meet so many people from around the world and to see some fascinating projects by other contestants.
Chris is planning to attend Rose Holman University after returning home later this month from mission trip to Poland. With the help of numerous scholarships, including one from Gateway Woods, he will pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering.
“That school is very very rigorous, but I think I can do it.” Given the success that Chris has had so far, he’s probably right.
Our 200th Adoption
When I received our first call in 2001 inquiring if Gateway Woods could do an international home study, I did not perceive that ten years later we would have been involved in the adoptive placement of over 200 children. I was not even sure we could do an international home study at that time! We had written many home studies for Foster Care, but none for international adoption.
Gateway Woods, being a licensed Foster Care agency in Indiana, had the proper credentials and our Adoption Program unofficially began. Word spread about our work with adoptions and more requests followed. The Board officially approved our Adoption Program in 2003.
The program has since played a part in adoptions from our local area to all across the world. Our 200th placement was an infant girl born in a hospital about 20 miles from Gateway Woods. In contrast our 202nd adoption was of several siblings in Ethiopia!
So far we have been involved with adoptions from 17 different countries plus the United States. In Asia and the Middle East children were adopted from China, Korea, Vietnam, Russia, Ukraine, India, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Armenia. We have also played a role in adoptions from African countries including Ethiopia, the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda.
We have helped to make a home for children from Central and South America including Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Columbia. We have worked with children from just a few days old up to 16 years of age. Also, we have been involved in families that adopted children with special needs including Down’s Syndrome, Cleft Lip and Palate, Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, Albino, heart defects, deaf and HIV+ children.
Along with the rest of our Adoption Staff, I feel so blessed to have worked with these Christian families who open their home to provide a permanent family in which children are raised to learn about Christ’s love and the free gift of salvation. It is so amazing to see the hand of God in matching a family that has just the right gifts to a child from thousands of miles away! I can recall countless stories of this miracle. It is also amazing to see families that have previously adopted children come back to us a second and third time to adopt more children.
We plan to expand our Adoption Program into Illinois, as currently our license only allows us to work with Indiana families where we are licensed. We are working on obtaining an Illinois license, and hope to open the program later this year. We have hired Natalie Hoerr (Bloomington) to assist with obtaining a license.
Eight Years in the Making
It’s been almost eight years since we first came to Gateway Woods as Houseparents. Looking back, we can hardly believe how the time has flown by. We really had no idea what we were getting into.
Our first year was trying. Many nights we wondered if we would even last a year. But we did, and towards the end of the first year, we more fully realized that we needed to rely on God rather than ourselves. As we let go of things and gave God the wheel, our work began to click so much more. Several months later, we had the opportunity to convert the Oak House at Gateway into one reserved for pregnant teens and teen moms. Now, over six years later, we still find contentment working with young mothers and their families. We truly have learned to walk in faith during our years here.
It is funny what becomes normal for Houseparents. Using a key to get laundry detergent or deactivating an alarm for a midnight snack are now part of our lives. We’ve also experienced things that we never thought we would. For example, Bruce now knows his way around the “Women of Color” hair care section at Wal-Mart. We never expected that!
There are also experiences that are fun, such as: teaching a girl to ride a bike, taking girls to see a Great Lake for the first time, being with a girl spending her first night in a hotel or seeing one of our residents sing at the Gateway talent show. Of course, there are also experiences that are difficult and stressful; however, those times often lead to some of our most rewarding moments, such as seeing a splintered family make amends or witnessing the softening of a heart. At other times, past residents will call us for advice or updates, proving the role we played in their lives.
We have heard many people say that they gained more than they gave in their time at Gateway. We have found this to be true, and not just a casual cliché that sounds good. We have grown together spiritually, as a married couple and have felt the love and support of many people. We have met people from so many communities and congregations, through Board Members, Representatives, volunteers, auction goers, visitors and Staff. We encourage anyone who is curious about Gateway to visit the campus. You may even feel called to serve; it’s a rewarding experience!
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