The Lord placed a need for a church orphan ministry on our hearts (Andy and Tanya Birchfield) after we brought Cristina Hope into our family. She was an orphan living in the Eastern European country of Moldova. It became very clear to us that the needs of orphans and vulnerable children were great and that Scripture clearly mandates Christians reach out and care for these children. We formed a prayer group among members of First Baptist Church located in Montgomery, Alabama, to seek God’s plan for our church. After a few months, a plan began to formulate, and on September 26, 2010 Children’s Hope was launched.
This ministry includes three components:(1) adoption; (2) foster care; and (3) orphan support. In regards to adoption, we have regular support/educational meetings for those interested in adopting or learning more about the process. As families adopt, a support group will come alongside the families and assist in practical ways such as preparing meals, tutoring, transportation, etc. We are partnering with Lifesong for Orphans in order to assist families with the financial cost of adoption.
Concerning foster care, we are partnering with the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home (ABCH) to recruit and train Christian families to serve foster children in Montgomery and surrounding areas. There are many children in the River Region who are in need of safe, secure and loving homes. ABCH works with local Department of Human Resource Offices and connects families who have been trained through GPS (foster care training) to serve as foster parents.
The third component of Children’s Hope ministry is direct orphan care. Through a connection with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Mission (Alsbom), the Lord guided us to a group of 16 children living in a tent in Jacmel, Haiti. It was very clear that Children’s Hope was to step out in faith and work toward building a permanent home for these children. God has blessed this work in Jacmel and expanded it to include other areas of ministry. Church planting, discipleship, evangelism, education and health care efforts are all part of our ministry strategy in Jacmel. Currently, Children’s Hope cares for over 40 children. For more information, see the Haiti Initiative section.