Caring for Children in Washington

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Sonlight Community Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, Washington, is serious about obeying God’s mandate to care for orphans. Six Sonlight families have adopted seven children in the past two years.

Carleen Polinder and Jacquee Larsen, members of the congregation, lead an adoption support group called Hope 1.27 (after James 1:27, which exhorts Christians to care for orphans).

Hope 1.27 helps support families considering adoption. Larsen, an adoptive mom herself, teaches a class called “If You Were Mine” that covers topics such as evaluating adoption agencies, submitting paperwork, and welcoming children home.

“It is a workshop for those who are wondering if God is calling them [to adopt],” explained Larsen.

Hope 1.27 also encourages church members to get involved in foster care. “We don’t realize how many foster kids are in our own country. The kids don’t get any of their stuff. They just leave with the clothes on their back,” explained Polinder.

Hope 1.27 provides comfort bags and coats for foster kids. The organization has also sponsored a “Like Book project.” College students create scrapbooks for a foster child who is about to be adopted. “It helps validate the past so they can look forward to the future,” says Polinder. The child receives his or her scrapbook at a special ceremony.

Hope 1.27 also participates in Whatcom County’s Adoption Day celebrations. Several adoptions are finalized at the courthouse and families celebrate together.

Hope 1.27 was launched at the church in October 2007. Rev. Peter Byma, pastor of Sonlight CRC, said, “Adoptions and families giving foster care have helped Sonlight be a little reflection of heaven. Children of every color and tribe and country are accepted and welcomed as part of our family through grace and love.”

About the Author

Amy Toornstra is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Salem, Oregon.

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