UMCH Wishes Foster Parents Robert and Gloria Osborn A Happy Retirement

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Robert and Gloria Osborn
UMCH Foster Parents

 

Robert and Gloria Osborn have lovingly fostered more than 75 children over the past 19 years. The Osborn’s are deservingly retiring soon and The Children’s Home wishes this special couple a very happy retirement. The Children’s Home mission is to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ. Our mission cannot be fulfilled without the Osborn’s dedication to fostering, along with our several other wonderful UMCH foster parents.

 

Today marks the last day of National Foster Care Month. The Osborn’s were featured in the spring 2017 edition Signposts that highlights three long-standing foster parents and their dedication to the ministry of fostering. As The Children’s Home wishes Robert and Gloria Osborn a happy retirement, we treasure their parting words of wisdom as shared in Signposts.

 

Robert and Gloria Osborn apparently like big numbers. They’ve been married for 45 years, have been members of the Ray of Hope Church for 30 years, and have seen 76 foster children come and go out of their Ellenwood home over the course of the last 19 years. The last one just left, when the child transitioned to another family for the purpose of adoption. But that doesn’t mean Robert and Gloria, who are both retired, are going to sit back and rest on their laurels. They continue to be active with The Children’s Home, supporting other foster parents, participating in training sessions, and, most importantly, serving as an example for future foster families as well.

 

What called you to become foster parents?

Gloria: My mother was a foster parent. I was young, and at the time, we lived in a two-bedroom house. The foster child was a little boy, and after a certain age, he had to leave because he had to have a separate bedroom. It hurt me when he left, and I never forgot that. I also had an aunt who was a foster parent, and we grew up knowing her foster kids. I think she had like 38 different kids.

 

What is the most challenging thing about being a foster parent?

Gloria: When the children first come, after being taken away from their home, they’re scared, and it takes you a while to get them comfortable. The saddest thing is the details of how they ended up coming into foster care and the things that were going on in the home, and hoping that their parents get their lives together.

 

What is the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?

Robert: When the kids come up to you and hug you and they tell you that they love you. And seeing them either going back home or going to be adopted.

 

How have your family, friends, co-workers, etc. reacted to your fostering all these years?

Gloria: The first thing they always say is that they couldn’t do this, that they would get too attached. And you do get attached. But our calling is to take care of them until they find a place for them. You get in your mind that you’re going to give them the best care and get them as stable as possible so that they’ll be able to move on to a better home. And you’re so busy trying to get them up to speed, because they’re so behind on where they should be in school, manners, and just all kinds of stuff, when they either get to go home or they’re adopted, you’re glad for them. And you know they’re going there being as stable as possible and being able to love the people.

 

What advice would you give to potential foster parents?

Robert: It completely changes your life. Gloria: You realize that there are so many children that are in dire need of help and in dangerous situations and that you can help them, and you can love them, and let them go on to a permanent situation knowing that you did the best you could for them. It’s a calling, for sure. God has put this in your mind. So you do what needs to be done to help them.

 

Do you have any additional thoughts regarding fostering you’d like to share?

Gloria: It’s an awesome experience. It’s amazing to see how the kids just blossom, and it’s like, wow, I helped do this.

 

 

Rev. Lindsey Solomon Joins The Children’s Home, Guides the Ministry’s Expansion Throughout Eastern Georgia

May 1, 2017

 

Rev. Lindsey Solomon has always had a passion for equipping the saints for the work of the Lord (Ephesians 4:12) and opening their eyes to the need around them.

 

Appointed by the Bishop and the Cabinet of The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, Rev. Lindsey Solomon has joined The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) as church engagement manager. Reporting directly to Rev. Dave Allen Grady, director of church relations, Lindsey will lead The Children’s Home mission to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ to congregations throughout eastern Georgia, with special emphasis in the Greater Augusta area.

 

lindsey_solomonOriginally from Woodstock, GA, Lindsey graduated from LaGrange College in 2005 with a BA in Religion.  She spent her college summer vacations as a counselor at Camp Glisson.  After college, she became a youth minister at Sam Jones United Methodist Church. In 2009, she went on to receive her Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology.  While in seminary, Lindsey was a youth minister at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church.  Lindsey was commissioned as a Provisional Elder at Annual Conference in 2014 and was appointed to serve at Kennesaw United Methodist Church as an associate pastor.

 

She and her husband, Kris, have three wonderful children and two dogs. Kris and Lindsey joined UMCH in ministry as foster parents in 2015 as they realized that the church has a tremendous responsibility and opportunity to support children and families who are experiencing hardship.

 

At the onset of Lindsey’s appointment to The Children’s Home, she will serve in ministry from the Decatur campus and relocate to Augusta this summer with her family.

 

 

 

As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we celebrate a church that gives to The Children’s Home with each baptism

The congregation of Sugarloaf United Methodist Church in Gwinnett County holds, on average, 15 to 20 baptisms a year. And while that in and of itself is a celebration for the life of the church, it is also an incredible blessing for The Children’s Home.

 

That’s because the congregation at Sugarloaf recognizes that while most babies who are baptized in their church sanctuary are surrounded by family and loved ones, there are other children who are in need of the love and care that is provided through the ministry of The Children’s Home. So they take up a collection after each baptism.

 

Baptismal reflections at Sugarloaf UMC. Pictures courtesy of Sugarloaf UMC.

 

“This is our opportunity to support the work of The Children’s Home and make a lasting difference,” said Rev. Matthew Mitchell, who enthusiastically embraced the tradition started by Sugarloaf UMC’s former pastor, Rev. Stuart Greene. “We only sponsor local ministries, and this is a very significant one for us. Being able to give regularly to The Children’s Home is very much a part of who we are.”

 

Started at Smyrna First UMC, Rev. Greene began this regular offering for The Children’s Home at Sugarloaf UMC in 2008. “By encouraging people to give to children in need in honor of the baby being baptized, we avoided taking ‘yet another offering’ which people grow weary of,” said Rev. Greene. “No one passed the plate; there were no commitment forms to sign. Anybody who wanted to give any amount would simply walk to the front before leaving the sanctuary and place the money or check on the altar. Many of the donations came from extended family members, who may or may not be members of the church, but who want to ensure their baby is adequately honored.”

 

Today, offerings taken after a baptism at the church total $500 to $1,000. “It’s always exciting to watch little kids to elderly folks, long-time members and new members visibly respond so emotionally and enthusiastically while they are putting their donation in the collection basket,” added Rev. Mitchell. “We know through these donations, and especially because of the great stewardship of UMCH, we are making a real impact.”

 

And yet the church’s connection to The Children’s Home goes deeper still. Currently Sugarloaf UMC has families who have fostered through The Children’s Home, according to Rev. Mitchell, and in one case, the fostering led to adoption.

 

Says Rev. Dave Allen Grady, Director of Church Relations at The Children’s Home, “Baptism is such a powerfully meaningful time for a family, both the family of the person being baptized and the family of the church. The Children’s Home is incredibly lucky that Sugarloaf UMC extends their family’s blessings to our family.”

Season To Give: 2016 Christmas Match Campaign

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During this season of generosity, there has never been a better time to give to The United Methodist Children’s Home and create the biggest impact for your gift. Through the kindness of a few special and anonymous donors, your gift this holiday season will be matched dollar by dollar, up to a total of $94,000 until Dec. 31, going even further to help change the lives of children and families in need. That includes young adults like Kayla*.

 

Kayla’s childhood was exceptionally hard. In a true sense, her childhood was lost. She experienced the trauma of her father’s unexpected death when she was very young, and Kayla’s mother was addicted to drugs. For years Kayla suffered from her mother’s neglect and abuse. Tragically, there was no one else in the family to whom Kayla could turn. When Kayla was 13 years old, the state intervened, but was unable to place her in a foster home, so instead she entered a group home. Then, at age 17, she’d reached the age where she had to leave the group home, and was facing the world alone.

 

Because of the support of people like you, Kayla found her way at The United Methodist Children’s Home. As a resident in our Independent and Transitional Living program, Kayla learned basic life skills she had never before been taught, and she gained experience and confidence as she honed those skills. She was able to build and manage a personal budget, find and keep a job, and even purchase her first car – all while completing the program. Most importantly, Kayla was surrounded by people who loved and cared for her.

 

Kayla set a goal of going to college and members of The Children’s Home team helped her complete college applications and secure financial aid. Today, Kayla is 21 years old, working part time and attending college. She and her beloved adopted dog live in an apartment that the Children’s Home staff helped her find and furnish, and she is flourishing!

 

It’s through YOUR support that we are able to help young adults like Kayla be independent. But there are more children and young adults who need our help. Please take advantage of this special opportunity for your gift to have twice the impact, as we continue to partner with you in this redemptive ministry.

 

Remember the words of Psalms 127:3, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.”

 

 Your gift to The United Methodist Children’s Home is tax-deductible, to the full extent allowed by law. Donate online at www.umchildrenshome.org or mail to:

The United Methodist Children’s Home
500 S. Columbia Drive
Decatur, Georgia 30030

 

But, hurry. Your gift must be mailed by Dec. 31 to be matched dollar for dollar, and for 2016 tax purposes.

 

From all of us at The United Methodist Children’s Home, thank you for everything you’ve already done, and for considering to give today. We hope you have a warm and blessed holiday season.

 

*Name changed for privacy

Q&A: The United Methodist Children’s Home New President and CEO Talks About the Present and the Future

Rev. Hal Jones, who has been the President and CEO at The United Methodist Children’s Home for just two weeks, starting on August 17th, shares enthusiasm about his new role and insights into the future of the ministry.

 

This interview was conducted on August 30, 2016 by Lisa Simon, Director of Marketing and Communications at The Children’s Home.

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