Gift of Love: CHILD Presentation

Sometimes, it takes a congregation to raise a child; at least that's what the Texas legislature thinks. For the first time, the state of Texas is asking for your help. It's part of a new faith-based initiative that we told you about last week called CHILD.  It stands for Congregations Helping In Love and Dedication. Lawmakers passed a bill allowing CPS workers to target churches to find foster and adoptive homes. In this report, we take you to one of the presentation and let you know how your church can get involved.

"I'm here for the children. The children who can't speak for themselves. There are many of them." Laurel Towne is referring to the 1,000 East Texas children in foster care. She is one of the faith-based recruiters in this area. "Those that can care for our most vulnerable population, the children in our communities, are in our churches. They're you," says Laurel Towne.

On this night, she's making a presentation to the New Life Community Church in Tyler. Laurel says, "We forget the unseen population in our city. When there is a disaster, it touches our minds and our hearts and we give. We don't want you money. This is time and part of yourself to care for these children that we want."

Pastor Vernon Robertson believes this is a powerful ministry launched by the state and he invites the partnership. Pastor Robertson says, "I pledge to support faith-based recruiting for foster parents. Amen! I believe that all of our generational hope is in children. So, to move forward, we much continue to bless the children."

Two members of Pastor Robertson's congregation have already done that. Broderick and Tabbotha McGee plan to adopt four year old Shavala. "When God allowed it. Shavala came into the picture and it just feels right," says Tabbotha. Broderick adds, "We just thought it was an opportunity for us to give a child a chance." Their nine year old daughter Notori says, "When we first saw Shavala she looked real pretty."

The McGee's two biological children are excited about having another sibling. "I like it because we get to share a room and how we get along and I help her not to get in trouble," says Notori. Their five-year-old son, Kelton, is already settling into the fact that he will soon have two sisters. "I love you Shavala and Notori." I asked Shavala if she likes being with the McGee family. She replied with a big smile, "Yes."

But it's the McGees who feel blessed. "The touching thing to me is, I'll be sitting there in my recliner watching TV and she'll come and crawl up in my lap and watch TV with me and that just gives me a good feeling that she's adjusted to us so well and so fast," says Broderick. Tabbotha says, "I just have to say how God adopted us into His family and just took us as we were is the same reason we are able to do that in turn for a child. We took Shavala just as she is. We don't know what her future holds or what she'll be or do, but just the fact of knowing that we made a difference in a child's life."

The McGee's are hoping to make a difference in another child's life. They are looking at adopting a little boy next. As they addressed their congregation, Broderick said, "We're just encouraging you to get involved. Even though you may not want to adopt, there are so many kids out there that need foster homes. You may be the one to strength that family, strengthen that child, so they can go back home to their parents."

This congregation worships together and the state hopes together, it can help at least one more foster child. "I think it's going to be a positive response. I do believe I saw the energy level and just the excitement and a very, very strong interest in the presentation tonight," says Pastor Robertson.

Hopefully other East Texas churches will follow becoming one of the Congregations Helping In Love and Dedication.

Since this "CHILD" program got underway last year, there have been 200 presentations to Texas churches, 53 of them have been to East Texas churches. If you'd like to know more about CHILD, or would like to schedule a presentation at your church, call our Gift of Love hotline. The toll free number is 1-888-kids-275.

Gillian Sheridan, reporting.