Today I want to introduce you to a ministry that works with orphans that is near and dear to our family's hearts--"The Shepherd's Crook" based in West Chester, Ohio.
"The Shepherd's Crook" has faithfully been advocating for orphans, and working to improve the lives of those "left behind" since January of 2002. Our family first found out about them sometime around late 2003 or early 2004. I was researching adoptions, and found the link for their website. We signed up to get their email alerts, and as the saying goes, "The rest is history!"
In September of 2005 an email popped into my in-box from TSC, as "The Shepherd's Crook" is affectionately known by many. As I sat there prayerfully reading over the various children who needed families, I suddenly came to the last listing in the email. A very grainy, side shot of a little girl, ripped evidently from a video, and a short description, alerting people to the urgent need of little girl in Russia. Russia had given her agency about two weeks to find a family for her, or they were going to remove her from the adoption registry, stamp her file, "UN-ADOPTABLE" and place her in an institution. People were asked to contact her agency directly for any further questions.
I still remember sitting there in our tiny trailer living room, staring at my computer screen as chills ran up and down my body, goose bumps broke out, and it was if an audible, and yet not audible voice said in my head, "That's my daughter!" My heart was pounding, my body was breaking out in sweat. I had a very, very physical reaction that was completely unlike anything I had ever experienced before even with all the 100's and 100's of photos of needy kids I looked at over the years. Nothing had prepared me for what I felt going on.
Today that little girl, our lovely Kristina, graces our home with her love and laughter. Yes, the same Kristina you have seen so lovingly helping Katya learn to bike in the video I posted in the last post was about to be classed as "UN-ADOPTABLE" and sent to a institution to languish with no love or care or future.
Thank God that there was "The Shepherd's Crook" to rise to the challenge when the agency was down to the wire and needing a family for Kristina! Thank God that TSC rose to the challenge, as crazy as it seemed to find a family on that short of notice who would agree to start the very lengthy and exhausting process to bring Kristina home.
During our tumultous journey to Kristina, including finding out that I was expecting Chad (!), TSC stood by our family. They sent a birthday card with a caring note when we went through Kristina's birthday without her. They sent a lovely little lamb to welcome her home with shortly before we left to get Kristina. There was so much caring and prayerful support shown to our family by the entire TSC staff.
Nearly a year later, in September of 2005, Kristina landed on USA soil and clapped her hands and happily exclaimed, "America! America!"
Based on our our contact over the years with the staff of TSC, including in person contact, we highly and heartily recommend "The Shepherd's Crook". They are indeed a worthy organization to support. There may not be a lot of bells and whistles, and they may not be bright and glitzy, but they are rock solid, respectful, trust-worthy and honest.
It would be my fervent hope that you will check them out, and then begin to help support their work with orphans. In a world of adoption, it's far too easy for scams and ugliness to exist. It's hard to know who to trust. But based on our experience, and the experiences of many other happy families who have been helped in their journey to their children by TSC, I think I can safely tell you that TSC is operated with integrity, dignity, and filled with reputable people.
God bless "The Shepherd's Crook"!