Last November, I challenged Oklahoma Baptists to become a part of the solution to the foster care crisis in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has more than 11,000 children who are in state custody, and the majority of these children are in need of homes with foster parents who will love and care for them.
The response of Oklahoma Baptists has been remarkable.
After the sermon at the 2015 Annual Meeting, I was so pleased to discover that many pastors and staff families in Oklahoma Baptist churches are involved in foster care. These families are leading the way in providing homes and loving care for children who have no permanent place to call home. In many cases, these children were pulled from their homes of origin in the middle of the night with nothing more than a trash bag of clothes and a choice toy or two. I am so proud of Oklahoma Baptist church leaders for setting the course to care for children in crisis.
Many Oklahoma Baptist churches have provided, or are in the process of providing, support for foster parents. These churches have ministries that involve church members in supporting and encouraging foster parents. Make no mistake, foster parenting can be challenging and even difficult—foster parenting is not for the faint of heart. But with the support of church leaders and members, these families find added strength and resolve for the journey.
Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) has multiple campuses serving displaced children. Beautiful houses and wonderful houseparents provide hope and homes for children. Children placed with OBHC find stability, love, discipline, encouragement, and a future. Nobody does this ministry better than OBHC.
Yet, there will never be enough money to build the houses necessary and not enough money to staff this ministry in order to reach the vast number of children in need. I am so proud of OBHC for stepping into the foster care arena. OHBC is leading the way for Baptist families to engage and be trained and supported as foster parents.
God has provided an incredible lady, Teri Blanton, to lead the One Such Child program for OBHC. Teri was a lead social worker with OBHC prior to her appointment as an International Mission Board (IMB) missionary to Siberia. With the downsizing of IMB, she returned to OBHC for such a time as this. She is a remarkable leader, and has already made a significant impact.
One of the initiatives of One Such Child is to hold Vacation Bible School (VBS) for foster children and, at the same time, provide required training for the parents. The first such VBS and training event will be held at Oklahoma City, Rancho Village. Pastor Floyd McKee and his wife are foster and adoptive parents. The next event will be held at Jenks, First. These VBS and training events provide critical support to foster care families.
If you have interest in being a foster parent, please contact Teri Blanton, OBHC Foster Care Coordinator, at 405/640-0622. She will help you get connected to the right people, and stand with you through the process. You can also obtain information concerning the two VBS and training events through her office.
Oklahoma Baptists are making a difference in the lives of children and, thus, are making a difference for eternity.