At Willamette Christian Church our heart is to provide ongoing support and resources to the adoption community. We plan to encourage families through a choice of events, adoption mentorship, financial assistance, and training. Here you will find an extensive online library of resources, as well as many stories of inspiration, that will help as you embark on this adoption journey.
Whether you are just beginning to explore adoption, have already traveled this life-changing path, or want to support those who are, we want to encourage and support you in any way possible.
There are many families within our church community who have taken a step of faith in welcoming an orphaned child into their home through adoption. They are already walking this adventurous road and would love to come alongside those who are considering the same. If you are interested in the adoption process, we can pair you with one of these families so that they can support you with their care, knowledge, and inspiration along the way. Please contact Kerri Dawson if you are interested.
Lifesong is a 501(c)3 organization that comes alongside the church, helping to fund and facilitate Christian family adoptions. In partnership with Lifesong Willamette Christian Church desires to grow and support the number of families choosing to adopt children both locally and internationally.
Lifesong will provide the following for WCC families:
- Application review
- Financial consultation with adoptive families as well as a recommendation to WCC for matching grants
- Housing of family support fund
- Disbursement of payment to appropriate entities
- Support raising kit
To get started request an application from Angie Rettmann, Director of Family Ministry.
Visit www.lifesongfororphans.org and learn more!
Facilitates adoptions of special needs, older, and sibling groups through financial grants.
Christian Alliance for Orphans
A Christian ministry organization with resources to ignite and equip Christians to reflect God’s heart for orphans in adoption, foster care, and global initiatives.
Empowered To Connect
An online library of articles, audio and video covering a wide variety of topics for adoptive and foster parents. Great post placement/adoption support and resources.
Heart Gallery of America
Photo Gallery exhibit created to find adoptive families for children in foster care.
I Care About Orphans
Post adoption support, resources, and advocacy for adoption.
Northwest Adoption Exchange
Meet waiting children available for adoption from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or Alaska.
To connect, encourage, and equip families on their adoption journey. Unique resources at each stage of the adoption or foster care journey, and are particularly valuable to families during difficult times.
The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family, by Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Sunshine
A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents, edited by Pamela Kruger and Jill Smolowe
Adoption is a Family Affair! – What Friends and Family Must Know Patricia Irwin Johnston
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, Sherrie Eldridge
Carried Safely Home:The Spiritual Legacy of an Adoptive Family, Kristin Swick Wong
There are many agencies to consider when starting your adoption journey. Here are a few to consider. We encourage you to research which one is right for you.
AGCI is a Christian, non-profit organization, offering international and domestic adoption for over 20 years. They have united more than 2,500 children with their forever families and currently AGCI completes approximately 200 adoptions each year. AGCI has a Portland office.
Holt International is a Christian organization committed to expressing God’s compassion for children through international adoption. Moved by faith and a firm belief that all children deserve permanent, loving homes, Harry and Bertha Holt began their lifelong mission in 1955. Holt is located in Eugene, Oregon.
For more than 125 years Gladney has been a pioneer and leading voice for improving the lives of children, adoptive families and birth parents. They specialize in both international and domestic adoption, and are based out of Fort Worth, Texas.
Offers international and domestic adoption. Private, licensed, non-profit adoption and family service agency, serving 30 states from over 70 locations and in 13 international countries. Bethany Christian has a local Portland Office.
AWAA is a charitable Christian-based organization, dedicated to building families according to God’s design of adoption, offering both international and domestic adoptions, as well as hosting opportunities. America World has an Oregon branch.
For 127 years, Boys and Girls Aid has been helping Oregon’s children. They find children permanent homes through adoption and provide temporary safe places to stay through shelters and foster home placements.
There are hundreds of children needing safe and loving homes in the State of Oregon. Some of those children need temporary placements, while others are in need of a permanent home. There are no fees for adopting a child from Oregon foster care when you choose the Oregon Department of Human Services as your agency, and there are a variety of support systems in place (training, financial, groups) to help with the adoption process.
CFA is a faith-based, non profit Christian agency committed to influencing the world for Christ, one needy child at a time through God’s model of adoption. It is a full service adoption agency licensed in Oregon and Washington and staffed with qualified social workers meeting state requirements for all phases of adoption work. In addition to providing home study services for international and private infant adoptions, they also work with adoptions of state foster children into qualified homes.
Approximately 6,000 children in the state of Oregon are in need of family foster care each year, and yet there are only 4,600 homes in which to place them. As Christians, we can fill this need by opening our homes to a vulnerable child within our community. It is a tangible way to share the love of Jesus with those who need it the most, the ultimate act of Biblical hospitality.
Willamette’s Fostering Ministry exists to care for and love children that are placed in the foster system. We want to inform and inspire our members to participate in foster care, opening our arms wide to children who are in need of stable and loving homes. Through this process, we hope to bring awareness to the needs of our own community so that we can more fully love our “neighbors”.
We desire to walk through the process of becoming a foster parent with anyone who is interested, providing training opportunities, mentorship, respite care, and prayer and emotional support. We support our local department of human services and their expertise in placing children in the best homes available. If you have any questions regarding placement of children please contact your local DHS office to discuss.
Becoming a Foster Parent
Avenues by which you can become certified as a foster parent:
- Clackamas County DHS provides free year round training to become a certified foster parent. These sessions are 8 weeks long, 3 hours each week. For dates of classes, contact the North Clackamas Office at 503-731-3400 or the Oregon City Office 971-673-7200. Ask how you can sign up for the “Foundations Training”.
- There are two private agencies that offer a free weekend course, both fulfilling state certification requirements. This is a Friday through Sunday (for a total of 24 hours) training. Contact Christian Family Adoptions (503-232-1211) or Boys and Girls Aid (503-542-2301) for dates of classes.
- If you are interested in becoming a Foster Parent, please contact Elizabeth Sale.
Project Lemonade – Project Lemonade provides foster youth with a back-to-school shopping experience and offers support to inspire self-esteem and promote success.
Too Small To Ignore: Why the Least of These Matter Most by Wess Stafford
Become a CASA
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. These volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to speak out on behalf of those within the foster and legal systems. CASAs stay with their child (often as the only constant adult in that child’s life) until the case is closed and they are placed in a safe, permanent home. We have several CASAs within our church family and we would be happy to help answer any questions you might have about the program. You can find more information about CASA here.
One of our prioritized community partnerships is with the local Department of Human Services (DHS), Child Welfare Division. In both big and small ways, we are developing lasting relationships with key individuals within this state agency so that we can provide helpful, relevant and much-needed support. We are committed to staying the course and walking alongside one local DHS office in particular, as many other church bodies are also doing. Together, the faith community at-large here in the tri-county area is serving as an advocate for healthy families, resilient children and thriving communities that are empowered through strong relationships between community organizations.
Since spring 2012, leaders in the faith-based communities of Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties have had a growing sense of passion and purpose in serving the state of Oregon’s Child Welfare system through the Department of Human Services (DHS). With the increased sense that God is asking the tri-county faith community to do something big, coordinated and aligned to serve our communities’ most vulnerable children, a team of leaders and faith communities began dreaming about the formation of a regional collaborative movement that has come to be known as Embrace Oregon.
Over the past year, Embrace Oregon has amassed several hundred volunteers from over 50 area churches who have given time, energy, resources, and other physical needs to uplift local DHS offices. These activities have continued to strengthen the relationship that is being built between the state-run DHS offices and local faith communities. While great strides have been made, there is still much work to be done.
The majority of children coming into foster care in the tri-county area must wait in an office for 1-2 hours while a social worker calls to find them a suitable placement. This is usually a time of high anxiety for children, as they’ve recently been removed from their home and are being moved to a new, unknown foster home.
The notion of a Welcome Box is a simple one. While the child is waiting, the social worker gives him/her a box of age-appropriate items to occupy their time while in the office. It is also a box they can carry and take with them into their new foster home. Since many children enter their new foster homes with very few belongings, the psychological importance of owning nice possessions cannot be underestimated.
Welcome Box Coordinators:
- Multnomah County: Jillana Goble, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Clackamas County: Lauren Pickthorn, email@example.com
- Washington County: Emily Baylis, firstname.lastname@example.org
For a complete list of specific guidelines on how to put a box together and for printable labels for your box, click here.
Coming together in the summer of 2012, we are a group of volunteers who desire to see our church, as well as churches all across the Portland area, body mobilized for the cause of the orphan. Each of us has a unique and deeply personal heart story that has led us to this place, and we are excited to see what God will do through this ministry for His glory. We are available and interested in your story and desires for children as well, and would love to hear from you!
Email Aimee Eckley
For most of my life I have felt a strong desire to serve children. I have pursued this calling over the past fifteen years as a teacher, a coach, a counselor and mentor, as well as a facilitator for an at-risk youth camp. Though I am now a mom raising my own children, I continue to advocate for and support vulnerable children. I know that God has placed this calling upon my heart and I am excited to see where it leads. Last year I was fortunate to be involved with the planning and execution of the Oregon City DHS makeover completed in June 2013. The transformation of that space symbolizes the possibility that exists to transform the lives of children throughout our community. Since then, I have become a liaison for Embrace Oregon and continue to work closely with the Oregon City DHS office as we partner to raise families up with support and care.
Director of Family Ministries – Willamette Christian Church
Email Angie Rettmann
As an advocate for marriage and family I am passionate about raising-up the next generation to know, love, and serve God. My husband and I purposed to parent our 2 sons with vision for them to be strong, confident, and faithful young men who would impact their generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our commitment to vulnerable children in need of safe and nurturing homes should be no less. The opportunity to invest in children through foster parenting and adoption is a privilege, one that I am excited to learn more about and champion among my sphere of influence. My hope would be that together, we would support and encourage those who are able and called to parent children in their greatest time of need.
Adoption Ministry Director
Email Kerri Dawson
In 2010 my husband Nate and I said “yes” to our calling to adopt. Our journey led us to Africa, where our hearts were broken, and our lives were changed forever by what we experienced. This journey has been more amazing than we could have ever imagined. We have never been able to look at life the same since meeting our Ethiopian born daughter Elsa. We have been blessed a hundred times over what we could ever offer our daughter. Yes, we can give her a family, a home, love, comfort, and food. And, what has she given us? Elsa has shown us God, more clearly than we have ever seen Him before. That is what life is all about: more Him, less me. I am just a regular mom who is passionate about orphan care and adoption, and about children with special needs.
Email Elizabeth Sale
Because of my own history as an adoptee I decided at a very young age that I wanted to work with foster and adoptive children. I have been fortunate enough to do just that ever since I graduated from college. I spent five years working for the State of Oregon as a caseworker for foster children and for the last ten years I have been able to work part time helping families adopt children from the foster care system. My career in child welfare has been challenging and fulfilling. Unfortunately the work never seems to be done as there are always more children in need of safe, stable, and loving homes. My husband and I have three children who keep us on the go to various sporting events, music lessons, and play dates. Watching them grow, learn, and play in a nurturing environment is a constant reminder of what childhood should look like but doesn’t for too many children. I am thrilled to be part of a church body that has a clear passion for ministering to foster children, their foster parents, and their caseworkers. My hope is that we will truly be a light in a very dark place.
Wrap Around Care
Email Mary Coleman
The Lord promises in Deuteronomy and Hebrews that He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Even before I knew the work of the Lord in my life, this promise was made real to me. As a child I was raised by several sets of foster parents, and was later adopted. I am a wife and mom, with two super kids and am employed as a teacher at a local charter school. As a member of the Foster Care and Adoption Ministry, I am blessed to lead wrap around care for foster families. It is such a pleasure to be a part of this team, as we go on mission to show that God’s promises are real, especially for the least of these.