His Kids {a story of hope}

I found our snapshot camera last night and I realized that I never uploaded the pictures from Grant’s Ukraine trip (from November) to our computer! I finally did that today! Of all the many pictures that Grant took (I mean all 10 pictures that Grant took 🙂 ), I especially loved the ones he took with some of the boys from our church’s orphanage, His Kids.

I recently had the opportunity to write an article about the orphanage for a local magazine. It was so neat learning more about His Kids and the impact this ministry has had in the lives of these children. I’m also going to be writing a more extensive article for our church’s newsletter at the end of the month, so you can also be on the lookout for that.

I thought I would share the article here for those who can’t pick up a hard copy. Also, if you are looking for a ministry to prayerfully or financially support, consider investing in this one!

Here is the article, and Grant’s pictures!

His Kids

When Vince Smith first visited the country of Ukraine over a decade ago, the purpose of his trip had nothing to do with orphans. He was on a mission trip with Community Bible Church of Beaufort, who partnered with a church in the Ukraine to help with the training of local pastors. But as Vince walked the city streets and villages of Ukraine, he was overcome with shock and sadness at the vast amount of orphaned children.
Ukraine has over 100,000 orphans, and only 10% of these orphans are orphaned due to the death of a parent; the rest are social orphans – due to alcoholism, abandonment, or imprisonment of parents. Many of these have experienced abuse and violence from parents who were drug addicts or alcoholics. Every year at least 2,000 mothers abandon their babies in maternity hospitals.  Between 6,000 and 7,000 children are abandoned at an older age or removed from homes due to crime or neglect. Orphans typically grow up in large state-run homes, which may house over 200 children. Children usually graduate from these institutions between 15 and 16 years old and are turned out, unprepared for life outside the home. About 10% of them will commit suicide after leaving the orphanage before their 18th birthday. That 60% of the girls will end up in prostitution in Europe and 70% of boys will enter a life of crime is a sobering statistic.  Many children run away from these homes, preferring to live on the street. They are referred to as, “street kids.” Many die young from violence or end up in prison.
Vince Smith shared, “When I left Ukraine, I couldn’t help but leave feeling grieved and distressed about these orphans. I knew had to do something. I just kept thinking about how Jesus said, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’  And when you read the Bible, you find that orphan ministry is at the center of God’s heart. In James 1:27, the Scripture says that ministering to orphans is ‘pure’ and ‘undefiled.’ And the reason ministering to orphans is pure, is because they can’t give back.”
It was this experience years ago that planted the seeds for His Kids, a Christian orphanage and adoption ministry that the Smith family started through the support and partnership of Community Bible Church and the Evangelical Baptist Church of Vinnitsa, Ukraine.
The ultimate goal of His Kids is to place children in a nurturing and loving adoptive home where they can understand the love that Jesus Christ has for them. “His Kids is all about double adoption,”Vince explained. The ministry’s slogan is, “Adopted by Him, Adopted by You.”
His Kids goes beyond meeting the physical and medical needs of orphans. His Kids seeks to make every child feel like they belong. When the Vinnitsa Christian Orphanage was founded in 2004 as a part of the His Kids ministry, the orphan children dipped their hands in colored paint and put their handprints on the orphanage wall. “We wanted these kids to know that this home was theirs and that each one of them is unique and that their life has value,” Vince explained.
As the orphanage has grown over the years (housing 46 children), so has the rate of adoptions. Both American and Ukrainian families have adopted children who have been placed in the Christian orphanage founded by His Kids.
“Just as each child is different, each adoption looks differently. We try to match up children with the right families (whether locally or globally) and we mentor those families every step of the way,” Vince said. His Kids not only ministers to Ukrainian children, but Beaufort children as well. His Kids partners with the Department of Social Services and helps them place children in loving foster homes.
But adoption and foster care aren’t the only ways that American families can get involved with the ministry of His Kids. Families can sponsor a Ukrainian child for just $30 a month ($1/per day). Many Ukrainian families would like to adopt, but they simply cannot afford to feed another child. Vince explained, “If the financial burden is lifted, many families are able to adopt because that is the only thing holding them back.”
“Sponsoring a child is transformational for so many families,” Vince continued, “It’s been transformational for our family. My kids have been going with me to the Ukraine since we started the ministry and it has affected all of us. Our entire family has invested our lives in His Kids.”
Vince and his wife, Cindy, have three children: Caleb (20), Braden (17), and Ale’ Grace (14).  Ale’ Grace described the effect of the orphan ministry in her life, “It’s completely changed my perspective on orphans in general. It’s made me realize how much I have and now I want to do something for these kids.” Because of the impact of His Kids, Caleb, who is a student at the University of South Carolina, wants to attend law school after college and study international law so that one day he can help with the legal side of adoptions.
A change in perspective has been a recurring theme for many families who have gotten involved with the ministry of His Kids. Vince put it like this, “When families embrace orphans in any way, it takes the focus off of ourselves and shifts it to others. I’ve seen it bring families together as they write letters to orphans and post his or her picture on their refrigerator and pray for that child as a family. The impact that it makes is far-reaching.”
His Kids has not only brought families closer, it’s brought members of the community together as well. Vince shared the story of a young boy named Edik who came into contact with the ministry of His Kids. Edik had an infection in his leg that the medical personnel who were attending him could not identify. They were going to amputate his leg. When Vince heard about Edik’s predicament, he had them send Edik’s medical files to Beaufort. Local doctors examined Edik’s files, identified the infection in his leg, and sent Edik the antibiotic he needed to be healed. Edik’s leg was saved.
Edik’s story is just one of many stories of children whose lives have been forever touched through the ministry of His Kids. On a recent visit to the Vinnitsa Christian Orphanage, Vince asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up. Some children said they wanted to be doctors, others said teachers, dads & moms, missionaries, or pastors. But one child said, “I want to do what you do. I want to help kids like us.”
His Kids has helped foster hope in the lives of orphans who didn’t seem to have any.
The Smith family, along with many other families (both American and Ukrainian), have made a difference in the lives of children who can’t give anything back. Vince couldn’t have said it any better, “When you see one life impacted and changed, it’s worth everything.”
{Vince Smith is the Pastor of Missions at Community Bible Church. To learn more about the ministry of His Kids and how you can get involved, visit hiskidscare.com All Ukraine orphan statistics obtained from World Orphan Project Inc.}
 
 

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