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31
Dec
2013
Advancing Grace, Family Matters, Grace Based Parenting

Could You Raise 170 Children?

James was born with cerebral palsy. He was left to lie in his crib for 10-12 hours a day. When most children his age were walking, he couldn’t even sit up. Once he was placed in the care of Robert and Donna Drake, he began to thrive.

Three Native American siblings, all suffering from the effects of cocaine exposure and fetal alcohol syndrome, were taken from their tribe into temporary custody. The Drakes took them in and offered them refuge and a place to call home.

Robert and Donna Drake have fostered over 170 kids in their home over the last 24 years.  One can only imagine the number of diapers, introductions, disputes and hugs that were exchanged under their roof. Robert is a police officer and Donna is a stay-at-home mom. In addition to being parents of 14 children (5 biological, 6 adopted, 3 foster) and grandparents, they continue to open their home to foster children, as well as, volunteer in their church nursery and mentor other foster families!

“Many of our foster kids will be the first in their family to be educated, to be motivated to want more for their lives, and to be introduced to a loving God.” Donna said. The three inner needs of a secure love, a significant purpose and a strong hope were never established in these children’s birth homes or hearts. Robert and Donna pour grace and truth into their foster children so that they will have a foundation of Jesus Christ in their lives before they leave their home.

The Drakes have seen a full spectrum of children who are disabled, distant, and deeply wounded. They get a short amount of time to show these children a glimpse of the heart of God. They instill in them that God is a God who heals and restores the broken-hearted and allows us to be different, to be vulnerable, to be candid, and to make mistakes.

Donna Drake Family PicAt Family Matters we are honored to come along side foster and adoptive families like the Drakes who put James 1:27 into action. Whatever term personally resonates better with you, biological, adopted or foster, we are all God’s children and we all need God’s grace lavished on us to appreciate his finished work on the cross.

Through our generous donors and sponsors, we were able to host a foster and adoptive parenting conference last spring at no charge to foster and adoptive families. These parents deal with all the same parenting questions and struggles we all do, but with added layers of complexity. The Drakes said the conference brought them closer together as a couple and they learned new tools to show grace to their children by modeling Christ-like behavior.

 

The Grace Based Foster & Adoptive Parenting Conference is now available online for a nominal fee.  If you know of any foster or adoptive families seeking resources to help them do the tough job of parenting these precious kids, please share this link with them.  We are sure it will be an encouragement.

Michelle Broek is the Director of Advancement for Family Matters. She spends much of her time figuring out ways to advance the message of Grace. We have the privilege at Family Matters to see God change countless lives and then see those very people go on to become passionate ambassadors for the message of Grace. In the “Advancing Grace” series, Michelle shares some of her favorite stories of people turned ambassadors for a life-changing message.

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