We are happy to share with you that Mid-Atlantic Orphan Care Coalition is now Family Hope Coalition.
We are working together to bring hope to vulnerable children by strengthening their families.
Those of us at Orphan Care Coalition have been thinking about a new name for a few years now.
This name was originally established with an intent to be clear about our purpose: bringing families and churches together to care for children in need of families. And for many years, it did a pretty good job of making sure people knew our purpose when they heard our name.
However, for many reasons, it is time for an upgrade. We wanted to refresh our name while staying true to our mission and the original vision of those faithful servants who began our organization.
But some of you may be wondering why we’re messing with a good thing.
The reasons are many-fold, so let’s tackle it one word at a time.
Our work is best done locally because this helps us know the families we seek to care for, and the agencies and workers who do the hard work day in and day out. Our work has been focused mostly in Delaware and the immediate surrounding counties in PA and MD, based on the areas where people reside who interact with us. To call ourselves “Mid-Atlantic” has inadvertently expanded our area beyond our scope of focus.
Now onto the word “Orphan.”
In our Orphan Care 101 courses, we use UNICEF’s definition of “orphan.” Most children defined as an orphan actually have living relatives, and often at least one living parent. In the US foster care system, children have parents who are unable to care for them, but the goal is to provide a temporary safe family until they can return home, when possible. We wanted to more accurately reflect the population of children we are seeking to serve – those who are within the foster care system, those waiting for adoption, and those who have been adopted. .
Because most children do infact have living relatives, and even living parents, the word “orphan” is sensitive. While we recognize that we cannot keep up with all changes in words to match cultural acceptance, we do seek to prayerfully maintain soft hearts toward doing this when we sense God’s leading. In this case, we feel it is wise to remove this word from our name.
Finally, the word “Coalition.”
We are actually keeping this word because we still seek to be a coalition – bringing together our community and churches to help support children in crisis and the families who care for them. Churches are already built-in support systems, with an ethos of care that springs out of the gospel hope we all share. It has been a privilege to witness churches in our area coming alongside families in their midst to support them in their foster and adoption journeys.
Simultaneously, we recognize that coalescing involves more than just individual churches. To “coalese” means “to grow together” and “to unite with a common goal.” So if we, as an organization, seek to support vulnerable children and families, we want to see churches working together with one another. We want to see churches and non-religious organizations in the community helping each other. We want to encourage community that includes the churched and the unchurched.
In light of the work that we are doing together, and our name change, we have also changed our mission statement.
Working together to bring hope to vulnerable children by strengthening their families.
While we still partner primarily with churches and our statement of faith remains unchanged, we understand that our work extends beyond the walls of our churches, and it is imperative that we work with state and public agencies that do the hard work of child welfare daily.
By having a mission statement that focuses on the population we want to serve, and how we want to help them, we are welcoming involvement from the community around us. The “how” of executing our mission remains the same. And we pray that through this, more vulnerable children will be able to flourish.
I hope that our name change and the reasons behind it encourage you in our mission together.
We ask that you bear with us as we work hard to implement these changes. We are presently in the process of administrative work in changing our name with all the powers that be, creating our new website, and adjusting our program material.
This spring will be full of caregiver trainings and family events, so please be sure to sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already. We’d love to come out to your church as well to share ways that we can work together to help vulnerable children and their families!