Christian Heritage – Foster Care Feature

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For over 30 years, Christian Heritage has been committed to caring for Nebraska’s at-risk children. Our vision is “Families restored, children filled with hope and prepared for life.” Our mission is to improve the lives of children by equipping families, promoting responsible fatherhood and strengthening marriages, because we believe every child deserves as family.

The following are stories of children whose lives have been impacted by those working with us to provide safety, permanence and well-being for children.

Shortly after Jason’s birth, the doctors determined he had a heart defect. His single mother did not think she would be able to care for him so she had him placed in foster care. Tom and Shelly had gone through Christian Heritage foster parent training. When they learned about Jason, they welcomed him into their hearts and home. After a number of surgeries, Jason began to grow and develop normally. Efforts to reunite him with his mother failed, and she relinquished her parental rights. Jason is now three years old. He is happy, healthy and still living with the family who had sensed God’s calling to be foster parents. The latest news is that his foster family is about to become his adoptive family.

Marlee’s 14th birthday came two weeks after she came to live with Josh and Jenny. Jenny baked a delicious chocolate cake and brought it out after dinner. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and waited for Marlee to blow out the candles. Marlee just sat there. It was awkward. Later that night, it dawned on Josh and Jenny that Marlee hadn’t known what to do. No one had ever baked her a birthday cake before. After a year of normal family activities with Josh and Jenny and their daughters, Marlee has blossomed and now celebrates these occasions with gusto.

Corey was 16 when he was placed in a Christian Heritage foster home. Abandoned by his parents shortly after his birth, he had been passed from one family member to another all his life.

Every month, nearly 100 children are referred to Christian Heritage in needs of homes

No one had ever stuck with him. Whenever anyone began to get close to him emotionally, he would act out and push them away. It worked, too, until he met Wayne and Mary, Christian Heritage foster parents who took Corey into their home and stuck with him—until he violated the law and was incarcerated. Wayne and May questioned whether they had made a difference in Corey’s life. Then one day recently, they received a letter from him. He told them they were the closest thing to a family he had ever known. He said he wanted to come back and live with them. And he told them that he loved them.

Christian Heritage has been caring for children like Jason, Marlee and Corey for 30 years, beginning in December of 1980, when co-founders Gregg and Lisa Nicklas became foster parents. Within a year, they had served seven foster children in their home. Feeling led by the Lord to care for Nebraska’s abused and neglected children, Gregg resigned from a successful marketing career with IBM. In September of 1981 Christian Heritage opened its first children’s home for eight teenage boys. A second home was opened to care for girls in January of 1985. Since then, Christian Heritage has provided homes for literally thousands of Nebraska’s children.

“Families restored, children filled with hope and prepared for life.”

Christian Heritage is honored to provide safe, secure homes for children in the Southeast, Eastern and Central Service Regions of Nebraska. Personnel in offices in Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney work to recruit, train and support competent Christian foster parents to care for over 130 children in six professional foster homes (four at 148th and Old Cheney Road and two in Kearney) and almost 90 private homes.

Every month, nearly 100 children are referred to Christian Heritage in need of homes, but the needs are so great that Christian Heritage cannot keep up, and most of these children must be turned away. It’s a heartbreaking dilemma.

For example, 17-year-old Julie and her two-year-old daughter and newborn son were referred to Christian Heritage recently. All of the foster homes were full and there was no choice but to turn them away. In fact, because there was no agency capable of keeping this young family together, Julie and her children were placed in two separate homes.

Nebraska’s most vulnerable young citizens need people who are willing to open their hearts and homes to them. The next round of training at Christian Heritage will begin in February. If you are feeling a tug to serve in this way, please call 421-KIDS (5437) or click here to find out how you can help.