Monday, April 28, 2008

New Family history, part 5- Teamwork

Part five, 2006-2008. Teamwork.

Starting an adoption/foster care program from scratch would take an incredible team of people, we realized. We needed people who were not only qualified professionally but who had compatible Biblical views and could work together.

The first group of people that had been meeting and praying from the beginning was mainly volunteers. Although for most of us this idea was closely linked to our current work and was a great outlet for all of our feelings and observations about working with orphans, we didn’t have anyone working full-time on the new project. Meetings took place on evenings after work or on weekends. We had a lot of energy because our hearts were so inclined to this new vision. But it was still difficult to see progress when we could only meet once a week. Many of us had qualifications for working with children or with government administration, but no one was free to work full-time. So we began the search for personnel.

It was very difficult finding someone to work full-time for New Family. We tried to work through connections in local churches, among Christian social workers and others who worked with children. But since we had been working on a volunteer level, it was difficult to put into words how this vision had come about and what specific qualifications were needed in a full-time worker. We wanted someone whom we hired to be able to use his/her gifts and not have to change to meet our job description. That was why we left it open-ended. There were younger candidates who were eager but still studying. There were older candidates with a lot of experience who were used to a slightly bigger salary and a more rigid daily working regime. We needed someone who was willing to be a pioneer and join with us in starting something new.

Some of the personnel we realized we would need were: a director, a psychologist with the qualifications to train families and interact with the children, someone skilled in dealing with legal documents, a bookkeeper, someone to do presentations and draw in participants, someone skilled in interacting with directors and administrations of other organizations, etc. There were people who already could perform some of these functions, and some who had experience in multiple areas. But there were gaps.

In addition to having a core team, we wanted to find other ministries to partner with. As I mentioned, in the research phase we had done a lot of exploration so as to not do duplicate work. Instead of hiring our own lawyer or psychologist, perhaps someone from another ministry could help us with these services or train our staff to do these tasks.

God was constantly leading us into conversations with people who had some kind of helpful connection or had felt led in this direction. But there were still many "no" answers before we found people who could make a commitment.
In the past few years, we have had a lot of different people working on this project. Some have helped with special events, some have devoted many hours to working in the office. Each new team member has brought a new dynamic to the work. It has been a pleasure to work together and seek direction from the Lord. Rich friendships have formed, and the Lord will use these relationships to further His work in Russia, whether in the context of a "program" or simply in sharing our lives with people.

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