From Linda to You

Rebuilding Hope, July 2014 edition
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Linda-Portrait-1_WEB

Linda Hartke, President and CEO of LIRS.

Can you imagine leaving the only place you’ve ever called home? Pushed out by war, violence, or persecution, you must relocate to a whole new country and culture. You must completely rebuild your life.

Now, imagine you’re only a child or a teenager when the time comes to flee.

A refugee minor fleeing for freedom doesn’t have the luxury of just being a kid. You have to grow up fast to make a new life for yourself and your siblings.

But that doesn’t mean refugee minors can’t have loving parents looking out for them.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of only two organizations in the world licensed to provide specialized foster care for unaccompanied refugee minors. Your compassionate support helps place these children in stable, loving homes.

In May, we celebrated National Foster Care Month, a welcome opportunity to reflect on and recommit to this powerful and vital aspect of our work. Today I hope that you’ll join me in your continued advocacy and care for children who desperately need you.

I cannot overestimate the importance of helping children begin their new lives in America knowing that they are loved and provided for.

You and I can only imagine the sadness and fear that must accompany relocating to a new country and culture. But, thanks to foster families who open their hearts and homes, refugee children don’t have to feel alone.

And the children aren’t the only ones who benefit. Families like the Rempels, who foster three Burmese siblings and three Nepalese siblings, say their foster children brighten their lives.

“I feel as though in our lives … we’ve won the lottery,” says Shad Rempel. “Taking these children into our home hasn’t changed us … it has transformed us.”

Thanks to your support, LIRS continues to connect children with loving families like the Rempels. Yet today, the number of unaccompanied minors coming to the U.S. is growing at an alarming rate — from around 7,000 per year to more than 13,000 children in 2013 alone.

Every single child deserves to be part of a stable, loving family, but only through your continued kindness can LIRS meet that need, serving each and every child hoping for love, and a place to call home.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or know someone who might be, LIRS is there to answer all your questions. Just visit us at lirs.org/fostercare to learn more.

The Rempels and other foster families have found a very special way to make a difference. But, whether or not you can open your home, you open your heart to children embarking on a new life when you support LIRS.

Thank you for standing with LIRS to provide welcome and care for all migrants and refugees. Each and every day, your compassion transforms lives!

Yours in faith,

Linda Hartke, President and CEO

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