This month I will be using my social media to feature individuals who are stepping up and choosing to sacrifice their own comfort in order to bring more love into our world.
For the blog today I am so happy to introduce you to Jason & Cheryl Bentsen who started out to create their own family through adoption, and ended up meeting the needs of so many others through their organization, Love Moves Us.
Check out their story in Cheryl's own words, and if you are inspired,
consider donating using the link at the bottom of the blog.
I’m a mom to a 4 year old who thinks she’s 16, & an 11 year old who is really an old soul trapped in a preteen’s body. My husband & I love GOOD coffee & every time we travel our first stop is always a local coffee place. I hate fish but at one point in my life I actually wanted to be a marine biologist. The one household chore I really don’t mind is doing laundry.
My story looks different than the families that I get to serve but what I’ve learned is that God will use us if we let him. A few months after adopting my son, my husband, Jason, & I found ourselves in a new state, new job and settling into a new routine. We quickly started to meet families from all over adoption world: foster families, families that had adopted internationally and those that were in process of domestic adoptions. Wanting to get more people involved in adoption, we started hosting informational meetings at our church and were encouraging people to step up and open their homes to children who needed homes. It felt good and fulfilling. We shared stories, answered questions and then we went home. Easy. Done.
Then we started to lean in and listen to the real stories of the families God was putting in our
path. These families that opened their home so willingly were struggling. The battles they
were facing everyday from medical challenges to behaviors at school and home were just the
tip of the iceberg. Parents were facing court dates, caseworker visits, and learning to become
advocates for medical and school needs. Their schedules were packed. Their stories were
They shared their struggles of friends & family abandoning them. They felt they had to stop
going to church because of their child’s behaviors. The weight of carrying their children
through the loss & grief was too much for them to shoulder on their own. Something had to
be done. We looked around to find help and came up empty. Adoption agencies had great
support before the adoption but when it came to after the adoption there was very little.
Churches didn’t know what to do or what families needed.
That’s when God nudged us to ask our friends, “What do you need?” The overwhelming
response was “Support - someone who gets it.” Now that we had our answer - we had to do
something about it!
On a cold February night in Chicago, we played a small part in providing our families with a
space to meet others who understood the journey. Our house was buzzing with families from
all stages of the adoption process. Foster parents were connecting with one another about
licensing questions and others were sharing their wisdom of years of experience. The kids were
laughing and playing. They didn’t have to explain to this crew why their mom or dad had a
different color of skin. Everyone had a place to belong.
That’s when LoveMovesUs began. We continued to open our home month after month and God did some amazing things. Families found hope for the future, peace in decisions & reaffirmation of the calling of God to love the kids entrusted to them. Families learned they weren’t alone and that they were seen not only by the people in the room but by a God who created their family!
What’s been amazing to see, not only these families that are in the trenches, but who God has
brought into this work of supporting families who have fostered or adopted vulnerable children.
People from all walks of life are putting their love into action by making meals, providing new
placements into foster care with new clothes or furniture, praying for families, opening their
homes so more families can connect, making cakes to celebrate adoptions, providing hair care
products, babysitting and praying! There is something truly beautiful when people work
together to LOVE others in their own unique ways.
Entering into this call to love, God has taught me so many things about myself, my family and
LOVE requires time.
LOVE is messy.
LOVE is inconvenient.
LOVE makes sacrifices.
LOVE is a choice.
LOVE is worth it every single time.
LoveMovesUs is now a non-profit serving foster and adoptive families through monthly Family Gatherings in nine locations throughout Chicagoland. Our vision is to see foster & adoptive families flourish. We breathe life and love into foster and adoptive families through service and support. In short, we:
Move Families to Flourish
Move Children to Connect
Move People to Love
We equip communities, churches, agencies & individuals to better respond to the needs of
foster & adoptive children & families by providing support groups with childcare, parents' night
out events, training, & service projects.
Learn more about their organization, including how you can attend or volunteer at lovemoves.us
You can also follow them on Instagram @lovemoves.us and Facebook @Love Moves Us
Please consider donating to support these gatherings by giving at lovemoves.us/donate
$2,000.00 - Supports one of our Family Gatherings for One Year!
$600.00 - Provides meals & support for 4 Family Gatherings!
$400.00 - Provides training DVDs & curriculum for one Family Gathering for One Year!!
$150.00 - Provides meals & support for one of our Family Gatherings!
Every little bit that you can offer helps!
Finally, If you live in the Chicago area, consider attending their Hops for Healing fundraiser on March 11th (2019) at Lagunita's Brewing Co.