Stories – Christian Children’s Home of Ohio

Stories

Life is cool in the pool

CCHO has had a swimming pool on our campus for 23 years. In addition to traditional therapeutic treatment, physical recreation is an essential part of our residential center. This cool space is frequently used during the hot summer months. After two decades of use and weather impact, the concrete pad surrounding the pool began showing several cracked areas. For safety reasons, this project needed our attention. We are grateful for the support of Jim Brechbuhler and Discover Christian Church for coming to our rescue. Through their donations, business connections and volunteer service, the surrounding pool pad has been vastly improved. Because of their efforts, this recreation area has tripled in size and a shade canopy will be installed in the spring.

We extend our warmest thanks to the following individuals and businesses for their kindness and generosity:
Discover Christian Church
Doug Kuepfer and the crew of Stronghold Construction
Dale Glessner Construction
The crew of Dynamic Construction
Larry Keim, Keim Concrete Pumping
Orrville Trucking
General Rental, Wooster
Suttle Construction

Read more

The unexpected story God writes (Story 41 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). Today, Amanda Beery, Encourage foster parent, shares her family’s journey of foster care to adoption and how God has transformed her heart through a relationship with a birth mom. In story #41 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Amanda invites us to respond to others the way God first loved us, and then let Him write your story.

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 10:31

A relationship opportunity that is often overlooked is that of a biological family and the foster family caring for their children. In the beginning of my journey to adopting, I didn’t want any part of this relationship, much less to understand its importance. I stepped onto the path of fostering after a two-year journey of private infant adoption. I came with a heart confident of the call to adopt, but opposed to seeing it happen through foster care.

After many prompts that private infant adoption was not the road for our family, we saw God placing foster care in our path from every angle. Out of obedience we stepped into foster care broken and needing it more than it ever needed us. Now, over two years in, we see so many reasons why we were led down this path. We have witnessed God’s reckless love and abundant redemption soak our sin-stained hearts. We have been mended in places we never realized were broken and stretched in ways we never thought possible. We have been able to serve in this way because of God’s grace. He has made it possible for His glory.

I have been blessed to receive the love of Christ into my heart as a 10-year-young girl. The reality of what the cross has done for me is the reason I cannot hold the sin of another over them. The only difference between me and the families I have served to this point is they just don’t yet know Who chose them, placed them in time, and said they were worth it. Their foundation has not yet been built in relationship with the Father Who calls them blessed and worthy. And so, they find me receiving their babies, the broken hallelujah of our reality.

Our lives were forever changed August 11, 2017 when a nurse placed our Ever girl in my arms. Nearly three months old with so much life ahead of her, yet so much she would soon leave behind. That day we became a family for a number of days that were then unknown. I looked at my husband and said, “I do not know how to do this. I don’t know if I am what she needs.” What I failed to trust was that God knew what she needed. He chose me as her mother, just as He chose her first mom. He knew that the weaving of threads, not bloodlines, would make us a family.

I was kind to her mama, but I was not fully free to love her the way I love family. I held her at arm’s length as I erected a wall around my heart in hopes it would keep me from breaking. I looked at our daughter through protector eyes and failed to look at her mama through God’s eyes. Over time God reminded me that loving Ever girl meant loving her first mama with abandon, as a sister and a friend. After all, He redeemed me from my broken places, wouldn’t He do it again? Loudly and clearly, He asked me to break down the walls and open my eyes to see that this road was never just about loving a baby. It was about pouring out the love He has poured in me to the point of empty. He reminded me what He values, birth families included. Just as He rescued me, He came to rescue them. How do these families become rescued if we reserve the love He has poured out on us? His love is measureless. It runs the oceans deep and will never come up empty.

“Family is not determined by blood but by those who are willing to hold your hand when you need it the most. You have been that since the day I had the honor of becoming part of your family (even though we didn’t know it at the time)!”

Ever girl’s birth mama shared those words with me nearly two years after we first met. Those words are a reminder that loving God back looks a lot like loving His future kids. Countless emails, quotes and words about value and worth have been the very core of what drove Ever’s mama and me together as friends, as family. I needed to first know my own worth, then to value others, and that began in relationship with the Father. That is all anyone is really looking for, to be loved, wanted and chosen. Not just foster children, but their birth family regardless of where we land in the case plan.

A year after we brought our girl home, God began to forge a path in our family that led my husband to search for his birth mom. As a former foster youth, his life was transformed by a relationship with God, and again by saying yes to fathering children in foster care. Meeting my husband’s mom for the first time, and our three sons meeting the other half of their biology almost a decade into life for some of them, I grew to see the importance of the relationship between biological families and foster families.

Not every season and every case are created equal, but if given the opportunity to build a bridge with bio families, I encourage you to take the first step. It has forever changed the dynamics of our family and the way we do life. It has drawn a map straight to our hearts about forgiveness, redemption and purpose in the pain. Because we said yes to foster care, we are saying yes to the unexpected story God has written. For nearly two years, she fought to hold title and position as her mother, but then, out of strength and sacrifice, she chose to give her daughter a life beyond what she could offer. In relinquishing custody of her girl, she gained a whole family. Real healing can begin in relationship, even when life looks messy.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” -Ezekiel 36:26

God transforms and renews. Our response is to love others the way He first loved us. He removed my heart of stone to bring me into a space of expansive living for Him, for our kids and for their families.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

He’d been there all along (Story 40 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). This year has been filled with so many stories of healing and redemption that God has orchestrated together over five decades of ministry. Heather Knapik, residential alum, wife, mom and foster mom, shares her personal testimony and how the impact of her season at CCHO is helping others today. In story #40 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Heather reminds us that God is faithful. He never leaves us or stops loving us even when we walk away from Him.

I entered foster care at age four. By the time I was 15, I already had 13 homes including a failed adoption under my belt. Bouncing from home to home, I was subjected to physical and sexual abuse by several abusers. When I was 15, I finally found the courage to tell someone, and doing so unleashed a massive amount of fear and trauma that I’d been holding in for years. I didn’t know how to deal with the emotions, and I tried to take my own life.

Upon being released from the hospital, I was met with garbage bags full of my belongings. I was moving yet again. This time, I was taken to CCHO. I was scared, lonely, depressed, lost and broken. The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t feel like a group home. I’d been in those before. This place was different. It felt safe and welcoming.

We ate meals together, went to church together, and even went on vacation together! I attended therapy onsite, built a trusting relationship with my therapist and was able to open up and share a lot of my pain and begin working through it. Things started to feel somewhat normal again. I began to thrive. In the summer I had my own horse to care for and ride and that was HUGE for my growth. Over time I decided to give my heart to Jesus and was baptized in the CCHO swimming pool! It was such a special moment for me.

After two years of growth and healing, I moved in with a new foster family. I was sad to leave and afraid to go. But I knew the lessons I had learned during my time at CCHO would stay with me. I struggled after leaving. In early adulthood, I had unhealthy relationships, battled an eating disorder, and turned my back on God. In my late 20s, I again felt lost and broken.

Then I remembered the lessons about God and His love for me. Surely He would want nothing to do with me. I had kicked him out of my life. But I cried out to Him anyway, and in that moment, I felt peace for the first time in years. I knew He was there. He’d been there all along, waiting for ME to come back to Him. I began to climb out of my rock bottom with new hope inside. I worked daily on becoming the best me I could be and in doing so I began to heal again, to bloom and grow. I met a wonderful man and we got married.

God began calling my heart to serve. Two years ago, I poured my childhood pain into starting a nonprofit. We make comfort bags for youth entering foster care so they don’t have to carry their belongings in trash bags like I did. Knapik’s Knapsacks serves four county agencies and still growing!

God was calling my heart to serve further. Last year my husband and I began the process to become foster parents ourselves, and in June of 2018, we received our license! We currently have two placements in our home. We don’t know where this journey will lead us, but we know in our hearts that we’ve been called to it.

I talk often with others about my time at CCHO and the positive influence it had on me. I don’t know where I might have ended up without the love and guidance I received there. Those two short years impacted my life in huge ways. I am truly grateful for the time I spent at CCHO.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

There’s more to life than surviving (Story 33 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). As an agency committed to being trauma effective across all of our programming, we are happy to share a story today from Lindsay DeHaas (MSW, LSW), one of the therapists from our Thrive Trauma Recovery program. This intensive trauma treatment, part of Encompass Christian Counseling, allows clients to effectively process traumatic events from their past so they no longer feel the impact from those experiences in their day-to-day lives. Story #33 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series offers hope to those who may otherwise have a hard time finding it.

As an intensive trauma therapist in the Thrive Trauma Recovery program at Encompass Christian Counseling, it’s standard to work with clients for a week or two and then wish them well on their recovery journey as they return to ongoing mental health services. Although all clients have a special story and are memorable, some clients’ stories stick with you long after their treatment in the program has ended.

Amanda (name changed to protect her identity) was one of those clients whose traumatic experiences and resulting challenges in life were especially pressing on my heart. Amanda was an adult woman who appeared to “have it all” from the outside looking in on her life – she was married with several children, and successful in her career outside of the home. However, what Amanda truly experienced on a day-to-day basis were challenges like depression, difficulty getting out of bed, isolation, withdrawing from her family, disinterest in engaging in any social activities, guilt, anxiety, flashbacks, and nightmares that caused her to relive some of the worst moments and experiences in her life.

When I met Amanda on the first day of treatment, she presented as guarded, reserved and quiet. Throughout the course of our initial assessment and gathering information related to past trauma experiences, Amanda told me her past trauma experiences were secrets she felt trapped into keeping to herself, and her isolation was to the point where she had nobody to talk to on a tough day. Amanda desired to be able to connect with those around her, and to function differently than she had been for much of her life. So, with great hesitancy and skepticism toward the methods of the program, Amanda started to tell the story of her younger self, giving a voice to experiences, thoughts and emotions that had long been locked down tight.

Shortly after Amanda started processing her stories, she looked at me and said, “Okay…I’m trusting you here…that this actually works.” I remember smiling encouragingly and assuring her that she was strong and courageous, and that I wouldn’t walk with her through something I didn’t believe would be the best for her. Meanwhile, part of me was praying, “Lord, please work through these methods in a powerful way in her life. Show her Your hope.” And man, did He show up.

By the end of Amanda’s first week of treatment, I had to do a double take when she walked into the office. Everything about her was different. Amanda didn’t walk – she bounced – into the office that day. For the first time all week, she was taking care of herself in notable, obvious ways. Amanda’s guarded and intense demeanor had slipped away, and in its place was a very bubbly and relaxed woman whose eyes sparkled with joy as she joked and smiled, despite the tough content discussed throughout the session. When I commented on this extreme difference in her demeanor, tone and appearance, Amanda smiled and said she felt “empowered” by what she had done so far in treatment.

By the end of treatment, Amanda – who was experiencing constant flashbacks and unwanted thoughts about her past – stated she had only had a few flashbacks for days, that some days she hadn’t had any, and it felt “good.” Amanda said she didn’t feel like a victim anymore, she felt she could stand on her own two feet, and that through processing her traumatic experiences, she felt she knew who she was at her core and was more aware of her own needs that had to be met in order to be the wife, mother and woman God had designed her to be.

Amanda came to the Thrive program feeling hopeless, isolated and so afraid of what telling her story would do or not do in her life. Through the process, she surrendered her fear and allowed God to work in her life in such a powerful way that everyone around her could literally see the difference.

Thrive Trauma Recovery

Would you like to learn more about Thrive Trauma Recovery, the intensive trauma treatment offered by Encompass Christian Counseling? Click the button below to read all about this unique program.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

Encourage a generation

Without the encouragement from caring CCHO staff, Brent and Mia may not have gotten baptized. Both of these young residents carried many years of severe abuse and trauma with them when they came to our campus last year. The people in their lives that should have protected them instead repeatedly hurt them, and they believed they couldn’t trust anyone. But because of the loving actions and encouraging words of our staff, Brent and Mia opened their hearts to God and eventually ended up getting baptized during their time with CCHO!

You too can powerfully impact the lives of boys and girls who are in desperate need of hope and encouragement from others.

The kids on our campus spend a lot of time in our new Children’s Leadership & Recreation Center (LRC), whether they’re coming in for the school day, enjoying a meal in the cafeteria, playing games in the gym or engaging in our recreational therapy programs. Imagine how powerful it would be for those boys and girls to see an encouraging message from you or your favorite Bible verse each time they walk to the CLRC!

By purchasing a legacy brick with your name or inspirational message (or both!), you could play a vital role in the next baptisms on our campus. Your words can be a source of incredible encouragement on the next generation of kids in need.

Our world can be so discouraging, leaving many of us scared and scarred. God intends each of us to encourage others so that, together, we can find joy amidst that pain and brokenness (see Hebrews 3:13 and 1 Thessalonians 4:18). Children like Brent and Mia used that encouragement to embrace a relationship with their Savior. Your words of encouragement can help others turn their lives over to Jesus. What a powerful legacy you can leave for future generations on our campus!

Leave a legacy for kids in need

Purchase your legacy brick today and be part of the eternal story God is writing in the lives of these children. What message do you want to leave for them on your brick?

Read more

Partners in legacy (Story 15 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). Today, we pause to acknowledge the community partners who have stood with us over the years. Their legacy is story #15 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

As we prepare to gather for our 50th celebration this weekend, we are especially grateful for our community partners who support our mission. They play an important role in helping individuals and families find healing throughout our family of ministries. We recently heard from one of our long-time friends who has contributed in many meaningful ways. Christine Malcuit, Collection, Purchasing, Marketing Officer at Apple Creek Banking Company, shared about our unique relationship.

Apple Creek Banking Company has been a supporter for about 15 years, and some employees have supported CCHO for many years prior to that. Jeff Smith recalls Gary Porter (former CCHO executive director) purchasing repossessed vehicles for CCHO many years ago, and what stands out most is what a good steward of funds Gary was (and a very tough negotiator)! Our bank has supported the CCHO ministries through various donations over the years, including building projects, golf outing sponsorships, donation of fair hogs, and other contributions. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 19:14), and we are extremely happy and honored to be a small part of what the CCHO mission stands for. “

Our advancement team has the privilege of working with our business partners to help them achieve their philanthropic goals. “What I love about working with Apple Creek Bank and other businesses in this community is just that—a sense of community,” said Jenny Myers, Advancement Coordinator. “People who truly care about where they work and live. Apple Creek Bank is a great example of a business that cares and shows that through support and volunteerism.”

Many thanks to Apple Creek Banking Company and our generous 50th celebration weekend sponsors. Some of these businesses are brand new business backers and others have faithfully watched our organization develop and grow over the years. Each one of you is part of our legacy in serving others. We are grateful for your trust and partnership.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

Fill the Gap

We are beyond excited to celebrate our 50th anniversary at our benefit dinner on Saturday, June 8 and the Great Grill Off on Sunday, June 9. After five incredible decades of ministry, the list of blessings we could praise God for is practically endless. One of those blessings would be our unbelievable staff, who not only give their hearts totally and completely to our purpose of helping people experience their worth in Christ, but who also bring so many wonderful talents to work each day.

Be sure to join us on Saturday, June 8 when Brandon Jurkovich, our Assistant Director of Clinical Services will deliver a powerful spoken word performance about legacy at our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner. Get your tickets today!

Spoken Word

At our 2017 Heart for the Home Celebration, Brandon took the stage with a performance about fatherhood. Here’s a clip from that night, and be sure to join us on June 8 for Brandon’s next performance. You won’t want to miss it!

Read more