Phil and Brandon share how God has been working through the podcast throughout 2023 as well as throughout the history since Phil started the show nearly seven years ago. As we close out the year, we share the direction that God is leading us to take the podcast in 2024 and beyond. This is a heartfelt, earnest community conversation on the podcast today.

We’re adjusting the scope, changing the name and stepping into the next phase of this podcast community. We’re grateful to have you in this community and are looking forward to going deeper with you as he calls all of us to better serve vulnerable and marginalized communities. 

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In this episode, Brian Fikkert and Gabriel Walder join the show to tackle critical topics such as helping the church rediscover its identity, divisions within the American church regarding poverty, and the intricate relationship between economic empowerment and family well-being. Additionally, they delve into cross-cultural missions, the significance of community and relationships, and discuss ACE’s collaboration with Chalmers Center. Tune in for insightful perspectives on poverty alleviation and community building.

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This week, Jason Johnson from Christian Alliance for Orphans returns to the show. Jason is a writer and speaker who encourages families and equips church and organizational leaders on their foster care and adoption journeys. In this episode, Jason names and shares many of the struggles and challenges that foster and adoptive parents go through. He encourages us to find safe spaces and communities where we can process our emotions and have open and honest conversations.

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This week we’ve got Kim de Blecourt from Nourished Hearts back on the show to talk with us about their ministry in Ukraine, the effects of the war on vulnerable children and the importance of coming alongside indigenous churches. Nourished Hearts is a ministry that encourages, inspires, and creates community around those who are involved with adoption, foster care, or orphan care internationally.

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Kimberly Quinley, a pioneer of family-based care, has spent nearly 40 years serving in Thailand. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Step Ahead, an organization committed to see all children in Thailand grow up in safe and nurturing families. Kimberly is a founding leader for Strong Families Alliance Thailand (SFAT), a Christian alliance with the same vision and goals as World Without Orphans. In episode 220, we cover everything from the core pillars of family strengthening, to collective impact, creating national roadmaps, and more.

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In episode 219, Lindsay Hadley is on to discuss the upcoming release of the documentary “Uncharitable”. After many years in the nonprofit sector, Lindsay has become one of the most sought-after consultants and producers. This conversation challenges us to envision an unconstrained nonprofit sector. What if the charities could attract the best leaders, talents, and ideas? What if smaller operations with less impact stopped and those resources went to the best organization solving the problem? We get into these questions and more in this episode of Think Orphan.

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In episode 218, we hear from lawyer and professor, Elizabeth Kirk. Elizabeth is the Director of the Center for Law and the Human Person, as well as a research associate at The Catholic University of America. Her work spans a variety of law in child welfare, parental rights, and adoption policy. In addition to her career, her lived experiences as an adoptee and an adoptive parent, give her a unique perspective and voice to speak into the conversation happening around adoption today. She talks with Brandon about the role that infant adoption could play following last year’s Dobbs decision at the Supreme Court, misconceptions around adoption, as well as insight on the decision making process for women that have an unplanned pregnancy.

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In episode 216, we hear from US care reform leader, Sarah Winograd from Together for Families. Sarah speaks passionately about the complexities in child welfare and foster care as a system, how poverty contributes to family separation, and the problematic ways we’ve seen and judged birth families. She asks the hard questions- if most children aren’t coming into foster care because of abuse, what resources and systems are we investing in to keep those families together? What are we doing to intervene and stabilize families in order to prevent separation and keep children in families? Can the church do better?

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In episode 215, we have the privilege of sitting down with Jenn Hook to glean from her experiences in the foster care system and hear about her newly released book, Thriving Families. Jenn is the Founder and Executive Director of Replanted. She’s also the author of Replanted: Faith Based Support for Adoptive and Foster Families.

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In episode 214, we’ve got filmmaker and justice advocate Jeff Rogers on the show. Jeff talks with us about his work over the years that has highlighted and advocated for children outside of parental care and communities that have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. Jeff shares with us about the new feature documentary Beyond the Island which tells the story of HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea and highlights the work of advocates and the triumph of overcomers. Through the conversation, we learn more about the role that filmmaking plays in enacting community change and advocating for vulnerable children.

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