The Charis Project

Our friend is working on making a documentary about our family and the work of The Charis Project in Thailand, he's been following us around for 4 years now, with a camera, in bits and spurts. This excerpt is from a few years ago. Maybe someday this movie will be produced. In the meantime, I love this little glimpse into our lives.

In 2007 I started asking myself and my blog readers what could be done about the poverty and injustice in the world, about human trafficking and children at risk.

In 2008, we started to fund raise to help care for hill tribe children who were living in an orphanage. The readers of this blog were our first enthusiastic supporters in this endeavor, and have been a huge part of our success ever since.

In 2010 we incorporated as The Charis Project and became a real 501c3 nonprofit. We chose the name Charis, which is pronounced (Ka-ris), and means gift, grace, or kindness.

Our goal has always been to help and protect children. Over time our understanding of how best to do this has evolved and our methods have improved alongside of that learning.

We are now firmly convinced that the best way to protect kids is to empower and resource parents and families so kids with families don't end up in orphanages. Not only is it financially more feasible to resource families than to provide institutional care for children, it is exponentially better for children to grow up in a secure family than to be cared for by paid staff. Poverty alone is not a reason for children to be removed from their families and raised in orphanages.

While we still have a children's home, we are proud to say that we will be phasing it out by the year 2018, and that many more children have gone home to stable families than have stayed.

We moved to Thailand in 2013 to devote ourselves full time to the work of The Charis Project. We now resource families at risk, especially targeting pregnant women. We provide weekly nutrition packages, education, counseling and social support for vulnerable migrant families. Our goal is to be on the prevention side of child abandonment and trafficking, rather than housing already abandoned children as so many already do, and as we started out doing.

I once had the naive idea of holding and caring for children that no one want. But once we started this work I realized that every baby had a mother, and most babies are wanted by their family. It's my job to make sure that babies have mothers who are empowered to keep and care for them. Until you see the choices that women here are faced with every day, you really can't understand how a loving mother could give up a child. But I know now that it's possible.

My amazing readers, you, have been around for the whole ride, and are such a constant source of encouragement. I can't believe you have stood by me all this time, and given so generously to help these families. Thank-you!

I had no idea what I was doing when we walked into this. This opportunity came after a deeply difficult time in our family's life and we just said yes to it. I'm learning on the run and had no way of imagining it would grow so large so quickly. I have seen every skill I ever gained, and every thing I took time to learn and research be called upon here and be of use to someone though. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to spend my time doing something that is truly useful to children and families, and to be able to raise my kids in an interesting place.

If you want to support our family specifically as we work with The Charis Project you can through Paypal.

If you would like to donate to any of The Charis Project's program's in Thailand you can check out the website here.


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