EXPANDING THE 4KIDS FOSTER-CARE FOOTPRINT TO CENTRAL TEXAS
Meet the 4KIDS of Central Texas Family
UNITING TO IMPACT YOUNG LIVES
4KIDS of Central Texas is joining the strength and influence of three significant organizations:
4KIDS, Inc (4KIDS of South Florida),
International Family Services
Celebration Church, Georgetown, Texas
Together, each doing our part, we are extending the 4KIDS footprint of excellence, and the 4KIDS faith-based foster-care model, into the Central Texas area identified as Region 7, generally known as Austin to Waco, and counties East and West of the I-35 corridor.
Using the “gold-standard” model of Florida’s 4KIDS, who draws together nearly 350 local South Florida churches to train and support Christian foster families, and bringing nearly 30 years of orphan care and adoption experience of International Family Services, and with the endorsement and blessing of Austin’s Celebration Church, 4KIDS of Central Texas has joined hands with 4KIDS, Inc to extend the culture and DNA of 4KIDS to Central Texas.
4KIDS OF SOUTH FLORIDA - 4KIDS.US
The 1990s saw a crumbling Florida foster-care system in great need of help. One woman was compelled to make a difference. Her burden turned to a vision that flowed into the life of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, one of the nation’s leading churches. Convinced that God’s plan for the welfare of children can best be addressed through the church, members of Calvary Chapel began to partner with local families and churches, government agencies, child-welfare institutions and businesses to become part of the solution in helping build up foster care in their state.
By 2006 4KIDS of South Florida had become nationally recognized for it’s successful integration of faith-based foster care with state-run foster care attracting the attention of the White House Faith-Based Initiative under President George W. Bush and many in the growing Church and faith-based orphan and foster care community. 4KIDS was becoming the “gold standard” Christ-centered foster-care ministry. Soon a steady stream of like-minded orphan advocates and leaders were asking 4KIDS for advice on how to implement similar programs in their own communities. By 2016, 4KIDS had touched the lives of 25,000 foster children. Today 4KIDS of South Florida engages 350 local churches with a committed staff of over 100 child advocates, social workers and administrators and enjoys the contribution of nearly 250 volunteers and supports a steady flow of interns who experience first hand the miracle of changed lives.
INTERNATIONAL FAMILY SERVICES - IFSERVICES.ORG
As a young couple in college preparing for marriage, God planted a vision in the hearts of Bob and Carol Mardock to impact the lives of children and families. In 1991 the world was witnessing the political upheaval in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The Mardocks, who had served as school teachers, church planters and pastors, already had five children, on their way to ten, including an adopted daughter from Korea.
The Los Angeles Times heard about the Mardocks and their family’s newest plan to adopt another child, this time from Romania. Their adoption story was published throughout the US and abroad and to Bob and Carol’s surprise, families from around the nation asked if the Mardocks would help them adopt. (Download the free ebook A Stormy Night In Bucharest, Angela's Story, how the Mardock's personal dreams of adoption changed the lives of thousands.)
In a giant leap of faith International Family Services was born. At first there were a handful of adoptions, but the vision grew, new God opportunities were seized upon, a lot of frequent flier miles were recorded, and by the early 2000s, IFS was completing over 350 adoptions every year and International Family Services became a recognized leader in the international adoption community. Key milestones include:
Nearly 5000 adoptions from 17 countries.
Agency status in nine states.
Facilitating adoptions of nearly 1000 older children from Ukraine, Russia and Moldova, ages 5-15, through a unique older-child foster camp visitation program (40 camps in 20 cities across the country) – children traveling to the US for the 2-4 week adventure of a lifetime, living with foster/host families and meeting potential adoptive families.
Participating in major capital projects, including the building of 3 orphanages and 3 medical clinics in Vietnam and India, and funding numerous specialty projects such as orphanage remodeling and supplying medical equipment and supplies throughout Russia. IFS has channeled over $3,000,000 in humanitarian aid to the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children.
Through the years the Mardock’s “open heart, open home” philosophy of family life would eventually lead them to adopt six children and welcome over a dozen foster kids into their expanding family. God began to ignite a new and fresh vision for a significant foster-care initiative in Texas. In early 2018 IFS and 4KIDS of South Florida leadership began to envision transplanting the DNA and success model of 4KIDS into Central Texas through IFS and a new nonprofit organization, 4KIDS of Central Texas, and the expanding ministry footprint of Celebration Church.
CELEBRATION CHURCH - CELEBRATION.CHURCH
“It is Austin.” A quiet yet bold directive from God revealed to Pastors Joe and Lori Champion in the year 2000 was the seed planted in their hearts that brought about the family’s move from South Louisiana to Austin, Texas. Starting with a handful of worshippers in the local library, Celebration has become one of the most recognized and influential churches in Central Texas, and the US, with over 10,000 people calling Celebration Church home.
Celebration is a life-giving church where authentic Christianity is lived out. When Bob & Carol Mardock landed at Celebration in 2011 they recognized the powerful and sacred responsibility that had been placed on Pastors Joe and Lori and upon Celebration Church. Celebration felt fresh and alive with preaching that was uncompromising, culturally relevant, and impactful. This was a house of prayer, faith, worship, mission and service; a family for the Mardock clan who quickly immersed themselves into church life.
Early in 2018 Pastor Joe learned about the discussions between 4KIDS and IFS and expressed his curiosity to know more about the relationship. He met with the 4KIDS and IFS leadership teams and it was agreed that something significant was in the making. As a result of that gathering, Pastor Joe pronounced his blessing on the venture and invited 4KIDS of Central Texas to take root in the footprint of Celebration Church who would provide a spiritual home and covering for the new foster-care ministry.