Co-author, Upended, (2013)
President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans
Special Assistant to President George W. Bush who led the White House Office on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
Served in over thirty countries with organizations ranging from Price-Waterhouse in Moscow to Christian Life in Bangladesh
Graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara
Married to Rachel
Caring For The Orphaned in America
The 700 Club
“The reality of children growing up in foster care often remains invisible,” shares Jedd. Sometimes, those of us who didn’t grow up “in the system” simply can’t see these children and their burdens. He says there are several reasons:
- We are all so busy with our jobs and taking care of our own children that foster kids just don’t intersect with our daily life.
- Foster care is often out of sight and out of mind. Not only do we not visibly encounter it at work or home or the supermarket, it’s rarely seen on the TV shows we watch or Internet sites we visit.
- There are preconceived notions which people may hold about foster kids. “Many people believe something is wrong with foster kids when really these children are just victims of abuse or neglect,” shares Jedd.
May is National Foster Care month. Jedd says to check out websites such as www.adoptuskids.org to learn more about becoming a foster parent. This website highlights the following steps to becoming a foster parent:
- Deciding to Pursue Fostering
- Applying to Foster
- Completing a Foster Home Study
- Getting Approved to Foster
- Receiving a Foster Placement
- Being a Foster Parent
Jedd grew up in a Christian home with his three brothers on a small farm in California’s Central Valley. He loved sports, books and the great outdoors. Jedd never rebelled against his Christian heritage, but struggled with questions and doubt about his faith in college and the decade after. He eventually drew closer to the Lord as a result of spending time alone with Him, reading the Word and through prayer. Jedd says his faith today is more like that of a five year old’s than it has been for years. “First, I’ve realized that every idea of philosophy requires some measure of faith,” reveals Jedd. When he grasped that, he realized he wasn’t required to sit on the sidelines until he had everything figured out. Instead, Jedd began acting upon mustard seeds of confidence he had, making small choices to obey Jesus and grow as His apprentice. “My intellect will always be an important part of my faith too, but only in the doing of faith can my knowing become clearer and richer. As I’ve followed hard after Jesus, I can say without doubt that it has.”
DEFENDING THE FATHERLESS
Jedd says caring for orphans in nothing new. In ancient Rome, unwanted infants were disposed of by a practice called “exposing.” Whether deformed or female or just inconvenient, the undesired child was left alone outside the city walls, exposed to sun and storm and wild animals. In 374 AD, the Christian emperor Valentinian banned the practice. But for centuries prior, a marginalized group gained a reputation for rescuing these children: Christians. They became known for going outside cities to find babies abandoned there, taking them in, often raising them as their own.
The Bible carries a clear mandate to, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Defend the cause of the fatherless” (1:17). Christians believe that the foundation of their faith is ultimately the account of God doing the same thing for them. It tells how God loved, sought and adopted them when they were destitute and alone. “So when Christians care for orphans—whether in adoption, foster care, or efforts worldwide—they see it as just a small reflection of the way God first loved them,” reveals Jedd.
Jedd serves as president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans which unites more than a hundred Christian organizations in joint advocacy campaigns that equip Christians for adoption, foster care, and global orphan’s initiatives. As an adoptive parent, Jedd says caring for the needs of orphans is one way we can demonstrate the love of our Father. He and his wife Rachel adopted their third daughter from Ethiopia.
“We must admit that often we view the abundant life Jesus offered as being mainly about eternity, not today,” shares Jedd. We know that Jesus’ words were good and true yet we often feel we don't know how to translate this eternal truth into the daily tasks and activities of everyday life. Jesus wants his disciples to emulate the character of the Master and put it into practice. In order to become an apprentice of Jesus, Jedd says we must, “Take His truth and vitality into each day’s activities and interactions.” For Jesus’ apprentice, truly great communication is found in serving others well through our communication. A lifelong apprenticeship to Jesus involves a solid understanding of the Gospel to sustain and guide us through life. It is God’s character and care for us, not any other source that serves as the foundationhead of apprenticeship. His love – especially as seen in Jesus – is both the motivation and the model.
Jedd shares how a couple adopted a child with major developmental delays. The days ahead proved challenging for the couple but they always turned to why they chose to adopt in the first place…they were responding to what they knew of God’s heart and what He’d done for them. Adopting an orphan even with its challenges was just a small retelling of the Gospel. That story too included suffering. Jedd says, “Small acts of great love are what set the apprentice apart. Daily choices that mirror the heart of the Master form the person we are becoming and the legacy we will leave behind.” Whether you adopt a child, feed the hungry, or help the homeless you are embracing the ways of the Master.
In order to know God’s heart more deeply and share more of it with others, Jedd says we need to form habits of solitude and prayer. Jesus valued daily moments of solitude. At least once, He spent 40 days alone in the Judean wilderness.
- Time alone allows for refreshment – We need this time to reset our focus and renew our strength for the daunting tasks of serving others through our communion.
- Time alone provides opportunity for focused prayer – For Jesus, time spent in prayer was nothing less than intimate conversation with God. Prayer pours out thankfulness and begs for guidance and strength.
- Time alone provides opportunity for focused thought and learning – The Word begins to penetrate and inspire when we are focused on God.
- Time alone is the furnace of transformation – We begin to see things for what they are and let go of many things we foolishly value.
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