Heart Gallery: Helping Foster Children Find FOREVER FAMILIES; Part Two of Interview with Barbara Schechter

By AbbyA

As we move into our final week of Luck v. Faith, we are sharing with you a wonderful organization that brings foster children to forever families through photography.  Barbara Schechter is the Executive Director of Heart Gallery.  In addition to sharing about Heart Gallery, Barbara gives her comments on luck, faith and ministering to foster kids.

“I don’t attribute finding a forever family to luck because I do believe that God has a plan for each of us and that the Heart Gallery helps to carry out His plan for these children.”    Barbara Schechter

Share a story of a child’s adoption that started with Heart Gallery.  Is it possible that pure luck changed this child’s life?  Do you see something deeper when you look at the whole picture of how the foster child and new family’s lives collided?

I’m attaching a story [below] that I wrote in a recent newsletter about the Scott family and how they came to adopt an 11-year-old girl named Kassandra. You can see God at work here, as each of these two parents were drawn separately to the same child’s photo. It also happened that Kassie had already been matched with another family when the Scotts first started considering adoption, but after their plans got postponed, Kassie’s original match did not work out and she was now available for the Scotts. When you see the three of them together, you get the sense that they were meant to be a family.

I don’t attribute finding a forever family to luck because I do believe that God has a plan for each of us and that the Heart Gallery helps to carry out His plan for these children. In Kassie’s case, the Scott’s would not have been able to adopt her when she was first available, but the ‘coincidence’ of her becoming available again made everything work out the way I think God intended. They are greatly blessed by becoming a family.

There are so many amazing success stories of children whose lives were transformed by finding the right ‘forever family’. But personally, I struggle with the reality that God’s plan for some includes subjection to often horrible parental abuse and then never finding their adoptive family. We do believe that the Heart Gallery is called to minister to the children who do not get adopted just as much as we facilitate transforming the lives of those children who do.

 An Adoption That Started with “Christmas Home” by Barbara Schechter

When the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale hosted the Heart Gallery exhibit during their famous Christmas Pageant in 2008, they incorporated a stirring message about foster children right into the show. Pageant Director John Jones and his family performed a song called ‘Christmas Home’ and made an appeal for people to consider bringing a foster child into their home. Photos of Heart Gallery children flashed on the screen behind them. There was hardly a dry eye in the room. One of those photos was of then-nine-year-old Kassandra. Little did they know that one day she would become a member of their own congregation.

On June 22, Kassandra, known as Kassie, was adopted by a young couple named Tim and Heather as their only child. She told Judge Porter, in front of a large group of friends and relatives, that she had “perfect parents”. Clearly, there was a lot of love in the room. There was also a feeling that these three people were meant to be together.

It all started with the Christmas Pageant. Tim and Heather, each volunteering at different performances, noticed Kassie’s photo in the Heart Gallery exhibit and each took a copy of her bio card. They had taken the MAPP classes to become foster parents but had not completed their home study. They were starting to consider adopting. When they discovered that they had each pulled the card of the same child, it was on their hearts to pursue her adoption. But it was not quite so simple. The possibility of a career move to another state, followed by extensive plumbing damage to their home that held up their home study, caused enough delay that another family was selected for Kassie. Still they continued to pray for her. With a repaired home, a decision to stay in the area and an adoptive home study in hand, they contacted ChildNet only to find that Kassie’s match did not result in an adoption and she was available again. The rest is history.

Kassie left her adoption finalization with her Heart Gallery photo in hand. The photographer, Courtney Ortiz, was there to see her receive it, along with the Executive Director, President and two founders of the Heart Gallery. To quote Senior Pastor Larry Thompson, who was also there to witness the occasion, “This adoption makes everything worth it!”

Read more about this story in the Hollywood Gazette . . .


If you are interested in getting involved with Heart Gallery, tune in for the rest of the week for more of Barbara Schechter’s interview.  You can also visit www.heartgalleryofbroward.org or call or email Barbara directly.  Tel: 954-918-3008 or barbara@heartgalleryofbroward.org.

Faith, Hope and Luck: Parts 4 and 5

What can you expect from God? Check out Parts 4 and 5 of Andy Stanley‘s in-depth teaching on the differences between faith, hope and luck.

Part 4:

Part 5:

Faith, Hope and Luck: Parts 2 and 3

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Click here to read Ron Cassie’s take about St. Patrick’s passion for Christ and the lost.

This month, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we featured thoughts, stories and teachings about luck, faith, destiny, free will and fate. Learn more about how these concepts help shape your life (if at all).

Check out Parts 2 and 3 of Andy Stanley‘s in-depth teaching on the differences between faith, hope and luck.

Part 2:

Part 3: 

Faith, Hope and Luck: Part 1

Andy Stanley has a terrific teaching on the differences between faith, hope and luck–concepts that even Christians often confuse and use interchangeably.

Check out Part 1 of his video series:

Reflecting on That Thing We Call “Luck”

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Just like September 11, 2001 or the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated (November 22, 1963), most of us probably have a good idea of what we were doing on October 3, 1995. The exact date may not initially ring a bell, but most of us probably remember where we were when we heard the following announcement:

“…In the matter of People of the State of California versus Orenthal James Simpson, case number BA097211. We, the jury, in the above-entitled action, find the Defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder in violation of penal code section 187(A)…”

 I was at work, my first real job fresh out of college, and the director of our corporate communications department had turned on the bulbous television set that was nestled in the corner ceiling of her office while the rest of her team gathered around under it, each of us holding our breath as we listened with bated anticipation.

 After the verdict was read, I blinked my eyes reflexively in disbelief at the television screen. Surely I hadn’t heard correctly. I jerked my head towards my co-workers, but the stunned expressions on each of my co-workers faces, combined with the gasping, the shaking of heads in dismay, confirmed what I still couldn’t seem to fathom: OJ had actually somehow managed to get away with murder even though everyone (except those in denial of course) knew he did it.

For years later, any time OJ’s name came up, someone would invariably shake their head in disappointment and mumble the words we had all at one point thought: “He got away with it…I can’t believe he got away with it…”

 If any of us were asked what we thought of OJ and his ability to be acquitted despite the mountain of DNA evidence against him, our response would probably be:  “He is the luckiest (add your own noun or expletive) I’ve ever seen!”

Flashforward to the year 2008. And OJ has been accused of burglary and kidnapping…and sentenced to 33 years in prison, 9 years of which he has to serve before he could be considered for parole.

 Irony?  Perhaps.

 Justice?  Maybe for us…but certainly not for Nicole’s family or to Ron Goldman’s.

 If asked, “Is he still ‘lucky?’” Most of us would reply with a snicker, “Not anymore!” Some might add, “His luck finally ran out on him…” 

 Christians may argue that luck is just another word for what we call grace (unmerited favor) or even God’s mercy….or perhaps just a form of deferred punishment.  It’s easy to think of that definition in terms of most of our lives…but what about that unrepentant soul who has, at least on the surface, no interest in God or anything spiritual? And what about those people who despite all their cheating, lying, bad behavior, who somehow manage to escape God’s swift Hand of Judgment and not only manage to do well, but dangit, they prosper!

 It’s times like that when there seems to be no other word to describe a person or situation that we just can’t help but label them “lucky,” and it’s also then when I’m typically also a little green with envy as I look at my own life and wonder what I lack that I don’t seem to have the same good fortune.

Some people just seem to be born with luck…sometimes it seems they have an invisible magnet that attracts attention, success, and/or money.  It’s a quality that seems to help them prevail despite all odds and despite all their bad choices. Even in their downward spiral, they still manage to garner some weird sort of triumph.

 Case in point…Charlie Sheen.

Yeah. Exactly!

He’s all in the headlines, and you cannot watch one television station without his name coming up. Since he was in his 20s, Charlie’s behavior has been deemed extreme by even the most liberal in Hollywood and he has endured many shaking of heads in disapproval. Yet, despite it all, he somehow continually manages, time and time again, to land on his feet and not only do well, but dangit, prosper

 He’s the highest paid actor for a sitcom in which he, in my opinion, doesn’t even have to really act. I saw a recent episode of Two and a Half Men to see what all the fuss was about. The show featured his character as a playboy and in that episode, his character was sleeping with prostitutes and had a ménage a trios…all in one episode. I felt like I was watching a biography of his life on E!’s True Hollywood Story. So basically he was getting $2+ million an episode on Two and a Half Men for being himself…

Granted, in Charlie’s case, I am talking about “luck” in terms of money.  But he does seem “lucky” in that sense, especially in comparison to the rest of us who often spend up to 10 hours a day, working at a job that we’re half-hearted about, as we try to make ends meet. Somehow even in his manic/drug-induced/whatever-you-think-it-is state of mind, he has garnered so much attention for himself…he is talking and people are listening. In 24 hours of opening a twitter account, he managed to set a record amount of approximately 1 million followers.

Undoubtedly, Charlie has some serious problems (mental, emotional, and no doubt spiritual), but on the surface, he does seem to be…as he himself proclaims…WINNING!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

But it’s not just the Charlies and OJs of the world that seem to have varying degrees of luck. We all have known or observed people, who, like them, seem to have the ever inexplicable qualities of “luck.”

For the rest of us who struggle daily in life and can’t help but wonder where our dose of luck is, I point you to the scriptures, where even thousands of years ago, people, too, struggled with how undeserving/evil/wicked people seemed to just prosper in the wake of their evil deeds:

Psalm 73

A psalm of Asaph.

1Surely God is good to Israel,

to those who are pure in heart.

2But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;

I had nearly lost my foothold.

3For I envied the arrogant

when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4They have no struggles;

their bodies are healthy and strong.a

5They are free from the burdens common to man;

they are not plagued by human ills.

6Therefore pride is their necklace;

they clothe themselves with violence.

7From their callous hearts comes iniquityb;

the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

8They scoff, and speak with malice;

in their arrogance they threaten oppression.

9Their mouths lay claim to heaven,

and their tongues take possession of the earth.

10Therefore their people turn to them

and drink up waters in abundance.c

11They say, “How can God know?

Does the Most High have knowledge?”

12This is what the wicked are like—

always carefree, they increase in wealth.

13Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure;

in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

14All day long I have been plagued;

I have been punished every morning.

15If I had said, “I will speak thus,”

I would have betrayed your children.

16When I tried to understand all this,

it was oppressive to me

17till I entered the sanctuary of God;

then I understood their final destiny.

18Surely you place them on slippery ground;

you cast them down to ruin.

19How suddenly are they destroyed,

completely swept away by terrors!

20As a dream when one awakes,

so when you arise, O Lord,

you will despise them as fantasies.

21When my heart was grieved

and my spirit embittered,

22I was senseless and ignorant;

I was a brute beast before you.

23Yet I am always with you;

you hold me by my right hand.

24You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will take me into glory.

25Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.

27Those who are far from you will perish;

you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28But as for me, it is good to be near God.

I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;

I will tell of all your deeds.

Amongst all the insane coverage on Sheen, I saw an old clip from an interview with him almost 10 years ago. In it, he’s lucid and talking about how early success, fame, and money, although it was what he craved and what all Hollywood celebrities strive for, are ultimately what led to his addictions and bad behavior.

As I listened to the interview, I realized that I, too, was lucky, but just completely in the opposite way of Charlie.

I’m lucky to have had old fashion, overbearing, unhip, uncool parents who didn’t given into my every whim and expected nothing less from me than the best…

I’m lucky to have had to struggle and work hard for each one of my successes so I don’t take them for granted and waste them away as if they were my inherent right rather than the unmistakable sign of God’s goodness…

I’m lucky that I have a husband whom I occasionally want to strangle because he frustrates and challenges me, inevitably forcing me to become a better wife, mother, and person.

 And most of all, I’m lucky to have a God who hasn’t given me so much “luck” in life that I have to discover a life here on this earth or an eternity without knowing Him…

 So when the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head and you find yourself envying someone who is undeservedly “lucky,” remember, that maybe you’re not as lucky in the same exact way…but you are loved by a God who keeps you 100% dependent on Him…and in the end, maybe that’s what makes you truly “lucky” after all…


“God Didn’t Create a Mistake”

“…A lot of us are living by a philosophy called luck, not by a God who controls the universe, and that affects your purpose…Things will happen in your life, and you’ll look at them as, “Oh, I was lucky today,” when God sovereignly allowed that thing for His purpose. But, because you didn’t connect it with His purpose, it has no meaning. It’s just luck and chance. You live life as a cosmic lottery, rather than as a response to a sovereign God who put you here for a purpose, who has a plan for your life. You cannot have God and chance; the two are incompatible.” –Dr. Tony Evans

Luck v. Faith: Thinking About Leprechauns…


This month, FemmeFuel will be featuring the theme of Luck v. Faith. Do you tend to think the concept of random “luck” plays more into your life, rather than the will of God? Do you believe that your actions in life are dictated by fate or chance, as opposed to the divine intervention of God? Maybe you believe in a combination of all of the above?

To kickstart this month, take a look at this article originally published in Relevant Magazine, by Jim Palmer, the author of Divine Nobodies, and Wide Open Spaces.

“The concept of luck relates to circumstances. People hope for “good luck,” which implies something positive happening, and fear “bad luck,” which is equated with some unfortunate occurrence. The entire mentality is based on the fallacy that our well-being is contingent upon our circumstances.

Christians sometimes share in this fallacy by living as if their peace, security, identity, worth, identity, purpose, contentment and fulfillment are determined by circumstances. The value of God is seen in His ability to influence life’s situations for the good or offer protection from adversity or misfortune. One of the most common forms of prayer is asking God to intervene and change our circumstances. We often equate God’s “blessing” with things going our way.

Jesus continuously pressed people to see that the source of their deepest desires was not outside themselves but inside them. Jesus announced that God’s kingdom had come… Jesus said they needed to look inside themselves to find this kingdom. Jesus also taught that we could experience His Spirit alive inside us. Paul discovered that this kingdom and divine presence within him was the secret to his contentment. He wrote in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Pretty impressive for a guy who often seemed “down on his luck”―imprisoned, beaten, hungry, and shipwrecked…three times!”

–Jim Palmer, from the article, Leprechauns, Luck and Seeing Life Differently