170 and Counting . . .

It’s not about the praise and plaudits. It’s about the spontaneous smiles, the happy hugs, the lilting laughter that fills their home. . . (courtesy of the Orange County Register article).

Alena Strickland

Alena had no clue that her life would be forever changed when she stumbled across a baby girl named Latoya. She was an infant baby in Children’s Hospital while Alena’s infant daughter was battling aggressive skull infections. Latoya had been abandoned by her parents due to her severe medical needs. She was born a twin and the parents took the healthy twin home and left her there. She had never been outside the walls of the hospital. Every time Alena’s daughter was admitted, the nurses made sure that the girls were roommates. They celebrated their first birthdays in the hospital together.

When the girls were about eighteen months, Latoya took a turn for the worse. It was at that time that God spoke to Alena’s heart and told her to take the baby girl home with her. Alena thought for sure that the God had made a mistake, but when she randomly opened up her bible one day, looking for a sign from God, she stumbled upon James 1:27 that says, “Religion that God accepts as faultless is to take care of widows and orphans in their need.” She quickly came to realization that God was truly calling her to take this little girl home for as long as she had to live. Alena cared for Latoya and shared her love with their family until Latoya was 3 years old.

After Latoya left, the phone calls began to come in asking Alena to take in other children with similar circumstances. She began to realize that God had called her to care for special children. It would be a calling on her life.

While all of the kids that went through her house had different medical stories, they all needed to know that God loved them and that this life was not the end for them.

After about four years, she moved from taking terminal children, to children that had been permanently damaged from abuse; kids that no one wanted: the blind, deaf, brain-damaged, etc. She not only took care of them, but made sure their abusers were properly prosecuted.

To date, she has taken in over 170 children. She has 3 biological daughters, 8 children with disabilities from the abuse they suffered that are now a permanent part of their family through either adoption or legal guardianship, and 3 foster children. Alena prays that God will allow her to continue to take more children until she is called home to be with Him.

I have had the great pleasure of knowing Alena and her family for many years. She is truly blessed with a gift and calling from God.

November is National Adoption Month. Please help me in honoring Alena and her ministry “In Their Defense”

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