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  • info@refugeforadoption.org

Who We Are

Joel & Kristen Longshore

Even as children, both Joel and Kristen always felt a pull to adopt, but the adventure of their adoption came as a complete surprise. The Longshores were planning to adopt a toddler from China when God revealed to them a 13 year old boy in another country who would become their oldest son. Soon after, they knew that they would be adopting not one, but TWO boys from Ukraine. Terrified but obedient, and having never previously parented anyone (much less two adolescent boys!), the Longshores jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back. It is their joy to be Mom and Dad to these two incredible teenagers.

Through the adoption and parenting processes, Joel and Kristen’s eyes were opened not only to the orphan crisis, but also to the struggles of adoptive families as they work to connect with and heal the hearts of the children. While the Biblical mandate to adopt is clear, adoptive families are often left isolated and unsupported by friends, communities, and even churches. Joel and Kristen have a deep desire to see children placed in families and to see those families not just survive, but thrive. The Longshores understand first-hand both the great joys and deep struggles many adoptive parents face as they work to become a family and to help their children heal and it is their privilege to walk alongside other families in this redemptive journey.

Joel - Executive Director

Joel’s heart for his own family and for other adoptive families is what drives him as the executive director and administrative leader for Refuge. Joel has a background in Biblical studies and youth ministry and has served in various capacities in both church and para church settings. He loves the outdoors, running, and a good strong cup of coffee.

Kristin - Co-Director of Education and Family Resources

Since her children have come home, Kristen often finds herself in situations where she is able to encourage other adoptive families. She has become passionate about assisting both families in process and those whose children are already home. Kristen has a background in education and has taught primarily in high risk, low income schools. She loves reading, writing, and is a total musical theatre nerd but her true calling is advocating for kids and encouraging, educating, and supporting adoptive families as they walk the road of healing with their children.

Scott and Traci Heim

The Heims began creating their family through adoption because of infertility. In 1998 and again in 2000 they adopted a daughter, 10 months old, and then a son, 16 months old, from Russia. For seven years they believed their family was complete. God had different plans.

After traveling to Ethiopia to assist a friend bringing a son home, God impressed upon Traci’s heart that they had room in their family for more children. In the next few years, Scott and Traci adopted a 3.5 year old boy and 10 and 12 year old siblings from Ethiopia, as well as a little girl from Ukraine. After meeting a sibling group of 4 aged 4-15 on a mission trip in Ukraine, Traci couldn’t get the kids out of her mind and in February of 2013 these four kids, ages 6-17 became Heims.

The Heims admit they have an unconventional family and that birth order bumping, artificial twinning, and a dash of special needs can make a social worker blanch, but each of their children entered the family as the right person at the right time. Their children have each presented challenges at different times, but with God they have continued to become a family together.

The Heims are passionate about living out the gospel through shepherding their own children as well as ministering to other adoptive families by equipping couples to parent hurt children from hard places.

Scott - Director of IT and Program Logistics

Scott has spent almost 20 years as a police officer and has worked extensively with student programs in his city. He is a Community Service officer, Elderly Services officer, Dare Program Officer, as well as child advocate within his police department. He brings his experiences in these capacities as well as his personal family life to come along side other families who build their families through adoption.

Traci - Co-Director of Education and Family Resources

Traci’s personal experiences as an orphan advocate and adoptive mother have uniquely equipped her to assist adoptive families. It is how the Longshores and the Heims met, and it is why Refuge for Adoption was formed. Traci serves as the director of Family in the Gap (FIG) programs for Project Hopeful and her regular contact with newly forming families has placed her in a position to reach out to many needing encouragement, education, and support. She also speaks at conferences about HIV education. It is her desire to help adoptive families become free to grow into the image God intends for their families by releasing them from the bonds of fear and trauma and introducing them to God’s healing love.

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