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“I am a mother.” It is with these simple yet profound words that Thea Jarvis, founder and president of TLC Ministries in South Africa explains her life’s work. In 1993, Thea established TLC Ministries amid political turmoil, racial hatred, and a growing orphan crisis in South Africa. Today in South Africa there are approximately 2,500,000 orphans. Thea and her family have made it their life’s mission that they help as many of these children as possible.
In its first year TLC Ministries found two orphaned children a home – Thea’s. Thea explains, “Our first two little boys were called Joshua and Reuel…We found them in Baragwanath Hospital amongst 40 other tiny, abandoned children. A little Albino boy, Tommy, followed a year later. He stole and melted our hearts. Then at two years of age those stolen hearts were melted down even further and poured out into buckets of tears when he tested HIV positive. That was our initiation, and first taste of the very bitter cross we were going to carry in this ministry. After Tommy, came a little boy with cleft lip and palate and we called him Brendon. He had been abandoned in the Johannesburg Hospital. Soon after Brendon followed Crispin, who was born to a 13-year old street child. She already had a one year old to cope with. A second baby was too much for her. Soon after Brendon and Crispin had joined our family, God put the ministry into full throttle and more and more babies started finding their way to TLC…Since that time we have been growing by leaps and bounds. I have personally adopted 14 children in addition to my 5 biological children. My eldest daughter, Joanna, has adopted four children and has one biological son. My next daughter, Pippa has adopted seven little ones. Then there are another 10 who have ended up with us for various reasons, have permanently joined our family, although they are not yet adopted.”
Thea and her family realized they alone cannot help the many children in need. So, after Brendon and Crispin joined the family Thea began to work to streamline the adoption process so that children who came into the ministry who could not be reunited with their biological family could be adopted both domestically and internationally. Meanwhile, Thea and her family moved into a larger house on an expansive farm outside of Johannesburg. The large house includes living quarters for Thea and all her children as well as a nursery which over 35 children call home until their family is found. The nursery is staffed by dedicated and committed volunteers. To date, Thea and the ministry she founded has managed to help place over 750 children into permanent, safe, and loving families. Thea, her family, and her ministry are true heroes for the children of South Africa.
Please be aware Adoptions from South Africa and TLC Ministries to the U.S. are currently not open.
You can follow Thea on her blog at http://thea-jarvis.blogspot.com/ or to learn more about TLC Ministries go to their website at www.tlc.org.za. TLC is celebrating the Christmas Season by sharing the story of one child everyday until Christmas, check these stories at http://seasongiving.blogspot.com/ or
Please Note: Rebecca, Joint Council’s Director of Programs and Services will spend from December 15th – December 26th with Thea at TLC. While there Rebecca will be blogging and video-blogging at http://www.betheanswerforchildren.wordpress.com.
Today the task is simple- give yourself a big pat on the back and check out everything that Joint Council and you have accomplished this month through our I Am The Answer Campaign. You have successfully made it through the 30 day challenge! Congrats!