Excitement Ahead

Ed Graf Profile
Article by Ed Graf
Executive Director

It has been several weeks since we had the privilege to host our annual representatives meeting here at Gateway Woods. Every March, representatives from our supporting churches give up a Saturday to spend the day with us, and learn how the investments of time, talent and treasure impact the lives of children and families in difficult circumstances. We were privileged to meet a young adoptive mother, who gripped us with a tale of adoption and her family’s ministry to not only their new son, but to their son’s birthmother. A counselor and a young resident recounted their journey of help and healing as this young lady prepares to be reunited with family. And a young woman told how her home-based worker and Gateway Woods support and help her as she overcomes depression.

Six months since becoming the Executive Director of Gateway Woods Family Services, I found myself at the conclusion of this Representatives Meeting feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Grateful for the vision of a ministry to help children and families; grateful for the steadfast and generous support of our reps and their churches; grateful for the diligence, determination, and excellence of the staff that serve so faithfully; grateful for a dedicated board of directors who give of themselves to provide wisdom and oversight; grateful for an opportunity to serve so many. We cannot offer enough thanks to all of you for the love and support you show us in the work we all do.

It’s exciting to be thankful and I’m thankful to be excited, especially about the future of Gateway Woods. It is thrilling to see solid growth in our most seasoned programs, Residential and Foster Care. At a time when residential placements are dropping across the state, Gateway Woods continues to run the Residential Program nearly full. After some retooling in the Foster Care Department, it’s exhilarating to see steady growth in both children served in foster homes and newly licensed Christian foster parents. We are excited to announce that our Adoption Program has now expanded into Illinois and is ready to help adoptive families. On top of that, we have just achieved accreditation to the Hague standards for both the Illinois and Indiana Adoption Programs. This important accreditation allows Gateway Woods to facilitate adoptions in countries that were previously closed to us. With so much growth occurring, it is a wonderful time to be a part of the ministry of Gateway Woods!

We appreciate your prayers as we seek God’s will in setting our future. Thank you again for your wonderful support. May God richly bless each of you, as we all seek to serve Him, by serving others!

Ed Graf is currently the Executive Director of Gateway Woods. He has also worked as a Houseparent, Board Member, Child Care Supervisor and Residential Program Director.