How Small World Adoption Agency began
Small World Adoption Agency was founded by Jim and Jean Savley
Jim’s maternal grandmother was an orphaned child sold as an indentured servant and lived a very hard existence until her adulthood when she freed herself and married a good man from Tennessee. Jim recalls in his early childhood being admonished to always be kind to orphans in honor of his grandmother and her experience.
Small World continues to rescue orphans in institutions on 4 continents around the world and place them for adoption in Christian families.
Jim joined the pastoral staff at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA in 1981. He became the first director of the "Save A Baby Ministry" at Thomas Road Baptist Church helping establish the Family Life Services Adoption Agency and the God Parent Maternity Home. Jim led the pro-life/ pro-family ministries for Thomas Road Baptist Church and appeared on The Old Time Gospel Hour TV Ministry with Dr. Jerry Falwell several times during the period of 1981-1985.
In 1985 after graduating from Seminary and serving on staff for 5 years at the largest church in America at that time God called Jean and I to start an independent Christian ministry that would offer an alternative to abortion and preserve and enhance the lives of children. We named it Small World, Inc.
It was during a church service where DR. Francis Schaffer was preaching. At the end I went forward and prayed at the altar where God confirmed what he wanted me to do. As I walked back to my seat I noticed my wife Jean making her way back to her seat near me where she had been sitting with a group of teenagers we invited to church to hear Dr. Schaffer. It turns out God had spoken to her about the very same thing.
We traveled back to our hometown of Nashville TN soon after that and filed the legal paperwork to start a non-profit organization which became known as Small World Adoption Agency.
Our ministry has always been to the child first.
After the orphaned or abandoned child is adopted by his new family he is no longer an orphan. The orphan condition is cured. The state and others no longer have to support him. That is the job of his new family. It makes sense for society and the child. The other great plus in this ministry is seeing a couple find the child they have longed for, sometimes for years.
An adoption agency must employ a group of professionals to meet state and federal laws in all countries where they work (social worker, layers, counselors, and administrators). We investigate prospective adoptive couples via what is known as a homestudy. It is an in-depth investigation of the applicants. Criminal background checks are performed on the couple. Their health is examined. Their social and psychological make-up are assessed by professional social workers and counselors. A series of personal interviews and references are examined to make a determination of their fitness to parent. After State and FBI reports are received agency social workers visit their residence and examine it for appropriateness as a residence for a child. Our attorneys file the needed paperwork and a legal forever family is formed.
I remember as a child my mother drilled it into me to always be nice to orphans. My grandmother had a very difficult childhood due to her mother’s death early in her life and her father who was an alcoholic abandoned her, well it was even worse than that. He sold her into slavery to serve in the home of different families over the years. She had a withered arm which rendered her handicapped and she told stories of her waiting on families and standing in the hall watching as they ate until she could clear the table and make a meal on the remains on their plates. She told of how she cooked and cleaned as a young child while the children of the family opened their Christmas presents and she had no such pleasures.
God used her hardships to help motivate me to travel around the world taking the love of God in the form of Christmas presents each year through our Christmas In The Orphanage Campaign every year since 1991. I am blessed every time one of those little eyes lights up when they see they have a present and it really belongs to them.
The only thing that’s better than that is when I can take a Christian couple into that orphanage and introduce them to their new son or daughter. Seeing that child adjust over the next few days to having enough food every day and people who don’t go away but love him and stick with him. Wow that is the best feeling in the world.