ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

About the Founder

So many of the Christian sites I've visited have included an "About the Pastor" page. Although I am not an ordained minister (yet), providing you with a summary of myself seemed like a good idea.

I am a Texan born in Indiana. After graduating high school I attended the Kentucky College of Technology (an electronics school). Without graduating, I returned home to work as an electronics technician for a semiconductor plant while attending Indiana University. I didn't graduate Indiana University either. After two years with the semiconductor plant, Jesus found a better job for me as a cyclotron technician for the Indiana University Cyclotron Project. Again after two years Jesus moved me to the Indiana Emergency Management Agency for eight years as a radiation safety officer, a radiological electronics technician, a radiological systems instructor and a field officer. During my tenure with Indiana I completed Emergency Medical Technician training.

While working for the Indiana Emergency Management Agency I got a part time job as a bouncer at a local club. There, through a mutual friend I met a young girl, alone and with a son of three years from a previous failed marriage. Her name is Barb. I chased her and chased her until she finally caught me. I remember it was a rocky relationship. Women always seem to have thoughts of marriage after spending nearly two years of their life in a relationship with one guy. I can't imagine why. So, in my macho stud arrogance I told Barb I did not want anybody running around calling me "daddy." Shortly after I laid down the law, Barb was kissing me before the preacher man. And her son become my son by adoption less than two years later. Less than two years after adopting Bruce, Eric came along. I sure didn't want anybody running around calling me "daddy", nosiree!

From Indiana our Lord moved us to Virginia where He started my professional career in commercial nuclear power as a nuclear emergency planner. An emergency planner interprets Federal, State, and other regulations to prepare and implement systems, facilities, local governments and training in preparation for emergency response measures. Though I had a good intellectual idea about the Gospel message for some time, it was in Virginia the Lord moved in my heart. One evening in deep desperation and fear, I fell to my knees as I had never done before and poured myself to Him, asking Him if there was a way I could take for Him some of the pain he bore for my sake. In His Perfect Wisdom, Jesus turned around my attempts to take on some of His pain for Him and took all of mine. It was in that twilight moment of submission to His Power and Authority through prayer that Jesus made clear to me His love for me.

From Virginia Jesus moved us to Pennsylvania to work as a consultant in nuclear power training programs in Missouri and in Ohio evaluating local and State government emergency plans and training for compliance with Federal regulations. From Pennsylvania, He relocated us to Illinois to work again as a nuclear emergency planner. While in Illinois, I was able to complete most of a BS degree. His last move for us was to Texas to continue in emergency planning. Functions I performed in the emergency planning field included regulatory analysis, project management, technical writing, computer support services, emergency medical service, and adult instruction. In Texas, I have been able to complete a BS degree.

Though I had known since before Virginia of His love for me, I had not yet found assurance of Salvation through His precious Blood. I knew beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus could save even the most wretched of the wretched but always had a sliver of doubt whether He would do that for me. For years I carried that sneaking doubt. Then one of my very good friends in Texas, Jim, was stricken by a heart virus and died. Without trying to explain the logic of it all, it was on the sidewalk to the church holding Jim's funeral that Jesus give me assurance of my own Salvation. In short, it took death to give me assurance of everlasting Life. It was at that moment on the sidewalk I knew beyond any shadow of doubt He had given me everlasting Life though my faith in the saving grace through His Virgin Birth, Death, Resurrection and Ascension to the right hand of God. And changes began.

In the last three years of my nuclear career I told Jesus in prayer that while I will serve Him for the rest of my life with the rest of my life I wanted to do so by serving His little ones. Me! The one who did not want anybody running around calling me "daddy" wanted to serve His little ones! Jesus agreed and decided to give me some real experience at serving His little ones. He commanded that I also serve Him as a foster and adoptive father. Jesus used that anointing to build in me a burden, a flaming burden, for the condition of childhood and the family. For thirteen years my wife and I have given His care to 30 foster children ranging from newborn directly from the hospital to 14 years old, not counting the children for whom we provided overnight and emergency placement care. A couple of His little ones were in our care for only two weeks and several for more than a year. Some longer. While it is difficult to let go of any of the children, He filled us with an unbreakable bond with seven of the parentless children and we adopted them. We plan one more adoption of a cerbral palsy baby girl who is now under our care as a foster daugher.

As a light-hearted gesture, below is a graphic I drew to represent the Carder family as Jesus saw fit to build it. While 32 kids have called me "daddy", a total of nine children now call me "daddy" permanently (soon to be ten). Me! The one who did not want anybody running around calling me "daddy." That was 32 children ago. I suspect Jesus is still chuckling at my puffed up, so-serious demand of nobody running around calling me "daddy" so many years ago. This story is a Rock-solid testimony to His love and control, wouldn't you say?

And in no case shall the focus of this page being on "the founder" be taken to exclude or ignore she who has been with me through it all. My first and only wife, Barb. She is the f-o-s-t-e in "foster." I am just the "r."

I need to say something about the foster/adoptive service we provide and why. Many who have heard this story try to compliment us, even praise us that we would do so much for kids who are not "ours." Please, do not hold me in esteem for the foster/adoptive care -- I am just a conduit, a tool for His love. Rather, praise and glorify Jesus. It is His Perfect Wisdom that arranged my life and it is for Him and by His Grace that I provide foster/adoptive care. If you must offer praise and glory, praise and glorify Jesus! Many have said that I have to be special to provide foster/adoptive care. From my perspective I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, not something special. I am no more special than anyone else! We are all equal at the foot of the Cross.

The foster/adoptive care service has put me in a rare and otherwise impossible position to be able to actually witness the impact of our culture on kids to an intimate level -- a level not possible in the sterile setting of a clinic where kids see the clinician maybe once a week and where the kids are too often, because of sheer numbers, little more than a checkmark on an observation worksheet. Because of a typically massive workload clinicians and psychologists can rarely wipe noses, wipe bottoms, set up all night, be a dry shoulder and chase away the underbed monsters ... especially the two-legged ones. Foster parents do. And because of that 24-7 intimacy with the children, foster care givers can usually see more than the clinicians and psychologists. It is the expereince gained by so many years of direct intimate obseervation of so many chidlren of such diversity which enables me to see what it is children see when they are exposed to media and to witness the changes made by such exposure.

Every single item of experience in my life; every move, every setback, every chastisement, every achievement has been for a reason. Every element and fiber of the technical and professional experience He has given me provided the expertise to engineer the CAP analysis model. It was the result of the experience Jesus has given me and the result of the burden He placed on me for the condition of childhood and the family which gave birth to the ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP) Ministry.

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In Jesus' Blessed and Holy name:
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
Thomas A. Carder

Since December 5, 2000

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