The vision for the New Oaks Community began with one woman’s desire to make a difference in the lives of abandoned and neglected children. The experience of fostering and adopting their daughter, Kate, made Doreen MacDonald and her husband, Tim, critically aware of the horrific needs of abandoned children who cycle through our nation’s foster care programs. Doreen determined to do something about it. She and Tim immediately began having discussions with children services officials, juvenile probate judges and others, exploring ways to make a positive impact within the foster community.
During this time, the MacDonald’s learned that the owners of a former orphanage near their home in Hamilton, Ohio, were interested in selling the property. They began to dream how the old Butler County Children’s Home might be used to care for children again. Thus the concept for a community of families committed to the adoption of foster children was birthed.
After struggling with a life long battle with diabetes, Doreen passed away in 2005 at the age of 40. Tim later remarried and went to work making Doreen’s dream a reality. He acquired the old Butler County Children’s Home and began the process of restoring it.
In 2008 and again in 2009 Daryl and Roxann Gunnarson were challenged by Lou Engle to become part of the solution to abortion. While fasting and praying in North Carolina in 2008, God gave them the idea of foster families living in community. This was confirmed when, in 2009, they attended a prayer meeting at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri where three different people, they did not know, prayed over them and said they saw them building a home for families and children.
While restorations began, Tim was transferred to California with his job and he was forced to seek out someone to carry on the vision. He prayed and prayed until the last moment when it was either a choice to close down the project or someone had to step up to the plate.
The Sunday before Tim would be forced to shut down the project, Daryl and Roxann took a tour of the property. They had heard of the work that Tim was doing and wanted to support it. They found out that Tim’s vision and their own were similar. Two months later the Gunnarson’s became the directors of the project.
During a prayer meeting, while talking about a ministry name, Isaiah 61 was brought up and from this the name New Oaks Community was born. Later, incorporating as a non-profit, 501(c)3 the organization was then called New Oaks Community, Inc.
Doreen’s vision continues to be carried out through many gifted people who also want to make a difference in the children’s lives. The property and the project was renamed The Father’s House and is currently going through renovations in preparation for families to live there with their foster children.