Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days. My parents host an open house for our family, friends, and neighbors . . . well known as the "taco party". Pounds of meat, crockpots of cheese dip, tons of crispy corn shells and other miscellaneous treats and toppings await our guests. It is a sweet time of catching up with folks, watching kiddos play, and simply being together. It is a little bit of chaos but truly something special.

We do not send formal invitations to the taco party; our guests know they can bring along anyone they wish. Every year, same time, same place. . . and it is always a delight to see who stops by. Pictures are made, stories are told, and love and laughter are all around.

It makes me think of the many invitations God has for us. He invites us to come to Him. To accept forgiveness, To allow Him to make us new and whole. . . He invites us to know Him in the deepest places of our being- hurt, shame, healing, and hope . . . He is always present and all around us, and He is constantly inviting us. . . be with Me. rest in Me. know Me. love Me. tell Me. believe in Me. follow Me.

Feel Him near you this Christmas. Holidays can be bitter sweet- a great time to be together but also a reminder of people or things that may be absent from our lives. Even if God seems so far away. . . follow that distant star to the stable of new life. Come to Him empty so you can be filled. Come to Him broken so you can be healed. Come to Him hurting so you can be comforted. Come to Him grateful so you can celebrate and rejoice together. Know you are His, and you are ALWAYS welcome. . . and that is an invitation for every moment of every day, wherever you are and whoever you are. He is waiting- door open, feast prepared, and arms outstretched. . . ready to hold you.

A big holiday hug to you this Christmas, from your Lifeline family!

Michelle Staab
Birth Mother Counselor


At Lifeline, couples seeking to adopt must complete what is called a Desired Child Form (DCF) as part of their application. This form allows the couple to indicate what factors they are seeking in an adoptive child, such as age, race and sex. More than that, though, it helps the couple decide what they are willing to accept, willing to discuss, or will not accept pertaining to the physical and mental health of the child or the birth parent in regard to the social background of the birthparent or extended family. The social workers discuss each of the categories with the applicants and help them to have a realistic understanding of what could be involved. After all, this DCF is used to help us pull profiles for the birth mother to consider. We encourage the couples to educate themselves about different medical conditions and to understand that many of the conditions will not appear in a newborn, but a few may appear later in life. We also remind them that we usually only have half of the health/social history of a child, so there are often unknowns. There are so many differing scenarios to consider that it is a daunting task for couples to work through. The couples always admit that if they were giving birth to the child themselves that they would accept whatever God gave them, but that when faced with unknown situations, they analyze, fret, and pray over what they can realistically accept.

Lifeline has had several “special needs” babies to place domestically in the past two years. And with international adoptions, “special needs children” are always a consideration. The staff at Lifeline is in a unique position, though, to see first hand the miracles and the blessings that God provides our couples as they seek to bring a child home and form a forever family with them. The needs of “special” children vary greatly according to age and circumstances. But one thing is obvious, the love and compassion that the families who adopt them possess are on a level that leaves us in awe and with great admiration. And we celebrate every miracle and milestone with our families as the children thrive in their new homes.

We have also seen the hand of God move mightily this past year in our domestic department as lab results return negative, hearing tests were positive, neurological exams found no problem, and a child with a chromosome abnormality tested normal in mental and developmental growth. When an unborn child was suspected with Downs, but found to be normal, we rejoiced. Over and over and over again, God reminds us that it is HE who is in control, and we must trust Him. When special needs cases arise, it is HE that brings the family that will adopt. We are continually amazed at the attention He gives to every detail and a perfect match is made.

In February, I will be blessed with that addition of a new granddaughter to the Ely family. Through the wonders of ultrasound, we have been alerted that there is a problem with one of her kidneys. We will find out soon if our Father God has decided to heal her in the womb or to wait and heal her at a later time, if at all. I will tell you now that my daughter-in-law is very health conscious. She exercises regularly, (was preparing for a marathon before her pregnancy), checks labels for preservatives and dyes, grows organic vegetables, prepares healthy meals, uses “green” cleaning supplies, etc, etc. But sometimes things like this just happen. Her name has been carefully chosen: Elizabeth Joy. Elizabeth means “Consecrated to God” or dedicated to a sacred purpose. In Hebrew, the word for joy contains the idea for gladness. As a verb, it means to rejoice, especially in the Lord’s goodness. In the womb, Elizabeth Joy has been very actively jumping around and rejoicing!

At Christmas time, we celebrate the birth of our Savior, that most “special baby” of all. John 3:16 states that he is God’s one and only Son, because God so loved the world that whoever believes in him (Jesus) shall not perish but have everlasting life. In Luke 4, Jesus announced the beginning of his ministry with these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me, to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”.

I am already crazy in love with Elizabeth Joy! We don’t know the outcome of the physical problem, but we are waiting with trust and confidence that He knows what is best for her life, and His purposes will be accomplished. Whatever happens, He will be glorified by it. Whatever happens, we will rejoice because HE IS GOOD. So I ask our couples to also be mindful of this, taste and see that the Lord is good! He loves us unconditionally, and He is in control. Cast your fears upon Him, abandon your will to Him, seek His desires in your adoption walk and be prepared to be amazed!

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit……But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1: 41-45

Karen Ely
Domestic Social Worker

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Adoption Journey

My name is Lisa Kelly and I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I am new to Lifeline Children’s Services but, not new to working in and loving adoption.

My journey in adoption began in 2001 when I was a Kindergarten teacher. I taught a beautiful little girl who was adopted from China and instantly fell hard for her. She was bright, inquisitive, funny, beautiful, and oh, so very smart!!

In 2002, the Lord called her home as she was diagnosed with cancer. The tears that were shed, the loss that we all felt, the longing to have her back was indescribable. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of this precious little girl and pray for her family.

In 2003, my husband and I, along with our 2 boys decided that we wanted to adopt a little girl from China. Oh, how I hoped and prayed she would be just like the little girl that I taught in my classroom. Little did I know my prayers were being answered.

In 2004, our family went to China to bring our little girl home. She was healthy, happy, smart, beautiful, and oh so very funny!! We had an instant love and bond that would never be broken-that amazing red thread connection. Was the journey to adopt our daughter long? Was the journey to adopt our daughter hard? Was the adjustment period when we got home challenging? Yes, yes, and yes!! BUT it was all worth every minute of it. As I look into my daughter’s eyes each and every day, I am reminded that God picked her especially for our family. She is a perfect fit and only God can do that. I truly believe that without God there would not be adoption!

Shortly after we brought our daughter home in 2004, I began working in adoption. I have done everything from administrative work, to typing home studies for social workers, to putting entire dossiers together. I have communicated with countries internationally, helped run offices, helped with Hague accreditation, and the list goes on. It didn’t really seem to matter what I was doing in adoption as long as I was doing it. I wanted other families to know and feel that same love that we have been BLESSED with by the adoption of our daughter.

God has opened many doors throughout this journey of adoption for me and now as I join the Lifeline staff, I am truly blessed all over again by this amazing opportunity to help the Lord bring together His children with their forever families. I feel I am joining the most amazing people who are working so very hard for our Lord – doing it all with prayers and to bring glory to His name.

Currently for Lifeline, I will be helping with the Taiwan, China, and Costa Rica programs. I wanted to take the time to list our newest waiting children from Taiwan and ask all of you to pray with us that the Lord bring to Lifeline committed forever families for His precious children!!

Date of Birth April 16, 2002
8 years old
Tsung –Ming means smart and this precious little guy looks very intelligent in his photos where he is showing his artwork. This precious little guy so desires the love of a mother and father. He is physically healthy.

Date of Birth September 23, 2002
8 years old
This precious little boy is healthy and lives with a foster family since his birth family is unable to care for him. He has good reports as far as his psychological emotional status, behavioral performance, and schooling. He would love to have a family that would be all his own.

Sibling Group – Li siblings
Female DOB April 25, 2005
5 years old
Male DOB May 1, 2006
4 years old
These adorable siblings need deserve a family. The living situation was very erratic during their early years and then they were abandoned by their mother in 2008. They have been placed in foster care as they await their forever family. They have a half sister born in 2009 that has been placed for adoption domestically. They are both developmentally delayed but Yu did begin Kindergarten in August of 2010. These children need to be adopted together.

Date of Birth January 11, 1998
Almost 13
This beautiful young girl needs a family to love her. Maybe you are the perfect family for this precious child. She has a diagnosis of mild mental deficiency. Yun-Ju also wears glasses to correct nearsightedness and esotropia. She is a kind and considerate girl and is a good helper in her foster family. She lacks self-confidence and needs to have a family that can love her and teach her.

Date of Birth February 11, 2008
Almost 3 years old
This very precious and needy little girl was hospitalized in March of 2008 due to suspected child abuse. She is currently in a nursing type home. She has a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. She takes medication for a seizure disorder. She needs the love of her own family to help her to grow and thrive.

DOB December 26, 2000
Female almost 10 years old
This precious little girl was born the day after Christmas. She is in need of a forever family. She is developing normally but has some delays in learning. She is currently with a foster family and is doing well in their home. She likes to look pretty and is patient when helping with the younger children. She is in need of a family so please pray for her family to find her.

DOB June 3, 2004
Male 6 years old
This adorable little boy needs a family. He is currently residing in a foster home. He has developmental delay issues and may also have symptoms of autism. He is very precious and is he said to be kindhearted and he does not bully others. More information is being obtained on this little boy.

DOB June 29, 2009
Female 18 months old
This precious little girl desperately needs a family to love her. She has a cleft palate and has been diagnosed with AMC – Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. There are many discharge notes available on this precious little girl and we are waiting on more reports and photos.
Date of Birth – November 27, 2006
Almost 4 years old
This precious little girl is physically healthy. She has a cognitive, speech and motor developmental delay. She has a diagnosis of autism but it appears to be mild and may be a result of her poor environment prior to being in foster care beginning in March of 2010. She was living previously with her birthmother and grandmother. The environments were not good! She needs a family to love her and care for her and to give her stability! Please pray for a family to sense a calling for her adoption. She a very beautiful little girl.
Date of Birth – December 24, 2003
Soon to be 7 years
This precious little girl was born on Christmas Eve. She will be a gift to a family and she so desperately needs a family to love her. She is so adorable. This precious little girl lived in a family where the birthmother was abused by the birthfather. It is thought that she has been abused too. She was hospitalized in 2006 due to suspected neglect. She began living in a foster family at this point and since has been transferred to an institution – March 2010. She wears glasses for mild myopia and strabismus. She has moderate intellectual disability. It is suspected that she had some brain injury due to the abuse. She currently takes medication to control epilepsy. Please pray for her family so that she might be loved and cared for as she so desires and needs.
Ching - Female – Date of Birth – August 19, 2003 (10 years old)
Te – Male – Date of Birth – April 23, 2006 (4 years old)
This precious sibling group is looking for a family to love them. Ching is a beautiful little girl with mild cerebral palsy. She is able to walk very well and simply wears a brace on one foot. She has a normal intelligence. From birth until February of 2010 she lived with her birth family but continually moved. Since February she has been living in a foster family. The little brother has mild language developmental delay and was placed with the foster family in July of 2010. These two precious children need to be adopted together. Please pray for a family for these two precious children.
Please contact Lifeline Children’s Services for more information on these PRECIOUS gifts from the Lord!!

I can’t wait to see what the Lord is up to next in this journey with Lifeline. May HE be glorified in all that we do!!

Love and Prayers to all of you!
Lisa Kelly
Adoption Specialist

“Until All the World May Come to Know HIM…”~ Pastor Stephen from Kenya

Monday, December 13, 2010

Come, thou long-expected Jesus

I want to share with you a favorite hymn of mine. This hymn is specifically dear to my heart during this time of year. Many of you probably know it already. Please read the words and allow them to slow you and speak to you. This is the truth of this Christmas season. Let all else fall by the wayside in this moment and focus on our dear Lord and Savior – all He is and all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to thy glorious throne.

My prayer for each of you who read this message is that you will await Jesus’ coming with great longing, excitement, and expectancy. Stop and celebrate His birth; His first coming. Be amazed that the God of heaven lowered Himself to be born as a human, tiny and lowly and helpless and dirty, into poverty and humility, entering the world among “the least of these,” those who are so intrinsically precious to the heart of our God. Yes, He came to those who had nothing; to fulfill them and to be their everything. He was later pursued by those who had all the wealth of the world and more, who had nothing that they desired from a material standpoint, yet they crossed countries and spent years of their lives seeking this Promised One. Why? Because nothing compares to His worth and what He offers. These men had the riches and power and wisdom of the world and yet they were empty – empty until they found Him. Empty until they bowed in His presence and worshipped.

But don’t just celebrate His first coming. It doesn’t stop there. He is coming back. His work is not finished. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” My prayer is also that we would desire His second coming each day with all our beings. That we would long for His return as we look at the broken world around us. That we would recognize that we need Him as much now as humanity ever and always has. That rich and poor are lost and empty without Him. That each one of us would yearn for our Emmanuel, “God with us.”

He has come and He will come again. May this truth be your hope and peace this holiday season and always.

Allison Fuqua
International Social Worker

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Birth of a Savior

As Christmas approaches, not only am I reminded of the birth of our Savior, but I must also remember that because of Christ, I am adopted into the family of our Father. The meaning of being a co-heir with Christ is something that none of us can imagine in its full measure. This also means that we I have adopted siblings all over the world; saints who have also been adopted as Sons. We have been transferred from the status of orphan to the status of Sons. Having the full benefit of inheritance and relationship is gifted to us through the birth and death of our Savior. I also reflect on the orphans of the world who cry out to be adopted as sons. This is why we come to work everyday.

Lea Anne Parker
Senior Supervisor of Social Services

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What is your Design?

I have the privilege of being the mom of three incredible little boys. I also have the privilege of spending time as an employee of Lifeline working through details which enable orphans to be rescued, families to be built, and God’s glory to be shared. Two passions colliding within me seeing God’s purpose of my design coming to fruition.

God has abundantly blessed Lifeline with amazing stewards of design and calling in the staff He has brought together. And with the dramatic growth that He has entrusted us comes great need for others who are ready to give of themselves in the way that God orchestrated their designs and passions.

What is your design? What are your passions? How does God want to see that design played out in your day?

We are currently looking to fill the following positions:

International Social Worker—Birmingham office
Social Worker/Case Worker—Huntsville area
Social Worker/Case Worker—Auburn/Opelika area

If you feel God leading you to one of these positions, please let us know! I would be happy to talk with you in more detail. I can be reached at 205-972-8024 (direct line) or the main number at 205-967-0811.

Cathy Johnson
Executive Assistant

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Domestic Reunions

What are Lifeline Domestic Reunions?

A lifeline domestic reunion is a meeting between a birth mother and an adult adoptee. We offer services for both the adoptee and the birth mother in working toward a reunion.

What is the process of working toward a reunion?

The process begins with an adult adoptee who is seeking information about their birth mother. We talk through many things to consider, one is that the birth mother may not be able to be located or does not want to open the door to making contact with an adoptee. It is very normal for an adoptee to want to know about his or her genetic background. Each person must be aware that opening the door to seeking information could lead to something disappointing, and that finding out something is it worth the emotional risk versus not seeking anything. This is a personal decision.

We have counseling to talk through this process, to try to prepare each person involved as best as possible before they make a decision to meet. This process goes according to the comfort level of both parties involved. There is no certain time frame that we encourage, only that before taking a next step, the person feels ready for that.
We talk about topics like: motives, possible outcomes, and how to talk to your family. We also talk about common relationship stages between an adult adoptee and birth mother, as well as factors that could impact the relationship.

Working toward a reunion is an exciting but emotional time. Two people meeting who are essentially strangers, but relatives. It is an exciting journey, but there are unknowns and each has its own unique story. We also have services to support and educate adoptive parents as they walk through this journey with their child. If you would like more information about our adoption reunions, or would like to begin the reunion process, please contact Sommer Bradshaw at 205-967-0811.

Sommer Bradshaw
Reunion Counselor

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Be All Here

The first time I heard this phrase was several years ago during my final semester of college. In a time full of anticipation, planning, and needing to know what would come next, these were very valuable words of wisdom. I took them to heart and committed to enjoy and invest all the time that I could because soon enough, my college days would be over and I would have moved on. During that time, as I waited expectantly for God alone to direct my next steps, He drew me closer to Himself than I could have imagined. To this day, I consider that season one of the most precious times of my life. No, I did not know what was to come, but how sweet it was to cling to the One who holds my life in His hands- who has promised me a hope and a future. As I spent those months falling more in love with Him, He was faithful to lead me exactly where He intended and I experience such a wonderful time in my relationship with Him.

So what does this mean for my life now? As one of my favorite hymns says, “Here I raise my ebenezer…”. An ebenezer is a stone of remembrance. To raise a stone of remembrance is to remember God’s faithfulness. And so I recall this sweet season of my life to remember God’s faithfulness in the past. In a season of longing to be used by Him and desiring to know what is to come, I claim the truth of His faithfulness- for His glory and for my good. I have an ever-increasing desire to be part of His plan rather than my own… to be spent for His good purpose, not my own… to bring success to His mission, not my agenda. Guess what. He doesn’t need our help! When we submit to Him, we get to be used by Him. But if we think we are helping His plan along, we are wrong. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). What a humbling place to be: seeking Him and submitting to His purpose. The truth of the matter is this: I am nothing- and He is everything!! My needs are temporary, and the needs of His kingdom are eternal. “Your will above all else, my purpose remains. The art of losing myself in bringing You praise...” This song is not just about losing oneself in a worship experience, but about putting oneself aside in life for His purpose to reign! Worship is not about me. It is about Him! My life is not about me. It is about Him! The crazy thing about this truth is that it is so familiar. And yet, I seem to be discovering it for the first time.

In Matthew 6, the question is posed “Why do you worry? Don’t you know that your heavenly Father will meet all your needs?” I must confess that I do not live as though I believe that. The command that follows is this: Seek. Him. First. His kingdom. His will. His purpose. His righteousness. And all the things that you need will be provided. Do not worry. Do. Not. Worry. It’s a command. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. AND the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7). The command is to not be anxious but to pray. The promise is peace.

So the truth that is pressing on my heart is this. Be all here. Wait expectantly for His purpose. His direction. His plan. But do not worry about tomorrow. Allow His purpose to prevail in you today. Seek to know Him better today and this will be the case.

Mallory Blackmon
Daphne Social Worker

Monday, November 22, 2010

USCIS Fee Udates

Lifeline Children's Services has been so humbled and amazed by the outreach to our international adoption programs. We offer both traditional adoptions and special needs adoptions. We are so thankful that hundreds of families have chosen our agency to help them in their adoption experience and work to keep our families update on any updates.

USCIS has increased their fees and will take effect starting November 23, 2010.
Some common fees that are included in this category are the following:

-800a/600a applications---$720.00
-biometric fingerprinting---$85.00 for each adult in the home
-supplement 3 (form 824)-$405.00

If you would like to see the link for a full list of the USCIS fee increases, visit the site below.


Over the years, so many children from all over the world have found a new home and a new beginning with our domestic families through Lifeline. If you would like any information on any of our international adoptions programs, please contact us at lifeline@lifelineadoption.org or call (205)- 967-0811. Please continue helping us bring hope to orphans all around the world.

"And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me."
Matthew 18:5

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Turquoise ocean waters rolling in perfect synchronization up to sunny, pristine looking beaches from 12,000 feet. I’m on final approach to Porta Plata, flying across the Dominican Republic, a majestic tropical island that could easily be mistaken for one belonging in the Hawaiians. I have had opportunities to travel all over the globe, but I am thinking to myself that I have perhaps never taken in so much beauty for such an extended period of time, literally in every direction I am awed by what my eyes are taking in.. WOW!

In twenty minutes we are on the ground at a really cool looking semi-outdoor airport. What an interesting place. Neat and exotic designs, people, and stuff.. yeah, I’m absolutely falling in love with this place! For safety and a good night’s sleep the team is staying at an all inclusive resort just minutes from airport(my first such experience and only $43 a night). Our little piece of heaven for the next three days is down a beautifully landscaped boulevard. As we pull up I am immediately taken by how everything is so open, maximizing the pure delight of perfect temperatures in this Caribbean paradise. The outdoor restaurant is my favorite place on the complex.. continual coastal breezes dancing lightly on me, enjoying delicious tasting foods and juices, perfectly manicured golf course and pool in the background, and like minded teammates conversing at our table.. don’t pinch me I might wake up.. WOW!

The next morning less than two miles from my comfortable all-inclusive resort beauty converged with brokenness. Trash and despair everywhere I looked and moved.. repulsive smells, crying, disease, and hopelessness.. death is viewed as relief. The team tours a village stepping in ankle high trash and open sewage. I bend down and tie a few more knots in my shoestrings to lessen the likelihood they will be exposed to this filth. A few steps latter it doesn’t matter as one of my feet sink six inches into a combination of things not fit to describe here. An entire town of dilapidated dwellings and not one of the homes is the size of my son’s bedroom. We hear the villagers stories, pray over a man dying of cancer and a lady whose 12 month old child has been taken to the hospital (a place where you go to die).. its not the first child she’s had that has taken this sad journey. We meet four girls 13 and 14 years old. All but one of them have been sold into prostitution by their parents. The other girl is parentless.. an orphan prostitute and in her arms is an 18 month old child.. who will no doubt grow up as an orphan as well. I have an ache inside of me that is hard to describe. It’s physical, emotional, and spiritual. How can these things be.. as the days quickly click by this feeling only grows as town after town we are confronted with the same unforgettable reality.. total brokenness! And for almost everyone in these towns over the age of eight or nine hope has already died.. WOW!

The world takes broken things and broken people and discards them. Few even know these people exist. I had not given these creations of God much thought before I pulled up to their towns a couple of weeks ago.. that’s all changed now.. I am aware that these Haitians and Dominicans are on the island of despair right now. It’s not getting better.. the Weather Channel is highlighting a tropical storm is beating hard on the people.. WOW!

I read in the Holy Scriptures a question from the book of Isaiah, “What more could have been done?” It’s a penetrating question isn’t it.. what more could be done? ..To look back on the measure of our life and truly evaluate our contribution for His Kingdom. I am growing convinced that our greatest fear in life shouldn’t be the fear of failure, but rather of fear of succeeding at the wrong things. To invest our entire lives climbing the ladder of success only to realize at the end that our ladder was leaning on the wrong things.. WOW!

You and I are called to a Great Cause.. to love “the least of these”.. to care for orphans in distress. Well friends, the distressed are in the Dominican tonight existing in unimaginable conditions. Hope is coming.. We can do more! We must do more! We will do more! We are going to plant churches and schools in these communities. We are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus! We are going to let these precious souls taste the richness of God’s love and glory! Do you want to partner with us.. we could really use someone like you. Yep, I already know you are the perfect fit because you are still reading and these children of God are still waiting. Give me a call and let’s get to work. Lets make a difference.. lets replace brokenness with beauty!

Dave Wood
International Director

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ukraine Updates

The draft of a moratorium law has been presented to the Ukraine parliament and passed today in Ukraine. The next step will be for a second vote to take place in parliament within the next several months that will effectively pass this draft into law. The Lifeline team in the US and Ukraine as well as our contacts in Kiev believe that ultimately this law will bring positive change to the Ukrainian adoption process.

We expect that the passing of this law will bring Ukraine into compliance with the Hague Convention and therefore require adoptions to be processed through Ukrainian approved Hague Accredited Agencies. At this time the Ukrainian government is working on the best way to implement procedures that will bring the SDA and Ukraine Adoptions into compliance with the Hague Convention with only a short period of disruption while the ratification process occurs.

If this law is passed and ratified, the government will shut down adoptions for approximately two to three months in order to become compliant with the Hague Convention.

Please know that Lifeline fully supports these changes in adoptions in Ukraine and as always are here to answer any questions you may have.

Jana Lombardo
international social worker

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Partners of Lifeline

Earlier in the year, I was thrilled to receive a call from Nancy Ryan, Chairperson of The Optimist Club of Birmingham. Nancy learned of Lifeline’s ministry from a former intern, who thought the Optimists would be great partners with us. Since then, Nancy and The Optimist Club have embraced our foster families in a number of ways. Lifeline has been chosen as a recipient of one of their programs called “Kards for Kids”, which benefits foster youth living locally. Through the program, gift cards are given to foster children at Christmas time and awareness and support of foster care and adoption are raised. Donors are needed for the program.

To round out the year, The Optimist Club is also providing a place and volunteers for an evening of respite for our foster families. I thank the Lord for servants like these who are willing to give of their time and energy to support and refresh foster families. Because of partnerships like this one, we are able to offer our foster parents and children the support they need and deserve!

Traci Newell
Education Coordinator

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Psalm 27:1

I came across a thought provoking and action taking devotional – The devotional is written by Max Lucado and the title of this particular devotional is The Voice of Adventure. The verse that is chosen is: Psalm 27:1 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”

Jesus says the options are clear. On one side there is the voice of safety. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside and stay warm and dry for what you don’t try, right? You can’t fall if you don’t take a stand, right? You can’t lose your balance if you never climb, right? So don’t try it. Take the safe route.

Or you can hear the voice of adventure – God’s adventure. Instead of building a fire in your hearth, build a fire in your heart. Follow God’s impulses. Adopt the child…make a difference.

Max Lucado mentions other things in this devotional that are considered following your heart, but his point is “Is there a fire in your heart? What can you do to step out into God’s adventure for your life?”

Below are some new waiting children from Taiwan – prayerfully consider if you or someone you know might be the perfect parent(s) for one of these precious children that are desperately seeking that someone to make a difference in their life!

Join me in prayer for these children and for a family for each of them!

Taiwan Waiting Children – Please pray for these children to find their forever family!

1.Ting – female – Date of Birth – December 21, 2008
22 months
This sweet little girl has a lot of potential and has already stolen my heart! She has almost the same name as my daughter adopted from Cathwel in August of 2007 and some of the same special needs as well. Ting has been diagnosed with infantile hemiplegia and unspecified developmental delays. Her birth mother was a substance addict but Ting was developing and learning to walk and talk. She suffered severe injury in the spring of 2010 through child abuse by her birth mother. Ting was hospitalized from May 2010 – July 8th 2010. She now resides at the Jonah House (Cathwel Services). She has made great progress since her hospitalization but she really needs a family to love her and to help her to grow and learn. Please contact me at stephanie.carpenter@lifelineadoption.org for more information regarding Ting – There are photos, video and documents available for any family that is interested in her possible adoption process.

2.Ya-Ling – female – Date of Birth – July 26, 2005
5 years
Ya-Ling is an adorable five-year-old who resides with a foster family until her adoptive family finds her. She has good physical health according to an exam dated November 2009. She was diagnosed as mild intellectual ability/developmental delay. She has had an unstable lifestyle until her current placement in foster care in February 2009. She receives speech therapy one a week. This precious little girl is in need of a family to call her own and to love her and care for her. There are photos, one video and many documents available for any family that is interested in her possible adoption. Please contact me at stephanie.carpenter@lifelineadoption.org

3.An-An – male – Date of Birth – September 29, 2005
5 years
This adorable little boy was born prematurely and has already been in three foster homes since his birth. His birth mother is an AIDS carrier and drug abuser. An-An was suspected of being an AIDS baby but after follow-up tests and the final test completed on February 1, 2007 it was with negative result. The Health Department closed his case regarding any AIDS. An-An has a brother that was adopted domestically and also a brother that was adopted by a Swedish family in 2009. An-An received laser treatment and follow-up for retinal detachment and now has normal result. He is wears glasses to correct his vision and receives speech therapy and cognitive therapy. In August of 2009 it was determined through a developmental assessment that he could attend a regular kindergarten and did not need extra training since that point. He needs his family to love him and care for him. If you might be interested in his adoption please contact stephanie.carpenter@lifelineadoption.org There are photos and documents available.

4.Po-Yen – male – Date of Birth – September 14, 2001
9 years
Po-Yen is a very adorable boy that needs to find a forever family. He is listed as a waiting child due to his age of 9-years-old. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and is taking Concerta every day. He has had a very sad life – His parents divorced and then his mother was incapable of raising him. He moved to stay with his birth father. His birth father was then placed in jail and Po-Yen stayed with a foster family. His birth father died and then his uncle became his legal guardian. He began to live with his uncle and family but the uncle has decided that he should be placed for international adoption since his family does not want him living with them. The uncle changed his mind once about the child being adopted but then threatened Po-An with having to move away if he did not behave. In March 2010 the uncle made a firm decision for adoption placement and hopes that he would find a family so he would have a stable and happy life. This young boy is very adorable and does well in school in spite of his dysfunctional life and living arrangements. There are photos and many documents available – please contact stephanie.carpenter@lifelineadoption.org for more information

Other children currently on waiting list for adoption from Taiwan –
Please contact stephanie.carpenter@lifelineadoption.org for more information on any of these children and to view photos and documents!

5.Yen – male – Date of Birth – September 15, 2007
3 years
Diagnosis of cerebral palsy – many photos and documents available! Please contact stephanie.carpenter@lifelineadoption.org

6.Tai – male – Date of Birth – January 13, 2002
8 years
Older child

7.Ling – female – Date of Birth – October 10, 2002
8 years
Older child; slight developmental delay; strabismus8.

8.Will – male – Date of Birth – November 29, 2004
5 years
hearing issues; wears hearing aid; living at Jonah House since 11.28.2005

9.Chih – male – Date of Birth – May 11, 2002
8 years
Older child

10.Jung –male – Date of Birth - March 25, 2003
7 years
Older child; epilepsy

11.Sibling group – Michael – male – Date of Birth – January 1, 2000
10 years
Older child; sibling group; Hep. C

Christopher – male – Date of Birth – May 28, 2005
5 years
Sibling group; Hep C

May the Lord bless you and keep you and may you follow the fire that the Lord lights in your heart for where He has called you to make a difference,

Stephanie Carpenter

International Adoption Specialist and very proud parent of 2 special needs daughters adopted via international adoption and waiting to travel for number 3 (Russia, Taiwan and Philippines)

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Fountain of Youth: Our Children

At sunrise EVERY morning I wake to the words, “Daddy, it’s light time. Time to play”. And then later that night I hear the protest, “but Daddy, I can’t go to sleep; I’m not tired”. I often wonder how does my child have so much energy?

This weekend my son’s 4 year old friends who are twins had a pirate and princess themed birthday party. At the party was a giant inflatable pirate ship. The kids were having so much fun playing, and they played for hours in the hot sun. Many of the parents, including me, stood off to the side wondering, “How do our kids have so much energy?”

As the numbers of children began dwindling from the pirate ship, I began thinking about how much I miss my sons during the week and wanted to spend some time with them while they were playing. Pretty soon I was transformed from mild mannered Daddy to the evil Captain Hook, and I was being chased by Peter Pan and his band of Lost Boys (and Girls). A plastic sword fight ensued and the children squealed with glee.

As I ran by one of the other parents, being chased by a group of 4 year olds, he said, “Wow, you have a lot of energy”. I chuckled as I continued running from and then chasing my two sons and their friends, and I thought to myself, “Just thirty minutes ago I was standing on the sidelines desiring the energy of a four year old and now I have it”. I felt better that day than I have in a long time, and my children loved their time with Daddy (Captain Hook), and I loved my time with them.

I encourage you to step off the sidelines and join in play with your children. All too often I miss opportunities to bond with and teach my children while they are playing by sitting on the sidelines and watching. Psalm 127:3 tells us that children are a gift from the Lord. Let’s all as parents partake more purposefully in the gift that the Lord has given us. Children are so good at enjoying and being content in the smallest of things, and I believe that this is where much of their energy comes from. I believe that we too can have energy like our children when we delight and meaningfully participate in the time the Lord has given us with them. And not only are we blessed and strengthened, but our children are receiving the hope and future that was planned for them and spoken of in Jeremiah 29:11 by the very people God chose for them.

If you are a parent, I encourage you to play with your child today in a moment that you may have normally let pass by; get down in the floor with them, run around outside with them, slide down the slides at the playground with them, play video games with them, whatever their interest may be.

And whether you are already a parent or not, I encourage you to adopt a child today who is waiting for a Mommy and Daddy to play with them, waiting for Daddy to throw the football with them, waiting for Mommy to read their favorite book to them, waiting for someone to get down on their level, make eye contact with them, and tell them that they are special and loved. I encourage you to partake in the gift that God has given to us. A child is waiting for you today.

Daniel L. Taylor
Georgia State Director

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Call of a Prayer Warrior

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about our dependence on God. In that conversation, she pointed out that throughout the Bible, God performed His greatest miracles in situations where there was no other way. For the Israelites, only when there was no food, did He provide manna. Only when there was no wine at the wedding, did He turn the water into wine. Only when the blind man had no sight, did he provide sight. And for us, only when we were dead in our sins, did He provide a rescue. I had never thought of it that way before, but this truth has been coming to mind more and more lately.

Recently, I have become aware of how often I ask myself the question, “How can I figure this out on my own?” or “What can I do the fix this situation?” Over and over again, the answer is NOTHING. As disheartening as that is to me, I am reminded of my Lord’s provision. His grace is sufficient for me. For His power is made perfect in my WEAKNESS. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. Coming to that realization has completely changed the way I approach prayer. It brings me to the end of myself and heightens my dependence on Him as the only true Provider.

Furthermore, this heightened sense of dependence on the Lord has restructured my view of myself and my role at work. I am not just a case worker or a birth mother counselor, I am a prayer warrior. Every day, I am given the opportunity to draw near to the throne room of God the Provider. I am able to bring before Him the needs of adoptive parents, birth mothers, and children around the world. This brings both peace and responsibility. Peace because I can rest in His plan and control over every situation. Responsibility because I am fighting for the lives of children- to free them from otherwise hopeless and broken situations.

In recent weeks, I have taken ownership of this new identity as a prayer warrior. I fight for the lives of the children that I serve. I fight for them to be adopted into families where they will be raised by a mom and a dad who love the Lord and who will teach them the saving grace of Jesus. If fight for the speedy completion of processes that are often out of our hands so that children can come home to their forever families.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and freedom to the prisoners.”

Isaiah 61:1

Mallory Blackmon
South Alabama Case Worker

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Matthew 6:26

God is such a GREAT God . . . a God who chooses to meet us where we are, walk with us every day, and reveal Himself to us in such beautiful ways.

At the beach this weekend, I was enjoying the fresh sea air, my toes in the sand, and the water as far as my eyes could see. The beach always brings me to a place of peace and solitude and wonder and awe in our God. He is such a BIG God, and He formed the world with so much diversity and beauty. He forms US with such diversity and beauty.

He has moved me to love His children with a depth that only He could give. . . whether it be a precious newborn baby, a courageous birthmother, children waiting to be adopted so far away from here, our patiently waiting adoptive families, or the sweet community I have found in my coworkers. . . it ALL moves my heart, and I know it moves the heart of God as well.

Which brings me to the fish I almost stepped on . . . the broken-in-half, stinky fish on the shoreline. I thought to myself, 'how sad- some fisherman could have made some money on that little fish, if it had been caught in a net, or on a line. Nobody wants it now, this fish: laying on the shore, broken in half, dead.
Nobody will want to pick that up, or eat it, or even look at it more than once; it will probably just rot there.'

That little fish put a bit of a damper on my shoreline walk. I even took a picture of the fish so I could show my friends how sad it looked. Then I went to sit in the sand and journal and be still. . .

Until something caught the corner of my eye. A bird found the fish, and proudly carried it in its beak as it hopped along the shoreline. This bird was DELIGHTED in the fish. God reminded me, "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:26).

Of course. . . of course. What was stinky and useless and TRASH to the world was a TREASURE to that sweet bird. God CARES about that bird . .
. takes care of that bird. . . and He offers even more to US. More than stinky, broken-in-half fish washed up on the shoreline.

God reminded me of His children. This world is fallen and cold and
hard- and there are clients we meet or children we serve who have truly been cast away from the world- told they are unworthy, they are wrong, hopeless, they are not redeemable. . . that they are unforgivable, alone, and they are nothing. How humbling to be called to meet them in that place where the world has thrown them aside . . . what a joy to walk with them into the courts of His Kingdom.

His Kingdom, here on earth- His Kingdom of LOVE and TRUTH and forgiveness and wholeness and beauty and community. Life will not instantly become easy, but with God on our side, and people fighting for us, and realizing that GOD. DOES. TAKE. CARE. OF. US. . . that God CARES. . .

THIS Truth is what moved me from my little hometown of Hays, Kansas to Birmingham, Alabama. 1,000 miles away from home, to serve our Incredible God in a ministry that FIGHTS for His children, believes in His purpose and strives to share the heart of God as the heart of our ministry. . .

Thank You, God, for caring- for providing- and for being all You are.

Michelle Staab
Birthmother Counselor

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I just spoke with a woman who made a choice.
Because of this choice, she has been shunned by her friends.
People who do not even know this woman are talking about what she has done.
Even her own family has nearly disowned her.

This woman chose to begin a relationship with a man who was abusive.
Other choices led to her becoming pregnant.
But these choices,
These are not what has caused scorn and even rejection from those around her.

She discovered the little life living inside of her after she had already made the choice to walk away from this man.
And there, she found that she faced another choice.
And she chose life for her child.
After much consideration, and what she called destiny,
She chose an adoption plan for her child and found Lifeline.

It was this choice that eventually led to the chastisement she is now experiencing.
No one in her culture understands the decision she has made.
No one in her culture even cares to…
People would rather scratch their heads at her, speak against her character, or worse in her eyes–
Speak things about the choice she has made that are not even true.

This woman stared in the face of the life that she would welcome this child into, and said that this was not what she wanted for him… no matter how much love was there swarming inside her.
This was a decision she made.
It was no one else’s.

As if making this choice were not already, difficult enough…
People ask her how she could choose to “give her child away.”
People condemn her for not “struggling with her child.”
People attempt to make her feel guilty for the decision she has made.
These perspectives are those of people who do not understand the sacrifice:
One of great courage, for the benefit of her child and the children she is currently parenting.

What can be seen by just reading this small attempt to convey her story is that this woman possesses a great deal of strength; an attribute that life cultivated early on.
This has served her well throughout this journey.
And will continue to do so…

Zooming out for a moment, or maybe zooming in, the larger story is that God has been there all along.
His love, his presence, his commitment is the thread that is strung through all of these experiences; it is woven into the fabric of her life. And indeed, is the strength that until this point, she has known as her own.

This woman is coming to realize the reality of this and is pressing into God in a way she has not known.
I am convinced that as she chooses Him, He will deliver her into places she cannot even begin to ask for or imagine.

And so it is that as this woman chose to listen to The still small voice that gently guides her…
And as that led her to choose life and life in abundance for her child, what she did not know is that she was likewise being led to choose it for herself.

And so it is that this is what she has chosen:

Beauty for ashes,
Strength for fear,
Gladness for mourning,
Peace for despair.

O what a glorious God. Glory and honor and praise to Him, the One whose heart, whose very character is to make good on all things… if we let him. His heart is wholeness. His heart is restoration. May we choose this, and may we honor these women who have chosen this for their children and for themselves.

Please join me in believing God for wholeness in her life, that through the power of the Holy Spirit she would experience healing. Believe with me for her safety. Believe with me that relationships in her life would experience restoration and richness like they have not known, and that others would fall away, as God moves her forward. Believe with me that the adoption community/family in her area would begin surrounding her, that she would be strongly supported. Believe with me that the Holy Spirit would begin to open her to choosing community among the body of believers, and that his body would serve her and her family and that salvation would come to their house.
Believe with me for these things on behalf of all birth mothers.

Thank you so much for being the body with me in these things.
Hallelujah, that he has given us such access and authority in his Son…
God, pour out your goodness on the life of this courageous woman and on the lives of other courageous women like herself, that they would know and choose your character and that it may result in praise and glory…

Kara Leigh Pritchard
Birth Mother Counselor

Monday, September 13, 2010

What a Weekend!

As I sat Friday night at the local high school football game, my heart was full of joy as I watched children from all over the world enjoying the game of the night. In the general area where I was sitting I saw children who were from China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Honduras. It was amazing to think that these children at one time were in an orphanage and did not know the fun and excitement of a Friday night football game. They had smiles on their faces as they cheered for their team, enjoyed their favorite concessions and spent time with family and friends. Thank you God that you reminded me of your love for the orphan even at a football game.

As Saturday rolled around it got even better. I was checking e-mails for the day and discovered I had been sent a video of a potential child for one of our families. I had the honor of spending time with this sweet family as we watched a priceless video of their potential child. Smiles spread over their faces and tears glistened in their eyes as they watched this child interact and play. Thank you God that you reminded me once again that your timing is perfect.

As the day began on Sunday I wondered if I would see one of my favorite 3rd grade boys in my small group. He has been in my small group now on Sunday mornings for several months. He is a foster child and has quickly learned what Jesus’ did for us on the cross. He is eager to participate, answers questions accurately, and quickly volunteers to read scripture. I have seen him grow and change in so many ways over these last few months. He was there today with smiles and hugs to go around. He always brings joy to my heart. Thank you God that you reminded me of your faithfulness to children whose futures are uncertain.

I praise you Lord for the honor and privilege you have given me over the last eighteen years to work in this wonderful world of adoption uniting children with their forever families.

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise will continually be in my mouth. My soul makes boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” Psalm 34:1-3

Jana Lombardo
International Social Worker

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Reconciled to Him

This year our staff has been reading through the Bible and we are currently camping out amongst the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel). These choice men were God’s spokesmen to expose sin, cry for repentance, and pronounce judgment, as well as to reveal salvation and the eventual restoration of his beloved people. Reading these scriptures God is once again reminding me that the world we live in is not unlike the time of these prophets. Just like the Israelites, we live in a world of people who are depraved! Our world is so full of sin. We are so full of sin. I am so full of sin. We trust in man-made idols, in our things, in ourselves-not God. We worship our man-made idols, our things, and ourselves. Sin always flows from a heart that neglects the worship of the one true God. Our world is made up of immoral people who are basically incapable of anything different………
But wait, there is hope! While these prophets are proclaiming judgment they also point to God’s new covenant that we can be reconciled to Him through his son, Jesus Christ. We can be saved and restored. That is the hope! Jesus is the hope! His word tells us that through Jesus, we can be rescued, forgiven, purified, and protected-forever! God’s word is teaching me to look not of the things of this world that will only disappoint and have no hope. I am to turn my eyes to the one and only one in whom there is hope-eternal hope!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Joyfully His,

Renee Griffin, LBSW
Domestic Social Worker
Interim Care Coordinator

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Opportunities to Learn More

Whether you have an interest in adoption or foster care, Lifeline is now offering many different ways for families to learn more about our ministry. Please make your plans to attend any, or all, of these upcoming events:

Foster Care Webinar – Monday, Sept. 13th 6:30pm
International & Domestic Adoption Webinar – Tuesday, Sept. 14th 6:30pm
Birmingham Information Meeting – Mtn. Brook Community Church – Thursday, Sept. 23rd 6:30pm
“Lunch with Lifeline” on Facebook – 1st Wed of each month (the next one will be Wed. Oct. 6th)

If you would like any additional information on how to register for one of these events, please call Deanna at 205.972.8482 or email Deanna.Crist@lifelineadoption.org

Friday, September 3, 2010

How One Day Can Change a Life

I did not know how much this day would change my life. Even after I went to sleep that night, I did not know how much it impacted me. But around 6 years later, this day would give me the strength to do something that I didn't know I had the strength to do. One day when I was 18 I walked into the kitchen, and my mom tells me she needed to tell me something. She proceeded to tell me that Lifeline called to tell her that my Birth Mother had contacted them and updated her contact information along with asked how I was doing. There are a few things that are vitally important about this: first, as an adopted child, it was good to hear that she was thinking of me. Second, my parents did not hide this information from me. They freely told me and shared with me, we talked about it. As adoptive parents my parents did a fantastic job of openness with me being adopted. There was no shame, awkwardness, or hiding in who I was and where I came from. Also a lot of adoptive parents probably wonder, will my adoptive child think about my birth mother all the time, feel like there is a piece missing, or feel like they do not belong. A lot of these questions only the adoptive parents themselves can help answer. How do you present the situation? How do you present your child being adopted to both others and the child herself? How do you talk about the birth mother? The person who sacrificed so that you could become parents? Adoptive parents need to have the security in the family that God brought together, to be open and transparent with their child. So the child can be open and transparent back. Growing up I prayed for my birth mother on a regular bases. I always knew she loved me that was never a question. My security in knowing this came from my parents’ security in talking to me about being adopted.

Two years ago (in 18 days) I walked into a room. Sitting in this room was a lady with the same eyes as me, the same nose as me, the same mannerisms, and the same love of Mexican food. Two years ago I met my birth mother, Tara. And I would not have had the strength to start the reunion process with out the conversation I had with my mom so many years ago. So, thank you mom and dad. Thank you for being secure in our relationship. You knew that God brought us together. And I was never afraid to talk to you about anything. And thank you Tara, for fighting your nerves and calling Lifeline, now 9 years ago to update your info. Thank you for the sacrifice you made 26 years ago. Thank you for loving me. And thank you for the relationship that we are building.

Twenty six years ago (in nineteen days) I was born. 26 years ago you made the greatest sacrifice of your life, all while making 2 parents dreams come true. Twenty six years later, I hope my life is all that you wanted, all that you dreamed it would be. A birth mother is never forgotten. Her sacrifice is appreciated and thought of every day.

Marie Collier
Administrative Assistant

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Faithful Obedience

One of the biggest things I am learning currently is that God does not measure “success” on human terms. As my pastor recently put it, a believer’s focus/what God wants to see from His people is faithful obedience, not results. This is tough for me to swallow. You see, I like results because you can see them, measure them, talk about them, brag about them, compare them, etc. But Jesus is faithfully reminding me that results, especially on my terms, are not His ultimate desire. Therefore, here are some of the thoughts I have been mulling over as of late.

Being “effective” for God’s kingdom is not necessarily about sharing Jesus with the most people, or going on the most mission trips, or doing the most local service projects, or feeling like you are a part of changing the most lives. It isn’t necessarily about rejecting materialism or choosing a job that is clearly ministry, or in my specific case, about trying really hard to place the greatest number of orphan children in Christian homes. These things can be very good, but they shouldn’t be the end-all or only focus of a believer’s life. God does not evaluate effectiveness by numbers or results or victories, especially as we would define those things. A true follower of Jesus should instead and above all be focused on bringing Him glory, which can be done in a number of ways that do not seem the most “effective” or “efficient” to my finite, overly-logical mind. Glorifying the Lord may even mean laying down what I feel like is a talent or passion that He has given me to do something I would consider small, insignificant, and/or a waste of my time, simply because He has called me to do so. The point is that if God calls me to it, it doesn’t matter what it is or what is the outcome – what He desires to see from me and what I hope to learn to love to give Him is faithful obedience. I want to grow to trust His plan so much that I don’t bat an eye if what He asks me to do doesn’t make sense to me based on my human knowledge of Him and what I feel that He is trying to accomplish in His world. How dare I try to impose my limited understanding of a perfect God onto Him anyway!

Bringing glory to the Lord can occur through things that do not seem to me like they will directly advance God’s kingdom, such as going on a date with my sweet husband, spending personal time in the Word, encouraging a friend (who already knows Jesus) over lunch, giving something my best effort at work when no one will see or care. These are not “grand” as the world or even most Christians would define the word, yet they can be pure offerings of the heart – ways to follow, pursue, and reflect Jesus in each small moment, which is, after all, what walking with Him looks like. Taking each moment as it is gifted and choosing to use that moment to glorify the Lord through my heart, mind, body, words, and actions. Often what may seem like “the little things” to me, are ways I can choose Jesus over everything else, including what I am tempted to consider more “grand” and “successful” endeavors to be a witness for Him.

Allow your focus to be faithful obedience to the Lord today, regardless of what you presume the outcome of that obedience will be. Outcomes are God’s business! What freedom there is in following His lead and trusting His master plan – you cannot mess it up even if you tried really hard to do so! Out of your love and gratitude for the Lord and all He has already done for you, glorify Him by listening to, walking with, and obeying Him today and each new day you are given.

Allison Fuqua
International Social Worker

Monday, August 30, 2010

Finding Rest in Him

Psalm 62 teaches us about resting in God by waiting on him.

My soul finds rest in God alone;
My salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (1-2)

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
My hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
Pour out your hearts to him,
For God is our refuge. (5-8)

I just think about the opening statement “My soul finds rest in God alone”. The soul is compromised of the mind, the will, and the emotions. When we are trusting in God, all of these things-mind, will, and our emotions are submitted to him and waiting for his timing. We do not try to make anything happen in our own strength; we wait for God to move on our behalf.

When we wait on God we begin to develop an attitude that reflects Jesus in Luke 22:42, “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” I know in my own life when the waiting is too difficult I want him to take my unrest and make the situation fit how I think best. However, I have found that it is much less frustrating if I ask God to give me the grace to endure it. We are sure to find great peace and enter into a supernatural rest when we are able to surrender. Life becomes much easier when we trust that God is in control and that he has our best interest at heart just like any good father. Whatever it is today that is causing you to not wait on his timing meditate on Psalm 62 and find rest in him.

Laura Armstrong
Foster Care Social Worker

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ephesians 5 - “Living in the Light”

“Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.”
Ephesians 5:1-2

Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
Ephesians 5:14

Oswald Chambers Devotional for February 16 uses Ephesians 5 to talk about “The Inspiration of Spiritual Initiative”.

Not all initiative, the willingness to take the first step, is inspired by God. Someone may say to you, “Get up and get going! Take your reluctance by the throat and throw it overboard – just do what needs to be done!” That is what we mean by ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes to us and says, in effect, “Get up and get going,” suddenly we find that the initiative is inspired.

We all have many dreams and aspirations when we are young, but soon or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them. We cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead. But God comes and says to us, “Arise from the dead…” When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to “arise from the dead” and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going. God does not give us overcoming life – He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead…” we have to get ourselves up, God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative. If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because he immediately gives us the power of life.

I share this devotional because it makes me think of the thoughts and dreams many of us have to adopt a child. We dream about holding our child in our arms but often times fear or other circumstances seem to stand in the way. I personally know that when the Lord comes in and says, “Get up and get going” that the impossible dream can and does become a reality. I share this devotional in the case that you are reading this right now and are in that place that seems impossible. Seek the Lord and take the initiative. Allow the Lord’s divine and miraculous power to come in and make the dream a reality. I personally know the difficulty of these decisions and the journey, but I also know that the Lord is able and will provide. I needed to take that step and reach out my hand to the Lord and to the child that the Lord had waiting for our family.

As I share these thoughts I also want to share about 4 new children that just arrived on my desk from Bulgaria. They desperately need a family and a home. If you are not their family please pray for them and pray for the Lord to bring their family quickly. They are waiting and I can only imagine how long that wait must feel for these precious children and the many more that long for a family.

Girl S (Age 4)

She is simply lagging behind and has no real neurological diagnosis. The orphanage workers think that if she would have a family to teach her and love her that she would be able to greatly make up for all the lagging behind. She likes contact with others and is so adorable.

Girl Y (Age 8)

She has a diagnosis of Down Syndrome but according to Toni she is doing quite well. She attends a mainstream preschool and is neat and orderly. She is attached to the other children and the staff. She easily forgives and adapts well to new environments.

Boy R (Age 5)

He has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome and really needs a family all his own to help him to progress. He is serious and rarely smiles. He can walk by holding onto a hand or the wall for support.

Boy M (Age 6)

He has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, but seems to be a favorite of the orphanage staff. We have many photos and two videos for this adorable little guy. He loves to go outside for walks and he absolutely loves to cuddle with an adult.

If you have any interest in knowing more about any of these children that need a family or any of the other children listed on Lifeline’s Waiting Children lists please contact our office for more information (205-972-8496). If you just have questions about adoption or seem to be in that place of not knowing what direction to turn please contact us. We will be more than happy to talk with you and to pray with you. The Lord has a plan for your life and if we can help in any way please let us know. It would be an honor and a blessing.

In Christ’s love,

Stephanie Carpenter
International Adoption Specialist

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Note from the Director - It Doesn’t Make Cents (or Sense)

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1 Corinthians 1:18-20

Earlier this week a 23 year-old young man, a stand-out running back from the University of Alabama, and a current member of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers retired and walked away from the game of professional football. Reportedly, Glen Coffee walked away from a contract set to pay him upwards of $1 million over the next three years, not to mention a lucrative $828,000 signing bonus.

When interviewed by Matt Barrow’s a Reporter for the San Francisco Bee, Coffee said, “It was a struggle for a long time… football was no longer my dream. I found Christ in college (and) it changed my views on everything.” ESPN.com reporter Mike Sando commented on Coffee’s sudden retirement, “if he does have regrets years later, he will have missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

As believers so much of what we are called to do is seen as radical, crazy, insane, and even demented to the world in which we live. Everyone has an opinion, and most aren’t too shy to share it with you, especially when you’re a making a decision that seems like a radical abandonment.

Reading the Bible, we soon learn that a life devoted to Christ is a life that looks foolish to those who don’t know him. Isaiah was asked to prophesy to a people who would not listen or change their hearts. Hosea was asked to marry a harlot. Moses, slow in speech and despised, was asked to speak for and lead his people to a seemingly impossible task. The disciples were asked to lay down their nets, to leave their jobs and family and follow the Messiah. Jim Elliott was asked to go to Ecuador to a savage people whom later killed him, but received the Gospel in part to the faithfulness of his wife Elizabeth and their children. Glen Coffee was asked to leave football and millions of dollars. Countless numbers of families are called to rearrange their families, to travel to far off lands to graft orphaned children they’ve never seen into their families. Foolishness... Radical…

Meanwhile, the world exclaims, it doesn’t make cents – why throw away money, the American Dream, your life? The opinions and comments come from every direction urging you, pleading with you, to follow the path of the world. It can be deafening… I urge you brothers and sisters, listen to the still small voice of your Savior who pleads I have something so much better.

So the questions you must ask yourself are, “do you believe that Jesus is worth abandoning everything for? Do you believe him enough to obey him and to follow him wherever he leads, even when the crowds - and even your church - turn the other way?”

Adoption and orphan care are hard. They are life altering and life changing. Caring for orphans challenges your faith, yet strengthens your resolve and hope in your creator. Parents, friends, co-workers, and even those within your church will challenge you and question you on your commitment. It doesn’t make cents or sense at times, unless God calls you to it and then you have more cents and sense than ever.

In a recent article Dr. Russell Moore, the Dean of Students at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, likens adoption and orphan care to spiritual warfare. And the analogy is true. Satan does not want Christian involved in taking care of impressionable foster children who need stability, love, care, and Christ. Satan doesn’t want a radical Christian family impacting an orphan not only for today but for an eternity. Satan detests when Christians organize to spread throughout the world training orphans with life skills and the Gospel. It is a war, but we serve a victorious God.

“On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.’” Isaiah 25:7-8

So the last question, since we are fighting a war, “Will you join the ranks?” We need families to help us rescue children from literally perishing at home and around the world through adoption and foster care. Any good army enlists many volunteers and we need people to stuff packets, answer phones, recruit families, mentor birthmothers and orphans, etc. And lastly every good army is well funded – can you share the resource of Heaven with Lifeline as we seek to eradicate the word “orphan.”

Partner with Lifeline today. Visit LifelineAdoption.org to donate to the cause, to apply to adopt, to sign up for a trip through our (un)adopted ministry and visit orphans in need, to apply to be a foster parents for a child in US foster care, or to volunteer in one of many ways for the sake of orphans.

Oh beloved, will you allow God to use you to impact the life of a child? Please do not hesitate to give Lifeline a call because we are here...

On behalf of the orphans.

Herbie Newell
Executive Director
Lifeline Children's Services
giving children a hope and a future
twitter: @hmnewell

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Worth the Wait

Ok, I’m just going to say it. I’m going to be confessional and admit it right here on this Christian blog.. I HATE WAITING!!! I know, I know.. that’s not very spiritual of me but it’s the truth! I mean is there anything more intolerable than having to stand around completely dependant on someone else to get you what you need? Sure, maybe its okay when you are a baby and don’t know any better. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons God allows us not to remember anything in those early years.. to keep us from blowing a gasket from all the waiting (think diapers)! Is anyone with me.. or am I the only one who struggles with waiting? And just so you know, I hate all forms of waiting. I will flat out tell you.. I think when I go to the grocery store there is a conspiracy against me. No matter what line I get into you can bet it will end up being the “slow” line. If you ever see me in a store just pick another register and watch how fast you will move.

I am going to say something else about waiting. I hope this will not offend anyone but as long as we are being honest I am going to get it all off of my chest. When I have to wait (often), the last thing I want to hear (often) is a spiritual pep talk about the virtues of patience. I know that patience is a virtue. I know that God is working these delays for my good and His Glory. I know God loves me and sees my circumstance. I get it, I really do. I’m even telling these things to myself while I wait three hours to get my car tags. But sometimes I just don’t want to hear the patience sermon from a well meaning friend (that I know suffers with road rage himself).

So, that’s what I have loved about all these “Adoption Reunions” Lifeline has been doing this month (St. Louis two weeks ago, Birmingham this past week, and Spokane, Washington this coming weekend). Wait a second.. What does patience have to do with our Adoption Reunions? Well, since you asked.. Imagine with me an Adoption Reunion in a large banquet room completely packed out with hundreds of adoptive families.. a good number of them are in the adoptive process, but most families have already been through the adoption process and they are home with their child or children. And today, these families have brought by the hundreds, their little joyful (full of energy).. adoptive kiddos. Each of these incredible, beautiful children are a billboard that says, “You will not wait forever” “After the wilderness.. the Promiseland” “I was worth every moment you had to wait” I love it! Because, like most of our families in the process, I need to SEE this truth much more than I need to hear it.

So thank you Lifeline families for bringing your adoptive kids to our Reunions the past two weeks (and for the hundreds who will be in Spokane this weekend). This past weekend I sat in awe watching and listening to your children smile, laugh, sing, shout, giggle, whisper in your ear, tug on your arm, and give you hugs and kisses. But I also realize, while all that was going on, your kids were quietly preaching a message to all of our families still in the process.. You won’t wait forever! After the wilderness.. the Promiseland! Your child will be worth every moment you had to wait! Thanks kids!!!

Rich blessings, peace, and yes.. patience to each of you. Joy is coming in the morning!
Dave Wood
International Director

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Daphne Welcomes Lifeline to the Area!

I am very proud and honored to be serving as Lifeline’s South Alabama Case Worker! Having grown up in the Daphne area, I am anxiously anticipating what God has in store for the people of the Eastern Shore! My family’s own adoption story provided me to opportunity to become acquainted with other adoptive families in the area growing up. I have grown to love and gain such joy from seeing a family built through adoption! It truly is my privilege to serve the Lord as He does His work here.

As the South Alabama Case Worker, I serve adoptive families (both international and domestic), I counsel birth mothers, and I even get to do a little marketing. As I submit to Him and strive to follow His guidance, I trust daily that the Lord is at work here; that this is His work and not my own. It is my heart’s desire to see families embrace our calling to care for orphans (James 1:27) and to proclaim liberty and freedom (Isaiah 61:1).

If you are in the area, I look forward to meeting you and joining you on your own adoption journey.

Be on the lookout for an information meeting at a local church!


Mallory Blackmon, LGSW
South Alabama Case Worker

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beautiful Scars

‘Beautiful Scars” – Waiting Children that are available immediately

Please join me in prayer for children that need a family. There are so many children that are in need that I ask myself how will I choose a few children to specifically advocate for in this post. I just received a new sibling group to advocate for from Bulgaria and also some updated information on a precious little boy in Bulgaria.

I am also listing some information on a sibling group from Taiwan, a precious little boy from Taiwan and also a beautiful little girl that is waiting for her family in Taiwan! I have attached information only about these children. If you would like more information and/or photos please contact me and I will be blessed to provide that. If you would hear of anyone that might be sensing that Lord is calling them to adopt these precious children please pass along my email and/or phone number.

Please join me in prayer for them to find their forever families and for the Lord to draw their family to these children. I have seen the Lord move in mighty ways for His precious children. The Lord has moved in mighty ways to draw my husband and myself to our precious daughters and I have seen the Lord move in similar ways for many other families. The Lord loves these children more than I could ever know and/or understand.

I keep thinking about the song that Steven Curtis Chapman sings called, “ Beautiful Scars”. If you have never heard the song you need to listen to it and listen to it with a heart and ears focused on the precious orphans that desperately long for a family.

We can save them one child at a time - actually it is the Lord that saves them but He calls us to be the voice for the voiceless. I am humbled and honored to be the voice for these precious children! Join me in being their voice and in being their prayer warriors!

May the Lord bless you and your family!

In Christ,
Stephanie Carpenter
International Social Worker


Sibling group
Girl: N #902, 6 years old
Boy: A #900, 5 years old

This sister and brother are available immediately for adoption from Bulgaria. They must be adopted together. They are a sweet sibling group that so deserves the love of a family all their own. Please pray for them to find their family.

N is six years old and is beautiful. She has dark brown hair and a smile to light up a room. She was born prematurely and was treated with oxygen for two days. She is physically developing normally and only lags behind mildly in her neuro-psychical development. She plays with other children and can understand concepts such as yesterday and tomorrow. She visibly corresponds to her calendar age. She has a well-developed imagination and participates in organized activities. She can care for herself with respect to getting dressed and using the bathroom. Her emotional tonus is positive. She can hold a pencil correctly and supports and helps another child. She is a lovely little girl. Please pray for her.

A is five years old and very adorable. He has dark brown hair and brown eyes. When he was born he had respiratory distress. He has been diagnosed with being prematurely born third degree; ROP (retinopathy of the prematurely born) – Atrophy of the optical nerve and Aberrant cord in the left chamber. He lags behind in his physical development and in his psycho-motor development. He does run well and can go up and down the stairs. He can throw and catch a ball. He can carry out one step instructions and can say his name and the names of the other children. He is able to stop inappropriate behavior with a reminder or two. He can express his emotions with the adequate expressions of the face. He falls asleep easily and his sleep is calm. He can care for himself and get dressed and use the bathroom. He shows interest in his environment. This little boy deserves the love of a family. Please pray for him.


Boy: I # 626, 4 years old

Last updated June 28, 2010 from the Ministry of Justice in Sophia, Bulgaria

He is developing normally for a child his age. He is in good general condition. He was diagnosed in at birth with congenital hydrocephalus but according to his latest update he does not need additional medical care. He has speech that is consistent with his age. He seeks to rejoice in the presence of the adults close to him and he also enters into active connection and relation with them. He has interest in being with other children and this makes him happy. He has built up emotional-social relationship with those who are around him. He regularly goes to kindergarten. He is a sweet little boy that deserves a family to love him.

Taiwan- Waiting Child

Date of birth: November 29, 2004
Lived at the orphanage since November 28, 2005
Special need: hearing loss/ hearing aids

He is receiving speech therapy and it is believed that he will make great progress with teaching and learning. He loves going on outings and is thrilled when the caregiver gives him positive responses. He is potty trained. His favorite toys are blocks, cars and drawing. He sleeps well and likes all kinds of food. He attempts to play with his peer cooperatively.

We have medical records, history, and social history available for interested families.

Date of Birth: October 10, 2002
Six years old and soon turning seven

She is a beautiful little girl that needs a family to love her and cherish her. She is doing well but has a slight developmental delay. We have a short video available of her doing school work and she is just as cute as can be!

Taiwan- Waiting Child

Sibling group
Brothers – must be adopted together
Boy: date of Birth January 1, 2000 – 10 years old
Boy: date of Birth- May 28, 2005 – 5 years old

Special Need: Both brothers have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C

Sibling, older child

Brother 1 has been in a foster family since June 1, 2007. If he can’t fall asleep he plays with stuffed toys or reads to fall asleep. His schoolteachers say he is a trusted child and he is a good helper and responsible. He has a talent for assembling toys and fixing things. He is good at sports and he is good at basketball. The average of his schoolwork for the year was 87.2 out of 100.

Brother 2 has been in a foster family since November 17, 2006. He is a considerate child and likes to help others. He likes to help the teacher and classmates at school. He likes toy cars and those that make siren sounds. He likes to complete tasks on his own and asks for help if he is unable. His gross motor development is within normal development.

Please contact either myself at the above listed email address or feel free to call the Lifeline Children’s Services main number - 205.972.8479 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 205.972.8479 end_of_the_skype_highlighting for more information regarding these precious children or other children that are currently waiting!

Imagine This...

It is a bright and sunny Friday morning, on a hot day in mid-August. You’ve just recently begun the third grade, at the school located in the city where you are from. Today begins like any other day…..

The alarm sounds at 6 am, you hit snooze, and roll over to catch a few more zzzzz’s. Mom comes in and announces that you’ll be late for school if you don’t get up. You look at the clock and notice that it is now 6:30 and the bus will be arriving shortly. You throw on your school clothes, pour a bowl of your favorite cereal, rushing to eat, not even sure if you are chewing before you swallow, brush your teeth, grab your book bag, and run out the door – just in time(!) to see the bus coming down your street. As the bus stops, and you walk up the steps to your regular seat, you see many familiar faces, and hear the noisy chatter. Once the bus arrives at school after completing its route, you walk to your classroom, put your books in the proper cubby hole, find your regular table, and sit in the same, blue, plastic chair. Time ticks away, and as the teacher explains how to do subtraction and how to find the main verb, your mind eagerly anticipates lunch and recess. It’s finally time for lunch – YEA! Pizza day – it’s your favorite! About an hour later, you get to have free day at recess – another favorite! It’s been a great day! As you play on the swings with your two best friends, you discuss the exciting weekend plans – high school football game tonight, then grandma’s house tomorrow. Your teacher calls for everyone to come back inside, same as always. You make your way back to your classroom, only today, the teacher asks that you visit the office instead of going back to class. You walk to the office, not sure what to expect. As you enter the office, you see a lady you’ve never seen before, smiling, waiting to greet you. She knows your name and has some of your belongings with her. The smile is now gone from her face as she begins telling you that she is a social worker, and that you won’t be going home today. You’ll be staying in a new home, with people you’ve never met. No seeing Mommy and Daddy. No football game tonight. No going to Grandma’s house tomorrow. Suddenly this day, which started out so good, and so normal, has just become a nightmare.

……Unfortunately, what you have just imagined, has actually been a reality for many children. Over 6,000 children are currently in foster care in the state of Alabama, and an estimated 600,000 nationwide. Children of all ages and ethnic groups are in great need of a loving, Christian family to provide a stable environment where they can grow and thrive. YOU can help make a difference in the life of a child by volunteering to be a foster parent, or respite relief. For more information, please contact Traci Newell at Lifeline Children’s Services: Traci.Newell@lifelineadoption.org

“Then the King will say………For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to eat, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:34-36, 40

Only By His Wounds,

Deanna Crist
Financial and Marketing Assistant

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A twenty dollar bill

My Tuesday afternoons this summer have been spent with a co-worker and friend instructing young girls in the basic elements of ballet. Ballet has been our “foot in the door” at the large inner-city housing complex where the classes have been held. Our primary goal has been to interweave our teaching with stories from the Bible – stories that emphasize our value in God’s eyes. My guess is many of the young ladies in the class are devalued and don’t truly understand their significance to their Creator and the world around them.

In an effort to teach the parable of the lost coin (Luke, chapter 15:8-10), I grabbed a $20 bill from my daughter’s “Monopoly” money and tucked it away in my pocket for a later illustration. Following class that day, as we sat to hear God’s word, I revealed the bill to the girls and surveyed their reactions. Upon inspection, they agreed that, if the money were real and lost, they would spend a great deal of time and energy searching for it. I then shared that God feels the same about us, and to Him, we are so much more valuable than a $20 bill (and the woman’s lost coin.) Following the story, we exchanged prayer requests. As we reached one of the last little girls in the circle, she said, “Tonight, tell your daughter that she is more important than a $20 bill.”

I was struck by her statement; how often I fail to tell my own children about their worth in my eyes. Yet as often as I fail my children, and ultimately my Father, He never ceases to gently remind me of His unfailing love for me. With all of my shortcomings, it is easy to lose sight of his overarching love. After all, this is the One who rejoiced with His angels in Glory when I came to know Him as my Savior and Lord (Luke, chapter 15:10).

That little girl in class did me a huge favor. In a poignant moment, she reminded me of how our own children need to hear of their worth. Foster care and adoption, at the very root of their existence, send a message to the birth parents in crisis and the children who are victimized or living in orphanages out of sight and mind - that they are of great worth. For those willing to invest their lives in a child and possibly his birth parents, the lost begin to understand their value. And it is from there that Christian parents can share the vast and unfailing love of their Creator, who searches for them with great diligence and rejoices when they are found.

Traci Newell
Education Coordinator