Friday, February 26, 2010

A Note from the Director - giving children a hope and a future

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

The mission of Lifeline Children's Services is simple. "Lifeline exists to provide a hope and a future for children around the world by bringing families together through God's call to minister to orphans."

As Christians, God calls us to care for orphans. Many families answer this call by choosing to adopt, foster, or care for a child in need. They give a child a home... a home that provides shelter, love, and nurturing; a hope... true hope found in the opportunity of a relationship with Jesus Christ; and a future... a future that can be used by God for unimaginable purposes.

As the Executive Director of such an incredible ministry, I have had the opportunity to see the impact of love, hope, and the Gospel impact children in astounding ways. I have held children in orphanages in China who were afraid, lonely, and lifeless. Later I have seen those same children, adopted into some of the most incredible foreveer families, blossom into daughters and sons who show warmth, love, and energy.

I remember a certain night in Uganda when we ventured into the most dangerous slum, past 8:30 p.m. The children we were there to visit were children who had lived on the streets, but were being provided for by the humblest of facilities. The children were a bit lifeless and they were gaunt from malnurishment. As we visited the cramped rooms that slept at least 20, we realized that these children's first meal of the day had yet to be served - a mixture of flour, water, and corn meal. Still we were allowed to invite the children into a meager courtyard to present them with soccer balls and clothing.

We stood there that tepid Ugandan night, far from home, but close to the heart of God. The children filed out from their hiding places to receive the gifts we had brought. Then it was my turn to make a speech. What do you say to a group of 60 children ages 4 to 18 who have just had their earthly possessions multiplied exponentially?

And that was when I remembered... the hope is not in America, the hope is not in all the stuff we have accumulated, the hope is not in our homes, the hope is in Jesus Christ. Jesus in us is what a child orphaned in this world needs more than anything else.

So I spoke of God's love. I spoke of God's great HOPE. And then we all saw sparks of life enter into their eyes as we sang... "How Great is our God." That night I was reminded that giving children a hope and a future isn't about me; it isn't about Lifeline; it is about the hope of glory - Jesus Christ.

This same hope of glory impacts the foster children of our own country when we reach out to them. Recently I received an email from one of our foster mothers who currently fosters an 11 year old boy, who entered her home a month ago with many emotional, physical, spiritual and physical issues. This was not an easy placement, but this family was committed to showing this young man the love of Christ.

The email contained this quote from the little boy's teacher that exemplified what it means to give foster children a hope and a future.

"I am so proud of him this week. We have not had any accidents and he is aware of this and proud of himself as well! I am so very thankful for you and your husband. Ya'll are doing an AMAZING job in his life. He absolutely loves you and said he would prefer to live with you forever rather than going back home to his own mom... because you are fun, you take him places, do things with him, and he never goes with out food. His behavior has literally changed drastically. It is so incredible to see what a little love, support, consistency, rules, and safety can do for a child. He is a completely different child..."
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

"God alone is sovereign and in control of his creation."

Our family has been watching the winter Olympics as I am sure that many of you have as well. We heard for days leading up to the Olympics that the chosen sight of Vancouver did not have enough snow. It was reported that they were actually even trucking snow in from other places! One reporter pointed out the fact that 49 of the 50 states of the United States had snow, and plenty of it, but Canada did not. It appeared that the entire country of Canada and certainly the Olympic committees were frustrated with the lack of snow and warm temperatures. Then, the other day while watching events we were told that some were rescheduled due to snow storms! Man could not control the weather. What an obvious reminder that we, people, are just mere specks and not the creator of this universe! We have no control over the wind, snow, or rain. God alone is sovereign and in control of his creation.

But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. Everyone is senseless and without knowledge. Jeremiah 10:12-14a

That hit me hard as I partner with couples on their journey of adoption. So while I may tend to think that we find families for the precious babies that these birth mothers place, I am reminded of God’s sovereignty……over creation, over all. It is God who places a baby in the womb of a woman. It is God who causes it to grow. It is God that leads the birth mother to come to Lifeline. It is God who ordains which baby will be parented by the birth mother and which one will be placed for adoption. It is God who will lead couples to pursue adoption. It is God who will lead those couples to Lifeline. It is God who will lead the birth mother to choose a certain couple. And all of this is done in God’s time and not mine.

I know this, as believers, we all know this. But it is such a good reminder to me that I cannot make things happen or not happen by myself. It is only through God and his sovereignty. I can rest in that. In that I find peace. Sweet brother and sister in this journey of adoption, you too can find peace in knowing that our Lord is in control and that nothing will happen quicker than he wants it or later than he desires.

Renee Griffin
Domestic Social Worker

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Waiting On Your Spouse While Waiting On Your Child!--A Message From the International Director

I agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, “How much of human life is lost in waiting”
.. Amen Ralph! Someone could probably make a small fortune if they printed a t-shirt that said, “I HATE TO WAIT!” on the front of it. Waiting may be the single hardest thing we are ever called to do. If I had a dollar for every time someone in the adoption world told me that the waiting is the hardest part, I’d be taking my wife on a really sweet cruise annually.

So, how can we learn to maximize our waiting so that the waiting doesn’t become wasting? How can we learn to wait strategically and expectantly? The key is in converting waiting to hope. And the greatest way to do that is to stop waiting passively and start waiting actively. Waiting need not be an interminable period of finger-drumming, time-killing, mind-numbing inactivity. It can, in fact, be among the most creative and energizing periods of our lives.

With that in mind, I want us to think about the two kinds or forms of waiting. One is all about anticipation (this is the kind that every adoptive parent feels). The other is all about attending and serving (this is the kind you experience in a fine restaurant when someone cares for your needs)

Now, here is what I want to propose to our families going through the adoption process right now.. Consider waiting on your spouse (attending and serving) while waiting on your child (anticipating)! The beauty and hope of adoption is rescuing a needy orphan and placing them into an incredible family. The time between now and the “gotcha day” is a unique season of refining you, your marriage, and your home environment. Before you know it, your “little man” or “little lady” will be in your home and taking up a significant amount of time and energy. The greatest gift you can give to your new child is two parents deeply in love and committed to one another. In the hustle and bustle of adoption meetings and paperwork, followed by a time of waiting and unknowns.. it is easy to lose focus on the primary relationship in an healthy home.. the husband and the wife.

One of the most important things is to keep your enhancement plan simple and clear.. nothing too difficult and something you can work on every day. I heard a recent story that kind of makes this point.. but mostly, its just funny and I wanted to share it with you:

A husband and wife went to the Olive Garden and when the waitress came, she took the drink orders and then, pen poised over her order book, said, "Super Salad?" The husband thought, "Wow! that sounds really good..." So he answered, "Yes!". She stared at him for a moment and said, very slowly and distinctly, "No....Su...per...Salad" At that point, he was imagining what could possibly be on a super salad...perhaps meat delicacies or rare cheeses or nine kinds of pasta, so he nodded 'yes' again enthusiastically. At this point, the waitress just glared at him. His wife smiled, leaned forward, and whispered, "she's saying soup or salad...".

I don’t care what you say.. that’s funny. And its funny because its true! Its way too easy to get lost and confused so here’s ten simple ways that even the guy in this story can enhance his marriage.. I pulled these ten from our friends at New Life Ministries. I challenge each of you to wait on your spouse while waiting for your child!

1. Never bring up mistakes of the past.
Stop criticizing others or it will come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37).

2. Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? (Mark 8:36)

3. Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.
And don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry (Ephesians 4:26).

4. At least once a day, try to say something complimentary to your spouse.
Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit (Proverbs 15:4).

5. Never meet without an affectionate welcome.
Kiss me again and again, your love is sweeter than wine (Song of Solomon 1:2).

6. "For richer or poorer" - rejoice in every moment that God has given you together.
A bowl of soup with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate (Proverbs 15:17).

7. If you have a choice between making yourself or your mate look good, choose your mate.
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them (Proverbs 3:27).

8. If they're breathing, your mate will eventually offend you. Learn to forgive.
I am warning you, if another believer sins, rebuke him; then if he repents, forgive him. Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him (Luke 17:3,4).

9. Don't use faith, the Bible, or God as a hammer.
God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it (John 3:17).

10. Let love be your guidepost.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged (1 Cor. 13:4,5).

Dave Wood
International Director

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Walk in The Word: God's Story of Redemption

Bible Study 2/22/10
Reading Passages: Exodus (ch. 29-40) & Leviticus (ch. 1-10)

"Everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the Tent of Meeting." Ex. 35:21

The Israelites weren't exactly known for being obedient. However, when God gave Moses the divine blueprints for building the tabernacle, there was a great response from the people. So great in fact, that Moses eventually had to issue a proclamation for the people to stop bringing materials because there was more than enough to get the work done. In the last few chapters of Exodus, we see the repeated phrase "just as the Lord commanded." When the building was completed, Moses blessed the people & then the most amazing thing happened....Moses couldn't even enter it because the glory of the Lord filled the entire place! A God that had seemed so distant from them before, was now taking up residence among His people. And all because of their obedience. (See Leviticus chapter 10 for examples of disobedience to the Lord's commands.)

This Holy, Almighty Creator deserves our obedience. He even tells us in John 14:15, "if you love me, you will obey my commands." We can have knowledge of Him, but without daily application, our knowledge is useless. Pray along with me today for complete obedience to our Lord and Savior, so that He may dwell among us, and reside within us. (1 John 3:24)

Forever Faithful,
Deanna Crist

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Love of God

A song writer states, "If I say I love Jesus, but you can't see my Jesus. My words are empty, if they can't see Jesus in me. No more excuses I give myself away, because I may be the only Jesus they see." As a disciples of God, we have been commissioned to go out into the world and draw men unto God. The disciples were advised to go into homes and spread the gospel, but if they were not received then they should shake off the dust that is under their feet (Mark 6:11). What about when individuals enter your home? The love of God should be so evident in the home, that each person that enters will leave with some knowledge of God. If someone enters a home where food is cooking, when they leave the scent gets on their clothing. That is how the love of God must be displayed in the home, it should be able to saturate the spirits of the lost, of the broken, and those who have voids in their lives. The staff at LLV has been given the awesome responsibility of ministering to the hearts, minds, and souls of those who are weary, lost, and wounded . Each day and each resident present new challenges, but with God as our guide victory is always the outcome.

As we continue in our ministry, we must always remember not to become weary in our well doing. All will not receive what is being offered immediately, but by faith we must know a seed has been planted and will take root.

Kesha Franklin
Lifeline Village Coordinator

Friday, February 19, 2010

Education Update

February 15, 2010

Tonight was a milestone for a new crop of prospective foster parents who have “grabbed the bull by the horns” and set out for the amazing adventure (and sometimes wild ride) that is foster care. This was the half-way mark for these families who have committed to sit through ten weeks of formal training in preparation to become foster parents. As a result of last September’s foster care/adoption summit hosted by The Church of Brook Hills, many local families have stepped out on faith and have begun the required training called GPS (Group Preparation and Selection.) I am a veteran and believer of GPS; I have taught so many of these classes that I’ve lost count, but praise the Lord, I have never lost the motivation for doing them. Although dated in some of its language, the curriculum holds true. The needs of children in care twenty years ago are the same today. These children, who’ve been removed from their birth families’ homes, have experienced innumerable losses. Essentially everything that is familiar to them (whether good or bad) is changed in a matter of minutes when someone decides they are not safe where they are. What most people don’t realize is the string of events often set in motion by that first move. The reality for foster children is not a single move, but many times, multiple moves. Bouncing from home to home certainly has its impact on these kids, and their very ability to form healthy, “normal” relationships can be altered.

So what’s the good news? God has called the church to provide safe, temporary homes for these children. Imagine the possibilities of Christ’s disciples working alongside hurting birth families to provide nurturing, healthy homes for their children. Imagine opportunities to share Christ with the single mother (or father) who is caught in a snare of poverty, alcoholism/drug addiction and abuse. I am convinced that foster care is not only for the child, but for the family too. If reunification with the birth family is the goal, then teaching birth families how to parent their children is essential. How wonderful an opportunity Christian foster families are given to make an impact in the lives of these children and their families; even if the time with the child is short, it can be impactful and can make a difference for a lifetime!

Traci Newell
Education Coordinator

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The following information is free to be shared in full, not in part! If you choose to copy and paste, please include the entire notice.

Lifeline is committed to provide timely and accurate information to all of our families in regard to the current situation in Uganda.

In light of a release yesterday by the US State Department (See Below) Lifeline desires to direct you to our Uganda Update post on 2/5/10 in which the Vice Consular gave the following three options in regard to our families:
(1) Request that the PAPs attorney ask the judge to put language in the adoption order that says the PAP will be allowed to travel to the U.S. to adopt the Uganda child and that that child may change citizenship, or at the minimum state that the PAP may "fix the abode" of the child. This would allow the Embassy to process IR4 immigrant visas which may require clarification from the Government of Uganda (GoU) regarding the effect of the guardianship order. GoU may well tell the US Embassy that the guardianship order does not permit emigration and adoption abroad and therefore the child will not be eligible for an IR4.
(2) IR3 which would require the PAP to seek and obtain a full and final adoption. This will require that the PAP coordinate with local attorneys regarding Ugandan law.
(3) File the petition with the US Embassy as per usual. They will consider it "not clearly approvable" and forward it to USCIS in Nairobi. This will delay the process and there is no guarantee that USCIS will return with a favorable response.
It may be likely that all U.S. PAPs may have to obtain a full and final adoption in order to obtain an immigrant IR-4 visa. When our Embassy has more information from the Government of Uganda, we will be sure to inform PAPs.
There has never been a real concern that "adoption" cases have ceased, but many individuals have mistakenly interchange the two terms; however, the process for each is significantly different. The only process in question is "legal guardianship".

The US Embassy has confirmed that if the judge will put language in his order that states, the PAP is allowed to take the child to the US for the purpose of adoption or that the family may change the child's abode, the Embassy will comply with the issuance of a visa.

The difficulty still remains in securing a judge that will write the specific language into the order for legal guardianship without the High Court ruling on the matter.  Lifeline's attorney is working to establish a secure path for our families that will not unnecessarily delay the process and until he has done so there will be a delay in securing court and travel dates so as to not cause families undue time in country.

We are hopeful to have more clarification in the next several business days.  The US State Department Notice is printed in full below:

Uganda Adoption Notice
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
Status of Adoptions from Uganda
February 17, 2010

Contrary to rumors that have been circulating, the U.S. Embassy in Kampala has NOT ceased processing adoption cases, but legal complications in Uganda have arisen that are likely to cause significant delays in the processing of most adoption cases.

On February 3, 2010 The Honorable Lady Justice Margaret C. Oguli Oumo, Family Court Judge, informed the U.S. Embassy in Kampala that legal guardianship orders issued by the High Court of Uganda are issued with the understanding that United States citizens will not adopt Ugandan children in the United States and that the Ugandan children will not change their citizenship.

A key requirement of IR-4 immigrant visa eligibility is that the prospective adoptive parent(s) (PAPs) obtain legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption abroad. Guardianship orders that merely permit the guardians to travel with the child outside of Uganda and do not permit the guardians to fix the abode of the child may not meet the requirements of U.S. immigration law for the purpose of IR-4 visa issuance.

If there is a doubt as to the meaning of a custody order, consular officers must seek clarification from appropriate government authorities. If the consular officer ultimately determines the order to be sufficient to meet the requirements for IR-4 visa issuance, the case can be processed to conclusion. If the consular officer determines the order to be insufficient, the embassy is required to submit the I-600 petition to USCIS for review. (If the I-600 was locally filed it would go to the USCIS office with jurisdiction as not clearly approvable; if it was approved in the United States it would be returned through the National Visa Center to the USCIS office in the United States that originally approved the petition.

Dave Wood
International Director
Lifeline Children’s Services

A Prayer for Peace

It is a privilege to serve families waiting in the domestic adoption program at Lifeline. Over and over our staff sees how God has called families to adopt and count it a joy to be part of this journey of faith. Having been adopted as an infant - more years ago than I want to admit - I have a real appreciation, respect, and love for families that totally embrace a child not of their own “biology”. Let me share a recent personal story that reminded me of the special love that occurs in adopted families:

Recently as my oldest child has started looking at colleges, I have had some sad moments thinking about her leaving home. I talked to my parents about this and we reminisced about the day they dropped me off at college. My parents recalled how hard it was to drive away from my dorm and that they had to stop by the side of the road because they were crying so much and would miss me terribly. I had never heard that story but I was struck at how much my parents have always loved me and how the depth of their love totally compares with the love and emotional connection that I have with my biological children. All these years later that still matters to me!

The Lifeline staff is praying for you as you wait for the child God has in mind for your family. May God grant you a true peace.

Margo Harwell
Domestic Supervisor

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The following information is free to be shared in full, not in part! If you choose to copy and paste, please include the entire notice.

Lifeline has heard from our Advocate/Attorney as well as other well connected sources in Uganda over the course of the past 24 hours. There is speculation of positive movement in the High Court that relates to the “legal guardianship” wording required by the US Embassy. In addition to this, there has also been discussions on waiving the 3 year adoption waiting period that is currently in place. We do not know if these discussions have been limited to children with special needs (we know of one case where this action has indeed taken place) or would be across the board (include non-special needs). Lifeline wants to be clear that discussions are NOT decisions, and although the Embassy is also hopeful for a quick resolve, the Vice Consular informed us yesterday that as of 2/16/10 no formal document from the High Court has been delivered to the Embassy. The US Embassy in Uganda can not and will not provide positive encouragement to adopting families, without a written commitment from the Ugandan High Court, for the requested change in wording as it relates to the full intent of the “legal guardianship”.

Lifeline supports the US Embassy’s position while also understanding the frustration of the High Court. Both Embassy and High Court agree that there should be no misunderstanding in the courts, and in the written decree, as to why American families are requesting “legal guardianship”.
Lifeline families may contact our office for additional and breaking news on the current situation in Uganda. We will continue to provide you with timely and accurate information. We do not know when our next posted update will be, but we continue to pray that the current situation will be resolved quickly.

Adoptive families should also be prepared for a potential backlog both at the courts and the Embassy when the process is fully resumed.

Dave Wood
International Director

Are You My Daddy?--A Message from our International Director

One of the things you quickly realize upon exiting the United States for another country is that most of these countries invest very little in road repair.. no where is this more obvious than Uganda! The small party I was traveling with had been on a really bad, pot-holed highway, for what seemed like an eternity, when our SUV approached an orphanage of sorts. We were told that many such “highway orphanages” exist in Uganda, where a good number of children are abandoned next to the main road by mothers who are going into the Capital City looking for work and have no means to care for a child.

The orphanage we were visiting consisted of basically two large huts with thatched roofs and a large dirt field. There seemed to be a scarce amount of food and no running water. Many of the children lacked adequate clothing and you could see that what they did have had been worn daily for perhaps months. There were four or five caregivers (not including the older kids) for almost 80 children.. Just imagine you, your spouse and another couple caring for 80 kids and you get some idea of the potential for chaos. Yet everyone, at the moment we pulled up, was very calm. Some of the children sat lined along the outside walls of the huts to shade them from a hot sun, but most of the children were just sitting in the dirt doing virtually nothing. There wasn’t a ball, a toy, or anything to play with. For these children it was just another day of meager existence.. just like the day before, and the day before that and so on.. I remember feeling heavy hearted as I got out of the four wheel drive (a necessity in Uganda if you plan to travel more than a few miles outside a main city).

My natural instinct and love for kids drew me to the middle of the dirt field. I smiled at the children and sat down next to a few of them. Suddenly they smiled back at me and quickly began to climb on me. Other children joined in and within minutes the children were laughing and treating me as if I were a human jungle gym. These kids had the same internal make up as my own three children. What happened next will stick with me for the rest of my life.

One of the climbers put their little mouth up against my ear and whispered to me, “Are you my daddy?” A great well of emotions sprang up inside of me. Many other children, over the next several minutes, would fight their way to my ear and repeat those words, “Are you my daddy?” I realized that steamy hot afternoon along a pot-holed highway in southern Uganda, sitting right there in the middle of a dirt field, that what these precious little faces desired more than anything they could think of or imagine was to have a mommy and a daddy of their very own! These children dream of having a “Someone” Someone to love them, to teach them, to protect and provide for them. Someone that will make them feel like the most wonderful, wanted child in the world!

For those of us at Lifeline, we know that through our partnerships these past several months, a handful of Ugandan children will pitter-patter their way down a hallway tonight and into their bedroom. They will pull themselves up into their brand new beds and they will call for their mommy and daddy to come kiss them goodnight. When their parents pray with them they will reach their little arms around their parents necks and hold them tight.. and then they will say what all of the orphaned children in Uganda, and around the world, hope that they can one day say.. “I love you mommy” and “I love you daddy”.

Our passion at Lifeline is to make this dream a reality for more and more children. This past year we exceeded more families than we’ve ever had and we have a significant number of families prepped for travel. Obviously the need and the longing is still unimaginable. And in Uganda the program has currently been put on “hold” while their government and our Embassy work through some issues in wording for “legal guardianships”.

Rescuing precious orphans, in spite of the many and sometimes difficult obstacles, remains our great and consuming cause! Lifeline continues to be blessed with more and more families mature in their understanding and willingness to endure the paperwork, the meetings, the finances, the waiting, and the unknown, to rescue their future sons and daughters and adopt them into a forever family. May God continue to grant blessing and favor on all of you!

Dave Wood
International Director

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Walk in The Word: God's Story of Redemption

Bible Study 2/15/10
Reading Passages: Exodus, chapters 1-28

What is faith, and how you can be sure that you've got it? Faith can best be described as a difficult race (Hebrews 12:1-2), keeping your eyes on the finish line, refusing to give up. This week, as our staff has been reading through the story of how God freed the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, I was reminded of how adoption is like a faith-based "race."

Faith to let go!
In chapters 3 & 4, God handpicked Moses into a leadership role, in order that His chosen people would be freed from slavery. Moses was reluctant, doubting his abilities as a leader. But God equipped Moses with everything he would need to carry out God's will. Is God calling you to care for the orphans? He will equip you to do what He has called you to do. When God calls, we must respond with action!

Faith to go into the unknown!
In chapter 14, God performed a great miracle - once again, providing for His people in a mighty way. In a spectacular display of His glory, God parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could walk through on dry land, allowing them to escape Pharaoh and his army. Faith sometimes requires that we go into the unknown - take a risk and allow Him to work through us so that His power will be displayed.
Faith to wait!
Chapter 16 proves that faith sometimes requires us to wait. God provided manna and quail every day for His people, forcing them to depend soley upon Him for their survival. Adoption requires a great deal of patience, and an even greater dependence on God to deliver the results.

Faith to the fullest!
When God gave the law to His people through His servant Moses (chapters 19-20), He expected them to be obedient. We, too, are required to be obedient to God's calling. He loves us and desires for us to have a full and abundant life. Please be obedient to what God is calling you to do!

A Christian life does not guarantee a life of luxury, but instead, requires a constant commitment to believe in Christ - against all odds. A great prize is ahead for those who persevere and finish the race. "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith." (Hebrews 10:36-37)

My prayer is that you will be encouraged and strengthened today!
Looking to Him,
Deanna Crist

Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit VI

Whether a newcomer to church orphan ministry or a veteran, Summit VI will help build vision, resources and practical know-how for effective ministries:

-Headline plenary speakers including John Piper, Tom Davis, Al Mohler, and other national leaders, as well as compelling voices from the global church
-Music and personal sharing from Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, and special performances by Peder Eide and the Desparation Band
-More than 50 workshops delivering nuts-and-bolts for adoption, foster care and global orphan programs--designed for both laymen and leadership
-Orphan care resources for church ministries, as well as personal orphan care and adoption journeys
-5 Hague-credit breakout sessions
-Networking with respected adoption, global orphan and foster care organizations

Visit the Christian Alliance for Orphans website for more information or to register to attend.

Monday, February 15, 2010


The meetings scheduled for last Friday in Uganda have been rescheduled to early to mid-week of this week. Continue your prayers that these meetings will happen soon and that they will be very productive in providing new information regarding the current issues in Uganda.

Claire Davis
International Social Worker

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Note from the Director - When Statistics Aren't Statistics

There are 143 million orphans in the world by conservative standards and every 18 seconds a new child is orphaned somewhere in the world. There are at least 500,000 children living in US foster care today. Every 14 seconds another child is orphaned because of HIV/AIDS. And every 2.5 seconds a child dies in the world because of vaccine preventable disease or malnutrition.

In our isolated, insulated world these statistics sting until our mind wanders somewhere else or to something else. We tend to believe that those children are in a place we will never see and it is so easy to forget, but for three special Lifeline families these statistics aren't numbers anymore; these statistics have names, faces, and a place in their heart.

The picture attached to the post is the picture of a little boy from Ghana. He is a victim of the HIV crisis, losing parents to the disease. He is an orphan. His picture and his story found its way into the hearts of some of mine and Ashley's dearest friends last Saturday. His eyes pierced their hearts, his story became etched in their mind, and their journey to adopt became defined by pursuing this child.

It was Tuesday when they called me at 11:00 in the morning to tell me about how the Lord had opened up their hearts and taken them on a journey - they were ready, willing, and even excited to add a child with HIV to their family. Just a mere 2 hours and 15 minutes later, little Sampson became another statistic. He died of a vaccine preventable disease - malaria.

Although the quest for Sampson had only lasted for 4 days, my friends will never look at numbers the same. Every 2.5 seconds - another Sampson passes away; every 14 seconds another Sampson loses parents to AIDS. For them there are 143 million Sampsons who need a home, who need to be loved.

My friends wrote this week, "Sampson will forever be with us. His life has forever changed us. His life was not lived in vain, God has a purpose for him, just like He has for ALL of us, and that purpose was fulfilled, and now he is resting in our Father's arms."

At least two other Lifeline families are no longer living in a world of full of meaningless and cold numbers. Last Thursday, we had the honor of seeing our first set of foster children placed through our new partnership with DHR. One family saw abuse and neglect in the eyes of seven and nine year old sisters - the youngest, whose hair was matted with worms and roaches while the oldest was scared and afraid of what could happen to her next. The other family brought home an 11 y/o young man whose hurt runs so deep that he knows of nothing else to do but to inflict pain on others.

For these families there are no longer just 500,000 children in US foster care, there and 500,000 who are just like those eating at their dinner table, sleeping under their roof, running around their homes, and hurting with real hurt and pain in their arms.

May God fill us all with His Love this Valentines weekend for His beloved - orphans like Sampson and foster children like these. "You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." Psalm 10:17-18

LOVE - unending; HOPE - sustaining; FAITH - unshakeable: Orphan you are pursued by God physically and spiritually! His PRESENCE fulfilling!

After putting a face to the numbers if you feel led to pursue a child through adoption or foster care or to sacrifice your time and treasure on their behalf - 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

Decisions, Choices & Options Update

Last night was a truly eye-opening experience. My co-leader, Lee Karcher, and I set out for Sulligent, Alabama, in response to an invitation to present “Decisions, Choices & Options” (a pro-abstinence/pro-adoption program for teens) at Sulligent United Methodist Church. We were treated with such hospitality by the adults but didn’t know what to expect from the 20 or so teens who sat staring at us from the pews of the sanctuary. Honestly, I sometimes assume as a trainer that my audience will know all the answers before I speak; and the group last night knew a lot, but what was most revealing were their responses on a confidential survey taken before and after the presentation. As we were driving back to the office following our time with the youth, Lee read aloud some of their responses, and I felt a renewed sense of motivation for doing these trainings.

According to the survey, 60% of the teens present last night had some change in thinking after sitting through the presentation. Prior to the presentation, 40% of the kids felt that adoption means abandoning your child; following the presentation, all 40% had experienced a change of heart, or at least a change of mind. Pre-presentation, 50% of the kids stated they felt adoption is not a good option for a pregnant teen; post-presentation, 85% of those in attendance decided that adoption is a good option for a teen facing pregnancy. Both before and after the training, 100% stated their belief that abortion is not a good option.

After last night, I have learned to squash my assumptions and trust that the Lord may very well reveal something new to a teenager or adult who hasn’t considered adoption as a viable option for the unborn child and his birth parents. We still have much to do, but I stand amazed at how God seems to be working through adoption education.

Traci Newell
Education Coordinator

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Lifeline will have an informed, accurate, update tomorrow of action that has transpired this week in Uganda. A good number of positive meetings have taken place, with additional meetings scheduled in the morning that include our attorney. Tomorrow's update will define progress and what it means for our Lifeline families.

"He holds the whole world in His hands."

Yesterday as we boarded a plane to St. Louis to visit our children, we were aware that a snow storm was headed for the Southeast, just north of us. Our flight, however, was on time, and there appeared to be no reason not to proceed. But my mind did wander back to a specific plane trip we made many years ago.
We were headed to Charleston, WV to visit some dear friends and it would be the first plane trip for our then 2 ½ year old son, David. To prepare him for this trip, I spent time beforehand discussing the plane ride and what to expect. I shouldn’t have been surprised that at one point he asked me “Momma, will the plane fall out of the sky?” I told him, “No son, God will not let us fall.” He seemed satisfied with that answer and went back to his play.

But on that memorable plane trip, as we approached the Charleston airport, we were asked to buckle up as there were thunderstorms in the area, and we were in for a bumpy ride. Bumpy was a mild description. It remains to this day the worst plane experience of my life. We were in a small airplane, David and I on one side of the aisle and my husband, Bruce, on the opposite aisle seat. Thunder and lightning was exploding in the night sky outside our window and every few minutes the plane would suddenly drop 15 feet or more, causing me to lose my breath, and experience a short term “blackout”. If you have traveled often, you may know what I mean. It was such a rough ride that I did something I have never done before. I started to sing. Out loud. I began to sing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I went through every verse and variation I could think of, along with the hand motions. I did it for David. But I also did it for myself and those around me. I sang that he had David in His hands, Momma in His Hands, Daddy in His hands, and everyone else I could think of. A gentleman three rows up turned and glanced back at me. Before we landed, David asked if he could sit by his daddy. So I held one hand and Bruce grabbed the other as he rocked his way across the aisle. I suppose a 2 ½ year old could get embarrassed by his mother’s singing on a plane.

When the plane landed, there was no applause, but I noticed no one said anything at all. Nothing for the entire time we waited to disembark. When we met our friends at the baggage claim, they told us they were scared for us and praying that we would make it safely. They said it was a horrific thunderstorm and they were surprised the pilot could land at the airport. Apparently there were also numerous tornados sighted that night.

Later that night, Bruce told me that when David crossed the aisle to sit by him, he said to his dad, “Don’t worry, Daddy, God won’t let us fall.” The child got it! He understood! I have thought of that often in my life. We have had a very blessed life. Yes, we have experienced more than a few trials along the way, but we have been blessed and protected by God. Most of the time I walk in complete faith and trust in my God. But like all believers, there are times when I, like Peter walking to Jesus on the water, try to keep my eyes on Him but then turn to look at my circumstances, only to start sinking in worry. I am like the guy who told Jesus. “Yes, Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief.” Mark 9:24.

The enemy would like us to do that. To trust ourselves and not the Creator, who formed us and the universe. Sometimes the adoption journey can seem bumpy too. Unexpected events arise that derail us on the journey. There are job losses, illnesses, difficulty raising funds, and other things. Sometimes the in-country experience for international adoptions take unforeseen turns. And for our precious birthmothers, life seems to have more than its share of burdens. But these events are not surprises to God. He calls out to us to turn all of our cares over to Him, trust completely in Him, focus on Him, and step out of the boat.

Our country is currently in one of its worst economic times in history. We watch in helplessness as people die and are in desperate need in Haiti. People are losing their jobs, dying of diseases, babies are aborted, human trafficking exists, and people are searching for answers in all the wrong places. Jesus explained to His disciples that they could expect trials. We live in a fallen world that does not know its Creator. Thus we are called to follow Christ and to trust the Father. He knows our sorrows, fears, disappointments, failures and doubts. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He asks us to “walk by faith and not by sight”: II Corinthians 5:7. As Christians we know the end game and we know that He holds the whole world in His hands. What more comfort do we need?

Karen Ely
Domestic Social Worker

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Wilderness--A Message from our International Director

I remember the first time I ever heard someone from Lifeline talking to a prospective family about adoption. I thought to myself, “What are you doing, are you crazy.. you just successfully talked that family right out of adopting!” To my utter amazement as the meeting concluded the family appeared energized and excited. How could this be after a 30 minute diatribe of unthinkable difficulties for anyone who dare consider adopting a precious child from another country.

I quickly learned two things that day. One, adoptive parents are the most courageous, awe inspiring people in the world. Their heart for adoption is not a heart that is free from fear, but one completely resolved to the truth that there is something.. a someone..a child..their child, who is significantly more important than fear, waiting, expense, or the unknown! Two, I realized the importance of creating a proper expectation with families. The cold hard fact is that the selfless act of international adoption is tested long before you reach the shore of your child’s Motherland. I can assure you that there isn’t a GPS in the world that can guide you to the Promiseland of International Adoption, without having to first traverse what I call, “The Wilderness.”

The wilderness is a place of self discovery. One of the first things you’ll learn is that you don’t see things as they are. You see things as you are. The Wilderness becomes a mirror reflecting your deepest thoughts and motivations. I am continually amazed and grateful that this experience almost always makes a Lifeline family better, not bitter. Your child will not get the person you are today, but the one who is refined, even transformed, in the wilderness!

This is the place we truly learn, perhaps for the first time, that our lives and our adoption is a scared covenant with God. He alone sees, knows, and controls our course. I will tell you, just as it was for Israel in their journey, there is temptation in the wilderness. The fear.. the waiting.. the unknown...can grow into a dark and foreboding storm cloud. You can find yourself easily being overtaken by an insatiable urge to do something..anything..blindly driven by the feeling that motion is progress.

In reality, the most important thing is staying positive and staying on the path God has for you. I love this quote by Yogi Berra, “If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up somewhere else” You have a whole team here at Lifeline to help you keep you eyes, your heart, and your head on the Promiseland and not on the tumble weeds. If you get to a place where you feel so frustrated that you are going to burst if you don’t do me.

I can’t control our government and I certainly can’t control another country’s government.. but I can answer questions, remind you of God’s big picture in adoption, and pray with you! I won’t minimize or trivialize the frustration or even the pain you are experiencing as you wrestle with the unscheduled wait or the latest unknown. I will gently encourage you and keep you facing forward, so even if you fall its in the right direction. We have a whole team that’s got your back!

In closing, remember this..There will come a day when your rescued child will mature, setting aside the glitter and eye candy, so prevalent in America. They will look you in the eyes and ask you to tell them of the journey you made, the sacrifices you endured, the obstacles you had to overcome. They will discover that Heroes are not made on the “gotcha day” ..they are forged on the waiting days, the unknown days, the difficult and almost impossible days. And you will realize, as you have so many times along the way, the journey is worth it! Yes, there is a wilderness.. but looking into the eyes of your adopted child, you know there is a Promiseland!

Dave Wood
International Director

He Makes All Things New

Isn’t it great to receive gifts at Christmas time? How much more joyful this can be for children. Imagine if you were a child who spent several years in an orphanage and never got to truly celebrate Christmas. One of our special children who has lived in an orphanage celebrated his first Christmas with his forever family this past December. He was taught about the birth of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas. He also has a love for shiny things. His mother states that he loves to look at his older brothers’ trophies and thinks they are beautiful and shiny. For Christmas this year, he received a shiny new trophy of his very own. He was so proud that he told everyone of his shiny new trophy and has carried it with him everywhere.
Isn’t it wonderful how when we are adopted into God’s family that he makes us shiny and new? I am thankful for the stories we hear from our wonderful children and how they challenge us to be thankful for being made shiny and new.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” II Corinthians 5:17

Jana Lombardo
International Social Worker

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Walk in The Word: God's Story of Redemption

Bible Study 2/8/10
Reading Passages: Job, chapters 1-42; Psalm 19: Psalm 29

Ever lost your job without warning, had someone close to you killed in an accident, or diagnosed with a long-term illness? It's so easy to wonder why these things are allowed to happen. The book of Job can provide a great deal of comfort to anyone going through hard times such as these. Here are a few things that Job can teach us about suffering :

Some suffering is caused by Satan – In chapters 1 & 2, we learn that God was not the cause of Job's problems. Satan caused his pain and infliction, but only within the boundaries set by God.

Suffering is not always a result of sin – Job was found to be “blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil” (1:1).

God is never totally silent – In chapters 26, 33 & 37, we are reminded that God is always at work. Even though He may seem silent, we can still find evidence of Him in the splendor of nature all around us.

Some advice can do more harm than good – Job's friends were classic examples of people who delivered bad advice, with good intentions. In the beginning, they were overcome with grief, but later added to Job's pain with their continuous accusations.

Suffering can be used for God's glory – In Job's case, God used a time of great pain in order to win a major victory over Satan. Satan was certain that Job would curse God during hardship, but Job's faith did not waiver.

In the end, the greatest lesson to be learned is that we may not know the reason for the different types of hardships that we go through in life, but we are to keep our trust in a Sovereign God. All suffering, no matter how difficult, will end for those who are found righteous.

By His Grace,
Deanna Crist

“Don't forget in the darkness what you have learned in the light.”- Unknown

Monday, February 8, 2010


UGANDA NOTICE - 2/8/2010

The following information is free to be shared in full, not in part! If you choose to copy and paste, please include the entire notice.

Lifeline is committed to provide timely and accurate information to all of our families in regard to the current situation in Uganda.

In response to the concerns of the United States Embassy in Kampala, the High Court of Uganda has decided to suspend issuing court dates for legal guardianship cases until a resolution can be made between the Consular’s Office and the Government of Uganda on the intent of Legal Guardianship. While this will delay the process of prospective families who are attempting to secure a court date, it does not signal that the process has stymied. The position of the High Court is that time should not be wasted on issuing new legal guardianship cases for which the Embassy might not issue visas. Lifeline’s advocate in Uganda continues to feel strongly that the opinion of the High Court towards the legal guardianship decrees should not conflict with the standards put into place by the United States government and that this miscommunication of intent should clear in the near term.

Lifeline seeks the best interest of all orphaned children in Uganda and around the world. For this process to be completed, it is essential that governments have an adequate and clear plan. We pray that this delay will both strengthen and ultimately sustain a relationship between the countries of Uganda and the United States of America for the betterment of legitimate orphans. This process should provide necessary safeguards for the protection of children.

Lifeline is continuing to monitor the solution, but also realizes that it may take some time for things to resume.
In the meantime, commit to pray for the orphans of Uganda, the people of Uganda, and for God’s glory to be made know in this central African nation.


Claire Davis
International Social Worker

"Exciting things are happening..."

So many exciting things are happening on the education front at Lifeline. Herbie and I had an opportunity to present “Decisions, Choices and Options” to a group of approximately 20 kids this past Sunday night. The material was well received by the youth and we were encouraged that this curriculum does make an impact! The kids’ expressions as we shared information on abortion really painted a picture of how much kids don’t know about this process. Herbie’s testimony on the importance of a father in a child’s life was powerful and especially hit home with the young men in the group. With several more of these presentations on the horizon, we need prayer in order to be effective communicators.

This week invitations for training are being sent out to women who have expressed an interest in mentoring a birth mother here at Lifeline. As birth mother mentors, these volunteers will be able to provide much needed spiritual and emotional support to women facing crisis pregnancies. The training is scheduled for February 20th at 10:00 a.m. and will be held at McElwain Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Traci Newell
Education Coordinator

Friday, February 5, 2010


UGANDA NOTICE - 2/5/2010

The following information is free to be shared in full, not in part! If you choose to copy and paste, please include the entire notice.

Lifeline is committed to provide timely and accurate information to all of our families in regard to the current situation in Uganda. We have had direct contact with the US Embassy in Uganda and here is what we have learned (anything you may hear beyond what is communicated below is rumor and not based in fact. It is very important that our families know exactly what has happened and what steps are being taken to address the current situation).

On Wednesday, February 3rd, Ms. Sahar Hussain, Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy Kampala met with Ugandan government officials to discuss adoption in Uganda. During the meeting, Vice Consul was informed that legal guardianship orders issued by the High Court of Uganda are issued with the understanding that American citizens will not adopt the Ugandan children in the U.S. and that the Ugandan children will not change their citizenship.

Part of IR-4 visa eligibility requires that the prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) obtain custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption abroad. While guardianship orders need not contain specific language stating that the guardianship is granted with the court’s understanding that the guardians may depart Uganda with the child in order to complete a full and final adoption abroad, it must at a minimum allow the PAPs to fix the abode of the child. Guardianship orders that merely indicate that the guardians are permitted to travel outside of Uganda with the child and do not permit them to fix the abode of the child would not meet the requirements of U.S. immigration law. We do not have a visa category that would allow PAPs to foster a child in the U.S.

The US Embassy in Uganda is currently working on obtaining official language from the government of Uganda that states explicitly what the legal guardianship order allows. Until that time, petitions filed at the US Embassy with a legal guardianship order will be sent to USCIS as not clearly approvable. This significantly delays the visa process. The US Embassy is suggesting that PAPs wait until their office has received this official correspondence from the government of Uganda before making any travel plans or beginning the court process with a Ugandan attorney. The US Embassy in Uganda is sending diplomatic notes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice on Constitutional Affairs to request a clear definition of what the legal guardianship order states.

The US Embassy gave us the following three options for PAP’s:

(1) Request that the PAPs attorney ask the judge to put language in the adoption order that says the PAP will be allowed to travel to the U.S. to adopt the Uganda child and that that child may change citizenship, or at the minimum state that the PAP may “fix the abode” of the child. This would allow the Embassy to process IR4 immigrant visas which may require clarification from the Government of Uganda (GoU) regarding the effect of the guardianship order. GoU may well tell the US Embassy that the guardianship order does not permit emigration and adoption abroad and therefore the child will not be eligible for an IR4.

(2) IR3 which would require the PAP to seek and obtain a full and final adoption. This will require that the PAP coordinate with local attorneys regarding Ugandan law.

(3) File the petition with the US Embassy as per usual. They will consider it “not clearly approvable” and forward it to USCIS in Nairobi. This will delay the process and there is no guarantee that USCIS will return with a favorable response.

It may be likely that all U.S. PAPs may have to obtain a full and final adoption in Uganda in order to obtain an immigrant IR-4 visa. When our Embassy has more information from the Government of Uganda, we will be sure to inform PAPs.

Lifeline families need to know that we are working behind the scene, here and in Uganda, to aid both governments in the process as well as keeping families informed about what is transpiring. Our attorney remains confident that things will work out for Lifeline families because of what he is hearing from the Ugandan Courts.
For all Lifeline adoptions our attorney has always added the verbiage in the original affidavit that the intent of the American family is to take the child to the US, finalize adoption, and apply for US citizenship.
Perhaps other attorneys have not taken this step in filing their petitions which would understandably cause concern on the part of the US Embassy.

Be assured that as new information arises we will keep you informed.

Adoption is a faith journey and we believe God not only desires to transform a child through this process, but you as well. We encourage all of our families to commit this process to the Lord in continual prayer. Lifeline also desires to stress the importance of timely and accurate information. If you are hearing reports counter to what we are communicating to you they are false. Lifeline families may contact me if you have additional questions. You are continually in our thoughts and prayers!

Dave Wood
International Director
Lifeline Children’s Services

A Note from the Director - Proposal to Eliminate the Charitable Deduction

"I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you - the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121

Recently President Obama sent his fiscal year 2011 budget to Congress. A traditional, post State of the Union, function of the executive branch. It is from this budget that we learn so much of the agenda of each administration.

For the second year in a row, the Obama administration’s fiscal 2011 budget proposes eliminating the deduction for charitable donations for those Americans earning over $250,000. Obviously this is alarming to churches, ministries, and non-profits across the country.

Congress eliminated this proposal from the 2010 budget, but the Obama administration claims that if enacted in 2011 the projected savings to the US government would be $291 billion over 10 years.

While we definitely appreciate that the US needs to reduce spending and cut out pork, it is important to recognize that the savings non-profits and ministries provide the US government will far exceed the $291 billion projected to be saved through this measure. Also, if this measure were to be enacted, it would could cost non-profits at least $830 billion over the next 10 years, 3 times the savings to the US government. (This is figured conservatively with the limitations placed on the current highest tax bracket at 35%, Over $357,700 annual income.)

Ministries like Lifeline rely on the support of generous donors who give from their time, talents, and treasure. The Lord provides for the work of Lifeline, churches, and other ministries through the generosity of His people. While our compulsion to give should not be based on a tax credit, the tax credit enables us to give more.

Please join us in praying for our nations leaders as they debate and decide on this very important measure, that at least in Lifeline's case could grately impact the 143 million orphans at home and around the world. If you will please write your Congressmen, your Senators, and our President and ask them to consider cutting spending, but not on the backs of our nations non-profits.

The purpose of this post, is not to direct negativity to any particular party or to any particular representative of our great nation, but to stir us into prayer and action over this issue. Edmund Burke is quoted as saying, "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." As men and women called according to the purpose of God, let's fall to our knees over this issue, but remember, as Psalm 121 states, our hope is not in a tax credit or an earthly government, but in the Lord.

On behalf of the orphans,

Herbie Newell
Executive Director
Lifeline Children's Services
giving children a hope and a future

Thursday, February 4, 2010


The US Embassy is calling for a change in the wording in the legal guardianship decrees in Uganda. At this time, the US Embassy will not issue Immigrant Visas for children seeking to come to the US under a legal guardianship until this wording has been changed. Our attorney is diligently working to find out if the High Court judges would be willing to change the language used in the legal guardianship decrees. The decrees need to specifically state the judges’ awareness of the family’s intentions to adopt the Ugandan child or children in the US and that the judges understand the child or children will obtain dual citizenship in Uganda and in the US. He is specifically asking these questions on behalf of Lifeline families. Similar problems have arisen at the US Embassy in Uganda in the past and have been resolved successfully in a matter of weeks. Our attorney is hopeful that the current situation will be resolved in a timely manner as well. We will continue to update with timely and accurate updates.

Claire Davis
International Social Worker

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Lifeline is committed to give you timely and accurate information on news breaking now in Uganda. We can tell you that Legal Guardianship Immigrant Visa issuance in Uganda is currently on “hold” due to a problem with the wording used for the legal guardianship paperwork in the Ugandan courts. Our Ugandan attorney has a appointment at the US Embassy in Kampala tomorrow. The purpose of his scheduled meeting is obtaining additional information and potential ramifications relating to this situation. Lifeline is confident that hearing directly from the Embassy will cut through a lot of clutter and rumor now circulating on the internet. We will post another update tomorrow and will continue to keep you informed with reliable information.

Claire Davis
International Social Worker

The Plight Of The Orphaned--A Message from our International Director

Today, we are facing a global tragedy so vast that it boggles the mind. In 2009 we passed over the threshold of 200 million orphaned and abandoned children in our world. The shocking reality is that these precious millions are so much like the three children who live in my home. Each of them has a name, a unique personality, hurts, and dreams. They also have a God who is crazy about them. What they don’t have is a mommy and daddy to hug and kiss them, to tuck them into bed at night, to comfort them when they skin a knee or have a tummy ache.. to make them feel like the most special creation in the world! Almost all of these children will spend their entire lives wrestling with famine, unsanitary water supply, abuse, and societal devaluation. Many will be afflicted with chronic disease.

And the numbers keep growing. In the past hour another..

-1,625 girls and boys were forced to live on the streets by the death or abuse of an adult.

-1,667 girls and boys under the age of five died from malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases

-115 girls and boys became prostitutes

-66 girls and boys under 15 were infected with HIV

-257 girls and boys were orphaned because of HIV/AIDS

How can Christian families come to grips with these numbers?

The story is told of a grandfather walking along the beach with his grandson the morning after a horrible storm. One of the results of the storm was that numberless numbers of starfish had been displaced from the surf and washed ashore. As the two walked along the grandson continued to stop, reach down, grab a starfish, and thrown it back into the ocean. Finally the grandfather turned and said, “What are you doing? As far as you can see there are starfish washed up on the beach. Don’t you know that what you’re doing isn’t making any difference!” The young boy, holding a starfish in his hand, looked up into his grandfather’s eyes and said, “Granddaddy, I’m making a difference for this one!” And he threw the starfish into the ocean.

As Christians we can make a difference! Last year almost 17,000 of us did just that by personally adopting a precious child. Another option is to support a family who is willing to adopt. Over 60% of Christian families are open to adoption, but the number one reason a family doesn’t follow through and adopt is the cost involved. Usually families are just a few thousand dollars away from being able to say “yes”.. you could make an incredible difference with your support! Another way that many Lifeline families are making a difference is traveling to an orphanage and launching a life/job skills program for the 99% of children who will never be adopted (our next “Camp” is scheduled in June to Ukraine.. we would love for you to join us). Finally, we all can pray. We could do that right now. Just stop for a few minutes and contemplate the plight of the orphan and what we can do to make a difference. May God richly bless your family!

Dave Wood
International Director

Walk in The Word: God's Story of Redemption

Bible Study 1/25/10
Reading Passages: Genesis, chapters 30-50

In biblical times, a person's character was often identified with their name. For instance, Jacob's name meant "deceiver" and he was truly a man of deception. He had deceived both his twin brother Esau, and father Isaac, out of the family birthright (chapter 27). After doing so, he was forced to leave town, fearful of being killed by his brother. Twenty years later, in a nighttime encounter with God, Jacob was given a new name, Israel, meaning "he struggles with God." This new name was given because of his victories from prior struggles: with his brother (ch. 25-27), father (ch. 27), uncle (ch. 29-31), wives (ch. 30), and with God at Peniel (32:28).

Many other people were blessed with new names, given by God, to reflect their new identities: Abram became Abraham, Saul became known as Paul, and Simon to Peter. In Revelation 3:12, Jesus tells us that once we enter heaven, that we too, will be given new names. No longer will I be known as Deanna, wretched sinner, but I will be given a new identity, a new body, a new name! Jesus Christ, the holy and perfect Son of God, will write HIS name on US. This new name will reflect His character and will identify us as belonging to Him! make Him Lord of your life. That's a big word, if, and our eternity is dependent upon our decision to accept, or reject, Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives.

Thank God today for his goodness and grace. He is giving YOU the opportunity for a new name - will you accept?

Praying the SON shines on you today!

Deanna Crist

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nurturing Women--a message from our Birthmother Counselors

I am privileged to work with precious women. It was nice to be reminded about how much Jesus loves/loved women. May the following be an encouragement to you as a woman and/or to the women in your life.

At a time when men and especially Rabbis didn’t talk to women (even women of good repute) in public, Jesus cared for women despite the cultural bounds of His time. Here are some examples that came to mind (you can spend time reading and thinking through the precious details):

1) He publicly commended a woman with a bleeding issue for her faith (she was probably shunned by others for years) and called her “daughter” (huge!). (Luke 8:43-48).
2) He raised a 12 year old girl back to life. (Luke 8:40-42;49-56)
3) When brought before Him a woman caught in adultery to test Jesus (by law they were supposed to have brought the man too!), Jesus does not condemn her, but clears the crowd by writing in the sand, and forgives her. (John 8:1-11)
4) Jesus stops a funeral procession and raises a widow’s son back to life (he was her only means of support left). (Luke 7:11-17)
5) He purposely went to Samaria (at a time Jews went out of their way to avoid the area) and spoke to a woman of ill repute and not only engaged her into conversation publicly, but revealed Himself as the Christ (something He rarely did outright). (John 4:7-45)
6) Jesus publicly commended and forgave a woman who came to Simon’s house and wept at His feet and poured perfume on Him. (Luke 7:36-50)
7) He was in fellowship with Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) and He was moved emotionally after their brother died and raised him to life. (John 11:1-46)
8) One of my favorite stories is when Mary M. goes to the tomb to see Jesus’ body (for anointing purposes) and ends up talking to Jesus. He chose Mary as the first person He showed Himself to post resurrection. (John 20:11-18)

Jesus told the Samaritan woman “if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water (John 4:10). Matthew 7:11 says “if you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” I don’t know what His good gifts are planned for you, but our gentle and humble hearted Savior still wants us to come to Him (Matthew 11:28-30) and ask approaching His throne of grace with confidence that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (James 4:16)

Thanks Jesus!

Gina Linden
Birthmother Counselor