Tuesday, May 25, 2010


To all of our Uganda families..

I am so excited to report to you that late last week the first IR4 visa since February 3, 2010 has been issued for a family that has obtained legal guardianship of Ugandan children (the conditions of that particular visa are unknown). However, early tomorrow morning a visa will be issued to a Lifeline family (with no special terms or conditions)! This visa issuance, and those that will follow, is the result of a letter of clarification from the Department of State to the U.S. Embassy in Kampala. Lifeline’s firm understanding is that this clarification instructs the Consular in Kampala to issue IR4 immigrant visas for families who have proper immigration and adoption wording. Due to this clarification, we are now confident in moving forward with obtaining court dates for our families!

Lifeline believes that in spite of the delays God continues to show favor on our agency and our families! We are excited to move forward with legal guardianships in Uganda and are hopeful that today’s visa issuances will be the first of many for Lifeline families in 2010!

Two factors that families should be aware of in creating a realistic expectation of the Uganda process moving forward. One, there is a significant back log of families and limited judges so things will begin slow and pick up as more families, that have been waiting in Uganda, are granted visas. Two, with an investigation needing to take place for each child, additional time may be needed in country. As we gather more information and request additional ways for the Embassy to address this we will let you know. I can assure you that Lifeline is going to be very proactive in filing for court appointments and setting official travel dates.

In closing, I want to thank each family for an amazing display of grace and patience. I truly believe God blessed our families with incredible peace throughout this difficult delay. Without question things are opening now because you and other committed families were so responsive to contact their congressional officials.

Many Blessings,

Education Update: Excited About Adoption

Last week I had the privilege of attending a pro-life conference in Orlando, Florida, hosted by Heartbeat International. Among the keynote speakers was Pam Tebow, mother of famed football quarterback, Tim Tebow. As I sat among the hundreds of professionals and volunteers committed to taking the message of life to those most vulnerable to abortion, I was filled with joy to see Christ exalted in that room. It occurred to me that, this passion and desire to see life fulfilled, comes from the Author of life. My purpose for going to the conference was to facilitate a workshop on adoption for other attendees. So with laptop and power point in hand, I set off to my training room to share what I am surrounded by daily – adoption. The title of my workshop, “Debunking Adoption Myths for Pregnant Teens,” certainly drew interest, but it was people’s excitement about adoption that was most interesting to me. I sometimes forget that adoption is still the least popular option for women facing unplanned pregnancy, and the material that I have shared dozens of times, is still new to many.

Upon my return home, I wrapped up the week with a marathon of the program “Decisions, Choices and Options” at a local high school. My co-leader and I had been invited to present to seven different classes of ninth graders. The students, though typical teens, were attentive and even offered comments and raised questions. After the presentations, several students came up to me and proudly shared that they were adopted. As an adoptive mother, it was affirming to hear these young people announce their adoptions with pride – not with shame or loss – that we so often hear about in the world.

The whirlwind of excitement that last week brought also brought personal feelings of inadequacy. Why would anyone want to listen to me? In fact, there was nothing stunning about me or my presentations, but what captivates people, I believe, is the message of adoption itself. Truly, it is a message that is filled with hope for everyone. When we consider what adoption means, we cannot ignore that God Himself speaks of our adoption into His family through His Son, Jesus. When we turn to Christ, we have the promise that God will not leave us as orphans. May I never grow jaded to all that adoption is.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

Traci Newell
Education Coordinator

Monday, May 10, 2010

What does the Bible say about adoption?

As Christians we often like to look to Scripture as our guide. So, in terms of adoption, what does the Bible say? First, some of the most notable characters from the Bible appear to have been adopted. The Pharaoh’s family took in Moses after his mother let him go in an effort to save his life. Mordecai cared for Esther after she was orphaned.

While there are a few stories concerning adoption in the Bible, we can perhaps gain more appreciation for the idea when we consider three of Scripture’s major themes, faith, hope, and love.

Faith. Throughout life we will accumulate all kinds of things, but our faith will always be our most important possession. When parents adopt a child, they want to give him or her everything that they can. One of the most important gifts that we as Christians can give our children is insight into our faith.

Hope. If you have looked at some of the pictures of the orphanages where some of the children await adoption, things may have looked fairly hopeless. Adoption is a way to bring hope to those children who have little or no hope.

Love. Adoption is one of the greatest expressions of Christian love. Love is the basic reason for adopting a child. In all that we do, we should be motivated by love. Bringing a child into our family is one of the most loving acts that we can do. We are in a sense giving our lives to the child. We can be reminded of Jesus’ words that the greatest act of love is to give our life over for another life.

Paul, in his letters, often speaks of adoption as well. Here the idea is more of a spiritual one, concerning our relationship to God. However, these passages also seem to affirm the act of adoption as worthy because it is an act that God himself partakes in.

Here are some other passages that might be helpful in thinking about Scripture and adoption:

Proverbs 31:8,9
8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy."

James 1:27
27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Walk in the Word: God's Story of Redemption

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I trust!" - Psalm 91:1-2

Last night in my quiet time with the Lord, I began reflecting on Psalm 91. As I was sitting in my room, on my comfortable bed, in my air-conditioned house, with a wonderful loving spouse and children.....I began thinking of how the Lord has truly blessed me and how often I take such blessings for granted. My mind began to question how many millions of abandoned, orphaned, or children living in foster care may never know these blessings that I so often take for granted. Some where in the world, children are sleeping two or more to a bed, and others may not have a bed at all. How many of them have never had a safe haven to go home to, or a family to love on them? It is so easy to question why some people have to suffer more than others, but I am reminded in Psalm 91 that nothing happens without God permitting it to happen. This psalm so eloquently describes the sovereign protection an Almighty God.

I remember being a child, playing outside and getting very hot out in the sun. We had a great big oak tree in our back yard where I loved to swing and climb. When I would get too hot, or just needed to rest, I would sit underneath that tree because its shadow was so great that it blocked out all sun light.........Well, how much greater is our God than that old oak tree? He is more than able to protect us for the many dangers and terrors that we face in this world. So for the millions of children worldwide who may be without a family, or bed, or a safe haven, I know they have an even greater refuge when resting in the shadow of our Most High God.

Praying YOU will find refuge,
Deanna Crist