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

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