Tuesday, December 28, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

Michelle Staab
Birth Mother Counselor


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karen Ely
Domestic Social Worker

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Adoption Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 13, 2010

Come, thou long-expected Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allison Fuqua
International Social Worker

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Birth of a Savior

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

Lea Anne Parker
Senior Supervisor of Social Services

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What is your Design?

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

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

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

We are currently looking to fill the following positions:

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

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

Cathy Johnson
Executive Assistant

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Domestic Reunions

What are Lifeline Domestic Reunions?

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

What is the process of working toward a reunion?

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

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

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

Sommer Bradshaw
Reunion Counselor

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Be All Here

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

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

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

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

Mallory Blackmon
Daphne Social Worker