Monday, August 29, 2011

Slow but Steady…

At times, in adoption, we are reminded of the moral of Aesop's fable: The Tortoise and the Hare. When we see the faces of all of the children who are waiting, we want to hurry up and find families for the Lord’s precious children. We want to “win the race” against time and successfully find homes for His precious children before we have to send their files back to the shared list.

BUT…the Lord assures us each and every day that HE is in control. He reminds us to slow down and wait patiently during those times that it feels as if we are racing against time. He encourages us through scripture to have HOPE in Him and TRUST that He has a mighty plan. The Lord reminds us to endure and have patience as He guides us along the path to the perfect family for His children.

4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Lisa Kelly seeing her daughter Ella for the very first time.
Truly a gift from the Lord worth waiting for - trust in Him!

Families come to us with this same excitement about adoption. They look to us for guidance, and through prayer and Hope in our Lord, we encourage our families to trust, to have peace, to let the Lord show us His plan.

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

We all want to be in control. We want to know the where, when, why, what, and who. The interesting part is that the question remaining in the back of many of our minds is “how?” How will I afford adoption? How will this little one affect my current family in my home? How come it takes so long? How will my child be as he/she grows up with these special needs? How…how…how…the answer – through prayer and through our Lord!

If the Lord has truly placed adoption on your heart, you can be encouraged and assured that He will help you endure whatever comes your way. He is always faithful! When we say the Lord is faithful, we mean that we can trust him, rely on him, and depend on him totally and without reservation. He will do what he says. He is constant and does not change!

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

With that being said, the Lord does not sit back and say…do nothing. Just like in any “race” – preparation is the key! Lifeline has amazing educational opportunities to help prepare our families for adoption. We are excited that the “prize” at the end of this race against time is a child who will have a loving family to call their own and most importantly know and love our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. For it is only through Him, with Him, and in Him that any race is won!

14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Please contact us if you are seeking answers to the “how” of adoption. We are here to encourage and prepare you from start to finish – that you can count on! Our prayers are with you always!

Lisa Kelly
International Adoption Specialist

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


My friends, JT and Natalie, adopted their precious son, Tedi, from Ethiopia in 2010 and I wanted to share one of their blog posts with our Lifeline families:

A little over a year ago, Tedi had little identity. He was given up as a three year-old. He was a victim of the harsh realities of being born in a developing country. Tedi’s identity is no longer that as an orphan; he is an heir, handpicked, redeemed. Tedi is now an integral part of our family’s story. My identity is that I am no longer lost. No longer am I an orphan. The God of the universe loved me enough that He sent His only son to death. He sent His son to the cross so I could call him Daddy. This fact did not weigh heavily on me until I became a Dad. I cannot imagine allowing Tedi to die to save people who ridicule, mock or upset me. The exciting thing is that God feels this way about everyone who has ever lived!

Today, there is absolutely nothing that Tedi can do to separate from my love. It doesn’t matter how badly he acts or how many times he asks m
e “Why?” (by the way, we are at about 250 today- UGH!!!). The same can be said of my relationship with Jesus. No matter how many times I screw up (and people that know me know that is a lot), Jesus only loves me more. What an amazing example of unconditional love He shows each of us. The first moment I met Tedi, I got down on one knee and let him walk slowly to me. I embraced him and whispered in his ear, “Mommy and Daddy came a long way (I meant that both literally and figuratively) just for you, Tedi. We love you so much.” I felt him trembling in my arms; he was scared. I quietly started singing the chorus to one of my favorite songs:

“And I’ll be by your side whenever you fall, in the dead of night whenever you call. Please don’t fight these hands that are holding you. My hands are holding you.”

I find myself singing this son
g to him often. My hope is that one day, Tedi will realize that this song is not only being sung by a father to his son, but by our God to him.

Tedi knew no English when I first met him in Ethiopia. Our first few days together were like the world’s longest game of charades! I think it is a good thing that he could not communicate to me because, if he could, I am sure he would have said things like this in the first few days:

-“Who is this crazy white dude and why does he think he is funny?
-“Does he really think I am getting on this plane?"
-“Why are all these people cheering for me at the airport in Louisville? I can get used to t

One of the coolest things in adopting a child is watching him/her gradually (some slower than others) trusting their new family. Unlike if he had been born to us, Tedi had experienced life without us and was living as independently as a three year-old could. He did not and does not have to trust us. After nine months home, I still get chills when Tedi chooses to call me “Daddy.” When he first got home, he would wake up in the middle of the night and we would find him standing in the dark living room moaning pitifully. Gradually, he would come closer to our room if he woke up. After a month or so, he would stand at the foot of our bed and moan. I vividly remember the first time, instead of moaning, he yelled for his Daddy!!! Much like the process Tedi went through; I have gone through stages of trust with my Heavenly Father. I think God gets the same joy when I call him Daddy.

One thing that scared us before we met Tedi was the reports we received from other families who had visited with Tedi in his orphanage. Every one of them told us the same thing: Tedi was very shy, didn’t open up and was kind of a loner. Several described him as sad. Natalie and I were scared that perhaps he was severely traumatized by his experience and would suffer extreme attachment issues. Here are some pictures of Tedi before we met him.

Those of you that have met Tedi know that he could never be described as shy, closed off emotionally, or sad! When Tedi became a part of a family and had a Mommy and Daddy that loved him, everything changed for him. He went from being all alone to being accepted and loved. The same can be said of our relationship with Christ.

I am thankful that JT and Natalie shared their post with us. I am new to the Lifeline team and as an International Adoption Specialist; I am so excited that Lifeline is offering adoptions from ETHIOPIA! I have adopted two sweet boys from Ethiopia (2008 & 2010) and my family has fallen in love with the country and people of Ethiopia. With more than 5 million orphans in Ethiopia, there is such a huge need. This program is currently running about 12-15 months. Children from birth to 13 years old are available for adoption (HIV+ children are also available). If you have questions or would like more information on our Ethiopia program, click here, and please call (205) 967-0811. We look forward to telling you about Ethiopian adoptions and these sweet children.

Lesley Scott
International Adoption Specialist - Kentucky

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Here in Alabama, school is back in session. Students from the Kindergarten level to the university level are back in the classroom ready for the new school year. As my children started school last week, I saw a shift in our family that reflects this new season. We have spent the last week talking about new friends, new teachers and new rules. Our children have also turned their attention to the new things they are already learning at school. They are eager to learn and are proud to share their new found knowledge with us. Their desire to learn new things reminds me just how important it is to always be teachable and pursuing wisdom.

The Book of Proverbs begins in Chapter 1 by giving the reader a clear understanding of the importance of being teachable by explaining that the purpose and theme of the book is for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction for sensible behavior and doing what is right, just and fair (Proverbs 1:1-3, NIV). The chapter goes on to say that the wise should listen and add to their learning.

So I know that it’s important to be a lifelong learner but how do I do that? As Christians, our first and most valuable resource is God our Father. I know that when I spend time in prayer with Him and asking God to give me wisdom, He does not fail to provide it. James 1:5 tells us that if we ask, God will give us wisdom. In order to continue learning, it’s crucial to spend time in prayer and reading scriptures.

The next step to continual learning is to seek out people you trust who are wise, knowledgeable and pursuing excellence. This can be done in the form of spending time together with people who are wise, reading books or even listening to podcasts. Proverbs tells us that just as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17NIV). I remember attending basketball camp in junior high and being taught this principle in relation to shooting free throws. The coach had to re-teach one of the players to shoot so she could have proper form. He asked her who taught her to shoot the way she did, because she learned it the wrong way! He told the players in the entire camp to make sure that we learn from people who know the skills of the game; otherwise we may learn the wrong things. Surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial to learning and pursuing wisdom.

Another step to being teachable and becoming wiser is to be willing to learn from the successes and failures that we experience and see others experience. In every role in my life (wife, mom, friend, employee) I know that I am going to make mistakes and have failures. In those roles, my successes and failures affect everyone around me. Personally, I don’t like to fail so my preference is to watch my family, friends and co-workers who are successful and model my behaviors from theirs. Hopefully, as I gain knowledge and wisdom in every area of my life, I will have more successes than failures.

My prayer is that I will always be willing to follow these steps so that I can have a heart that is teachable and be wise in my life.

Gisella Sharp
North Alabama Social Worker