Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Streams of Mercy...

"to choose to take as one's own; make one's own by selection; to take or receive into any kind of new relationship." 
"to affirm, embrace, seize, take over"

           My name is Hillary and I am currently working at Lifeline! I just joined the family a few weeks ago and I am so happy to be blogging today!
A few weeks ago I was asked to blog about my adoption story. So my prayer is that you are encouraged and filled up with the Father’s love and affection for you as you read what He has done in my life!
At six weeks old, I was adopted into a wonderful family. I have a wonderful mother, father, and older brother. Through the years I have also gained a sister-in-law and a niece and a nephew who is due in a few months!
            I always knew I was adopted. My parents always told me I was adopted, and always wanted me to know. They always told me I was theirs from the beginning and that they never wanted to keep it from me. The funny thing is when I tell people I am adopted, they look very surprised because I look a lot like my mom and dad! Even my best friend in high school didn’t believe I was adopted!
            I grew up in an amazing and loving home. My family is very important to me and I am so thankful that the Lord chose them to be my family. Through the Lord, I have been blessed with a huge family on my dad’s side (30+ cousins!) and a small, loving and caring family on my mom’s side. There was never a time in my life that I didn’t feel loved by my family. My mom tells me stories of the first day they brought me home from the agency. She told me of the many family members and friends that came by the house the first day I was home. So it is safe to say, I was loved from the moment my parents brought me home.
            Again, I went through life always knowing I was adopted. Though at a young age I didn’t really understand what that meant. As I became older, I grew more and more interested about my birth mom. We did not have much information on her except we knew she was a young teenager when she became pregnant. When I was in 10th grade, I became even more interested in finding out who my birth mother is. My English teacher in high school gave a persuasive writing assignment one day in class. A topic that was listed was “Open v Closed Adoption.” She approached me and said that she thought I would like to write on this because she knew I was adopted. From there, I began researching about open and closed adoption which led me to contacting my adoption agency to ask them about these topics. A long story short, I finished the paper with a greater knowledge on these topics but also with a new interest.
            After I finished the paper, I remember riding in the car with my mom and asking her about possibly contacting my birth mom. At first, I was nervous because I didn’t want to hurt my parents by asking them about my birth mom. But again, I know the Lord chose them to be my parents for a reason. From the very beginning, my parents have been 110% supportive. I know this process was extremely hard for them. I knew it was going to be hard to somewhat, let me go and find out “who I am.” While in the car, my mom told me that I had a letter that my birth mother had written me. At the time I didn’t know that I had a letter, so I was really anxious to read it. The agreement was that when I turned 18, I would be able to read the letter.
            So fast forward a few years and it is my 18th birthday. My parents handed me a handwritten letter that my birth mother had written 18 years ago. At first I didn’t cry when I read it, but a few months later, I sat down by myself and read the letter again and began to cry. I cried because my birth mother told me how much she loved me and that she wanted the best for me. I cried because I saw how a young teenager had to make such a grown-up decision. Reading her letter made me realize that she had to give up a lot in order that I could live and have a life she wanted me to have. I never had a doubt that my birth mother didn’t love me. And through the letter, I began seeing not only her heart but the Lord’s heart for me.

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

            The letter sparked many thoughts about where I came from and what my birth mother was like. When I turned 19, I was able to access my file at the adoption agency and begin searching for my birth mother. It took a few months but when we found her, I really wanted to communicate with her. Through the social worker at the agency, my birth mother and I were able to communicate through emails. She told me where she has been the past few years and what she was doing now. She even sent me current pictures of her and her family. It was really neat being able to see what she looks like and getting to see that she has a family of her own! I was able to tell her about myself through emails, but I felt that I was unable to communicate what I was feeling. I expressed to her that I really would like to have a phone call with her and be able to talk verbally. So a few months pass, and the time came for she and I to talk on the phone. I was nervous, excited, along with other emotions. When she picked up the phone, it was awkward at first, but then we began talking. One thing I will never forget from the phone call is that Jen (my birth mom) told me that she never forgot about me and that she always thought of me. I knew that she probably thought of me but hearing her say that just made me stand back and realize the sacrifice she made 20 years ago. I explained to her that I really wanted to talk on the phone so that I could express how thankful I am. I was able to share with her what the Lord had done in my life because of the choice she made 20 years ago. I told her that I really wanted to meet her so I could thank her in person. I will always remember that day and how I became even more thankful for God’s sovereignty not only in my life, but in Jen’s life as well.
            So what does being adopted mean to me? Being adopted has added a lot to my life. I probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Jen’s decision. About two years ago, the Lord really opened my eyes to what being adopted means. Going back to the letter she wrote me, seeing how much she truly loved me, the Lord opened my eyes to see that just like Jen, He too had given up so much for me to live. He had given up His Son so that I could live and have the life He always wanted me to have. He too faced the pain, of given up someone that He loved so dearly so that other’s might live. He has dreams for me and plans for me that I cannot even fathom. Though I was saved at age 13, I began to fall in love with the Lord even more through this new journey in my life. As I tried to process all of what the Lord was showing me, He revealed even more to me! He brought these verses to my mind:

“For you formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my
Mother’s womb.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and
wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works;
My soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden
from You,
when I was made in the secret,
intricately woven in the depths of
the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed
in Your book were written, every one
Of them,
The days that were formed for me,
When as yet there was none of them.”
-Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

Though I had heard and read this verse many times in my life, this was the first time I began to actually see this verse come alive. The Lord began reminding me that He had (and still has) a plan for me even before I was thought of, even before He created the universe, before all these things, He knew me. I began to cry thinking of how great the Father is! The days that are before me now, “…were formed for me.” You and I have a purpose here. I wasn’t some mistake in a teenager’s life and you weren’t a mistake either. The Lord began to pour His thoughts into my mind and tell me that He has a plan for my life. In the midst of graduating college, trying to find a job, a place to live, in all the craziness, He, the Creator of everything you and I see, has a plan not just for me, but for every single person. He has a plan that is better than anything I can ever imagine. Knowing that my future is in the hands of a Sovereign and Faithful God quieted my anxious heart. My heart became so full of how He has orchestrated every single detail in my life (big and small). 
Being adopted has opened so many doors in my life. I have been able to connect with others around me, and tell them my story. I have also been given so many opportunities in my life. I have been blessed with an amazing family and friends. I have been able to go on several mission trips and most importantly, I have been able to hear the gospel proclaimed throughout my life. Through Jen’s self-less decision, and through the Lord’s renewing mercies, I have been given “a hope and a future.”

For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a
spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear,
but you have received the Spirit of adoption
[the Spirit producing sonship]
in [the bliss of] which
we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!
-Romans 8:15 (Amplified Bible)

Throughout this journey, the Lord has given me a heart for the orphans in our world today. He has also given me a burden for the young women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy or who have taken the route of abortion. The Lord opened my eyes to see how these women need Him just as much as you and I do. Though I rejoice that the Lord has saved me, I don’t need to just stop there. I need to, as Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…” I need to tell my story to as many that will hear. He has brought life into these bones so that I may proclaim Him in all that I do. So, through our rejoicing, let us also lift up a mighty roar to Heaven with our prayers for those who have yet to know who Jesus is and proclaim Him as their Savior! Again, He has created us for a higher purpose!
            Many asked me during the process of finding my birth mom, “What if she doesn’t want to know anything about you?” or “What if she doesn’t want to talk to you?” Though I had asked myself the same questions, the Lord calmed my fears with His voice of Truth. He reminded me that even if Jen didn’t want to know anything about me or didn’t want to have communication with me, it doesn’t matter. My identity isn’t in what other people tell me. My identity is found in the Father. He sees me as His child and calls me His beloved, and if all others forsake me, He will remain the same. I have seen the gospel more clearly even through these past few years. I have seen how my life, without Christ, is just like the orphans we work with. I was hopeless, fatherless, and homeless. But through the Lord’s Sovereign hand, I have been given hope, a family, and now, a new name. What an amazing Father you and I have!

But when the time arrived that set by God the Father,
God sent His Son, born among us of a woman,
born under the conditions of the law
so that He might redeem those of us who have been
kidnapped by the law.
Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.
You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted
as His own children because God sent the Spirit of His Son
into our lives crying out, "Papa! Father!"
Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation 
with God make it plain that 
you are not a salve,
but a child?
And if you are a child, you're 
also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.
-Galatians 4:4-7 (The Message)

Hillary Dickey, Administrative Assistant

Friday, May 18, 2012

Be Like Christ

Pinned Image
A couple of girls and I are studying Philippians 2:5-11.  Talk about convicting. 

“Have this mind/attitude” v.5 says.  Right before that, I read we should consider others better than ourselves. And, look out for other’s interests besides my own…   (I need to read this everyday-multiple times!)

Oh, so the Philippians struggle with this like I do?

Then I read how Paul puts it in perspective…

Jesus- He is God- knew He was God- but did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.   Jesus èGodèCreator of ALL THINGS -by Him, through Him, and for Him were ALL THINGS made-  And in Him ­ALL THINGS hold together.   He was there when I was made in the secret place (Ps.139:15).  He calmed a raging storm, walked on water, fed thousands, healed diseases, cast out demons, raised people from the dead, rendered a fig tree unfruitful, changed water into wine, and forgave a lame man- a prostitute- an adulteress, etc.

He could have used His power for personal benefit.  Ha, what would I do if I could have His abilities for a day?

But, no, He “made Himself NOTHING” or emptied Himself taking the form of a bond-servant- which means [to completely and absolutely assign all personal rights over to the authority and will of another person].  (The Discovery Bible pg. 542) 

He was born in the likeness of man… God to human… (ponder THAT for a while…)

Then- perfectly obedient to the Father’s will- obedient to die the death the Father chose for Him (beatings and floggings and mockery of this innocent God/Man beforehand).  Not only innocent, but






He hung on a cross- cursed (Gal 3:13)

                                                            For hours

                                                       Forsaken by God-

                                                Weighted by the full brunt sin-




Hmm…“Have this mind/attitude”…      

                Consider others better than myself... 

                And, look out for other’s interests as well besides my own…

If Jesus, God, could empty Himself and let go of All His rights, surely, hmm, what…could…I?  

Gina Linden, Domestic Adoption Social Worker

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How Deep the Father's Love

Pinned Image

How deep the Fathers love for us

How vast beyond all measure

That he should give his only son

To make a wretch his treasure.

I love the words of this song and how they remind me of my place before God. To know that the God of the universe sees me as his treasure and asks for me to call him Father. How invigorating to know of his love for me.

As a father myself it goes without saying I love my children. The love I have for them is unconditional. When I explain it to them and they ask why, I simply say " just cause." I love them just because they are my child.

Being a father it means I not only get to love my children but to lead my children. To lead them down the right paths to get them to want what they need. So to it is with God, he is our father giving us his Word to guide us and lead us. Showing us the most excellent path.

When I think of adoption I think of it as God's invitation to join an amazing journey, one that will challenge and teach us. One that will remind us of his endless pursuit of our lives, and the unspeakable joy of acceptance into his family.

To those considering adoption, will you accept the invitation? The God of all love who has adopted you wants you to follow him down this same path, mimicking his very actions.

For those who are adopting, take heart you have a heavenly father who understands the struggle, the countless hours of wanting your child to be home. The depths of a journey filled with many hurdles. He too has walked the path and he is excited you are following his example as well.

To those who have adopted, be reminded of your heavenly fathers love for you. Just as you have accepted your child and love him/her so to God has accepted you making you a co-heir with Christ.  You are his beloved sharing his name and his inheritance.

How great the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure.

Geoffrey Ketcham, Manager or International Services

Friday, May 11, 2012

Will you do it?

God is always loving, pursuing, and speaking! 

And we, most of us anyway.. Are on the move, running and multitasking.

Progressively it has become more difficult to slow down and listen to His still, quiet, Voice. The Voice that spoke creation into being.  The Voice who proclaims, "This one belongs to me", when the Evil One comes as an accuser.

Distractions.. They are layered about everywhere. And in there midst of this confusing, often chaotic life, God has not abandoned us. He is here.. He is still loving, pursuing.. And speaking.

He whispers as if His Voice were in the wind. With love and truth He says, "I am the least of these.. Do you see me?"  "I am the one on the street corner holding the sign and I wait in the line at the downtown mission.. Look through the clothes, the beard, the stench.. Thats me in there!"

I am the orphan who stands and looks at you with a dazed stare. Thats what hopelessness does to innocence."  I mumble, "Daddy" as I walk toward you with my hand out.. Its only a whisper. "Do you hear me?"

In that glance.. This in this moment.. The distractions subside enough for you to hear me say, "Be still and know that I am God!"

Will you do it?

Dave Wood, International Director

Friday, May 4, 2012

Blessed Assurance

I recently finished reading Tullian Tchividjian’s Do I Know God?, and what a blessing it was. Like so many others, a recurring struggle in my life is one with doubt – doubt over whether or not I truly know God and have experienced his saving grace. I have agonized over the words of Matthew 7:21-23, praying that he would enable me to be faithful and that God would recognize me as one of His own on that coming day. Despite my doubt, I know that Christ himself desires for me to be certain of my standing with him, and I desire to experience that assurance. Tullian walks through scripture and describes how the examination of three areas of our lives can allow us to experience this certainty – our feelings toward God, our obedience of his law, and our belief in his promises and his character.

When God adopts us into his eternal family, he gives us new hearts that begin to love what he loves and hate what he hates. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!" Our feelings, loves, and desires speak volumes about where we stand with God, and our thoughts and emotions about God matter to God. What do my thoughts, feelings, and desires reveal about my relationship with him? What does my heart speak about God?

Jesus said that the children of God would be known by their good works. Good works have nothing to do with establishing a relationship with God, but they have everything to do with enjoying fellowship and community with him. Am I pursuing fellowship with God through the obedience of his laws? Am I studying his Word so that I know his laws? Am I able to speak the words of Psalm 119: "I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word"?
God’s character itself leads us to certainty in our relationship with him. There are too many attributes of God to name, but some that come to mind are: infinite, infallible, immutable, compassionate, loving, merciful, holy. If we believe all of these things to be true, we have no choice but to trust in his many promises. He promises to save us from wrath through faith in Jesus. He promises that when we are adopted into his family, he will never, ever leave or forsake us. He promises that, through Christ, we are made holy and spotless in his eyes. What assurance these promises give!

For all of us, it is my prayer that "you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." May we, the children of God, be filled with his fullness and rest in the assurance of his eternal, saving grace.

Casey Voorhees, Foster Care Social Worker

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Colombia Accreditation Status

Lifeline  is more than excited to announce its newest program in Colombia!! This is going to be an amazing program. Colombia currently has over 11,000 children waiting for adoption, and Lifeline has what we believe to be the best on-the-ground team to assist in the adoption process and advocate for our families. We look forward to providing International Adoptions Services in Colombia. The resolution of accreditation is on its way at this time!

Families adopting from
Colombia can adopt children with special characteristics. Children with special characteristics include:  
1) older children, at least age 7 years old or older, 2) sibling groups, and 3) children of all ages that have one or more medical or special needs.
The Colombian adoption process takes an estimated time of 18 to 24 months for children with special characteristics. This is from the time your application is approved through the time of travel. Please remember that this is an estimated time.
Colombia requires that those seeking to adopt be between the ages of 25 and up and Colombia requires that married applicants are married for a minimum of three years. Single women may also adopt from Colombia.
When a family travels, the expected stay in-country is approximately 4-7 weeks. Both parents must be willing and able to stay the entire time if necessary, but one parent may return to the states during the process after the first few weeks if approved. The length of in-country stay will depend on the originating city of the child.
The estimated total cost of a Colombian adoption right now is around $27,600. We have done our best to provide an all-inclusive figure for our families. We also assist in providing families with information on  scholarships and grant programs that are available. If families are concerned about the cost, they can also contact their accountant to get information on the Adoption Tax Credit.
Colombia is a great country to adopt from for the following reasons: It is a “Hague-certified” program; there is high quality orphanage care; they provide detailed medical and developmental information on available children; children who wait receive counseling and advocacy services;  there is a well established government child welfare agency  that oversees the “transition” process; and children are able to reside with the adoptive parents throughout the family’s stay in-country.
The country of Colombia has many children in need of loving, permanent homes. If God calls you to embark on this journey, it would be our joy to partner with you!

For more information, please contact Beth Stanley at