Friday, December 17, 2010

Free Informational Meeting About International Adoption - Fishersville, Virginia

You are invited to an Introduction to International Adoption information meeting hosted by a family who has adopted through Children's Hope International, a non-profit adoption and humanitarian aid agency (and received pre-adoption and post-adoption services from Family Life Services).  Learn more about adopting from China, Russia, Columbia, and Ethiopia at this free meeting.

Saturday, January 22, 2011
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Augusta County Public Library
1759 Jefferson Highway
Fishersville, Virginia  22939

If you have any questions, you may contact the host, Rachel, at 540-949-0576 or  Children's Hope International is a Member of the ECFA for Financial Standards and Hague Accredited by the Council on Accreditation. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jump and the Money Will Appear

Have you considered adoption but feel like the financial costs involved are too overwhelming to even consider transferring your thoughts into a reality?  Do you look at adoptive families and secretly think "how in the world can they afford to adopt a child"? 

I cannot tell you the number of stories that I have heard, first-hand, from adoptive families whom I call my friends that attest to the fact that God provides.  He provides through adoption grants, interest-free adoption loans, anonymous gifts, family members' gifts, fundraisers, yard sales, selling pies & cakes, and the list goes on and on.  In providing financially for a willing adoptive family, he also provides a family to a child...and that alone is an awesome and overwhelming thought.  The following post is from Meaghan Miller's blog Living and Telling Good Stories.

34% of Christians consider adoption. The majority of them will never follow through, let alone even start—less than 1% actually. The main reason: the costs of adoption seem too overwhelming—often as much as $20,000-40,000.

When we began fundraising for our adoption, I had no idea how we would ever reach our goal of $20,000. It seemed so impossible, so far away, and yet, we are now within sight. I can’t believe it, but we are almost 60% of the way there. We have raised nearly $12,000 and we have just $8,000 to go. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

Joel and I have prayed from the beginning that God would use our story to inspire others to believe adoption possibly for ordinary families, not something reserved for the wealthy. We believe that there is more at stake with our fundraising than our own adoption—we are also doing this for the families that come after us. Every dollar that comes in says to another family: You don’t have to be rich and you don’t have to go into debt to respond to God’s call. You simply have to step out in faith, show up with your willingness to be creative and work hard, and trust that God will provide, one dollar at a time.

As I’ve met family after family who has adopted, whether face-to-face or through the world of social media, I have found that God provided exactly what they needed financially to adopt, literally without exception. Every story is unique, but the result is the same.

I remember seeing the first few donations come in several weeks back–$25 here, $50 there. I thought to myself, “Well, that’s great, but how in the world will we ever get to $20,000?” All I can say, somehow, it all adds up. Bottom line: God is in this!

While it may sound strange to say, I’m so thankful that Joel and I aren’t able to fund our adoption personally. In God’s providence, this piece of our story is absolutely necessary to the bigger narrative that God is writing in our family and our community. Without it, we would never be able to encourage others in the way that we can now, and our own faith would not have the chance to grow under pressure like it is at this very moment.

If you find yourself daunted by the financial obstacles of adoption, take heart. God wants to demonstrate his power through your story with HIS resources. Don’t let fear cause you to abandon a story like that for a smaller one.

Question: How have you stepped out in faith and seen God provide in ways you never imagined?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All I Really Want For Christmas...Is A Family.

During this season of joy, giving, and family traditions, it's easy to get so wrapped up in our own holiday traditions, family conflicts, and trivial business that we forget those who have a very different experience than our own during the holiday season.  The children without families, the elderly adults with no visitors, the homeless people on the street, the families who are struggling to feed their children, and those who have experienced significant grief, tragedy, and/or loss. 

How can you reach out to those around you during this time?  Is God calling you to make a visit, prepare a meal, serve at a local shelter, show someone that you care, buy gifts for children in foster care, or expand your family through adoption?  Whatever it it...and you will never be the same

"...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."  Matthew 25:40b

Friday, December 3, 2010

What About Their Baby Books?

“I just heard the baby’s heartbeat,” she whispered to me as she scooted in a few seats down from me in the prayer room. This mom-to-be just graduated from her first trimester and was bubbling over with these new data points on the one who would soon be her child.

As I processed those words, grief entered my heart.

I never heard Eden’s heartbeat. I didn’t see her when she was the size of a bean or a softball or even a six pound wonder waiting to be delivered. I didn’t hear her first hiccup or attend to the unspoiled cries of infancy. I didn’t get to pour prayers into her pre-natal development or celebrate the stages of her growth.

Earlier that day we watched a dear friend’s newborn. As I held her, Caleb crawled up beside me and studied her features. “Her fingers are so small, mommy. Were my fingers that small? What about Eden’s fingers?” I used this as an opportunity to talk about how his Ethiopian mommy saw him when he was that small and held him when he was newly born.

He was not visibly impacted by this, but I felt the weight of those words. Two years of his life are unknown to me. What parents can’t help but engross themselves with – the first roll, crawl, walk – is a void in his history.

So much of the year and a half that our children have been home has been about gains. We became a family. The joy of two zest-filled little ones has been seeping out of every corner of my life. They have only added to what we already had.

But what has become a staple -- life as a family of four -- has also created a safe space for all of us to begin assessing the losses. Eden wrestles with a fear of being abandoned again and Caleb’s little heart is especially tender. While they haven’t yet articulated grief over the years they weren’t in our home, the questions have started. Why couldn’t my Ethiopian mommy and daddy keep me? Why did it take so long for you to come get me? What about the other boys and girls who don’t have mommies and daddies?

And I’ve become familiar with a form of grief I didn’t anticipate. A sum total of 5 years of their lives is missing. The years which kids don’t remember (but parents memorialize) have no baby books to show for them. No locks of hair, no videos of their first steps, no knowledge of their first words. And this grieves my heart. I long for those years as if I was a parent whose child went missing for a period of time.

The only reconciliation for this grief is oftentimes the missing piece in adoption literature and research. It’s the ingredient that doesn’t show itself on double-blinded studies of children adopted post-infancy. The God of the universe promises redemption and restoration of all that is lost. His promise to Israel is also our promise: He will restore the years the locusts have eaten.

The grief that entered my heart today, at the thought of years I can’t tell stories about, is real. It’s a pain that, if at all possible, cuts even deeper than the wound of not-yet having biological children because it not only impacts me and Nate, but it touches our children. What sort of grid does a five year-old have for processing the black hole of their past? My heart hurts to anticipate when this reality will hurt her.

But what is becoming the lens through which I see our current adoption (and our future adoptions), must also be applied to this scenario.

God not only heals, but he restores. He closes up the wounds of the brokenhearted so that they are no longer.

There are two opportunities here. Eden and Caleb, and Nate and I, can come face to face with the God who penetrates those wounds; we can know Him deeper because of this. And we can walk as ones who have been healed, as if the wound was never there. It is a promise of God.

This may be a lifetime of discovery, but it’s available. What is often missed in the statistical references to adoption is the power of a God who heals. There is hope.

And so I pray to God for my children along the lines of Job, that He would not only heal those years, but restore to them twice as much as they had before. And I take my grief to His feet and say, Father, heal my heart. Heal their hearts. Use this wound to give them even more of you than they would have had if even their infant years had not been stolen.

And I wait with great anticipation, ready to memorialize His work.

Sara and her husband, Nate, are the proud parents of Eden & Caleb (pictured above) and have just begun another adoption journey.  Make sure to visit her blog Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

To Exchange Gifts or Not...That is the Question

Christmas is just around the corner...trees are up, lights are sparkling, folks are shopping!  During the holiday season, adoptive families and birth families can get really stressed out about the whole topic of gift exchange gifts or not to exchange gifts, that is the BIG question?

Unfortunately, there is not one answer that can be applied, across the board, to every adoptive family and birth family.  However, this is a time of year that you should remember one another and send a greeting, regardless of if it includes a gift or not.  Remember that it is the thought that counts.  It is better to send a card than do nothing because you have allowed yourself to be frozen in panic.

I have witnessed adoptive families and birth families who enjoy exchanging gifts and others who have chosen to keep their relationship focused on the relationship and don't want to burden either family with adding to the Christmas shopping list.  It is certainly individual and the most important thing is to communicate and talk about it if the uncertainty of know what you should or shouldn't do has caused you to stay awake at night.  Simply say, "I've been thinking about Christmas coming up and I sure want you to know how much you mean to our family every month throughout the year, but wondered what your thoughts are about whether we should exchange gifts or not?".  It comes out much easier than you might anticipate - and you'll feel so much better once you know what's expected.

If you choose not to exchange gifts, there are still some great ideas for the holidays: 

Send a photo card, making it more personal than the standard greeting and really think about your message inside (don't use your standard, 1 line greeting that you will write on all 100 of your cards). 

Make an ornament for the Christmas tree and mail it in early December. 

Consider sending an "update letter" and some new photographs.  This is a great idea for birth parents as well.  It is easy for birth parents to think that they have nothing to tell about themselves, but make an effort at the end of this year to tell the adoptive family about you and your family and include updated pictures of yourself. 

Share a holiday tradition between families.  Maybe it's a special breakfast that you enjoy as a family, a story that is read annually, a Christmas movie that's a "must" in your home, a family recipe, etc. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Celebrate Adoption" Skating Party Pictures

To celebrate National Adoption Month here in Lynchburg, Family Life Services hosted over 225 people at the LaHaye Ice Center for the "Celebrate Adoption" Skating Party!  The group was composed of friends of the ministry, birth families, adoptive families, and foster families.  Many families had adopted through FLS or had used our services for pre or post-adoption services and we had some families join us from the community.

Through the generous donations of two local families, we were able to provide free skating, free skate rentals, pizza, cupcakes, drinks and a professional face painter for all to enjoy.  We hope to be able to continue to make this event an annual tradition for our agency as we feel that it's a wonderful time for old friends to reunite and new friends to get acquainted!  You can view a sample of pictures from the day here or in the album on the sidebar. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wendy's Story: Lives Changed, Futures Restored

This was written by a birthmother who received counseling and services from our organization in 2002.  When asked what this ministry has meant to her, this was her response and testimony to the life-changing efforts of FLS & LGH.

If the Liberty Godparent Home & Family Life Services had not helped me in 2002, I would not be where I am today and I would not have been able to kick my drug habit! When I came to the home, they told me I was too old for the residential program but agreed to talk to me about my situation and see how they could help. I cried and told the director, at the time, what I was going through - I had a two year old son that I could not take care of and I was pregnant with another child in addition to having a drug addiction. They never turned their backs on me, regardless of my circumstances or my age. I haven’t done anything illegal since the day I stepped foot into the Godparent Home. When I placed my son for adoption through Family Life Services, the ministry helped me to get a job at Liberty University where I worked in Admissions for four years. I then transitioned into overseeing the Customer Service department at a large company where I have worked ever since.

I see my birth son about three to four times a year and have built a very good open adoption relationship with the adoptive mother and father. I have full custody of my oldest son and am now parenting a younger son as well. I am getting ready to get married June 11, 2011 to my best friend and we have been in a relationship for nine years. I am also an active member of my church. If it wasn’t for Family Life Services and the Godparent Home, I have no idea where I (or my two children) would be. They truly saved my life and gave me hope for a bright future. I am so thankful for this ministry’s investment in my life and will tell this story to anyone that will ask!

Wendy is pictured below with her fiance.  Thank you for sharing your story of a life impacted and changed!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Help an FLS Adoptive Family Help Orphans

We had the privilege of working with a couple, Jim & Susan, to help them adopt two children from Ethiopia earlier this year. They have a passion for adoption and have recently entered a contest with Dave Ramsey called The Great Giving Challenge and have the opportunity to help other adoptive families by giving away $1000 to five adoptive families who need help funding their adoptions. I want to see this happen and how appropriate would it be for this gift to become a reality during National Adoption Month!

In order to win, they have to be one of the top ten videos on Dave Ramsey’s website and then judges will choose three videos and will award $5,000 to each family to give away. They need a lot of votes, but it is achievable. Please go to the following link and vote for Jim & Susan’s video: You can vote once a day from now until November 7th and it will even give you an option of being reminded to vote each day (perfect for me!). Feel free to pass this along to your friends, post it on your blog, share the link via Facebook, etc.

Lets help this family help orphans find a forever family.

Great Giving Challenge Contest Entry: PureJoy

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Seasons of Life

I must start out by saying that I love autumn in is a beautiful time of year with magnificent views of the Blue Ridge Mountains as they seem to create a different artistic masterpiece every day with their evolving hues!  Our office is nestled at the base of a small mountain and, this week, our windows have become frames for the elaborate scenery of nature signaling that we are almost at the peak of this season.

Every Wednesday, the staff of Family Life Services, the Liberty Godparent Foundation, and the Liberty Godparent Home meets first thing in the morning for devotions and prayer.  I was slotted to share this morning and was convinced, yesterday, that I had a great devotional to share with the ladies from a recent daily devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries (as a side note, you need to sign up for these if you haven't already).  As I was getting ready this morning, God began to speak to me and let me know that He had something different that I was to share.

I pulled out my Soul Care Bible as I was eating breakfast and a few flips of the page revealed the timely words that I was able to share with our staff this morning about the "Seasons of Life" by Freda Crews (drawn from I Chronicles 23). 

In the last year and a half, I have personally experienced a consistent series of transitions:  transition to marriage, job transitions for my husband, and a combination of leadership changes within our ministry.  If I may have a moment of transparency with you, I must say that I am one who doesn't welcome change with excitement but have come to realize that change can be very positive even in the midst of uncomfortable circumstances.

Life is a series of transitions...that is a reality for all of us.  We have a choice to make regarding our response to change:  we can resist it with everything that is in us and probably become miserable in the process or we can decide to be aggressively engaged in becoming the people God intended us to be by learning to navigate through the transitions of life.

With God's help, how can we handle life transitions and come out a better person on the other side?  Better yet, how can we come through these changes with our joy, faith, and hope still intact?  Here are some simple and practical takeaways that I needed to hear more than anyone this morning:

1)  Accept the reality that life transitions are inevitable.  Although we can prevent or avoid some transitions, other we cannot and are beyond our control.  Acceptance allows us to embrace life with its seasons of growth and development.

2)  Allow change to work.  Transitions help us to become what God wants us to be and He is in control of every situation, manipulating it behind the scenes to accomplish His purpose in our lives.

3)  Persevere - Hang in there during the difficult circumstances!  God leads us through circumstances that give us the opportunity to grow strong spiritual roots so we can withstand the storms of life.  Character can be cultivated when we persevere through the pain of change.

4)  Wait for the purposes of God to unfold.  Trust that He is faithful and will reveal a purpose to the painful transitions in life.

If this meets you right where you are today, you are not alone.  My heart was stirred as I related each of these reminders to my personal life and our organization.  I must choose to go "along for the ride" knowing that it's not a chaotic, out-of-control ride with no plan, but rather God is in control of each hour of every day and already knows the end result of my circumstances.  Be encouraged, friends, that He loves us and is holding you close in the midst of the storm.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tis The Season For Special Events!

I'm back after a little breather from blogging...I love sharing new ideas and connecting through The Journey of Adoption, and yet, sometimes, I find that daily casework must take precedent over these more innovative branches of our agency.  That is where I have been the past couple of weeks - returning phone calls, assisting with searches, processing counseling cases, planning upcoming events, hosting support groups, etc.!

There are two major events in November that we are hosting (2010 Winter Market and the "Celebrate Adoption" Skating Party) and we want to see you!  They fall on the same weekend, so it's a wonderful opportunity for those of you who aren't too far away to plan a trip into Lynchburg for the weekend.

1)  The 2010 Winter Market will be the melting pot of vendors and merchants...a perfect kick-off for the Christmas Season! Make plans now to come and enjoy the unique items at this show at Liberty University’s Schilling Center in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Friday, November 19th: Show Preview 6-9pm (Admission $7)
Saturday, November 20th: 10-6pm (Admission $5)
Sunday, November 21st: 1-4pm (Admission $5)

*Kids 12 and under are free **Sponsored by WSET & Flavours Catering by Design

All proceeds from admission will benefit the Liberty Godparent Foundation. This year's market will be a shopping extravaganza that you won't want to miss!  Visit the Facebook page linked above for a list of vendors that will be updated weekly from now until the event.  For further information or to request a vendor information packet, please contact Kris Richard at 434.592.4400 or

2)  The "Celebrate Adoption" Skating Party is on Saturday, November 20th from 4 - 5:45 p.m. at the LaHaye Ice Center in Lynchburg, VA.  FLS would like to invite families touched by domestic or international adoption to join us for our 6th Annual Ice Skating Party!  Foster families, birth families, waiting adoptive families, and adoptive families are welcome.  There is no admission charge for ice skating, skate rentals are free, and refreshments will be provided.  RSVP to Deanne Hamlette at or RSVP on the Facebook Events Page linked above. 

Tis the season for fun, food, family & friends!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Birth Mother Pottery Group - A Different Kind of Therapy!

Last night, we hosted our monthly Birth Mother Support Group at the Liberty Godparent Home.  It was a different kind of group - no discussion plans, no gut-wrenching poems to read, no expectations for each person to share something with the group about her adoption journey...instead, we painted pottery!

To some, this may sound like a silly and frivolous plan and yet we wanted to provide an activity for women with similar experiences to connect on another level...a real-life, everyday kind of level where we can appreciate each person for their style, creativity, zest for life, imagination, etc.  So, they came in jeans & pj's and indulged in chocolate, cookies, chips, and soda while settling in for an evening of relaxation. 

Many of the 15 ladies in attendance have been coming to the group for years (some as many as 8 years) and others were newly acquainted to the group.  As the evening progressed, we found 3 groups of ladies gathered around tables talking about life, love, family, school, work, and adoption.

Several of the women chose to create something as a gift to the child whom they placed with an adoptive family.  This gift will be priceless, unique, and encompasses the eternal love that a birth mother feels for her child. 

Was this group complicated or counseling-oriented?  No.  Was it therapeutic?  Absolutely.  We're learning that sometimes the best plan comes when you think outside the box!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lifetime Adoption Foundation - Educational Scholarships for Birth Parents

The Lifetime Adoption Foundation has been an organization that we have often referred birth parents to when looking at pursuing educational opportunities.  They believe that birth parents who have chosen adoption for their children deserve the opportunity for a future after adoption in the same way that they have made decisions to provide their child with a healthy future.  Birth mothers or birth fathers may apply for scholarship funds and they award 80-90% of applicants with a scholarship of $50 - $500.  Here is the criteria for scholarship and information about the application process.  Although the funding is limited, every little bit helps!

We have the scholarship packet available on PDF at our office as well.  If you would like us to send you the information, we can forward it via email.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lemonade 4 Life!

One of the most thrilling parts of this week has been learning about the life-saving efforts of two little girls, Eliana (5) and Eden (3), who wanted to do something to make a difference.  These girls not only wanted to participate in our Baby Bottle Campaign, they wanted to get their neighborhood and community involved as well.  They set up a lemonade stand and worked 7 hours.....raising over $100 for the Liberty Godparent Foundation!  These girls really "got it" and totally rocked the Baby Bottle Campaign!

Lemonade 4 Life

We have all heard the term when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That stems from the thought that lemons themselves are sour and bad. Actually they have a great flavor; they’re just concentrated and need to be blended with other ingredients to create a wonderful finished product. Lemons are great in things like cakes, pies, and lemonade, but not so good in coffee or mashed potatoes. Sometime life throws us things that we think are less than ideal, like for instance an unplanned pregnancy.

The addition of a baby is often the fulfillment of a desire, although in other cases the timing or circumstances may not be suitable to give a child what they need. In such cases, pregnancy resource centers and adoption agencies such as The Liberty Godparent Home & Family Life Services are there to help young ladies with the resources they need or the option of placing their child in a loving home through adoption.

As humans we can many times focus on the inconvenient circumstances without searching for the beauty in a finished product. Sometimes the sweetest things come in small concentrated packages.

Many adults wouldn't stick at something for 7 hours and could certainly learn a lot from Eliana & Eden's hard work, dedication, and motivation to volunteer their time and get involved in a cause they believe in.  Their parents, Bev & Brooke, have obviously planted seeds of kindness, love, and care for others at an early age and the whole family is very supportive of our ministry. 

Eliana & Eden - you have excited our whole ministry with your love for people and desire to do something to help others.  Thank you for volunteering your time to tell others about the Liberty Godparent Home & Family Life Services and your selfless gift of money to help young women and babies!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Adoptive Family Support Group - Lynchburg, VA

The Adoptive Families Support Group is an incredible resource for families during the waiting process and, unlike the birth mother support group, is designed to support families who are waiting to adopt or who have adopted. I would encourage you to get plugged into this group as, I believe, it is the most valuable resource that FLS can offer for supporting waiting families. Please RSVP directly to the email address below if you wish to attend or contact them to get on the invitation list if you have not already received this email from the group. Invitation for the upcoming meeting is below. ~Deanne

Happy Fall Everyone!

We will be meeting next Tuesday night, October 5, from 6:30 - 8:00 for an adults-only fellowship at the home of Clayton and Robyn. Please join us to renew acquaintances and friendships and support each other in the various stages of our adoption journeys. RSVP to as soon as possible but no later than this Friday, October 1st and I'll provide you with location in Lynchburg and directions.

Looking forward to seeing you all,
Clayton and Robyn
Dean and Kathy

Friday, September 24, 2010

Love & Appreciation for an FLS Foster Family

FLS has 8 foster families who work directly with our agency to provide transitional care for infants until all parental rights have been terminated.  These families give selflessly of their time, families, and homes to give 100% to the infants who join their families for a short time.  I stumbled upon this post that was written by an adoptive family who adopted their daughter, Grace, earlier this year and was given permission to share it with you.  It is a beautiful tribute to the foster family who had a part in their family's adoption story.

As many of you know Grace was in foster care for the first four months of her life. I know many people think of the "foster care" term in a negative light, however, Grace had the most incredible foster parents we lovingly call Mommy Cheryl and Daddy Gary.

First let me give you a little background on Mommy Cheryl and Daddy Gary. They are a wonderful Christian couple who love the Lord and it is very evident. Gary and Cheryl have three adopted children themselves Becca, Jason and Debbie. Becca and Jason are in college and Debbie is a high school senior. Gary and Cheryl have been fostering, I believe, for 8 - 10 years. They only foster babies from the adoption agency (Family Life Services) we received Grace from. Needless to say they have LOTS of experience and it shows!

Everyone knows how much of a gift Grace is to Eric and I, but she started out as unexpected gift to the Sumner family. In December Gary lost his job where he had been employed for many years. The Sumner kiddos were home for Christmas break and after Christmas they got a call that they would be fostering a baby girl until her forever family could get her. Grace entered the world....December 28 and from what the Sumners have explained to us she was an angel from the beginning. A couple of weeks later, Becca and Jason headed back to college and Grace had the privilege of getting undivided attention from Daddy Gary and Mommy Cheryl. They took her everywhere church (never missed a Sunday, even her first week of life), out to eat, errands, and high school events. Debbie was able to spend alot of time with her and it was evident even at four months they had a special bond. Grace adored Daddy Gary and would always give him big smiles. In just the little time we spent with Gary and Cheryl after our placement ceremony (a day and a night) Mommy Cheryl had the touch to calm Grace and soothe her.

I had many people tell me once we got her home, we received an angel baby. Eric and I never had to endure sleepless nights and we pretty much have a happy camper all the time! I attribute alot of Grace's transition and easy goingness to Mommy Cheryl and Daddy Gary. They will not take credit for it. They say Grace was blessed with a wonderful temperment. It is clear to me they played a big part in it all!

A couple of weeks ago we went home (my folks home) and had the privilege of spending some time with Daddy Gary and Mommy Cheryl. We had dinner at our favorite place, Cracker Barrel. Apparently Grace had been there quite a few times in the first four months of her life. As we were drving to VA I realized we had had Grace for four months the same amount of time the Sumners had Grace. I realized how much love Eric and I have for the precious little one God entrusted to us. It made me realize once again how difficult it must have been for them to put her in our car (April 24) that last time and watch us drive off.

I remember speaking to Cheryl the day she was handing Grace over to us. Cheryl said, "we love and get attached to our babies if we didn't we wouldn't be doing our job." Gary and Cheryl, thank you for being obedient in your call to be foster parents and loving our Hannah Grace as she was one of your own. We will never forget and will continue to visit this incredible family who loved and guarded our little girl until it was God's timing for us to come and make her our own.

We love you!

Eric, Heidi and Grace

P.S. - God provided Daddy Gary a new job soon after Grace came to live us.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who Do You Support?

Lately, this question has been raised a few times and it has prompted me to really think about a Christian's role in providing monetary support for ministries and organizations that would be considered "Kingdom Causes".   Do you have to choose just one in order to fully pledge your allegiance to that organization and their declared purpose?  I don't believe so. 

As managers of whatever financial resources God has entrusted to us, we have been given a responsibility to become givers and, to me, that is an exciting opportunity to participate in many ministries that impact the world.  

Our umbrella organization, The Liberty Godparent Foundation, recently launched a popular fundraiser collecting loose change in a Baby Bottle Drive and it was almost shocking to hear some individuals and churches decline involvement because they already participate in another loose change drive for another ministry in another month of the year.  My response - GREATThank you for supporting multiple ministries that impact the lives of people. 

Let's get past this idea that there is competition in fundraising and get on board to support as many ministries as you are able to contribute to in a small or large way.  My husband and I have been able to support organizations that impact the US, Canada, Brazil, Haiti, and Thailand this year....I don't view this as a financial burden but rather as a financial opportunity to be a part of something big in each of these places!

The Liberty Godparent Foundation feels strongly about supporting other local organizations that share a commitment to saving and changing lives of babies and parents.  We sent staff to a fundraiser for Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in our city of Lynchburg, Virginia this month and some of us are heading out to a fundraiser for Blue Ridge Women's Center in Roanoke, Virginia later today.  These are such worthy ministry partners and I would encourage you, if you are not doing so already, to look around your community and get involved in supporting some outreach organizations - you will find that you are the one who will receive a blessing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pictures of Garrett's Adoption Day

Adoptive parents, Bill and Heather, celebrated the placement of baby Garrett Lane into their family on Wednesday, September 8th.  Big brother, Aiden, was so excited to finally meet this baby that his parents had been talking to him about!

If I could describe this placement in one word, it would be - sweet.  Garrett's birth family and adoptive family recognized the hand of God all over each of their steps to bring them to this day and there was truly an overwhelming presence of joy on this placement day.  When Garrett's birth mother brought him in to meet Bill and Heather, there was not a dry eye in the room as we saw the obvious connection of love between both families. 

More pictures from placement day are posted on the blog sidebar or you can click here to see a slideshow.    Happy Adoption Day, Garrett!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

MTVs Teen Mom - The Controversy of Reality

I'm fully aware that I'm wading into controversial waters this morning by choosing to share about MTV's Teen Mom, which has stirred up many water-cooler conversations around the US in the last year and especially in recent days.  The interview, above, was on The Today Show this morning and the current issue of People magazine also features an article about some of the teens portrayed in the show currently on news stands.

As an Adoption Professional and one who watches every episode of Teen Mom, I am not sure that I see what others find to be disturbing.  All four stories have very different circumstances and are experiencing a wide range of family support.  If this is considered to be "glamorous", that makes me laugh.  In my opinion, that couldn't be farther from the truth.  Before you begin pointing a finger and say that I'm looking down on these situations, I am certainly not.  I will fully admit that my life is far from perfect or glamorous and, if MTV wanted to film a television show in most of our houses we would have more than enough drama, hardship, conflicts and stories to keep an audience interested!

For what it's worth, I think that MTV has done a good job of keeping the show realistic.  We see good days and bad days, emotional days and happy days, moments when patience is thin and moments of parental pride.  It would be unrealistic to show Catelynn and Tyler crying all the time or super-happy every day, the reality is that there are ups and downs to the grieving process after placing a child with an adoptive family;  it would be unrealistic to show Ryan and Maci in a carefree state of life, not worried about the custody proceedings that they find themselves in the middle of; and it would be unrealistic to show Gary, Amber or Farrah always miserable...they have joyful moments with Leah and Sophia too.

These are not reality stars, they are young people who have agreed to participate in a show about teen pregnancy and expose their personal situations to the scrutiny of others who don't know the full stories.  More than anything, they need support and not criticism.

Teen Mom provides a reality check for lots of teens who think that either parenting or adoption is easy.  Both come with unique joys and challenges.  It is impossible for outsiders to look at another situation and judge whether they made the "right" or the "wrong" decision because it's just that - their decision.  My hope is that MTVs attempt at reality tv will help young men and women who are experiencing or will experience an unplanned pregnancy to consider some of the factors that should be considered before deciding what's right for them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adoption - A New Paradigm

I stumbled across this post by Dorean Beattie yesterday from The Cheerful Giver.  She granted permission for me to re-post it here.  It looks like this blog is worth checking back in with often.

I witnessed a conversation on Facebook the other day about adoption that got a little uncomfortable. It started when someone posted a link to a family that was fundraising to pay for the adoption of their next child. Most women were saying, “Thanks for letting me know! I’ll go check it out!” One woman, however, asked a very honest question: “Why should I pay for someone else’s child?” Most people were shocked, because they get it. Women tried to lovingly explain to “Confused” why it was appropriate to ask for help in adopting, but she was having none of it. To her, it was an issue of parents not planning well. With good planning, time, and patience, anyone would be able to pay for adoption, and that was that.

As I observed the conversation, I saw the real issue was one of paradigm. Confused still viewed adoption in the old paradigm. This is the school of thought that says adoption is what you do when you are unable to conceive. It says, “Our family isn’t complete because we have no children. We’ll adopt 2.5 kids, get the dog and the picket fence, and then we’ll have it all.” There’s certainly nothing wrong with this line of thinking; it makes sense for couples who can’t conceive to adopt the child another has conceived but can’t raise. However, there is a new paradigm of adoption that brings with it a different motivation to adopt.

This new adoption paradigm (some are calling it an adoption revolution) doesn’t view adoption as primarily a way to fill a couple’s desire for children. Rather, it is a means to provide for and protect the estimated 137 million orphans in the world. Some of these orphans have lost both parents (or the only parent they’ve ever known) to disease, war, or some other tragedy. Some of them have living parents, but are orphans in the sense that the parents have turned them over to orphanages or agencies because they can no longer meet the needs of the child. In this country, most are “orphans” because their parents lost custody due to inability to care for them, or the parents relinquished their rights to the child at birth. No matter how they come to be known as orphans, they are children in need of someone to step up to the plate and say, “I will parent this child.”

This new paradigm has brought with it a new breed of adoptive parents. They are not people out to fulfill their needs, desires, or dreams. They are people who are out to fulfill the call of James 1:27, which says that pure religion (meaning your faith is unselfish, and your life is offered as service to God) is to take care of orphans and widows. The families I personally know that are part of this adoption movement have willingly laid down the “American dream” of having a big house with lots of extra room, fancy cars, and fancy vacations in order to bring some of these children into their homes. Their lives are busy, their houses are full, and their children are blossoming beyond belief! They have traded comfort and ease for smiling faces and full hearts.

To Confused, I would say, you are under no pressure to pay for someone else’s child. But if you stop to think about it, wouldn’t you like to help pay for Jesus’ child? For his children? Wouldn’t you like to join the behind-the-scenes army that, while not necessarily equipped to bring orphans into their own homes, have been equipped to help bring them into a permanent home, with a permanent family, where they will be raised with love and dignity, in the knowledge of the Lord? Because in reality, that’s the bottom line of what the adoption movement is all about.

For Confused, and anyone else that is now curious about what it looks like to be part of this “secret” army, I’ll write more on that in a couple days. For now, let the truth sink in that adoption isn’t always what it used to be. It’s about the children, not the parents. It’s about little beauties like this, that without parents willing to put aside their own comfort for her sake, would have begun her life in foster care, where it is unknown when or even if she would have found a permanent home. Selah…

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pictures of Isaiah's Adoption Party

We celebrated Isaiah Kiano's adoption day on Friday, September 3rd at FLS!  Adoptive parents, Lloyd and Caroline, are already completely in love with this little guy and it was a wonderful celebration with some of their family and friends.  A short slideshow of placement has been posted on the sidebar or you can access photos here

Happy Adoption Day, Isaiah!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review: Growing Up Black in White

I am almost embarrassed to admit that I initially posted about finding this book, Growing Up Black in White, on June 4th - over three months ago.  Thanks to a weekend that included a cool, crisp Saturday and what my husband described to me as one of the biggest weekends in football - I had some nice time to finish reading the book!

As I flipped through the pages, I found myself intrigued and found experiences I could relate to in today's society and some that I can only hope have dissolved into non-existence.  There were moments that sparked strong emotions of wanting to stand up for equality, educate the ignorant, and protect those who find themselves fighting opposition at every turn.  No doubt, this surge of emotion begins from some of my personal life experiences and frame of reference.

I expected a memoir about adoption, and it is, but found that it is so much more about life and would be just as interesting to someone with no personal ties to adoption.  You'll laugh and you'll cry, but it will open up your mind as you take a look into the personal reflections of the author, Kevin Hofmann, from childhood to adulthood as he develops his personal identity through the ups and downs of his experience as a biracial child adopted into a Caucasian family.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adoption Cards for the Journey

Have you ever searched for "the card" to send encouragement to a family who is awaiting an adoption placement, or something to celebrate a family's recent adoption of an older child, or a card for someone in your life who is celebrating Gotcha Day?  You want something beautiful, but also something that accurately and sensitively conveys your message.  Imagine my surprise when I found JUST the place that offers cards to meet these needs on none other than Twitter this morning!

Adoption Cards is a new Etsy Store that offers customized greeting cards for forever families.  The creator, Lindsay Lamb, was inspired to launch this idea after her sister and brother-in-law completed two adoptions from Russia and she found herself at a loss when trying to find a card to capture the message she wanted to give.  The cards are handmade and beautifully crafted ranging in price from $3.50 - $7.00.  Many have suggested messages that you can tailor to your needs or you can customize the greeting.  Adoption Cards currently offers cards in the following categories:  congratulations, thank you, encouragement/support, and adoption/gotcha day.  Lindsay will be adding more designs in the future as the store grows and gains in popularity.  Be sure to check it out and she can be followed on Twitter at AdoptionCards.

Lindsay Lamb is 26 years old and is in Rochester, New York. She currently works in the marketing department at Xerox; but her dream is to some day become a stay-at-home mom! She loves acrylic painting and hand-making cards, and have always had a love for art. When she is not scrapbooking or making cards, you’ll find her in the kitchen trying a new recipe, ballroom dancing, or watching a classic movie! She became passionate about creating adoption cards during the two times her oldest sister adopted from Russia, because she realized there was a gap in the greeting card market to truly capture the needs of adoptive families.  She hopes others enjoy her cards as much as she loves making them!

Friday, September 3, 2010

An Adoption Story - Berk & Patti

Every family has a story and this adoptive family, Berk and Patti, can see God's hand all over their adoption journey.  It wasn't always easy and they will tell you that the wait was long and hard....but so very worth it.  We celebrated Kristin's adoption day at FLS on March 2, 2009.

We are Berk and Patti with our beautiful daughter Kristin, whom we adopted in March 2009. We waited approximately 5 years for Kristin and we are here to tell you the waiting time was not always easy. We started out with a different type of agency where all of the adoptions were closed. We waited there about 3 years with no results. We really felt God was leading us to Family Life Services and after our first talk with our Caseworker, we looked at each other and said “we are finally where we are supposed to be”. We had such a peace about our decision. We started our homestudy process and went through the weekend training in March of 2007. We entered the waiting pool in the Fall of 2007 and waited approx 16 months for placement in March 2009. During our waiting time, we never had a single interview. We had many times during our waiting time where we would get discouraged and question whether it was meant for us to adopt or not. We had our Caseworker encouraging us and so many prayer warriors, they wouldn’t let us stay down for long. We had one of our prayer partners tell us that “if God didn’t intend for you to adopt, He wouldn’t have laid it on your heart to be here”. That is so true. We were also older and thought this might be a factor, but it wasn’t. Everything we thought might be an obstacle, wasn’t one after all.

After 16 months, we were notified of a placement of a baby girl. I can not describe to you the excitement and anticipation that we had. When Kristin was placed in our arms, she was the most beautiful sight we had ever seen. The love we had for her was overwhelming and we were so blessed. Kristin has been such a blessing to us and we are so thankful to our Birthmother for giving us the greatest gift by choosing us to be her parents. Our adoption is closed, so we don’t have contact, but we love her and she is constantly in our thoughts and prayers.

Our friends and Sponsors who had placements in the past, all told us that once we had our placement we would see God’s plan and how it all worked out. We knew this to be true, but when we were waiting for our first child we really didn’t understand it. It’s so hard sometimes to see the end result if you are not there yet even if you see it in other’s lives. We are here to tell you, don’t lose hope and don’t question God. It is so amazing and awesome how He works all these adoptions out. We praise God now for the 5 agonizing years we waited for Kristin and wouldn’t have done anything differently. We are also so grateful to those who prayed for us and listened to us when we were down and questioning everything. We could not have made it through this process without you.

Our first agency experience prepared us for a closed adoption, so it wasn’t a waste of time. Everything we went through was God preparing us for Kristin. We had to wait for Kristin and you are waiting for your baby. Kristin is perfect for us in every way. We plan and want things in our time, but we have to wait on God’s timing and He does not make mistakes. We questioned our decision and many times forgot that peace we had when we started our process. I tell you the wait is not easy, but it is so worth it in the end when the most perfect little baby girl or boy is placed in your arms. Know that those of us who have walked in your shoes are praying for you constantly. You are not alone and God will answer prayers!

Blessings from our family to yours,
Berk, Patti & Kristin

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Times of Loneliness

My thoughts have been stirred this morning with the realization that so many of the people I come into contact with on a daily basis feel very alone.  The feeling of loneliness can be unsettling, frustrating, painful, intensely emotion and frightening. 

Most frequently, we hear descriptions of this feeling from expectant parents and waiting adoptive families....the young birth mothers or birth fathers who would desperately like to find themselves in a different situation - but find themselves looking at adoption as the way to provide what they hope and dream for their unborn child or the waiting adoptive parent who feels like they are the only ones who are in the midst of this mysterious "wait" as they long for news that their family has been chosen to raise a child.

I came across an excerpt from a book, Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliott, that speaks to this heart-wrenching feeling of loneliness and how to deal with it in any stage or time in our lives.  The following are her words:

Be still and know that He is God.  When you are lonely, too must stillness is exactly the thing that seems to be laying waste to your soul.  Use that stillness to quiet your heart before God.  Get to know Him.  If He is God, He is still in charge.

Remember that you are not alone.  "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8)  Jesus promised his disciples, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 20:20). Never mind if you cannot feel His presence.  He is there, never for one moment forgetting you.

Give thanks.  In times of my greatest loneliness, I have been lifted up by the promise of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:  "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  This is something to thank God for.  This loneliness itself, which seems a weight, will be far out-weighed by glory.

Refuse self-pity.  Refuse is absolutely.  It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you.  Turn your thoughts to Christ who has already carried your griefs and sorrows.

Accept your loneliness.  It is one stage, and only one stage on a journey that brings you to God.  It will not always last. 

Offer up your loneliness to God, as the little boy offered to Jesus his five loaves and two fishes.  God can transform it for the good of others.

Do something for someone else.  No matter who or where you are, there is something you can do, somebody who needs you.  Pray that you may be an instrument of God's peace, that where there is loneliness you may bring joy.

Dear friends, He will carry you if you rest in His arms and allow Him to draw you closer.  ~Deanne

Monday, August 30, 2010

Talking to Teachers & Classmates About Adoption

For most families, school is back in full swing and this time of year brings many questions for adoptive families.  Should we talk to the teacher about adoption?  How will the school react to this information?  How can we prepare our child to answer questions from classmates about adoption?  Should we just not say anything at all?  The answers to these questions are going to be different for every family - however, I hope we can give you some guidance for determining the best approach for you at this time.

The majority of adoptive families with young children have embraced the common belief that talking openly with your children about adoption is the best approach.  Adoption is a word and term that is used frequently enough within the family dynamic that young children understand what it means and also have learned that it doesn't have a negative connotation.  I am of the opinion that, if you are comfortable talking about a topic, people are less likely to have an uncomfortable reaction when the topic is introduced.  

The first recommendation is for adoptive parents to become comfortable with the family's adoption story and decide, in advance, what information is going to be "public information" and what information should be kept private.  Remember, being comfortable talking about adoption doesn't mean that you need to share all of the intimate details with complete strangers.

It's a good idea to talk with your child about how they feel about telling his or her teacher that they were adopted at the beginning of each school year.  For some children, they don't understand why you wouldn't share that with the teacher and others feel that it may single them out or make them seem different than their peers.  What might seem appropriate to them this year, might be totally different next year.

Some of the benefits of talking to the teacher about adoption are:  it can help to avoid the awkward situations that arise with some assignments such as the family tree; it can help to build adoption awareness within the classroom and the school; and it can open the dialogue between the family and the teacher for the rest of the school year. 

Here are some tools that might be beneficial to your family as you start the new school year:
Whether your child is in preschool or middle school, have a family conversation about adoption and school to determine how to best prepare your child, the teachers, and classmates for a positive and rewarding year ahead! 

Share your advice about navigating the school years and positive or negative experiences that you have encountered...we can always best learn from each other...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Your Change Can Change Lives!

I just realized that it has been a long time since my last post - that's good, in a way, because I've been busy with people instead of writing.  At any rate, there are great things going on within our organization and we are gearing up for the Baby Bottle Campaign for the Liberty Godparent Foundation

We realize that the economy is tough (we're real people too with real budgets and real financial responsibilities).  That is why I love this fundraiser - it's simple enough for the old and young alike and takes very little effort on your part.  Most of us have that magic spot in our house or car (guilty-mine is the cup holder in my car) where we stash all of the quarters, dimes, nickels and "oh-so-heavy" pennies.  Here's a way to band together and really put that money to great use.

From now through the month of September, we're asking that you collect your loose change in a designated baby bottle like the one above or another container and donate it to the Godparent Foundation at the end of the month.  Of course, we will gratefully accept bills and checks, too!

We have many local churches that have gotten involved and will be passing out bottles within their congregation - we even have a church in Georgia that has gotten on board!  Families from across the United States are finding ways to participate...just this week, we received a check for $1,000 from a family in Chicago who didn't want to miss the blessing of being a part of this campaign.

You might wonder....what exactly is this money used for?  There are two main purposes:  1)  It helps the Liberty Godparent Home to continue to provide free housing, education, and counseling to women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and 2)  It helps with the operating expenses and counseling costs for Family Life Services Adoption Agency so we don't have to raise our adoption fees for families.

A baby bottle full of change holds about $20 in coins - stop by FLS and pick up a bottle if you're local to the area and drop it off at the end of the month.  If you're not in close proximity to us, consider sending a donation toward the will change the future of a mother and a child.  Designate any donations not in a baby bottle to "Baby Bottle Campaign" and send them to the Liberty Godparent Foundation, P.O. Box 4199, Lynchburg, Virginia  24502.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rachel's Journey to Thailand - Update

What an amazing time we had in Thailand! After spending a few days at Liberty University in training, getting to know each other, preparing to share our testimonies and perform dramas, learning about the culture and some of what we would be doing to minister in Thailand, our team of 14 boarded a plane for the other side of the world! After close to 20 hours in the air and a few hours at an airport in Korea, we landed in Bangkok! We then drove about 45 minutes to the city where we would be spending most of our time, Nonthaburi.

For the next two weeks we taught English to over 1,000 different students, from at least 10 different schools. Some days we traveled to government schools, other days to universities, some days the students came to us at the school we were staying at, and one afternoon we got to volunteer at an orphanage. My husband, Marc, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 12 students that were part of our team and saw God work in and through them in wonderful ways.

Some highlights of the trip:

o Seeing our team’s hearts break as we sat with a group of 60 university students and saw only two of them raise their hands when asked how many knew who Jesus was. It still blows my mind that there are people who do not even know who Jesus is, let alone believe in Him.

o A teacher asking why our team was so happy. (That morning we had prayed for the joy of the Lord to shine out of us!)

o Having dinner at the top of the tallest building in Bangkok and afterward spending time outside on a special floor of the tower that revolved around the city. Our team sung God of this City as we prayed for the people of Thailand.

o For many team members riding on elephants was notable! And even though I’ve ridden a number of times, it’s still fun to climb up and ride atop these huge creatures!

o Getting to minister to a group of university students who had just lost a friend to suicide. Some of our students were able to give them Bibles and tell them about the hope that Jesus offers.

o Seeing some of the students on our team have confirmed to them that they are to go into full-time, overseas missions when they graduate.

o Getting to speak Thai and eat delicious Thai food again! I think the most interesting thing anyone ate was a fish eyeball!

o Loving on a group of children with special needs at an orphanage in the area. There was a precious little girl there that stole my heart!

o I got to take a quick day trip up to Chiang Mai where I use to live and see many of the people that were part of my life up there: the staff at the orphanage, the pediatrician who cared for my foster children, and many dear friends. So many that I have relationships with up there still do not know Jesus as their personal Savior and my heart continues to be burdened for them. It was good to be able to hug them and let them know that I still care about them!

o Worshipping with Thai believers and realizing that our God hears and understands every language!

o Performing a drama that told the story of creation, fall, and redemption at a two day English camp. And later finding out that one of the students at the camp accepted the Lord as her Savior!

Before we left, I wrote that I wanted our team to be able to spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:14) and truly, I believe, we did that. Our prayer is that doors were opened for future ministry and that students we taught will come to future English activities hosted by believers in the area, that they will check out the local church and come to know for themselves what, or rather Who it is that makes this group of American English teachers so full of life and joy!

~Rachel Curley, FLS Adoption Caseworker

Friday, August 6, 2010

God's Heart: Adoption

I have no words this morning to tell you how moved I am after taking just 4 minutes to watch this slideshow that "popped up" on a blog that I follow.  It will touch you, and change you, if you listen to the message and take in the images.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Reflecting on "The Wait"


Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the master so gently said, “Child, you must wait!"

"Wait?” you say, "Wait!" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By FAITH I have asked, and am claiming your word.

"My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a "yes", a go ahead sign
Or even a "no", to which I can resign.

"And Lord, you promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting...for what?"

He seemed then to kneel and his eyes wept with mine,
And he tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heaves, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want...but you wouldn't know

You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.

You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of my spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and save...for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of my heart.

The glow of my comfort late into the night.
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.

You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that "My grace is sufficient for thee"
Yes, your dreams for your loved ones overnight would
come true, but oh, the LOSS!
If I lost what I'm doing in you!

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
And though oft may my answers seem terribly late,
My wisest of answers is still but to WAIT."

—Author Unknown
I can think of so many seasons of my life where a "wait" was uncomfortable and unpleasant.  We can all relate to "wanting what we want, when we want it".  This poem is going to launch the discussion for our upcoming Adoption Support Group on August 10th.  If you are planning to attend, think about how this might apply to your own situation (perhaps as an expectant parent, birth parent, or adoptive parent) and also think about what has been an encouragement to you during times of waiting for an answer to come.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Adoptive Family Pool Party!

The Lynchburg Adoptive Family Support Group is planning a family day at the pool on Saturday, August 28th from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The pool party will be held at a private home in Goode, Virginia, and each family should bring a picnic lunch to enjoy poolside.

Two FLS adoptive couples, Clayton & Robyn and Dean & Kathy, organize this group and open the events up to waiting adoptive couples as well as a means for providing a network of friendship and support during the adoption process.  To RSVP and get directions to the pool, email Kathy at

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Desperate Need for Families for Children

In the last year, there has been an effort, especially within Christian circles, for the church to rise up and recognize the orphan crisis that exists in our world.  There are 163 million orphans around the world who are in desperate need of relief from their current circumstances and have an even greater need for someone to remember them and make a difference.  Only a small percentage of these children are legally adoptable, and yet this still presents a staggering number of children in need of a family.  There are certainly risks and unknowns with adoption, yet the love of a family makes a tremendous impact on the life of a child.

In 2009, the Southern Baptist Convention passed an Adoption and Orphan Care Resolution that was presented by Dr. Russell Moore (Author of Adopted for Life) urging churches to, not only take notice of the overwhelming need but to take action.  I just had the opportunity to read A Comprehensive Approach to the Orphan Crisis by Johnny Carr and found it very challenging and inspiring.

Family Life Services has the privilege to assist about 50 Virginia families annually who have chosen to adopt a child from another country by conducting home studies or post-adoption supervision.  We do not have a placement program outside the US, but have partnered with many inter-country adoption agencies to provide these services to families and have seen this segment of our adoption services really grow in the last 5 years. 

Here's my question for you today - what can you do to make a difference?
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