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?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Heart4Adoption Conference

One of our FLS Adoptive Families, Marc & Angela (pictured above with their family), recently felt a burden to impact their community for adoption in a big way and launched Heart4Adoption Ministries.  They are hosting an informational adoption conference for families who may be interested in adoption on Saturday, September 25, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Botetourt Community Church in Daleville, Virginia.  If you are considering adoption, but aren't quite sure where to start - this conference is for you!  The day will be filled with exciting messages, inspirational adoption stories, and lots of encouragement from people who have already been through the adoption process.  The conference is free and lunch will be provided, but you need to pre-register.  Go to the contact us page and provide your name and contact information, stating that you are registering for the Heart4Adoption Conference and you will then receive a confirmation email with directions and other important information.  Registration is limited to the first 30 couples, so don't delay! 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Adoption Day, Antoine - Photos

Pictures are posted on the sidebar of our most recent placement on July 20, 2010 - Duane & Teena welcomed their new addition, Antoine Isaiah.  The birth mother, Brittany, and adoptive family really connected over the name that she had given to him at birth, "Antwone Isaiah", which means highly praisworthy, priceless, the Lord is generous, salvation of the Lord, God's helper.  Wow, God must have big things in store for this little guy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Adoption Day, Antoine!

This has been an exciting week at Family Life Services as we had the placement of Baby Antoine Isaiah with his new adoptive family, Duane & Teena, on Tuesday, July 20th!  Antoine is 5 weeks old and his big sister, Tabby, shared in the contagious excitement of meeting him for the first time. 

We truly saw God's hand move to lead the birth mother, Brittany, to the adoptive family whom she chose for her precious baby boy.  It always amazes me to see the joy that comes through a divine connection between a birth family and an adoptive family - it's something that we cannot explain but have witnessed on many, many occasions.  I like to call these the "Yeah, God!" moments...and I wouldn't trade these days for anything.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The R House Couture - Custom Adoption Jewelry & Gifts

I have learned so much since this blog was launched.  Connections made with other adoption professionals, organizations, birth parents, and adoptive parents have opened doors that may never have been touched by conventional means.  Wow, I am really starting to like this!

One of my exciting recent finds has been The R House Couture shop that sells handmade and custom jewelry pieces in addition to adorable adoption-themed apparel.  My personal favorites are simple necklaces or bracelets that feature words/phrases like "hope", "miracle", "forever in my heart", "i can do hard things", "enjoy the journey", and "eventually".  I carefully read the inspiring descriptions that go along with the beautiful creations and thought about how perfect they would be for an adoptive mom, a hopeful adoptive mom, or a birth mom.

Most items don't scream adoption, but that's part of the beauty and charm....they don't have to.  A necklace could represent a connection to one's personal and private journey of adoption that can be shared, if you want to, or held tightly in other moments.

The R House Couture also offers several adoption onesies and t-shirts for kids.  I have seen nothing like it and love each one!  Here's a sample of what you'll find on the website and I hope you check it out.  If you don't find what you're looking for she will do a custom design as well.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Released & Delivered

Released & Delivered - this simple phrase puts a smile on my face as I know this is not just a catchy title for a book, but an overwhelming and divine feeling of peace....a calm after a tumultuous time of life.  This is the essence of the memoir written and released in 2010 by Janelle Basham & Tasha Brown, two former residents of the Liberty Godparent Home who united to tell their stories of facing an unplanned pregnancy in their teen years.  Both found themselves pregnant at 16 and scared as they faced the uncertain future that was ahead.

Although each author chose a different path for their child's future, both of these women have embraced God's redeeming love and mercy in their lives an can attest to the way that He clearly directed their steps.  Janelle & Tasha are now using the story of their struggles and victories to encourage the hearts of women and families who may find themselves in a similar circumstance - giving hope to the hopeless.  Family Life Services is thrilled to have Janelle Basham working with our organization as an Adoption Caseworker, giving her the opportunity to share her story with others on a consistent basis. 

Released & Delivered is a down-to-earth account of a true story that will relate to anyone who has a desire to understand the process and emotions involved in teen pregnancy for the individual and the family as a whole.  To order your copy of Released & Delivered, visit the website for Truly Transformed Ministries.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Support for Waiting Adoptive Families

Family Life Services has a variety of ways for our adoptive families and waiting adoptive families to gain support during the adoption process. There are a variety of options available to connect you with the agency and with other folks in the adoption process and we hope that you make it a priority to take advantage of some of the support available to you. The following are some ways that FLS is offering connections for waiting families….from support groups to social networking:

Adoptive Family Support Group – Two FLS adoptive families organize and lead a support group for adoptive families and waiting adoptive families that meets in the Lynchburg area about 6 times throughout the year. This is a tremendous resource for waiting families to connect in a small-group setting with other couples who have “been there”. If you do not already receive information about these meetings, please message me and I will get you the information.

Resource Families – At the Adoption Training Weekend, each waiting adoptive family is connected with an adoptive family who has been through the adoption process at FLS to help, encourage and support the waiting family. We encourage you to maintain this connection periodically by email, phone, or in person to have a support and mentor during the adoption process.

Caseworker Support – Your assigned caseworker is available to you whenever needed and would be more than happy to set up a meeting, lunch, dinner, etc. to connect at any time.

Adoption Blogs – We are pleased with the success of  this blog and The Journey of a Birthmother. This month, both blogs were added to the favorite blog lists of Adoptive Families Magazine! I believe that both are ways to help develop an understanding of the mechanics and the emotions involved on various sides of the adoption journey.

Twitter – For the really technologically savvy families, we have started Tweeting as well! Find us at FlsAdoption on Twitter.

FacebookFamily Life Services Adoption Agency can now be searched on Facebook to find our official page for the agency. Please read the blog post from July 7, 2010 to read the disclaimer about confidentiality and the posting of information. We believe that this will be a powerful vehicle to spread the word about our agency and hope that you tell your friends and family about this page so they can also learn about the ministry you are working with. You may also want to check out the Liberty Godparent Foundation Facebook page as that will have more detailed information about upcoming events.

Birth Mother Support Group – The Birth Mother Support Group continues to meet and we will be introducing some new ideas for the upcoming year. The group generally meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Adoptive mothers and waiting adoptive mothers are invited to join the group on several occasions throughout the year for a time of fellowship with birth mothers and residents of the Godparent Home.

Special Events – Many of our waiting adoptive families and adoptive families have told us that participating with special events for Family Life Services or the Liberty Godparent Foundation was beneficial for them during the waiting process because they felt like they were doing something during the time that all the paperwork is done and you’re waiting to be selected. There are many opportunities to join with us for the remaining part of the year:

1)  Baby Bottle Campaign – September 5-October 3rd – We’re encouraging church’s, families, individuals, businesses, support groups, and Sunday School classes to distribute baby bottles to collect loose change (checks and bills are gratefully accepted too!) during one month to support the Liberty Godparent Foundation. If you’d like to find out who you can get involved or would like us to send you materials for your church, contact Sheree Bryant at

2)  1st Annual Golf Tournament – October 7th – This event will be held at Falling River Country Club in Appomattox, Virginia and coincides with the Liberty University Homecoming Weekend. For more information, contact Sheree at

3)  Winter Market – November 19-20th – Vendors from Virginia and surrounding states get together to offer a gift and craft show that is incredible and a great place to knock out a lot of your Christmas shopping! If you know someone who may be interested in setting up a booth, contact Sheree Bryant at and make plans to come shop with us in November!

We realize that there may be other ways that our agency can support, encourage, and connect with families during the waiting process and we need to hear from you!  What are your ideas for things that we could do that we're not already doing?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Strength for the Journey

For international adoptive families, some days are just tough - and that is very normal.  Adoption is wonderful, but does not come without it's share of difficulties and challenges.  This shouldn't be alarming as parenting a birth child certainly doesn't either!

As an Adoption Professional, I often show up to homes for post-placement visits and find families with perfectly groomed children, smiling parents, and a home that any Merry Maid would be proud of!  However, I spend a great deal of time letting the family know that challenges are ok and exist in every family during the first months home.  The strength, energy, and wisdom of most of these families amazes me.  But having a challenge or difficulty doesn't mean that you aren't a great adoptive family - it means that you are normal like everyone else.  I have come to appreciate the families who can talk about the good days and bad days in an open and honest manner and reach out to others in a time when they need a helping hand or encouragement.  Better days will come and the small victories seem gigantic when progress is made.

I came across a post from an adoptive mother - four months past the adoption of her son from Ethiopia - called I Count All Things Loss... and it might be just what some of you need to read to encourage you for today and remind you that His mercies are new each morning. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

FLS is on Facebook!

After starting two adoption blogs and joining the world of Twitter, we figured it was time to round out our technology revolution and start a Facebook page for Family Life Services

For all of you who are addicted to Facebook (whether you admit it or not), we have something for you that will keep you updated on ministry news, placement pictures, blog entries, adoption events, and related articles and news.

Note our disclaimer:  Due to the nature of social networking and Facebook, Family Life Services cannot guarantee confidentiality of anything posted on the Facebook page or take responsibility for anything posted by other users.  Joining the page is an acknowledgement of this disclaimer.

The Liberty Godparent Foundation, which is the umbrella organization over FLS, also has a page that will have information on how to get involved in supporting the ministry and participate in special fundraising events. There are great ways to get your family or business involved.

See you on Facebook!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Free International Adoption Webinar

The Gladney Center for Adoption has just made available an International Adoption Webinar that is available for free on their website.  It includes specific country background information, program updates, countries separated by region, etc.  If you are considering international adoption, this could be a great starting place for you!  It's not often that you find a free educational resource like this so take advantage of it and pass the word along. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Journey to Thailand

One of our Caseworkers, Rachel Curley, and her husband, Marc, will be leaving tomorrow morning to lead a group of students on a short-term missions trip to Thailand.  She has a great love for Thailand and came to FLS after several years of making it her home.  We will miss her greatly over the next 3 weeks, but please join us in praying for their safety and the impact that they will have on the people.  We are already counting down to her return!  Check out the FLS birthmother blog to read more about the preparation for her journey.
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