Monday, January 31, 2011

Buffalo Wild Wings (Lynchburg) supports the Liberty Godparent Foundation

The Liberty Godparent Foundation has been given the following opportunity from Buffalo Wild Wings in Lynchburg, Virginia and we need your help to make it a success...

On Tuesday, Feb. 1st, Buffalo Wild Wings will donate 15% of the cost of food sales to the Liberty Godparent Foundation when you present the attached voucher. An appetizing way to help us raise financial support!

Please consider eating out on Tuesday of this week and help us spread the word by forwarding this to your friends & coworkers.

Thank you in advance for your support!

*Remember to print the above voucher and give it to your server*

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Choice - When God Whispers Your Name

Each Wednesday morning, the staff of the Liberty Godparent Foundation organization meets to start our day collectively with devotions.  It's amazing to see how we are all encouraged and enriched by this simple act of sharing - and listening - together.  This morning's leadership role was assigned to the Office Manager of Family Life Services, Rose Marie Owens, who has faithfully worked with our ministry for 27 years...that is not a typo, she has been here that long!  She is an avid reader and holds knowledge that can be found nowhere else in this ministry.  We are so thankful for all that she has and continues to pour into our ministry.  Rose shared a familiar passage of scripture, Galatians 5:22-23, about the fruit of the spirit and an excerpt from Max Lucado's book, When God Whispers Your Name.  Here's a portion of what she shared from the book that was especially meaningful as we begin a day that will be bombarded with demands, deadlines, and difficult decisions.

For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands.  It is now I must make a choice.  Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose.  And so I choose. 

I choose love...No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness.  I choose love.  Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy...I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.  I will refuse the temptation to be cynical - the tool of the lazy thinker.  I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God.  I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace...I will live forgiven.  I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience...I will overlook the inconveniences of the world.  Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so.  Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray.  Instead of clinching by fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness...I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.  Kind to the rich, for they are afraid.  And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness...I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one.  I will be overlooked before I will boast.  I will confess before I will accuse.  I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness...Today I will keep my promises.  My debtors will not regret their trust.  My associates will not question my word.  My wife will not question my love.  And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

I choose gentleness...Nothing is won by force.  I choose to be gentle.  If I raise my voice may it be only in praise.  If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer.  If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I choose self-control...I am a spiritual being.  After this body is dead, my spirit will soar.  I refuse to let what will not, rule the eternal.  I choose self-control.  I will be drunk only by joy.  I will be impassioned only by my faith.  I will be influenced only by God.  I will be taught only by Christ.  I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  To these I commit my day.  If I succeed, I will give thanks.  If I fail, I will seek his grace.  And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Two Words With Power To Change - "But God"

Nate and Sara completed the adoption of their two children, Eden and Caleb, from Ethiopia in 2009. Sara skillfully and beautifully documents their adoption journey in her blog, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet. Visit her blog and you will be blessed, encouraged, and will be able to relate to the honest feelings behind each post.  This post was written by Sara and posted with her permission.

So much of what's communicated about the world of adoption can feel so fatalistic.

Both the outside observer and the mom who is in the thick of it can share the same bleak perspective. One perceives trouble and the other lives it, daily. Anecdotes about the neighbor's son who, post-adoption, traumatized his siblings, share equal weight with a mother's desperate prayer requests for her child, whose countenance has iced-over since they brought her home.

Rewind ten years and any sort of bump in the pathway to the "normal" life intimidated me.

My secret goal was to maintain an equilibrium in every way. A good marriage, steady friendships, growing impact on the world, faithful-but-not-interrupted walk with God. None of these, in and of themselves, are wrong, of course. But they couldn't exist alongside my prayers for a unique intimacy with God.

He let me share, however little, in His sufferings.

Little did I know that what was in front of me would prepare me to administer healing to my daughter, and walk alongside my son in his grief. My hiccups found me a Father, and they are teaching me to be a mother.

Though I met with Jesus in the back-alley of life and found true safety outside of my "normal" life, I still carried those same expectations for normalcy over my children, who came to me through an anything-but-normal means. Residual fear of straying from the norm carried through to our first months and even year of absorbing Eden and Caleb into our fold.

"Happy children" was my goal.

The problem, unfortunately, being that I also prayed even before the first time I laid eyes on them, that they would know Him as Daddy. I've asked, almost daily, that they would know in their innermost being how high, wide, deep and long is His love.

While happy is surely the fruit of a child who knows their Father loves them, there are years where that truth may have been called into question, for my little former-orphans. And they can not be erased.

And grief has surfaced in our home.

The pain behind her eyes is unavoidable at times. Her grasps for the promise of security exposed behind weak attempts to disguise them. Is our love as temporal as the one she first knew? If the womb's bond was broken by poverty, who can she trust?

The foundational fissures of a child, once abandoned, can not be easily caulked. Even the early years are subject to a forever imprint.

But God.

Yes, but God.

The same words I heard years ago about all those areas of "normal" being stretched thin, are the words I hear now. I found a flicker of light in the night, then, that set my whole heart on a different course. One breath of His changed everything.

I was not made to simply endure, forever living by the scars I'd incurred along the way. I was made to conquer. To win. And the prize was the internal shifting of my heart that would never be taken away from me. I would never be the same again.

My walk through the valley of the shadow of death marked my twenties and early thirties. My daughter found it at three and four.

But her scars will be her testimony. And the imprint, a remainder mark of the sweet kiss of Jesus.

I feel the ripples of loss in my home. When fear fills her eyes and insecurity leaks out, I inhale the abandonment too. She clasps her hands around my neck with a hold that craves promise, while expecting that one day this, too, will end. Her joy and zeal, overshadowed as of late, by tentativeness.

By itself, it is bleak. It is fatalistic. There is reason to accept our children will be forever broken.

"But God" echoes from my insides. I want to shout it in my home and let the hope of those words linger like a candle's fragrance in winter over our responses to this vessel not-yet-fully-healed.

She gets to find Him. Early. The darkness ignored by many but undeniable to her, begs a light. My little girl will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.

And because I'd faulted in my marriage, my friendships, my impact, my ambitions, her road to Him is actually exciting for me. I know not just what is on the other side, but the Man she gets to meet along the way.

And His grip around her tiny fingers offers her early admittance to safety.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Adoption Day, Lael! - December 23, 2010

The last placement of 2010 took place on December 23rd!  It took very careful planning and staff cooperation to allow us to make this placement in time for Christmas, but it was a special day that we wanted to be a part of, if at all possible.  Baby Lael was placed into the arms of her adoptive parents, Tommy & Connie, by her birthmother in a hand-knit Christmas stocking that was made by the birth family.

There was not a dry eye in the room as Lael was brought in to meet the adoptive family and then, later, as Tommy shared some of what was on he and Connie's heart that afternoon and publically expressed their feelings of gratitude and love for the birth mother.  This, truly, will be a special Christmas memory for the birth mother, Lael, and the adoptive family.  God is good!  More images are available by viewing the Happy Adoption Day, Lael slideshow.  Due to confidentiality, pictures of the birth family have not been included in the slideshow.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's Tax Time! Understanding the Adoption Tax Credit

The Adoption Tax Credit is a wonderful benefit available for adoptive families who complete a domestic, international, or special needs adoption.  However, it's something that most people don't think about until it's tax time and then they realize that they don't really understand it.  The Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption produced this video clip with basic information to help you understand what kind of expenses you should be documenting, when the credit can be used, and how to go about gaining the maximum benefit for your family.

You should consult a tax professional for additional information or answers to questions you may have specifically relating to your adoption experience.

Friday, January 14, 2011

FLS Caseworker Takes On A New Challenge

For those of you who have been personally acquainted with Family Life Services (FLS), Janelle Basham has been a recognizable part of our ministry for over 10 years.  She has worked as an Adoption Caseworker, in both part-time and full-time capacities, and has very openly shared her own adoption story with many clients over the years.  Her expertise in the area of adoption has been a valued part of FLS and we are so grateful for the many years that she has devoted to our agency.

Although she no longer is employed by FLS, we are celebrating a new opportunity that she accepted in late 2010.  Janelle was asked to become the Director of the Liberty Godparent Home (LGH) and oversee this residential program for pregnant women that provides housing, counseling, education, medical care, and guidance regarding both parenting and placing options.  

LGH is a partner ministry of FLS and we see this transition as a win-win situation:  1)  her office is now in the next building to ours so she isn't far away, 2) we are still able to work with her on a daily basis, just in a different capacity, 3) her life has come full-circle from once being a 16-year-old resident of the Godparent Home to the position of Director and 4)  her personal and professional experience provides her with the energy, passion and drive to continue building a great program at LGH.

Throughout her life, Janelle has experienced ups & downs, victories & defeats, and tears of joy & sorrow that have all been woven together by God's grace to produce a beautiful testimony of God's plan for this chapter in her life.  In 2010, she co-authored Released & Delivered in which she tells her own story of teenage pregnancy, from regret to redemption.

We are so proud of Janelle and the things that God is accomplishing through her!  You can read more about this part of Janelle's journey on her blog The Journey of a Birthmother.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Great 8 Challenge - Karis Magazine

If you look at the top of our blog, you'll see a fancy new banner that has been added to our blog this weekend, proudly proclaiming our support for Karis Magazine!  It is a faith-based publication that started in Southwest Virginia in October 2010 and is quickly expanding and growing.  The magazine's launch of their e-subscription this past weekend will quickly launch them toward their goal of becoming national.  If I had to make a prediction, I think this will become one of the leading Christian publications available.  This magazine is committed to giving back a portion of their income to other ministries impacting the Kingdom.  Here's the first challenge for those wanting to get in on the action...straight from Karis...believe me, you will be encouraged and challenged by every page.

The Great 8 Challenge.

8,000 dollars. 8 ministries. All you have to do is subscribe.

Literally, within an hour of our eKaris launch- God started tugging at our heart strings. (He's so very prompt like that.) We prayed and pondered, and because this company, magazine and ministry is for Him- we're going to start giving back the blessings that He is pouring in!!!

Here's the skinny- For every 100 subscriptions, (eKaris ONLY) Karis Magazine will donate 1,000 dollars to a non-profit organization/charity/ministry. We prayed and used God's super duper knowledge to determine which organizations we'd give to for this go-a-round. After literally picking them from a bowl, here's the order:

1. Straight Street Ministries

2. Liberty Godparent Foundation

3. The Rescue Mission

4. God's Pit Crew

5. Children's Miracle Network

6. Manna Ministries

7. Feeding America Southwest Virginia

8. Rick Via World Ministries

PLEASE subscribe to eKaris and make a difference in the lives of others! Make sure to pass it on; shout it from the roof tops if you have to- we won't judge. HELP US HELP OTHERS!!!! Log onto to get your subscription today and follow them on Facebook at Karis Magazine to follow this amazing journey of faith.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Family Movie Night 1/8 - Change of Plans

I received an email this week from Moms 4 Family TV, which is a grassroots community of moms in favor of television programming that is appropriate and suitable for the whole family to watch together.  Tomorrow night (January 8th) at 8:00 p.m. Est. FOX will be airing an adoption-themed movie called Change of Plans

Change of Plans is the fourth film in an initiative sponsored by Walmart and P&G to bring back “Family Movie Night”. Change of Plans is the story of Sally and Jason Danville, a young couple with plenty of love, talent, and career opportunities - and no responsibilities. When Sally's childhood friend dies and entrusts her with four children, Sally and Jason begin a journey that changes the focus of their lives and expands their definition of family. Three of these four children have become siblings through international adoption, and the movie offers a challenging, heart-warming insight into the joys and struggles of building a family from a group of strangers. The movie stars Phylicia Rashad (Cosby Show), Brooke White (American Idol) and Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis).

• Tune in: Saturday, January 8th at 8:00 p.m. EST on FOX

• Spread the Word: Send an email with a link to this post to your friends and family!

• Visit : for resources, an essay contest, and more.

Your support of this film will encourage a compassionate and positive outlook towards adoption in families across the country. It will also send the message that families want more high-quality entertainment they can enjoy. 
My DVR is set...don't forget to let me know what you think about the movie!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Catching A Grenade You Threw Can Be Messy

This entry was written by Kevin Hofmann and originally published on his blog My Mind on Paper.  It is re-posted with permission.

Sitting across from an adoptive mom in a local support group, I could see the distaste she had for the birth mother of her child. The birth mother had abused drugs and was an unfit mother which led to the county removing the child from the birth mother’s home. The child was adopted by this woman whose feelings were seeping from her every pore.

As I sat in this meeting, the only adoptee, I felt it was important that I say something.

“Do you talk about your daughter’s birth mother with her?” I asked.

“Oh, yes all the time.” She said.

“Do you tell her how you feel about her birth mother?” I cautiously asked.

“No, I never tell her exactly how I feel.” She confidently replied.

“Sometimes you can say a whole lot with out saying a word.” I replied with equal confidence.

There was no way the adoptee didn’t know how her mother felt about her birth mother. It showed in the mother’s face just when she said the birth mother’s name. It oozed out of her in a way that made her feelings known instantly.

My comment was meant to make her think and required no response and she understood that and said nothing in response.

In my head there were several supporting arguments that I never voiced.

My initial concern was, as an adoptee, no matter how bad or horrible my birth mother may have been, she is still my birth mother; to not honor that simple truth was disturbing.

I felt as if the adoptee’s feelings were being sacrificed and ignored because the mother felt justified.

My secondary concern was about the future.

I would never argue that abusing drugs is justified and to be enraged about it was understandable. Did the mother deserve to have her child taken away? There are arguments that support both sides, and at this time and place I am willing to concede the removal was best for the child. The child is where they should be.

Over the years, I am certain the adoptee will learn that her birth mother was a drug abusing, unfit mother at the time she was removed from the home.

The assumption that this is a permanent condition concerns me. What if this permanent condition was temporary and after several years the adoptee meets this unfit mother, who is now clean and sober. That mother wasn’t frozen in time, maturity has thawed this snap shot in the past and she is no longer the unfit mother she once was. How does the adoptee square what she sees with what she has been told?

People can and do change. Now the picture she sees isn’t the picture that has been painted over the years and the adoptee feels betrayed, lied to, and manipulated.

Honoring birth parents is imperative. Honor them in what you say, and how you respond because they are part of the adoptee. Dishonoring them could come back to you like a grenade thrown against hurricane-force winds.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How Will 2011 Be Different For You?

We are back in full-swing at Family Life Services and anticipating a great new year ahead!  Welcoming 2011 seems to bring with it an obligation to come up with wise or witty resolutions that will positively impact our lives in some way.  I've reflected on this a little over this last weekend and settled in my mind that I'm not much of a "resolution person". 

Sure, I want to lose weight, eat healthier, live within my budget, make every day count, blog more consistently and live like I'm dying but I don't necessarily feel the need to make some earth-shattering statement about it on facebook just because the date on the calendar has switched (I mean, don't we all need to know the New Year's Resolutions of the person who sat beside us in our high school Algebra class?!).

However, it is a great time to reflect on the year behind us and hope and dream about the one ahead of us.  That can be an overwhelming task for many of us as we're just happy to have made it.  If 2010 brought with it a host of struggles, disappointments, and hardship, it is possible to focus on the fact that you've made it through to begin a new year.

There is great peace in knowing that God knows what we've been through and He knows what lies ahead in the coming year.  Often I feel that I repeat one simple phrase to get me through the darkest of moments...

God knows.

We can walk boldly into the unknown of a new year because we have the Ultimate Companion, who will stick with us every step of the way and give us the strength, grace, and courage for each day.

Since I cannot change many of the circumstances that surround me, I have determined that I want to enter into this year less focused on my circumstances and more focused on my reactions to what comes my way.  Maybe I'm a "resolution person" after all?!  What resolutions have you made for 2011? 

Happy New Year,
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