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Journey

issue no. 7 | Summer 2018

an alumni publication of Lifeline Children’s Services

heritage trips:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW PARENTING: HOW TO DELIVER A CONSEQUENCE

FOUR WAYS YOU CAN SERVE ORPHANS TODAY


Journey Lifeline Children’s Services 100 Missionary Ridge Birmingham, Alabama 35242 Phone: 205.967.0811 Website: lifelinechild.org

EDITOR IAL KRISTIN WHITEHURST

HILLIARY HALLMAN

Editor

Art Director

JENNY RIDDLE Contributing Editor

CONTR IBUTOR S Rachel Ashcraft, Lynn Beckett, Angie Blackwell, Jamie Clayton, Herbie Newell, Traci Newell, and Neisha Roberts

WH AT IS JOUR NEY ? Journey is an alumni publication dedicated to our families who have been through the adoption or foster care process.This is a way to stay in touch with Lifeline’s ministry, to celebrate along with other families through milestones and stories,and to encourage your walk with Christ and the well-being of your family in the days ahead!

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN YOUR NEXT ISSUE? We love hearing from you! Send us what you would love to read about in the next issue of Journey to milestones@lifelinechild.org.

MEET OUR COV ER FAM ILY Benjamin, Isaiah, and Nico Davis


A Letter from Herbie PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

We are thrilled that you have found our Summer 2018 edition of Journey! This issue is full of information compiled by our staff and volunteers. The content has been thoughtfully collected to help encourage and equip you in the midst of your journey. This year has been exciting thus far as the Lord continues to lead us in new directions and to huge endeavors. We were privileged to join the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Council) and Focus on the Family for the Evangelicals for Life conference in January in Washington, DC. We were a part of conversations regarding what it means to truly stand for life. During March, we held another Families Count conference in Alabama where God brought people from 20 churches across 8 states together to be equipped to love on families in crisis through the church in their communities. And just this month, at the annual Together for the Gospel conference, our leadership engaged with like-minded leaders to consider the ways we are reaching people for Him. We are also excited to have moved in to a beautiful new office headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. Please consider joining us in Birmingham on Thursday, May 17th, between 4:30p and 7:30p, for a tour of our new ministry home. It would be our honor to show you our new space and to celebrate together how the Lord has led the ministry over the last 37 years. Last fall, our alumni family survey revealed that many

of our families desire specific education on how to help their child and family navigate through the adoption journey, whether newly home or home for years. We pray these articles are helpful and give you a taste of more resources to come! We appreciate the work and insight of our Alumni Family Council as they tackle important priorities based on feedback. This year marks my 15th anniversary of serving the ministry of Lifeline. There are so many memories of growth, challenge, office relocations, local travel, global travel and countless adventures. Many of the most precious memories involve meeting the missional families who have joined this journey through adoption, foster care or orphan care. I thank God for the opportunity to serve children and families through this ministry and I continue to covet the prayers of our partners and families as we face the future together. Thank you for taking the time to read this volume and as always, reach out to us with any needs or requests you may have. We pray daily for our families when we gather each morning as a staff for prayer. On behalf of the fatherless,

Herbert M. Newell, IV President & Executive Director


TAKE A STAND FOR ORPHANS THIS SUMMER! Download your free kit at standfororphans.com!

Contents

SUMMER 2018

08 How to Deliver a Consequence 10 Alumni Family Survey Results 12 What Parents Need to Know about Occupational Therapy 14 I’m Coming Home 16 Heritage Trips

18 The Importance of Play 20 Families Count Conference Recap 21 Four Ways to Care for Orphans Today 22 Upcoming Events


Travel with us!

(un)adopted Trips (un)adopted® will be serving partners across the world in various capacities over the next several months. We’d love to see you, or some of your friends and family, join the story and serve on a team. Space is limited, so please look over these options, pray over them, and contact unadopted@lifelinechild.org for more information or to apply for a trip. Be sure to visit lifelinechild.org/take-a-trip-with-unadopted for updates on upcoming trips.

“My daughter Naomi and I had the amazing privilege of visiting Village of Hope, an (un)adopted partner with Lifeline in San Lucas, Guatemala. It was such an encouragement to engage in life with the directors and caregivers there, who are passionate about providing gospel-centered traumainformed care to the precious kiddos entrusted to them. It is clear that God is doing a mighty work there by enabling His people to be a light in a place that craves hope! Naomi and I look forward to visiting (un)adopted partnerships in the future!”

Jamie Steele, Apex, North Carolina

SEPTEMBER 10-18 Busega, Uganda $2,600-2,800

The upcoming trip will be a unique opportunity for you to serve alongside our partners, King Jesus Church (KJC). KJC and Pastor Raphael have a heart for blind orphaned and vulnerable children in their community of Busega. Alongside KJC, Lifeline’s (un)adopted helped start Busega Community School for the Deaf and Blind (where 29 students are now enrolled). This team role will have a variety of projects and roles. There will be time working alongside church staff to reach the community (through delivering and installing water filters, and through a cooking/fellowship time with local Muslim women); time with school staff and children; fellowshipping with church members; and construction projects on the church land.

NOVEMBER 24-30 Bogotá, Colombia $1,600-2,000

Partners and local churches in Colombia have asked for assistance serving impoverished areas with medical care. (un)adopted will lead a team of medical professionals (nurses, doctors, physical therapists, social workers, etc.) to several areas in Colombia to help equip/ empower medical professionals in the area and to serve alongside local churches in serving families and orphaned and vulnerable children. Space is limited on this team and we will require medical experience for most participants. Other upcoming trips yet to be finalized: India, Haiti and Liberia

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Family Milestones Kindergarten Celebrations

Mei Haughton recently celebrated her pre-kindergarten graduation! Mei came home to her family in Haleyville, Alabama, in November 2012 with her parents Boo and Jenny Haughton, brother Reid, and sister Claudia.

Sibling Love Jake Lunsford with his sisters Ellie and Maggie, children of Mike and Caroline Lunsford. He came home to Cullman, AL from Ethiopia in January 2017, and is obviously well-loved. He has 4 sisters and a brother.

Zari Hamner, daughter of Clint and Carla Hamner, came home from Uganda to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, during 2012. She has loved Kindergarten this year!

Kyrgyzstan Reunion Families from Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas came together for a Kyrgyzstan reunion in the fall and to visit with Jalyn, our facilitator! Pictured are the Limbaugh, Stevens, Burton and Lopas families along with their children. The bond these kids shared was so evident by their sweet giggles playing on the playground, picking out Kyrgyz candy, eating chicken nuggets, and hugging Jalyn’s neck. What a sweet thing it was to rejoice that they all now have their forever family! Summer 2018

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lifelinechild.org


JULY 27-28 OCTOBER 26-27 Bir mingham, Alabama

FOR MORE INFORMATION: lifelinechild.org/rooted-in-love


How to:

Deliver a Consequence written and compiled by

LIFELINE’S POST-ADOPTION TEAM

In the world of adoption and foster care we are learning much about trauma and its impact on children and their brains. It is almost impossible to attend a workshop, conference, or webinar that doesn’t cover some foundational information about trauma, along with the importance of building connections with the children in our care. These discussions of trauma and attachment can, at times, leave a parent feeling paralyzed in how to respond to misbehavior for fear they will cause further damage and trauma.

These biblical truths can be foundational as you begin to train and correct your child. First, spend time in prayer asking for God’s wisdom each day. Secondly, rely on prayer and the Holy Spirit to assist you in being calm as you interact with your child and finally recognize that it is important to have a new start each day and not carry over feelings of frustration and resentment. Take time to calm yourself before you engage your child. Responding in frustration and anger will only escalate the situation. Check in with your mental state.

The truth is that limits and boundaries promote feelings of security and safety for children. A child needs security and safety in order to reach the place of healing. As we provide discipline, (training that corrects, molds, and encourages moral character) rather than punishment (which can be punitive and create fear in a child), we help that child find the secure foundation they need. If discipline is administered in a healthy way, it teaches and equips our children to develop the life skills they will need to be successful.

• Remember that there is a need behind your child’s behavior. Don’t take their behavior personally. Your child would likely be reacting this way to any parent. • Remind yourself of the goal of discipline. Discipline is an opportunity to connect with your child, letting them know you are on their team. It is an opportunity to help them learn self-regulation. It is an opportunity to help your child learn life skills such as respect, responsibility, compromise and negotiation. • If your body, mind and spirit are calm and focused on the goals of discipline then you are ready to move forward with positive correction.

Perfect Correction and Discipline:

Only our heavenly Father is able to administer perfect correction and discipline. In our own power we cannot. Each child and each situation is so unique that we need God’s wisdom and help in training our children. James 1:5 reminds us that “if any man lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach.” While God holds us to very high standards He also provides a helper in the form of the Holy Spirit to meet His requirements. Lamentations 3:22-23 proclaims, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Summer 2018

Correction Do’s:

• Do focus on the behavior, not the child. • Do get on your child’s level; sit or kneel down so that you are face-to-face or sideby-side. • Do make eye contact if your child can tolerate this; be careful as forced eye contact can create a defensive stance in your child. • Do use correction and set reasonable goals and expectations that are age and developmentally appropriate. • Do use humor and playfulness to diffuse the situation and get your child’s attention; gentle correction may be enough to get

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your child back on track. • Do name the behavior you do want to establish. For example rather than, “Don’t run” you can say “Use your walking feet.”

Correction Don’ts:

• Don’t lecture or use more words than necessary. Your child will stop listening if it goes too long. • Don’t threaten or give warnings. Simply state what you need from the child. This takes out the combative nature of correction. • Don’t overdo the consequence. Our children can get overwhelmed easily, and if the consequence lasts too long a child will feel defeated and give up before they are successful. • Don’t give up! Progress with our children can often feel like two steps forward and one step back. Adjust your expectations for your child keeping in mind how much they are working to overcome. As you seek the Lord for wisdom in correction and discipline, extend to them the mercies of new beginnings. As you apply the dos and don’ts of delivering consequences you will be building on your connection and relationship with your child. You will be able to use each of the discipline moments to see them become respectful of themselves and others, to be responsible toward their own and others’ possessions, and to learn how to master and control their own emotions and feelings. You will be setting your child up for success as they gain these important life skills. And, most importantly, you will be modeling for them the character of Christ. See this full blog at lifelinechild.org/ parenting-how-to-deliver-a-consequence/.

lifelinechild.org


recommended resources

Safe House written by Joshua Straub You don’t need to do all the “right” things as a parent. Both science and the Bible show us that the most important thing we can provide for our kids is a place of emotional safety. In other words, the posture from which we parent matters infinitely more than the techniques of parenting.

Captain Snout and the Super Power Questions written by Dr. Daniel Amen This children’s book playfully encourages children to correct their negative thinking patterns in order to live happier and healthier lives. Comical illustrations bring the story alive as our main character, Captain Snout, reveals the super power questions that can rid us of our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) and lead to accurate and truthful thinking. >> Our post team adds: Couple this with reminders to your child that God loves them and you love them no matter what.

Our Defender Podcast is the perfect thing to add to your morning commute! These 15 to 20 minutes podcasts are made to mobilize, encourage, and equip Christians to spread the gospel and care for vulnerable children and families. New episodes are available several times per week. Check it out and be sure to subscribe on iTunes today! Summer 2018

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lifelinechild.org


to our families

Dear Fellow Alumni, Last fall hundreds of you responded to our Alumni Family Survey. We appreciate your thoughtful and honest answers and are excited to share the results with you! Your feedback on your post adoption experience has helped us identify areas of opportunity in connecting, equipping and engaging alumni families. As a direct result of your responses, we are excited to announce three new alumni focused initiatives launching this year. 1. Family Mentor Program: Volunteer alumni families will be matched with families in the final stages of pre-adoption planning. Mentors will offer a compassionate heart, an empathetic ear, encouragement and prayer to those just beginning their journey! 2. Increased Local Gatherings: Lifeline families are spread across the globe and we want to help you connect with others in your area. We plan to pilot our first new opportunity, Moms Night Out, in Georgia this fall. 3. Alumni Specific Education: Journey magazine will now include more specific articles designed to equip you with expert advice, give you practical tools, and offer spiritual encouragement for facing the challenges of post-adoption reality! We also are working to develop an alumni specific social media presence where Lifeline families can bring their questions, share insight and find opportunities for continuing education to meet their changing needs. Thank you again for taking the time to complete the survey. I hope you enjoy reviewing some of the responses and results below. We hope you will continue to partner with us in growing Lifeline’s alumni program and would love to hear from you!

In Him,

Jamie Clayton Jamie Clayton, Alumni Family Council Chair alumni@lifelinechild.org

Summer 2018

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“How hard but yet how rewarding the relationship with birth parents can be.”

Survey says... What parents wish they knew before, or want to know more about now:

Would you be willing to serve as a resource or mentor for families that are in the process of adoption as a source of prayer, experience and encouragement?

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If you were not introduced to Lifeline families during your process, would a mentor family have helped ease your transition after your adoption?

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“We were very ready for our adopted child, but not equipped to handle the emotions our adoption created in our other child.” Which area of Lifeline would you like to know more about?

“I don’t think I realized that I, as the parent, may be the one to have trouble bonding.” Summer 2018

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lifelinechild.org


What Parents Need to Know about

Occupational Therapy written by

RACHEL ASHCRAFT, LICENSED & REGISTERED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST

Many people often hear the term “occupational therapy” and picture someone who has suffered a major accident re-learning how to eat or write. However, occupational therapy extends well beyond that limited view, and understanding the important role it can play in children’s lives is essential to knowing tools that are available to help children be as successful as possible. When children have been exposed to traumatic situations, such as neglect, major life disruption, or a continual lack of felt safety, the development of their brains can get “stuck” in survival mode, resulting in behavior that mimics ADHD, a mind and body struggling with dysregulation, and a lack of age-appropriate social and emotional skills. Furthermore, sensory processing disorders or challenges can also be a long-term effect of trauma. Even when these children come home with safe, loving families, their brains may need additional help to begin to recover and function in society. Occupational therapy may be able to give tools to children and families to help them with this process. To give more insight into this topic, we talked with Rachel Ashcraft, a licensed and registered occupational therapist working at Child’sPlay Therapy Center in Hoover, Alabama. She was gracious to talk with us and answer questions about how occupational therapy could impact families in a positive way. Summer 2018

1. What is occupational therapy and what is the focus of occupational therapy for children? Occupational therapy is a profession who uses “occupations,” or the activities that we all value and do every day, to help people live their life to the fullest. . . . For children, the focus of occupational therapy is to address any developmental, physical, social, emotional, or mental health needs that may be impacting the child’s ability to fully engage in their home, community, and school environments. 2. Can you explain what occupational therapy could address for children from trauma? Therapy will vary depending on what the child’s needs are. . . . I work at Child’sPlay Therapy Center, and we see children with all kinds of different needs. I would say that a lot of the children we see have “hidden” needs. That means, to the outside observer this child wouldn’t appear to have any delays in ability. However, when we look closer we often find that a child may have sensory

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processing needs, visual perception delays, fine and/or gross motor coordination delays, neurological processing needs related to a history of trauma, or difficulties with social–emotional coping skills. Occupational therapists will assess the child’s daily function and work with the child to build the skills they need to be successful in their day. 3. What kinds of things could families look for to know if they should take their child for an evaluation by an occupational therapist? Well, first, it’s my belief that if a child has experienced early adversity of any type (especially if the child has been adopted or has been in foster care) that an occupational evaluation is warranted. This is because we know that early adversity is, in itself, a risk factor in regard to the ability to participate effectively in the school, home, and community. Many sensory-based needs can correlate with trauma that a child has experienced. Bruce Perry’s research and work has demonstrated the neurologilifelinechild.org


cal needs that many of our children with difficult histories experience. You can learn more about his trauma informed model at (www.childtrauma.org). As far as specific issues and red flags to look for I’d say to assess if your child has difficulty with daily tasks that would be appropriate for their age including the following tasks: tolerating and participating in getting dressed, transitioning from one activity to another, engaging with peers, following directions (as appropriate for their age), sensory needs, and behavior needs. Many children who really need occupational therapy and can improve can be mislabeled as “misbehaving” when they actually have true neurological delays that are guiding their behavior. An occupational therapist can help address the underlying needs that their behavior is communicating. 4. How does a family seek a referral for occupational therapy? There are several different models and ways to access occupational therapy. Different models also have different levels of intensity, qualifiers for access, and general foci of therapy. • Early Intervention is state provided therapy, which is primarily focused on family training. A child must fall below specific benchmarks to qualify for EI. Your pediatrician can make this referral and early intervention is provided through your county. • School-based therapy is state provided therapy, which is focused on meeting the child’s needs as relates to his or her academic goals. A child must fall below certain benchmarks to qualify for school-based therapy. Additionally, a child must qualify for other special education services to access school-based occupational therapy. Ask your special education coordinator at your public school about an evaluation if you think your child may need special education services.

what steps you need to take to set up an evaluation. In my opinion, outpatient therapy provides the best environment to address underlying needs that many of our adopted and foster children experience. 5. Basically, what should we look for in an occupational therapist? As a mom to an adopted son and a foster mom as well, I would recommend looking for a therapist that at a minimum has received additional training in sensory processing and has some level of awareness of how trauma impacts a child’s development and needs. If at all possible, it would be great if you had a therapist who is well versed in sensory processing, was trained in specific sensory modalities like integrated listening system and interactive metronome, and had received quality trauma informed training. As trauma informed care becomes more ubiquitous a term, there is becoming a spectrum as far as the quality of training goes in regard to trauma informed practice. There’s no official “benchmark” of what makes a training quality but I’d recommend any trainings from any of the authors of the information sheets noted above, AOTA (in person or in published works), or a trauma informed model such as TBRI, NMT, Theraplay, or Trauma based CBT to name a few.

peutic alliance (basically everyone trusting each other and knowing you are all on the same team) is probably the most important factor to look for of anything. As you and your family navigate the journey of adoption or foster care, the need for extra support can be evident right away or may not surface for many years. If you have questions about challenges or just everyday life that your family is experiencing, please contact our Post-adoption team or our Counseling team at 205-967-0811. You can find the full interview with Rachel, including what to expect in an OT evaluation and what to do if you don’t have any trauma-informed therapists in your area, on our website at lifelinechild.org/ninethings-parents-need-to-know-about-occupational-therapy/ About Rachel Ashcraft: Rachel Ashcraft is a licensed and registered occupational therapist working at Child’sPlay Therapy Center. Rachel currently serves as co-chair of ALOTA committee of Government Affairs and participates in AOTA pediatric school of mental health workgroup. Rachel has presented at the local, state, and national level on various topics related to pediatric occupational therapy including topics specific to adoption and foster care. Rachel is passionate about occupational therapy and loves helping her clients meet their full potential. Rachel

However, another consideration that is just as valid is if the therapist you are working with has good rapport with you and your child. No training in the world matters if you or your child is not comfortable. Thera-

is the founder of Foster the Future Alabama, a non-profit devoted to serving children in foster care. Outside of work, Rachel and her husband enjoy spending time with their 2 year old son and advocating for children in the foster system.

• Outpatient therapy is client and family centered. This means that the goals the therapist addresses will be guided by the child and family’s goals. A physician, dentist, chiropractor, optometrist, or nurse practitioner can make a referral to outpatient occupational therapy. At Child’sPlay Therapy Center, where I work you can call and our office will walk you through exactly Summer 2018

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I’M C OM I N G

home

The Veazey Family, Colombia

Nunes Family, Colombia Summer 2018

We praise God for these families that represent many that have come home over the past few months! We never grow tired of recognizing the miracle of adoption.

Hussar Family, Hungary

Head Family, China - 14 -

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The Zazueta Family, China "I will praise the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the Lord; the humble will hear and be glad. Proclaim Yahweh's g reatness with me; let us exalt His name together."

The Johnson Family, India

PSALM 34:1-3

The Barker Family, Haiti Summer 2018

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Heritage Trips the Rowland Family Gary and Kelly Rowland had a heart for adoption early in their marriage. As they realized they were unable to have biological children, God’s plan for growing their family became clear. They adopted their oldest son, Grayson, now 10, domestically and brought their son Landon home from Uganda in 2013. He was 2 ½ years old at the time. In the country of Uganda, some adoption rulings require families to return to the country for heritage trips, and all four Rowlands headed back to Uganda for a six-day heritage trip during August 2017. We asked them a few questions and are thankful they shared their experience with us:

Why did you feel compelled to make a heritage trip?

We feel that it is important, as believers, to demonstrate a spirit of submissiveness to the governing authorities who ruled for us to return (Rom 13:1-2). We also felt


compelled to return because we knew that Western adoptions have been limited significantly since we adopted Landon, and we wanted to demonstrate that Landon is doing well, getting a good education, and is in a very healthy family environment. Finally, we want Landon to be proud of his heritage. We looked forward to showing him the various aspects of Uganda that would give him a sense of pride to know that he came from Uganda.

How did you prepare Landon for this trip?

At first, Landon was very apprehensive about going to Africa. We found out that he was afraid we would leave him there. This gave us a great opportunity to reaffirm that he is permanently part of our family. He responded very well and soon overcame his fears.

Once there, what was Landon’s reaction and experience?

Landon had a great experience in Uganda. In many ways it felt like any other family vacation. One highlight was the opportunity to visit the orphanage where he would have lived had we not adopted him. Landon was able to visit with three children that were at the orphanage at the same time he was. Though it took Landon a few minutes to remember his friends, once he did, it became the biggest highlight of his trip. He still talks about seeing his friends. Because Landon was so young when we adopted him, everything he experienced on this trip was like new to him. He was finally able to experience the country that he has heard us talk about so many times. Once back at home, Landon couldn’t wait to tell all of his friends and teachers at school all about his trip to Uganda.

How do you see this as a positive experience for Landon and your family?

Before going on this heritage trip, Landon had only vague memories of Uganda. He knew his adoption story because we have talked a lot about it, but the stories no longer felt like his own. This trip allowed Landon to connect all of the stories he had heard with everything he was seeing and hearing. It was also great for the family as a whole because we were able to fully enjoy Uganda without the stresses and pressures associated with the adoption process. The only requirement was a brief court appear-

Summer 2018

ance, which turned out to be a very pleasant and quick experience. Visiting Landon’s baby’s home and the children’s home in which he would have lived was a joyful experience for the whole family. We were amazed that one of the Ugandan legislators showed up to our court appointment just to meet us and shake our hands. He is pro-adoption, and he wanted to witness our meeting so that he could better advocate for adoption in Parliament. We were also amazed that we had a divine appointment with one of Uganda’s Supreme Court Justices. She and her husband own the property where we stayed, and she happened to stop by to pick up the rent from the guesthouse hosts— something she hasn’t done personally in over a year and a half. When she heard that we were there to comply with the court’s order for a heritage trip, she lit up! She gave Landon big hugs and told him how blessed he was to have a loving family.

From our Post-Adoption Team:

When international adoption is a part of your children’s story, another country’s food, clothing, customs, etc. is also a part of your story. When parents embrace this story and walk joyfully with their children, they can help their child discover how their birth country is a part of their identity. At some point in the lives of internationally adopted children, there often comes a time when some children are interested in exploring and visiting their birth country, especially if children were adopted at a young age and have no conscious memories of it. They may have romanticized ideas of what their birth country is like or how it would be to live there. Inversely, some children have negative opinions or traumatic memories of life in their country of origin, so they have no desire to go. If children do want to travel, or if you as their parents feel it is a good way to help your children process the past and build a positive relationship with their birth country, we have provided some suggestions that might help the trip and those goals be more possible:

1.

Talk to other parents who have made a similar trip. Learn from their experiences, but also do not expect all experiences to be exactly the same.

2.

Show your child photos and videos of

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places you might go, so that he/she can visually see and know what to expect.

3.

Plan ahead and let your child know the daily schedule to prevent fear of the unknown.

4. Reinforce many times that you will all go,

and that you will all come back. The reality, unfortunately, is they could have the fear of being left there and abandoned again.

5.

Talk about the fears, expectations and hopes your child has about various aspects of your trip and help them to be realistic about each one (who they will or will not see, things they can or cannot do, places they will or will not go).

6.

Learn some of the country’s language and encourage your child to do so also. But, be prepared (and prepare your child) that people there might expect them to be fluent even if they are not; not being able to communicate might bring frustrations and feelings that they do not fit in or belong, even though they might look like the people there.

7.

Discuss some basic social etiquette or customs that might not be common to them; knowing and abiding by these might limit unwanted stares or even being corrected by someone there.

8.

Remember to take into account your child’s social-emotional developmental age, and plan your trip and conversations accordingly (sensory needs, emotional regulation and need for down time need to be considered).

9. Check in with your child each night of the trip to confirm how he or she is processing all that is experienced; validate feelings and remember feelings are not right or wrong.

10.

Consider professional counseling prior to the trip if you think that might be helpful for your child, and as always contact your post adoption social worker to discuss any concerns or with any questions. Our post-adoption teams frequently receive questions about heritage trips, and we are excited to be talking about this topic with our families! Please stay tuned as we have more stories and information about heritage trips coming up!

lifelinechild.org


THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY written by

LYNN BECKETT, POST-ADOPTION SPECIALIST

When I ask families how they are adjusting at home with their new child, they will often state, almost as an apology, “All we do is play; we are just playing.” When I hear this answer I want to shout from the rooftops “Hooray! Hooray! They are engaging in play!” Play is the most important activity of childhood. Karyn Purvis, co-author of The Connected Child, states, “Play is the language of children.” It is through play that children learn how to navigate the world and their place in it, how to gain confidence in their skills, and how to begin to make sense of their past and begin to heal from that past. Play is the best tool a parent has to build a strong attachment with their child and to help the child develop a strong foundation of trust and security. Knowing that play is important and builds connection, why then do we struggle to incorporate play into our lives? Parents gave insight to that question in a June 2016 poll conducted through a webinar hosted by Alabama Pre-Post Adoption: 40% stated they were too busy; 32% indicated sheer tiredness; 15% stated it is awkward and they don’t know how; and 5% stated it brought them stress.

GETTING STARTED BUILDING CONNECTIONS Play should not be stressful but fun for both parent and child. There is no set formula for playing “correctly,” so don’t let fear drive you to neglect such a powerful tool. However, consider the following suggestions to get started on a path to play: • Reflect on your own childhood and what you enjoyed; then, pass that enjoyment on to the next generation! • Observe your child as they play. See what interests them and then join them in play. Children love to be the leader in play and having a parent mirror what they are doing creates a great bond. • Help them to build and expand on their interests or develop new interests together. • Have a playful attitude throughout the day. Be intentional about making the most mundane tasks fun. For example, walking from the store to the car can turn into a quick game of follow the leader. Sitting at a red light can prompt a game of “I spy”. The Big Purple Dinosaur, Barney, was onto this concept as he sang “Clean up, Clean up, ‘cause we like to do our share,” while picking up toys. This playful song makes the job fun, and gets it done without the power struggle! So make up some songs of your own as you rake leaves, fold laundry and do the dusting. We had P.J. races at our house to see who could get theirs on the quickest, it took all the stall tactics out of going to bed!

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lifelinechild.org


HEALING THROUGH PLAY Healing comes through play. Movement is a key part of allowing many children to relax. Play can disarm a child. Then, when they are in a relaxed state, they are able to connect with their memories and feelings. Be careful to listen to the things they are saying as they play with the tea set or push the dump truck through the sand. You may gain great insight into what your child is thinking and what they have experienced in their past. As a child plays you may find them reenacting stories from their past. This experience allows the child to make sense of their past and can bring resolution to the trauma they have experienced.

INTENTIONAL PLAY Bryan Post, a licensed clinical social worker and family therapist, recommends the 10-20-10 principle to help parents begin to build play into their day. He suggests 10 minutes of play in the morning with your child to start the day on a positive note. Then, play 20 minutes in the afternoon when they return home. This time helps them (and you) decompress from the day and process their experiences. Add another 10 minutes of quieter play in the evening as you move toward bedtime, and you will have intentionally devoted a small amount of time to activities that will have a tremendous impact on your connection and healing with your child. Intentionality in this area will make a huge difference. Use the following acronym to remind you about playing with your child:

P L A Y

Plan to play with your child each day. Allow your child to lead the play. Be attuned to your child’s emotions during play. You are the most important part of the equation. The interaction you have with your child will build lasting memories and connections.

I leave you with these wise words from a man many of us probably connected with as young children, Fred Rogers: “When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit. It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.” See this full article with further suggested resources on our blog at lifelinechild.org/playing-to-connect-and-heal. Summer 2018

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lifelinechild.org


Families Count

Conference

Lifeline’s third Families Count Equipping and Enrichment Conference was held at our new Birmingham office on March 21st and 22nd.

The conference included more than twenty churches from across the nation. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas were represented. This sweet time of fellowship allowed already engaged church partners to connect with and mentor churches new to the ministry. Testimonials from birth parents, mentors, pastors and a local judge allowed churches to hear and see how God is at work through this ministry to hurting families. A primary goal of the conference was to equip new churches to launch a Families Count ministry in their respective area, and an emphasis was placed Summer 2018

on the need for ongoing discipleship of parents with existing church partners. Overall, the conference was a tremendous success and a powerful testament of God’s faithfulness and love for families! More than 200 parents graduated from Families Count courses last year, and we are excited at the Lord’s work in this area of our ministry. In one church within Alabama, there have been 9 families reunited as they completed Families Count and worked through the rest of their reunification plans. In that same church, more than 23 families are consistently attending the church after having attended Families Count there.

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Families Count is a family restoration and preservation ministry designed to give local churches a platform to minister to the parents of children who have been placed into the local foster care system, or are at risk of entering it. Families Count equips the church to engage some of the most vulnerable families in their community with the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you’d like to learn more about how your church can begin to implement Families Count, please contact: connect@lifelinechild.org.

lifelinechild.org


FOUR

ways

YOU C A N SERV E ORPH A NS TODAY

written by

NEISHA ROBERTS, (UN)ADOPTED COORDINATOR

It’s easy to read “153 million orphans worldwide” and pass right over it. But the reality is, that’s 153 million individual orphaned and vulnerable children that could grow up without ever hearing the gospel. That’s an epidemic. An epidemic that no one human tactic can heal. As believers, we know God calls us to care for the orphan. But, what are some tangible ways to do that? Garth Thorpe, who previously served as (un) adopted’s Education Manager, said, “Far too often we look to motivate care for orphans with exhortations, but really it should be the other way around. . . . We must first announce the victory found in the gospel and then through this new identity in Christ we will see how these opportunities fit with God’s heart in the first place.” It is through the gospel that we are called and emboldened to serve orphaned and vulnerable children. So, where are places we can use these skills God has equipped us with? The best place to start is the local church. The Church is not a man-made strategy—it is God’s plan from the beginning (Ephesians 3:10-11). The Church plays a pivotal role in reaching OVC (orphaned and vulnerable children), so as you think through ways you can serve them, start with the Church. Your church may or may not have an orphan care Summer 2018

ministry but you can be a part of advocacy. Lifeline provides many resources that you and your church can utilize in serving orphans worldwide. • Mission Kid — a missions compliment to your camp, Backyard Bible Club, or other summer ministry program • Stand for Orphans — an initiative created by kids and for kids to benefit the work of Lifeline • R(un) for One — a 5K event to help raise funds for (un)adopted partners around the world who daily make an impact on OVC • Lifeline advocate — email us for more information on becoming a Lifeline advocate. In addition to partnering with your church, here are four more tangible ways to get you started in serving orphaned and vulnerable children: PRAY. Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do, and yet it often feels “not enough.” We must remember that God is the God who saves and that we have direct access to Him. Pray that your own heart would be molded to what He cares for. Pray that your eyes would be opened to the orphan crisis. GIVE. Finding a Christ-centered ministry to give through, either in your own church or a resource like Lifeline, is a practical way to help serve orphaned and vulnerable children. Sponsoring a child through a local church program is another way to make an immediate impact on an orphan’s life.

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Homes like Developing Hope in Pakistan provide the only safe haven for orphaned and vulnerable girls in its city of millions. The home gives the girls a place to stay, nourishing food, education, health care, and most importantly, they are hearing the gospel and starting a relationship with their Savior. See the children you can sponsor through (un) adopted in Pakistan or Uganda! GO. Going to serve alongside a local church that is working in orphan care is one way to taste, see, touch, and interact with orphan care. Learning happens best when it’s experiential, Garth said, so experiencing the work first-hand helps you better understand and advocate for the orphan. ADVOCATE. Having seen and experienced orphan care first-hand, you can more clearly share and advocate. This ties back to the gospel, Garth said, “When the gospel reaches our hearts, we can’t help but share it with other people. . . . In a similar way, when we have seen the need of these children, we have to be a part of sharing it with others, so that the gospel can go forth to unreached OVC.” Beyond all of these physical ideas, “we must understand that we are not the hero of the story,” Garth said. “Before the dawn of time God purposed Christ to be the Savior of the world. He’s the true Hero.” We just get to be a part of His story. lifelinechild.org


Upcoming

Events

Run for One 2018

Saturday, September 8 Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, or wherever you are!

Visit lifelinechild.org/events to see how you can get involved!

Register at runforone5k.org.

13th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic Monday, May 21 in Birmingham, AL Lifeline’s Open House May 17 at 4:30-7:30 PM 100 Missionary Ridge Birmingham, Alabama Please join us as we celebrate our new office space and honor Herbie and Ashley Newell’s 15 years of service at Lifeline. Formal program: 5:45 - 6:15. Food and childcare will be provided.

Prayer + Webinars

Stand for Orphans

Prayer Partner Calls 3rd Thursday of each month for 15 minutes. Email connect@lifelinechild.org for more info.

May - August 2018

Roadmap to International Adoption May 17 at 6:00 CST. Register online at lifelinechild.org/events.

Foster Parent Training Class Orientations Birmingham, Alabama June 4: Altadena Valley Presbyterian Church August 14: Shades Mountain Baptist Church August 23: The Church at Brook Hills Daniel Island, South Carolina August 9 & 16: Church of the Holy Cross Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina September 24: East Cooper Baptist Church Summer 2018

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lifelinechild.org


Thank You to Our Partners Aaron Patrick and Mandi Mowery Abby and John Gray Adam and Heather Rhoades Aimee and Heith Comer Alan and Mallory Rushing Alan and Vickie Balmer Alana and Edwin Garrison Alex Petty Alicia Denbeste Alison and Garry Rice Allan Dato Allison and Tyler Crow Amanda Groce Amber and Logan Littell Amber Zakahi Amy and Michael Catania Amy and Richard Buckley Amy and Tim Rider Amy Dietrich Amy Springfield Andrea Moore Andrea Wilhelm Andrew and Laura Lynn Stubbs Andrew Steele Angela Reed Annie and Stephen Persinger April and Brent Haney April and Rusty Palmer April Weaver Ashley and Andrew McMakin Ashley Boggs Ashley Stephens Austin and Christy Vincent Austin and McCall Hardison Barry Latham Becki Stacks Becky and Rachel Snell Becky Lloyd Ben and Michelle Botos Benjamin Johnson Bill and Susan Hardekopf Bob Snell Brad Ainsworth Bradley Smith Brenda and Dennis Moon Brent and Lauren Griffin Brian and Erin Van Fleet Britton Lynn Brooke Thomason Bryce Batts C. John and Donna Cortopassi, Jr. Cameron and Jamie Clayton Carl and Lee Ann Glidewell Carlton and Brenda Nell Carly Webber Carol G. Lazar Carolyn and Mike Krisko Carolyn and Richard Wylly Catherine and Jonathon Leeke Catherine Roy CH White Charles Beavers Charlotte Bland Chassidi and Jamie Likens Chelsea R. MacCaughelty Cheryl Harper Chloe Grimstead Chris and Ashley Jones Chris and Brittany Welsh Christie Mac and Croft Segars Christine Chance Christopher and Stefanie Leist Christopher Kendrick Christopher Steve and Kimberlie Miller Christy and William Harmon Cindy and Ken Debardelaben Cindy and Philip Hoisington Claire Meriweather Claire Turner Cooper and AnnaBrooke Johnson Corey and Ruthie Braun Corley and Jan Odom Corrie and Chris Coghlan Cory Edwards Courtney and Dale Kendrick Courtney and Heather Long Craig Ogard Craig S. and Judy Beatty Curtis and Kati Wallace Cy and Traci Hutcherson Cynthia Butler Dan and Stefanie Cinadr Dana Stewart

Daniel and Carrie Brock Daniel and Emily Murphy Daniel and Jill A. Perkey Daniel and Marsha Headley Daniel and Stacie Jackson Danielle Gilbert Darrell Clark Dave and Jen Rizer David A. Cox David and Danette Harper David and Erin Orr David and Jeanie Wilson David and Karen Manner Manner David and Kimberly Sheppard David and Lucy McBride David and Margaret Weik David and Pepper Wooten David Coggin David Pullen Deanna Newman Debbie and Brian Fallin Denise and Frederick Morton Dennis Nelson Derek and Christin Thompson Diane Oakley Diane Vannoy Donald Hendry Donny and Sharon Donald Dottie Neuf Doug and Julie Dewberry Douglas and Gail Acton Dovie and Othel Davis Elizabeth and Michael Allen Norris Emily Griffin Eric and Meredith Mann Erin and Dan Balog Eugene and Charlene Peters Eugene and Heather Preskitt Ferrah Poe Frank Brocato Frank Reilly Gabriel and Callie Bailie Gavin and Frances Jones George and Melodie Kovakas George E. and Jennifer Files Glenn and Suzanne Morris Gloria and Ersel King Grant Scarborough Greg and Rene Armbruster Gregory Franks Guy and Jackie Gardner Haley and Trey Horsfall Hannah Waddell Harry and Mary Vanderwal Harry and Sarah Knight Helen Pruet Herbert and Susan Newell Herbie and Ashley Newell Hilliary Hallman Holly Taylor Hugh and Beth Tappan Hugh and Susan Thomas J. Spencer Hodges Jaime Odrezin James and Anne Marie Brooks James and Brandy Wohlers James and Frances Moore Jared and Julie Thompson Jared and Sarah E. Mills-Lloyd Lloyd Jay and Trecia Gemes Jeanne Tarwater Jeff and Dianne Chinery Jeffrey and Christa E. Brophy Jeffrey and Ellen Flannery Jennifer and Chris Ragsdale Jennifer and Dusty Wright Jennifer and Robert Carr Jennifer Beasley Jenny Brown Jeremy and Amy Bettis Jeremy and Aubrey Winslow Jerod and Allison Sinclair Jessica and Dylan Taylor Jessica Kern Jessica Poiner Jim and Aimee Weaver Joanne Braum Jody MacCaughelty Joey and Kristin Whitehurst John and Cathy Anderson John and Cynthia Garner John and Evelyn Petelos John and Kathryn Lalonde

John and Mary Coleman Dobbins John Caldwell John Carroll Jonathon and Catherine Leeke Jordan and Candace Coggin Joseph and Val Hepburn Josh and Amy Preskitt Josh and Meagan Smith Josh and Staci Caldwell Joshua and Amanda Pinnick Joshua and Jennifer Calhoun Judy and Kurt Forster Karen and David LaBarr Karla and Jamie Thrasher Kasey and Louis Belva Kate Watkins Kathryn and Thomas Petersen Kathy Schlotterbeck Katie Belue Katie Traylor Keith and Nancy Harwood Keith Harwood Kelly and Jason Preston Kendall Wise Kendra Setterstrom Kenneth J. and Sandy Roozen Kevin and Ansley Gwyn Kim and David Stone Kimberly and Jeff Miller Kit and Larry Laughlin Kori Fulford Krista Montgomery Kristin and Ryan Maynard Kristy McKinney Kyle Bradberry Kyndra and Frank Resso Lark Collins Larry Price Laura and Mitch Watkins Laura Lenert Lauren and Collin Hansen Lauren Eddie Lauri Mehaffey Layla and Kevin Palmer Lea Anne and Barry Parker Leasha Laster Lee Anne Bowling Les and Kelli Wright Lindsey Grist Lisa and Christopher Shanley Lisa Kelly Lloyd and Ann Davis Luke and Ali Allen Lyle and Denise Mason Lynsey and Kari Tibbs Macy Trevillion Maddi Vaughn Madeline Camp Mallory Breed Marcia Washburn Margi Miceli Mark A. and Nancy Peeples Mark and Lisa Bond Mark Moraca Marsha and Mayur Patel Marty Schlossman Matt and Kadie Laughlin Matt and Kathy Davis Matthew and Beth Lodes Matthew and Emily Hinshaw Matthew and Leah Frye Matthew Morris McKenzie Emch Meagan and Daniel Murphree Megan and Daniel Kerstiens Megan Jones Melissa Lawler Micah and Jamie Steele Micah Evans Michael and Abbey Fuchs Michael and Jenny Bailey Michael and Lois Temple Michael Luke and Krystle Stanley Michelle Barrett Morgan Gilley Morgan Norris Morgan Terch Nan Cookus Nancy and Keith Harwood Nancy Way Naomi and Shawn Washington Natalie Hochstetler Nathan and Cheryl Ross

January-April 2018 Nathan and Elizabeth Herren Nathan and Stacie Berck Nathan Townson Nathan Winter Nicole and Adam Kirklin Pattie Boone Paul and Leanne Rogers Pete Vargas Phillip Hawley Rachel Miley Rachel Pilston Rachel Snell Raquel Patterson Rebecca Humphreys Rex and Lisa Tessendorf Rhonda Hill Richard and Connie Kinney Richard and Johanna Vest Richard and Krystal Dodd Richard and Lynda Johnson Robert and Aimee Whitlock Robert and DJ Henry Robert and Melissa Beard Robert Collins Robert Ginter Robert Horton Robert Wise Rodger H. Peterson Roger Gibson Rosemary Metcalf Ross and Stephanie Vander Noot Roxi Brown Russell Lloyd Ryan and Bethany Golden Sabrina and Jim Sheninger Sam and Cynthia Stanley Samantha Clark Sandra and Mark Koss Sarah Adams Sarah Harvey Sarah Temple Scott and Keri Adams Scott and Sandy Deaton Sergio Castillo Shane and Denae Griggs Shane and Stacy Huff Shannon Dennis Shelby McCullers Sherri Snell Sherry and Buddy Starling Sondra and Charlie Martin Stacey and Andrew Dodd Stacy Gay Steven and Caroline Bobo Steven and Ginger Windham Sydney Lawson Tammy Trevillion Tania Trevino Tanner and Ristine Sutton Tanner Ray Taylor and Caitlin Hammond Terry and Debra Barnes Theodore and Janet Hibbs Thomas and Ludille Pinkard Tim and Deanna Crist Tim and Deaune Maddock Tim and Sherry Harbuck Timothy and Carol Wickstrom Todd and Anna Allen Todd and Kimberly Johnson Troy and Randi Rhone Troy D. Timothy Tucker and Morgan Burke Verne and Joanne Dow Vernon and Cheryl Prostler Vicki and Brad Wilson Victoria and Thomas Magnett Victoria Whitworth W. Earl Cooper W. Paul Glass Walter and Candace Teem Wanda Puvogel Wayne and Cheryl Bryant Wesley James Whitney and Adam White William and Deborah B. Parks Vines William and Kim Christenberry William and Susan Slappey William J. Farrar Yarelis Williams Zachary and Nicole Chryst

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