Journey Winter 2016

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Journey Winter 2016

an alumni publication of Lifeline Children’s Services

Twinning Adopting children close in age

Things to Remember Around the Holidays Foster Care:

Where Are They Now? A look back at Lifeline’s firsts

When the Body of Christ works together for Reunification

A letter from Herbie... President & Executive Director

W Newell rbie & Caleb ey, Emily, He hl As n, yn el L to R: Ad

e are thankful for this time of year that brings families and friends together. We hope this issue of Journey finds you looking forward to celebrating the birth of our Lord. He is our hope in the midst of a broken world.

This issue is the fourth and final magazine for this year. We pray you have enjoyed the encouragement of reading and seeing fellow families who have answered God’s call on their hearts to be His messengers of hope to children and families. Please be on the lookout soon for a survey about this magazine to ensure it is a good and helpful resource for your family. This month we share two stories of Lifeline “firsts” as we celebrate 35 years of ministry. You will learn about Jonathan Burch and Cara Li Settle, whose lives were changed through adoption as their families pointed them to Christ. You will gain insight from the Schwindling family who is navigating the adoption of a little girl very close in age to their biological daughter. These stories bring so much joy and so much challenge. Our Post Adoption Department has put together some points to remember as you go through these busy seasons with your family. We also share the story of our foster parents, Brandon and Trina Bishop, who had the privilege of being a part of a family reunifying during recent months. This is the reason for this season – redemption and love that knows no bounds!

What is Journey? 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 as we include 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 of Journey? We love hearing from you! Send us what you would love to read about in the next issue of Journey to


You will find information on the back of this issue on ways you can join us in this season to change one life. Will you partner with us to provide care, educate families, and share the gospel locally and globally? We pray for our families each morning when we gather as a staff. Those prayers include you. Please feel free to call or connect with us at any time. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

In Him,

-----------------Meet our cover family! The Schwindlings:

(left to right)

Zoe, Maegan, TC and Emory Ann Herbert M. Newell, IV President & Executive Director

Cover photography by: Hannah Busing

Since 1981

In this Issue... Milestones from Lifeline families just like you


Devotion Reconciliation


Recap: Run for One and Family Reunion

Cover Story: Twinning Adopting children close in age

Foster Care: When the Body of Christ works together for reunification

35th Anniversary Highlight: Where Are They Now: A look back at Lifeline’s firsts Things to Remember Around the Holidays: A contribution from the Post Department

Holidays in the Kitchen: Recipes from Around the World

6 9 11 13 17 19



Milestones The McGinty Family

“Our son, Maverick McGinty, is 4 years old. He came home to Louisiana from China in October of 2015. This summer he completed his first session of swim lessons and as you can see, he absolutely loved it! This boy lets nothing stand in his way.� -Evan and Angie McGinty Madisonville, Louisiana

Kai Christenberry

Congratulations to Kai Christenberry as he competes at the collegiate level in Cross Country running for Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Kai is the son of Bill and Kim Christenberry. Birmingham, Alabama

Letters to Lifeline We love hearing from you! Email your stories to for a chance to be featured in our quarterly publication of Journey! 3


Ezequiel Judah Ryder

“Ezequiel Judah, age 11, who came home from Peru during July of 2012, learned how to swim this year without float devices. He struggles with stamina due to his skeletal dysplasia but has gained strength and confidence in the pool and all around! We are proud of him.” -Scott and Becky Ryder Ball Ground, Georgia


The Knotts Family

“This is Isaac and Isaiah Knotts. This photo was taken on June 13th, 2016, our forever family day. We’ve been home two years as of this day!” -Gary and Amanda Knotts Decatur, Alabama

The Catania Family

Amy and Michael Catania brought their daughter Maria Grace home from Colombia during February of this year. They celebrated her first birthday during August. Amy was also adopted from Colombia. This is their first photo as a family of five! Walden, New York

Journey Winter 2016




Reconciliation by Jenny Riddle, Content Coordinator, Lifeline Children’s Services

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” -2 Corinthians 5:18-19


econciliation. It’s a word that is needed because brokenness has happened. Reconciliation stems from the need for relational reconciliation (unless we are talking about reconciling a checkbook, but even that act can help preserve relationships). But, back to the main point: reconciliation is rooted in relationships. In the adoption and fostering worlds, reconciliation can look differently, but the goal is similar: reconciling children, as the sons and daughters they are, with parents who love them, raise them with appropriate care, and demonstrate the love of Christ. In the world of adoption, this means finding gospelcentered forever families for precious children; they are reconciled relationally as sons and daughters. In the world of fostering, it means working toward birth parent reconciliation until reunification can occur or until that option is no longer viable for the good of the child; while working toward that goal, though, fostering means finding gospel-centered families who can care for and love these valuable children. In both cases, they are reconciled relationally as sons and daughters, whether temporarily or permanently. Most people don’t think about the holiday season as a season of reconciliation, but that is exactly what it is. Easter is what gave us victory over sin and death through the death and resurrection of Christ, but Christmas is not to be celebrated without the lens of Easter. We celebrate Jesus’ birth because He is the Savior of the world who came to reconcile


the sons and daughters of God to their Father. He came because there was brokenness. He came because our identity as sons and daughters of the Most High God was tarnished. His was a mission of reconciliation, and it was a messy one. His mission would require that the tiny baby in a manger would give His life for the sake of others. Paul informs us in the passage above that Christ’s mission is also ours—not that we save people, but that we engage them with the gospel through our words and lives. Both adoption and fostering come from a place of brokenness—a need for the gospel, a need for healed relationships, and a need for healed hearts and minds. As we have and are engaging in this ministry of reconciliation every day, we know that it gets messy and it requires sacrifice to continually show the gospel in situations that are challenging (to say it nicely). Reconciliation is not for the faint of heart. Reconciliation is completely worth the effort, the tears, and the over-consumption of chocolate, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t heartbreaking times in the process. As we soon enter the holiday season, remember that Christmas exists because reconciliation was needed. As followers of Christ, we can take to heart the truth that we needed Christmas to make us who God designed us to be—His children. May that truth remind us that families matter because reconciliation allows children to be who God designed them to be—sons and daughters to mothers and fathers and, prayerfully, the One True Father.

Run for One and Family Reunion Recap

Runs and Reunions Birmingham, Alabama by Sarah Privett


s far as Family Reunions go, Lifeline’s is pretty special! The bond between our staff and our families is an amazing one and we look forward to celebrating that bond each year! When you add in some good food, activities, a water relay, and a bouncy house—you’re in for a good time! After Lifeline’s R(un) For One, a 5K to benefit Lifeline’s (un)adopted ministry, families spent the remainder of the afternoon enjoying beautiful Veteran’s Park in Hoover, AL. Families travel from all over the southeast to attend the reunion. The Stanley family shared why they attend the family reunion each year: “Our family traveled from Memphis to Birmingham this past weekend to take part in the R(un) for One and for the Lifeline Family Reunion. The reunion is special to us because our social workers have watched our girls grow up.



truly was such a joyful sight!”

It’s a time for us to catch up with so many of the staff that have helped us along each adoption journey.”

The event included booths and contests for the children and teens to participate in. Several families volunteered to create The Family Reunion itself was and run their own activity staoriginally established to celtion—the stations included face ebrate Lifeline’s anniversary, and painting, a sponge relay, waterhas since grown into a beloved color painting, a beach-themed event for families to come tophoto booth, water tables for the gether! We celebrate children little ones, and a chance to cool being adopted from Lifeline’s off in style in kiddie pools! After twenty adoption programs and enjoying the activities, everythe families that have opened one sat down and cooled off their hearts to them! This year’s under the park’s pavilion, enjoyevent was no exception. Our ing conversation and a picnic Lifeline Reunion Committee cre- lunch. One of the best parts of ated a carnival style luncheon the family reunion is the chance with something for everyone— for adoptive families to share kids, teens, and adults. The their stories. The Hnizdil family theme for this year was “Splish, attended the reunion and shared Splash”, with fun water-themed how encouraging the time was. activities. Three-time adoptive Mr. Hnizdil said: mom, Stacie Berck shared that one of her favorite moments was: “We had an opportunity to share our stories with other families, “Watching the many children and this was a great affirmation from around the world, who are and encouragement. Adoption now home with their forever is not always easy, so it’s good families, gather together out in to be around many others who the field of the park to play. It understand the ride.”

Journey Winter 2016




Run for One and Family Reunion Recap (continued)

Water games, art, and photo ops made the reunion big fun for our families.

Behind the scenes, many people helped to create this fun-filled day! Thank you to all the families who attended and sponsors of the event—we love all of you! A special thank you to the adoptive moms that volunteered at each activity station, Riverchase United Methodist for the use of their VBS supplies, Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, Bud’s Best Cookies, Elise Logan for her amazing decorating skills, Oak Mountain High School football team, and the Lifeline Staff committee that planned the event. In the years to come, our goal is to continue offering a special Family Reunion! If you are an adoptive family, from here in Alabama or states away, we would love your family to


join us! Each of you is a part of this large, diverse (and wonderfully cute) Lifeline family! We were fortunate this year to spend time with a family who came home about six months ago with their son. It was a truly special moment to meet him, and to realize that not that long ago we were visiting this family in their home, as they prayed for the child they did not yet know. Now, with a full heart, we ate our Jimmy John’s sandwiches, enjoying a nice Alabama summer day, and smiled at the incredible blessing of this family being together. Lifeline families look forward to the event each year as well. We consistently hear how encouraging it is to just be together.

Adoptive mom, Carrie Brock shared this sentiment exactly: “It is encouraging to hang out with families who have also been down the long road of adoption. Connecting with new families, catching up with people that you traveled with, and seeing your social workers and other Lifeline Staff (who you might not have seen in a while) combine to make an exciting morning at the park.” We are grateful to be a part of the Lifeline family and thankful we can celebrate the amazing families we partner with through the gift of adoption! We are already looking forward to next year and another special day of celebrating!

Family Feedback




Family Feedback The McAllister Family

We love to hear feedback, especially when it involves the full circle of God’s perfect timing. We were thrilled to receive this email after Abby McAllister read the story of the Sanjines family in our August issue, written to our Latin America Director, Beth Stanley:

Hi Beth, I just got the most recent “Journey” issue from Lifeline. As I was reading through I came to page 9. As I turned the page the first thing I saw was the picture of the three kids on page 10. My heart did a flip flop. Pulse racing, I started reading. I knew those three kids! Confirmation came by the end of the first page. My mind whisked me back to just over two years ago in the DR while you were visiting. We were asking the tough questions about sticking with the DR for our adoption or switching countries. Our time there was coming to a close and we hadn’t heard anything from CONANI after waiting a year and seeing two other families pass us by in the process and go home with their kids. We knew other countries had waiting children lists- kids we could just say “yes” to and get on with it! I poured over the lists online and had you send me details. Colombia was high on my list due to the Spanish language which we wanted to share with our kid(s). I fell in love with a sibling group of three; a little boy and two girls. We prayed about them, and I loved them deep in my heart. I felt such a connection. As that week went on, we felt God tell us to wait it out in the DR, and we chose to follow that. Almost immediately we received a referral and miraculous confirmation that we had found our newest family member. Even through the joy, I mourned the situation for that sibling group in Colombia. Imagine the joy in my heart at seeing this same sibling group in the family God had provided for them! I never thought I would hear or know anything about them. I worried that if we didn’t take them, who would? Oh, ye, of little faith! Seeing those sweet kids with a family has built my faith and confirmed to me once again how good is our God and how much greater His plans are than we can see or know. The process of “choosing” a child is so hard. How do you know who is meant for you? What if you don’t say “yes?” How can you ever say “no” to a child in need? This moment of seeing these babies so loved has helped me to know the answers to all those questions. Because “God so loved the world...” He’s got them all in his hands. He is big enough and has called people to step up. Trust him. Trust him with the babies you have to say “no” to as much as the ones you are blessed to say “yes” to.

-Abby McAllister Spokane, Washington Journey Winter 2016 Journey Summer 2016




Cover Story


Adopting children close in age

The Schwindling Family Huntsville, Alabama


aegan and TC Schwindling prayerfully entered into adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during July of 2013. The couple has one biological daughter, Emory Ann, and they were open to adopting a child close to her age. They intended to keep the birth order in their family, and they ended up succeeding at that… even if by just 6 weeks! During April of this year, TC and Maegan brought Zoe home. Both girls are 4 years old. Maegan shared insight with us on how they prepared for Zoe’s arrival, and how they approach life with two daughters so close in age! Tell us about your experience of coming home with Zoe? There were so many unknowns when we were in country. We didn't know Zoe would come home with us until we were literally about to head to the airport to return home. This left us with about 20 hours of time in the air to plan our next steps! As a mom, I could only make those plans believing God knows what the future holds. We already cherish that time we had alone with Zoe in DRC. We missed Emory Ann so much, but that time gave us a foundation of attachment to build on when we got home. It is hard to see in the middle of the storm and hardships of being in a foreign country, but God used that time. Zoe has inside jokes and stories with us from our time there just like Emory Ann has jokes and stories of when we waited for Zoe to come home.


naturally wanted a sidekick like she How did your daughters interact had seen growing up at the orphanwhen they first met? age. She was more excited about Zoe asked specifically to meet Emory Emory Ann than TC and I were someAnn first when we got home. I have a times in the beginning! It is definitely memory of them holding hands in the real life, though. They fight over toys, airport. They didn’t hug. Zoe couldn’t clothes, shoes, crayons, and anything talk to Emory Ann, but Emory Ann else just like other sisters would. There never stopped talking to Zoe! Everyhave been many adjustments. One thing on the ride home was scary and new for Zoe. She watched every move thing we quickly realized was that we Emory The Sanjines Ann made Family: as she Nick gotand in her Jennifer, car seat. Brandon They (10), have and still are building Daniella a relationship. (8) , AndItMichelle started very (6) slow and quiet. Now we can’t get a word in between them! What is the girls’ relationship like now? Our situation was unique in that Zoe very much wanted a sibling. She told us this through a translator while we were in DRC. Many of her friends in the orphanage had a sister so she

Cover Story

needed individual time with each child. TC needed to build more of a relationship with Zoe because she bonded to me quicker, and Emory Ann needed individual time from both of us. She has sacrificed so much time with having a new sister. We keep it simple with what this time looks like. It may even be them going with us alone to something we routinely do like grocery shopping.


to ensure they are at different tables and have the opportunity to embrace different things and new friends.

Emory Ann and Zoe enjoy many of the same activities and love to match, though we don’t force them or really even encourage them to do this. This is something they want to do right now. We intentionally point out their individuWhat’s been your biggest al strengths when people refer to challenge so far? You never know how children will react them as twins or a unit. They like each other but they don’t want to despite the preparation, and Emory be the same person. We have learned Ann is a daddy’s girl. She did great to use opportunities to educate people with Zoe until Zoe started attaching around us, but we also protect the girls’ to her Daddy more. This is where that stories. Many times we respond with one on one time came into play with lots of talking. We talked to Emory Ann minimal answers when the girls are with us. Zoe is always watching to see alone about how she and Zoe need relationships with Mommy and Daddy. I our response. We are just continuing to planned specific, fun times with Emory let everyone get to know each other in Ann to try to make it easier for her that this season! TC and Zoe were building attachment. Has there been any certain verse This has balanced out now, but it was a difficult situation to navigate after be- you have held to throughout ing home a few months. It is always fun your process? and games for the biological child until The Lord has consistently placed the adopted child strikes that one spot Psalm 27:13 in front of me. that is sacred to them. Zoe found it as she made Emory Ann feel she was “I remain confident of this: getting between her and her Daddy. I will see the goodness Emory Ann has maintained her role as the big sister, but we have to be careful to embrace them as individual people instead of a unit. We honestly didn’t think so many people would bring up “twinning” or their closeness in age so much when we talk about our girls. We anticipated Zoe would need to be held back in school. She tested into the same level as Emory Ann. We prayed about it, talked with Emory Ann, and decided to put her into Pre-Kindergarten with Emory Ann. She has done well so far. We did work with the teacher


of the LORD in the land of the living.”

Photos by Amy Dummier Photography A Note from our Post Adoption Department:

Our ministry evaluates each situation and family, always considering what is in the best interest of the child, and remembering that each experience is unique. Preadoption parent education should include discussion of ages and personality of a child already in the home, and conversations about potential challenges including these issues: Comparing children and how that is easy for parents to do anyway, but is even more so when they are close in age; The competition the children will have between themselves and how that can be even more intense when one is adopted; Unrealistic expectations that the same aged children will be “best friends”, but numerous factors might result in this not happening (even factors like the adopted child being socially/emotionally/academically much younger than the chronological

We couldn’t be confident in a lot other than the Lord at many points leading up to bringing Zoe home, and even since coming home as we navigate life. This verse has provided hope on so many days when our calling felt hopeless. I didn’t know what the goodness of the Lord would be, BUT I knew there would be healing and goodness somehow even if the story didn’t end the way our family and friends desired for it to.

age); Things that might seem “unfair” from the biological or previously adopted child’s perspective and other countless things that will seem unfair from the newer child’s perspective, for example: discipline differences, bedtime difference, who is required to take a nap, who gets to have play dates with friends, to name just a few. As you navigate these questions, our post adoption department is glad to talk with you!

Journey Winter 2016




Ud exeraessisi. MetueraNulla commy nim alit

Ud exeraessisi. MetueraNulla commy nim alit



When the Body of Christ Works Together for Reunification The Bishop Family: Brandon, Hayden, and Trina Madison, Alabama


he Bishops, their friends, and church family have been an example of Lifeline’s vision for foster care through the care of two boys and their mother over the past year.

miniat. Illa con utet nulput

During the summer of 2015, the Bishops said yes to care for two boys, ages 9 and 12. Early on, they volunteered to pick the boys up from their weekly visit so that it would give them more time with their mom. It also gave the Bishops a chance to meet and get to know the boys’ mother. They made an early promise to be there as a resource for her and her boys, and to keep her involved in decisions concerning her sons.


The relationship between the boys and the Bishops grew, and they met challenges along the way. One of the boys struggled in school, and they were able to help him through a diagnosis of dyslexia and ADHD, as well as extra tutoring and lots of hard work. “He pulled his grades up by the end of the year,” said Trina. “He would be so excited to show us an A on an assignment.” The oldest brother joined the dive team during the summer, despite not knowing how to dive. “He earned the most improved award,” Trina says. “He competed against kids that had been training for years.” Then the day came that the boys’ mom had a day pass from her treatment program. She called the Bishops and asked if she could see her sons. They talked it over with their social worker, and all agreed that this would be in the best interest of the boys and their mom. They picked her up, and all went to lunch at a local restaurant. That was their first outing with her, and many more would follow.



They included her with the boys going to the Pumpkin Patch, Disney on Ice, and Halloween festivities. She joined the Bishops’ family for Thanksgiving. She went to church with them on a couple occasions, always with lunch afterwards. The boys’ mom invited the Bishop’s to her 6 month graduation from treatment, and they were able to see her be baptized after surrendering her life to Christ. This mom was getting stronger and her progress was evident! Recently, the Bishops knew the time was getting close for the boys to be reunited with their mom permanently. God orchestrated steps to make this happen. The boys’ mom was looking for an apartment but was struggling to find one in an area she felt safe and could afford. The Bishops’ friend Julie, who had volunteered to help with the boys’ transportation to school and activities for a while, knew this and one day she was supposed to give the boys’ mom a ride to look for apartments. Instead of just taking their mom to find an apartment, she drove her to a house. The day before, Julie had bought the house through an auction. She offered to rent it to the boys’ mom. It was an older house, so immediately Brandon got in touch with their church to request a day for their church body to serve by fixing up the house. God used the church so that a family could be reunited. On the same day the Department of Human Resources was to inspect the mom’s new home, there was also to be a visit about the boys returning to their mother. On the same day, both happened; and this family was reunited. Though this change has involved adjustments for everyone, the two families still see each other frequently – usually on a weekly basis – as the Bishops help with child care and also love for the boys to still see their son Hayden. He loves them very much. When they miss each other, they video chat or set a date to play together.

This is the Body of Christ, working together to restore families.

Resources Our Crossings department is excited to share our new Adoptive and Foster Parent Connect and Fostering Guide, available free to our families! The guide provides all the components needed to start an adoption support group. Included are suggestions for group format, supplies needed, facilitator outlines and other information. Find the downloadable kit at:

BOOK Healing Parents: Helping Wounded Children Learn to Trust & Love by Michael Orlans and Terry M. Levy

BOOK Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child by Beth O’Malley Journey Winter 2016


Cara Li [



First child adopted from China through Lifeline’s international program


35th Anniversary Highlight


Where Are They Now?



earing the stories and perspectives of children who have been adopted is valuable for many reasons, as families navigate the tenderness of their children’s experiences and commit to love them for a lifetime. To be able to look back many years later on your life and see the Lord’s plan, is a blessing. During the time of our 35th anniversary as a ministry, we are fortunate to talk with two beautiful "firsts" of Lifeline – the first baby adopted through our domestic ministry, and the first child adopted from China through our international ministry. We asked a few questions about their memories and perspectives on their adoption, then and now. Cara Settle, now 24, was 10 years old at the time she was adopted by Tom and Kim Settle. Cara recalls memories of field day at her orphanage in China, where she loved doing things like distance jumping, relay races and just having fun with her friends. She also remembers being sad to leave those friends at her orphanage when the time came for her adoption. She was scared to meet the strangers she would call family for the rest of her life. Cara remembers not being able to understand her family at first, nor could they understand her. But she also remembers them doing whatever it took to meet her needs. “They used a program on the computer that translated

questions to find out what I liked and didn’t like, and my worries,” she says. Her mom worked so much with her to improve her English. Her first best friend was her sister, Courtney. They connected instantly, and she took care of Cara whether it was braiding her hair, teaching simple English words, or playing games. Cara felt like she could be silly with her immediately. “To a child that may be where I was years ago, about to leave the known for the unknown, scared and unsure of your new family, I would tell you that it gets better, I promise,” says Cara. “You will understand more, learn more, and you will grow to love your family.” She remembers her family really, truly loving her as their own. When she was 12 years old, Cara accepted Christ as her Savior. She now realizes the blessing of the Lord on her life, giving her friends and family that love her so much. Some of those friends from her orphanage were also adopted into the United States, and they have kept in touch with the help of their families. They called and emailed a lot at first, and now that they are older they Skype and text often to check on each other. Cara completed her undergraduate degree during 2014 at Belmont University, and now works with a church in Nashville, Tennessee. She has visited China twice since her adoption, and plans to visit again next year to see some of her old friends.

Journey Winter 2016



35th Anniversary Highlight

"Of all these blessings, there are few greater things than being adopted into a Christian home." J

onathan Burch cannot recall when he first learned that he was adopted. He is the son of Lee and Eugenia Burch, and was the first infant adopted through Lifeline’s domestic ministry. That was during 1982. There have been more than 1,100 children adopted through our domestic ministry since then. What Jonathan does remember is that throughout his life, his parents emphasized their love for him. Growing up as an only child, he never felt as though he did not belong right where he was. His parents communicated well to him that he was a blessing sent to them by God. Jonathan grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and was baptized when he was 9 years old. He attended college at the University of Mississippi where he met his wife, Meredith, and then went on to attend seminary at Beeson Divinity School. In 2006, while in seminary, he started a landscaping company to subsidize his ministry efforts. Feeling clearly that God was not calling him into full time ministry, he decided to focus on Yard, LLC and the business grew rapidly. Once that business was stable, Jonathan and Meredith were ready to pursue a shared passion for hospitality and good food. In 2013, they opened The


Alabama Biscuit Company in Cahaba Heights, AL. That business has also been a success, and they are set to open their second location early 2017. Jonathan and Meredith have been married for 10 years now, and they have five children – Mac, Lily, Carolina, Stone, and Rosie. At the time of this article, they are in the midst of celebrating three birthdays! Jonathan considers the blessings of his life to be innumerable. “Of all these blessings, there are few greater things than being adopted into a Christian home,” he says. Jonathan says when he thinks of his birthmom, he thinks of a person in crisis with a difficult decision in front of her. “We all experience crisis and have to make decisions,” he says. “Sometimes they’re good decisions, and sometimes they’re bad. I’m just glad my birthmom made the decision she did, because ultimately it means I’m here.” Jonathan knows that perspective was impressed upon him by his mother and father. “Over the last few years, having my own children, I’ve understood more the difficult decision my birthmom faced. More than anything, I’ve wanted to tell her that it’s okay, that I’m okay, and that she made a good decision.”

35th Anniversary Highlight





First child adopted through Lifeline’s domestic program


JourneyFall Spring Journey 2016 2016

16 14


Things to Remember Around the Holidays

Things to Remember M

erry Christmas! We hope this finds you with a cup of hot chocolate in hand sitting by the fire with all your loved ones sitting peacefully around you. We can always dream, right?! We just wanted to send you some encouragement and practical tips that might help in the transition of having a new child home, especially around the holidays. Feel free to share this with family and friends to help them understand how to best support you and your child in this season. Consider the holiday traditions we see as normal that will be over stimulating to your child: a tree in the house with bright, flashing, multi-colored lights, festive decorations, bells ringing everywhere, multiple new environments and experiences, and interactions with many people. Whether your child has been home a few weeks, months, or even longer, please do not assume that you can “do Christmas� like you always have in the past. This year might just need to be different! There are many things you can do to help your child adjust well: Prepare them constantly for what is going to happen, even when you think you are over-communicating. Remind them who they are going to see and meet. If family or friends are coming to your home, explain who they are, why they are coming, and how long they will stay. If you are taking them somewhere, tell them when and where they are going, how long they will be there, why they are going, and who all will be there. Give your child plenty of warning before transitions, even the small ones. Never assume they know or understand what is going to happen or why. Even just this little step can really help prevent potential breakdowns.

17 17

Things to Remember Around the Holidays


Around the Holidays a contribution from your Lifeline Post Adoption Team Limit activities as much as possible if your child has recently come home. Our tendency as adoptive families is to introduce them to everyone we care about and let everyone hug and kiss them. That is a normal reaction, especially if you had a great community praying and supporting you through the process, but this can confuse the child and might lead to regression with attachment to mom and dad. Do not let everyone hold/ kiss/ touch a newly adopted child. Remember we’re focusing on teaching the child who mom and dad are. You as the parents should be the ones that continue to provide all the basic care, like changing diapers or helping with other toileting needs, feeding, and putting to bed. Remember to limit the number of “things.” Too many toys or other gifts may cause sensory overload. Your child shouldn’t feel loved simply by the things that you or others can give him/her. This is a great opportunity to help them really understand the true meaning of Christmas: Jesus! “Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord” Luke 2:11. Please remind family and friends that your family will reach a “new normal” in time, and eventually they will be able to love on your child like they want to. Encourage them to see things through your child’s eyes and be sensitive to his/her needs. Be prepared for some setbacks even if you try hard to be sensitive to your child’s needs. You might need to revisit initial bonding and attachment education and be prepared to re-emphasize certain areas as needed. This is likely with too many transitions too quickly. Setbacks are a natural result when a child’s routine is broken. Please call us if we can help in any way, and know we appreciate you and your family very much!

Journey Winter 2016



Being Present – Family Fun Section


Tati's Natillas


RECIPES FROM AROUND THE WORLD Holiday baking is a favorite activity for many families as we gather together with people we love. We collected a few traditional recipes from around the world that you and your family can try this year!

BUGLARIA: Maslenki

Bulgarian Christmas Jam-Filled Cookie Recipe Courtesy of

• 3 large eggs • 3/4 cup sugar • 1 cup lard or butter • 2 teaspoons vanilla • 4 cups all-purpose flour • 1 teaspoon baking powder • Confectioners’ sugar • Tart jam like rosehip, plum, raspberry or apricot

Preparation: Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light and foamy, about

5 minutes. Melt the lard or butter and, when cooled to room temperature, add it slowly to the egg-sugar mixture with the vanilla, mixing constantly. Whisk together flour and baking powder, and slowly add it to the egg mixture to create a firm dough. Roll out 1/8-inch thick on parchment-lined baking pans, and cut with a round cutter. Cut out a hole in the center of half of the rounds. Remove scraps. Bake about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Reroll scraps and repeat. Sprinkle cookies with holes with confectioners’ sugar. Spread cookies without holes with jam of choice. Press together jam-filled cookie with holed-cookies to form a sandwich. Store in an airtight container. If freezing, don’t dust with confectioners’ sugar.


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LATIN AMERICA: Tati’s Natillas Latin American Christmas Pudding Courtesy of • 8 egg yolks • 3 cups whole milk • 1 1/2 cups sugar • 1 cinnamon stick • 1 tsp. vanilla extract • 4 tbsp. cornstarch • Ground cinnamon, for garnish

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, milk,

sugar, cinnamon stick, and vanilla. Stir 1/4 cup water into cornstarch and whisk into milk mixture. Set saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to thicken and coats back of spoon, about 20 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and immediately pour into an ovenproof bowl or individual cups. Place custard bowl or cups in a shallow roasting pan and fill pan three-quarters with warm water, or halfway up individual cups. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until custard is set. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature, cover with plastic, and refrigerate. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon just before serving.

CHINA: Jiaozi Chinese Dumplings

Courtesy of • 3 cups all-purpose flour • up to 1 1/4 cups cold water • 1/4 teaspoon salt Filling: • 1 cup ground pork or beef • 1 teaspoon salt • 3 tbsp sesame oil • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper • 2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced

• 1 tbsp soy sauce • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry • 1/2 green onion (spring onion), finely minced • 4 tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

Preparation: Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to

form a smooth dough. Don’t add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine and white pepper to the meat, stirring in only one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well. To make the dumpling dough: knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter. Place a small portion (about 1 level tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumplings.

To cook: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don’t stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If desired, they can be pan-fried at this point. 17

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No Longer Orphaned: 1.27.17 Join us for a story-telling event in partnership with Arc Stories in Birmingham, Alabama. Hear true, personal stories of adoption journies told live to an audience One Day. One Voice. One Purpose.

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Lifeline Celebrity Golf Tournament: 5.22.17


Stand for Orphans: Summer 2017

Our 12th Celebrity Golf Tournament will happen at Bent Brook golf course in the Birmingham, Alabama area. We are receiving sponsorships and teams already we as get planning underway!

Kids, families, and partner churches wowed us through the summer months, as the 2016 Stand for Orphans raised $116,687 through 319 stands! Stand for Orphans will be BACK in 2017, so get ready for another great summer!


Run for One: Date TBA - August 2017

Stay tuned for the date of our annual run to benefit (un)adopted, as we continue to grow this event nationwide and even worldwide! You family can run, form a team, and even have your own group to Run Where You Are, wherever you are!

Go to to see how you can get involved!

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