Lifeline understands the beauty of adoption, but we also understand the loss from which it arises and the trauma surrounding the hearts of vulnerable children and their new families. Individuals who are familiar with adoption often say, “Adoption is not for the faint of heart.” Knowing the needs of families and children who come through our organization, Lifeline has set up a unique resource that is available to our families throughout their process—before, during, and after. These resources set Lifeline apart as a distinguished agency.
Our heart is to prepare families as much as possible through Rooted in Love. Parenting children from hard places requires a unique and sensitive approach. Integrating children into families with biological or previously adopted children can also create unique situations. We want our families to be as prepared as possible to enter into the world of adoption. Therefore, we have developed training to help prepare families with realistic expectations and to equip them with the tools they need to begin this journey.
Although the education we require can seem like an extra step along the way, we are invested in helping parents and children to become united and healthy families; preparation is a key component. Listen to how some of our families have described the positive impact of training offered by Lifeline:
“Everything [was helpful] . . . the training was wonderful & helped us tremendously to be prepared for multiple issues & scenarios”
“We felt very well prepared & think that’s an area of strength for Lifeline. I have friends adopting through a different agency that haven’t received this type training/education.”
The First Days
When our families are in the midst of physically welcoming their child into their families for the first time, challenges and questions can arise. We welcome our families to contact us so that we can help them, whether it’s a seemingly small question or if they are in deep crisis. Our staff is there to answer any questions or address any concerns. And, no concern is too small or too challenging to bring to our attention. The sooner we can help you and your child, the sooner you can feel confident in your plan.
The Gaston family shares how Lifeline staff was instrumental during their time in country:
“As always, Thank-you so much for helping us. I honestly feel like we are isolated here sometimes in Costa Rica with so many of our close friends and family that support us so far away so your emails are like small life-savers thrown out to sea. I wake up every morning fearful of what the day will bring. We need the affirmation your emails provide and the knowledge and experience your insight gives us so that we may fully glorify God in this great calling of adoption. Adoption is already showing me how God’s love is so much greater than mine and how much I need love every moment.”
When families come home with their new child, the journey is really just beginning. These days are the ones in which all of the training and preparation comes into play. Each child and family is different, so everyone may need unique help or may just need to talk to someone who understands. Lifeline is always ready with a listening ear or with recommendations for intense crises. Sometimes families are scared or embarrassed to explain what is really going on—maybe they are even struggling beyond what words can express. Sometimes moms feel shameful that they aren’t attaching to their child; sometimes parents feel guilt that their previous children are struggling and suffering; sometimes dads feel sorrow that they can’t “fix” things. The issues are endless, but the truth is that ALL families struggle after coming home, and our team is with you to hold your hand, offer counseling, assure you that sleep will come one day, or recommend other intervention methods.
We desire for families to pick up the phone and call us or send us an email. We are for you and we are for your child. There is nothing you can say that someone hasn’t struggled with previously or won’t struggle with again. Reach out to us!
Listen to the heart of one of our post-adoption staff members:
“Many times, our families come to us with what I call the plastered smile. These moms show up smiling the biggest smile that I have ever seen. As they begin to talk, it is obvious that they are anything but happy. They keep this huge smile plastered on their faces as a protective shield, afraid that if they allow any other expression to cross their face, their entire façade will crumble. They feel so guilty. They worked so hard to bring this child into their home, they are ashamed at the way they feel. Many times, these families can’t stand the child they’ve adopted. They are hopeless and can’t see how life will ever improve. Through counseling at Lifeline, we give these families hope and a future by allowing them the freedom to feel what they feel without feeling judgment and condemnation. We give them a safe place to allow their façade to crumble, staying close by to catch them. Allowing the truth of how they feel and what they are experiencing out is the first step on the road to healing.”