When Families Gather

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

family reunion 2016 2The Family Reunion itself was originally established to celebrate Lifeline’s anniversary, and has since grown into a beloved event for families to come together! We celebrate children being adopted from Lifeline’s twenty adoption programs and the families that have opened their hearts to them! This year’s event was no exception. Our Lifeline Reunion Committee created a Carnival style luncheon with something for everyone—kids, teens, and adults. The theme for this year was “Splish, Splash”, with fun water-themed activities. Three-time adoptive mom, Stacie Berck shared that one of her favorite moments was:

“Watching the many children from around the world, who are now home with their forever families, gather together out in the field of the park to play. It truly was such a joyful sight!”

The event included booths & contests for the children and teens to participate in. Several families volunteered to create and man their own activity station—the stations included face painting, a sponge relay, watercolor painting, a beach-themed photo booth, water tables for the little ones, and a chance to cool off in style in kiddie pools! After enjoying the activities, everyone sat down and cooled off under the park’s pavilion, enjoying conversation and a catered lunch. One of the best parts of the family reunion is the chance for adoptive families to share their stories. The Hnizdil family attended the reunion and shared how encouraging the time was. Mr. Hnizdil said:

“We had an opportunity to share our stories with other families, and this was a great affirmation and encouragement. Adoption is not always easy, so it’s good to be around many others who understand the ride.”

The event ended with more Carnival time and a group photo, featured below.

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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, to the Oak Mountain High School football team, and the Lifeline staff committee that planned the event.

family reunion 2016 5In 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! I was 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 I was 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.”

I am 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! I am already looking forward to next year and another special day of celebrating!

Sarah Privett, Lifeline International Social Worker

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