Monday, May 24, 2010

WFL 2010 T-Shirts Are Still Available...






We have a limited number of Walk for Life 2010 T-shirts still available and we would love to share them with you! The Godparent Home girls tie-dyed children's t-shirts (above) that are all unique in patterns and color combinations. All T-Shirts are Gildan Ultra-Cotton (Pre-shrunk) and have been tie-dyed: sizes available are 2T, 3T, and 4T.

In addition, we have adult t-shirts available that are also Gildan Ultra-Cotton (Pre-shrunk) and are white (corporate sponsors listed on the back as well). However, we would be happy to have them tie-dyed, by special request, if you would rather jazz it up a bit: sizes available are M, L, and XL.

Whether you were able to join us for the Walk for Life or you were unable to be here, this is a fun way to show your support for our ministry. The suggested donation for each t-shirt is $5 and we'll be happy to mail them to you at no extra charge. Sizes are first come, first served, so email me at dhamlette@liberty.edu if you wish to request some t-shirts.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Walk for Life 2010

On May 1, the Liberty Godparent Foundation hosted our 10th annual Walk for Life at the Liberty University track.

I had the honor of officially starting the event and joining Jonathan Falwell on stage as he led in a prayer of dedication and said a few words about the ministry. As I walked up to the microphone, I slowly looked over the crowd taking in what was looking right back at me. Before me were adoptive families, residents (past and present) of the home, kids running around – including my own—and other people from the community. It was a sweet reminder that I am working for something and someone that is much bigger than myself!

As Jonathan spoke, my mind wandered to his younger years. I wondered what he may have heard from his father about the vision for the Home. What do my own children hear from my mouth about my hopes for the future? What torch will I light that my kids will carry on? How wonderful to see the torch passed from Jerry to Jonathan… and my son’s life impacted because of that torch.

After the walk, I couldn’t help but snap a picture of Jonathan and Carson together… the next generation.


                                        Carson and Jonathan Falwell 2010


                                                   Janelle and Jerry Falwell  2007

To read more about our day and see pictures, please visit our other blog…and we would love to have you join us next year!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Choices...

Last week on my way home from work, I dialed my mom's number in hopes of hearing her voice. I think she knew the minute she heard mine that I was exhausted and had so much on my plate. The duties of work, the emotions of Mother's Day, and getting ready for my hubby to go out of town for a week hit me all at once... Yuck! During our conversation, I started talking about choices and sometimes, the option we choose is to not make a choice at all and ultimately wait for the end result. A few days later, this arrived in my inbox....
~Janelle


MAKING CHOICES
Hit the snooze button or hit the floor? Oatmeal or Cheerios? Will it be slacks or capris today? Decision-making starts as soon as your eyes open every morning. But most of those moment-by-moment decisions aren't going to create a blip on the radar of life or have any lasting impact.

The decisions that a pregnant teenager is called on to make are different. Those decisions will matter--for a lifetime. Two lives hang in the balance, and many others will be affected. Choosing life for that baby is the first and most precious decision. I suppose it could happen that carrying the baby to term is the end result of denying the need to make a decision—and if so, thank God for allowing the defense mechanism of denial to have resulted in the choice of life!

But that's only the beginning of a series of choices that are weighty and potentially life-changing. And all of this is happening at a time when this young mom is in crisis-mode and her hormones and emotions are about as steady as a turn on the wildest amusement park ride. Imagine being in your mid-teens and being faced with a decision that you're told will set the course for your life and the life of the baby you're carrying—and it's a decision that carries a deadline and is binding. Before this the biggest decisions you had to make were about the cut of your jeans and the classes for next school year.

Maybe it would be just as easy to slip back into denial and let this decision make itself. Oh, but in this case, making the choice not to make a choice will have lasting consequences for those same two lives—and the lives of others. Defaulting on this decision could lead to a lifetime of regret. Better to be proactive and on task with this one. Better—but not easy.

Pray for those young moms faced with making a decision that requires them to reason beyond their scope of experience. Pray for those family members and friends who are struggling to understand and respect the birth-mother's choice. Pray for those counselors who are giving guidance so that each girl will become empowered to make the best decision she can—not a perfect one, as that is not an option, but the best one available to her.

I value the wisdom of the staff in the trenches with those birth-mothers. Their experience and knowledge is encouraging to birth-moms and families floundering in a sea of fear and angst. But experience and knowledge alone won't carry the day. It is in their being so saturated with God's truth that the same Spirit that endows Christ with discernment can minister in and through them. Isaiah prophesied that Christ would be filled with “The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2-3).

I pray that every time one of this tough parenting-versus-placement decisions needs to be made, God's Spirit will be working through caseworkers and clients alike to provide supernatural decision-making power!

Birth Grandmother......Gloria

My Mom with my sister, Lisa
Two ladies who have been forever changed by my choices...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Celebrating you~

Happy Birth Mother's Day everyone~
  I know this is a bitter-sweet day and I want to honor each of you for the amazing & unique women you are!  Below are the words and thoughts of an adoptive mom.  I hope Carrie's words brighten your day and give you some insight to how birth mothers are loved!

~Janelle


Birthmother's Day. I had no idea such a holiday existed until a year ago. And “holiday” certainly isn’t appropriate, considering it’s never commercialized or noted like other celebratory events. You can walk into any store right now and be reminded with giant signs, pre-packaged gift sets, and overwhelming card aisles that Mother’s Day is quickly approaching.

But there’s no sign advertising this holiday. There’s no pre-packaged gift to appropriately honor her. I dare say you’d be hard-pressed to even find a single greeting card honoring Birthmother’s Day. In case you’re not aware, it’s always the Saturday before Mother's Day. I'm mindful of the fact that our adopted son’s first birthday was celebrated on Birthmother's Day, celebrating his life, honoring her, beyond grateful for the choice she made to give life and love, choosing us to be his adoptive parents.

I couldn’t find a card or gift that seemed appropriate to honor such a day, such a woman, so I made my own. It still seemed insignificant. Certainly there could never be a gift comparable to what she gave.

We're in the mediated stage of our relationship with our birthmother, sending letters and pictures, giving regular updates on his growth and development and his emerging personality. Every time I write to her and share stories of his newest antics, I can't help but wonder how she feels. I can't help but ask if she sees herself in him. With only a few short meetings before placement, we’ve relied on letters since then to get to know her better. I think about how much he innately takes after her and how much he learns from us. Nature versus nurture is a funny argument. I’m inclined to believe our adopted son shares the beauty of both. An adoptive family who loves, embraces and nurtures his inherent makeup.

This year he will turn two on Mother's Day. It’s the day I’ll be recognized as his mother. I’m sure there will be cards and gifts. I’ll stand in church and be recognized. Oh how I remember the painful Mother’s Days when I couldn’t stand because I remained childless. But the day before we will celebrate Birthmother’s Day. Honoring the birthmother who came into our lives, blessing us with a life we could have never created on our own.

I don’t have the words to say to you, birthmother, except from one adoptive mother’s heart please hear this:

I love you. As much as I love the son you placed in my arms. I didn’t carry him. I didn’t feel him kick. I didn’t hear his heartbeat in sync with my own. I didn’t labor through delivery, or worse torment over the decision to place. But I love you. As much as I love him. Your blood runs through his veins and his life is knit together with my heart, which means you and I are interwoven by the son we share.



I’m mindful of you, birthmother. I celebrate you. I honor you. Abounding thankfulness doesn’t seem enough to share what my heart feels for how you have blessed me. This is my prayer for him, and I have no doubt this is your prayer too, which is why you chose what you did.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy Adoption Day, Hannah Grace!


Friday, April 23rd was a special adoption celebration at Family Life Services as Hannah Grace became the daughter of adoptive parents, Eric and Heidi. Hannah Grace is Eric and Heidi's first child and this special day was celebrated with some extended family members from Heidi's family.

Eric and Heidi first met Hannah Grace's birth mother at the beginning of this year and made an immediate connection with her as they shared about what God has done in each of their lives and how He had led each of them on their respective journeys. The day was a vivid reminder of God's grace, protection, and goodness to each of His children. A slideshow has been posted on the sidebar with pictures from this blessed placement day for Hannah Grace.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Preparing for the hard days...

I remember my first Mother’s Day. I expected it to be hard… K was less than 2 1/2 months old and I was 17. I was starting to find balance back in my life and create a new normal for myself. However, I was in no way prepared for the emotional rollercoaster that day put me on!

Planning ahead and knowing that the day would be especially hard, my parents took me out of town to hopefully free my mind of the hurt that I was going to face. We headed north to PA for a visit my grandparents. This Sunday was like every other… church and lunch at a restaurant. As we entered into the church, every mother that walked through the door was given a blue or pink carnation. I stood silent as I watched my mom pick up hers out of the green bucket and then she passed one to my grandmother. My mom looked at me with sad eyes as if she wanted to hand me one but it was just so confusing—and neither of us were prepared for that moment. I stood in the gap of wanting to be recognized as a mom and also wanting to just be a teen again. How awkward to stand there and not grab a flower. The service continued and I just thought to myself “why in the world am I here?” I wanted to crawl under the pew and go to my “happy place”. But, I couldn’t and I didn’t. After church, we went to my grandmother’s favorite restaurant where again my mom and grandmother was greeted with “Happy Mother’s Day!” I never knew words could hurt so badly!

After lunch I sat silent in the back of our blue minivan trying not to self combust. My parents had no clue what I was dealing with inside and had no idea how to dry up the tears filling my eyes. Really there is no way to fix the situation…. I just had to get through it.

That day I learned how strong I was. I SURVIVED! And with each MD that passed, it got easier… life has gone on and I have learned how to prepare myself.

Ok, so let me give you some words of wisdom…

If this is your first MD, don’t go to church. Yes, I work for a Christian organization and I am recommending that you skip it! Protect yourself. Take a day to sleep in. Don’t watch TV—go to the movies with some friends and stay away from reading Facebook status. Feel free to have a good cry. Feel proud of yourself… you deserve it!

Remind yourself that if you are feeling strong emotions, they are only temporary and you can & will survive the day. Know that as each year passes, the emotions don’t run as harshly and look forward to the day that you again can focus on the mother in your life.
I really do hope that you have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Janelle

Jeremiah 31:13