Empowered to Connect Conference

Hope Community Church is excited to announce that they will be hosting the annual Empowered to Connect Conference.  Empowered To Connect, together with Show Hope and The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU will showcase the conference designed to help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with “children from hard places” in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be.  Special guests include David Cross, Mandy Howard, Daren Jones, Dan and Terri Coley, Ryan and Kayla North, Casey Call, and Cindy Lee and is ideal for adoptive and foster parents, those considering adoption or foster care and those who are serving and supporting others, including social workers, agency professionals, church staff and ministry leaders, counselors, therapists and others.  Please find below the details of the conference.

Date: APRIL 7-8, 2017

Time: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM EST

Simulcast Broadcast Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM CST and 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM EST

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/hope-community-church-12925726125

Registration Fee: $25.00 

Please feel free to contact Hope Community Church at (610) 306-8390.

Upenn iCARE

In celebration of the Chinese New Year, the International Children’s Alliance and Outreach Exchange (iCARE) at the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania’s is holding their first event for this semester February 18, 2017.

iCARE  is a mentorship program that pairs UPenn students with children in the Philadelphia area who have been adopted internationally.  Their mission is to give college students, some of which who  have been adopted themselves, a chance to work with children and allow those children and their parents to meet others who are going through similar experiences.  The only requirements of iCARE are that the child be adopted from a country other than the United States and that the family be able to visit UPenn’s campus where a majority of their events are held.

In addition, iCARE formerly participated in one of the ChinaCare clubs located at numerous universities throughout the country specifically for children adopted from China.

For more information on iCARE, please visit them on Facebook by searching UPenn iCARE Club or Tumblr at http://upenn-icare.tumblr.com/.  To sign-up for the program, please contact upenn.icare@gmail.com .  For more information or to find one near you on the ChinaCare Club, please visit the website at http://halfthesky.org/en/chinacareclubs/activeclubs.


Throughout the semester, iCARE will be having more events and we welcome new members at all of them. They have plenty of mentors who can’t wait to be paired!

USCIS Fee Increase and Certificate of Citizenships

Living Hope Adoption Agency highly recommends re-adoption and obtaining a state issued birth certificate for your adopted child.  Click here for the reasons why.

Children who met these requirements on that date automatically became American citizens.  Children who were 18 years of age or older on that date did not acquire American citizenship from the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.  Children who entered the US with an IR-3 or IH-3 visa on or before February 27, 2001 are eligible to receive automatic citizenship but since you entered the US on December 21, 2002 this would not apply to your family.  If you want to confirm this information, you can contact USCIS at 1-877-424-8374.

Effective December 23, 2016, USCIS will be increasing their fees.  Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after this date must include the new fees or USCIS will reject your submission.  The new fees may be found by visiting the USCIS website here.

Families who adopted before February 2001 are strongly recommended to apply for a certificate of citizenship (Form N-600) for their children before the fee increase.

State laws and additional information may be found by visiting Child Welfare Information Gateway Child Welfare Information Gateway.  You may also contact our agency at 215-540-8999 for additional information.

Eli: From an Ayi’s Perspective

Those closest to us are often the ones who are experts at highlighting the very best in us. The caregivers in China spend a lot of time with our children and love them dearly. These caregivers are very good at reporting the facts, but they can be very eloquent in their descriptions as well. Eli is a twelve-year-old boy whom is completely deaf. One of his caregivers wrote about him for his file and the way he spoke about Eli was so beautiful we decided to share it with you.

Eli pic 1

*The following report was edited for length and clarity.*

If the world lacked sound, what would life be? Can you imagine: you cannot hear the water flowing, the birds singing, cars ringing; life would be like a silent movie. Eli lives like this.

Eli’s characteristics are a little unique from other children. Since he cannot hear, he depends more on his other senses to observe the world. Eli’s imagination is very healthy—better than most! Because he cannot hear, Eli pays more attention to inner feelings and he has stronger observations and feelings of objects. When you write with pen and paper to communicate with Eli, he will watch you carefully, think carefully about your words, and then write an answer to you. If you use simple communication with Eli, he will observe your facial expressions, speaking, and gestures to guess what you are saying and he will then make a sound and do some gestures to respond. Although Eli cannot use his ears and mouth to find, feel, and record the beautiful world, he can use his eyes.

God closes one gate, and then leaves another window open. We believe that Eli can have a colorful and beautiful life.

Eli enjoys playing with toys, such as jigsaw puzzles, and playing sports, like jump-rope, ping-pong, and badminton.  He also loves computer games, and when he plays them he shows off his impressive coordination in his hands, eyes, and mind. He can set up a QQ image and, like other children his age, he likes games such as “League of Legends” and “Legend of Aoqi.”

Please contact Stacy at spinkos@livinghopeadoption.org with Living Hope Adoption Agency for more information about Eli’s adoption.

Celebrate Thirteen

In October, Liam will celebrate his 13th birthday.  This is a big milestone for most children!  At 13, we celebrate with our own children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren that they are now “officially a teen!”  Their little chests puff with pride.  We attend middle school programs, send them off to sport camps in the summer, watch them run around with their friends, and try to encourage them to stay motivated in school.  We love hard, and wonder how our babies have grown into beautiful, handsome, loving “teens.”

In Liam’s birth country, 13 can be a little scary.  This will be the last year that Liam is eligible to be adopted internationally, something he truly hopes for.  Liam’s caregivers explain that he is happy living in his orphanage, however when he sees his friends being adopted, he is eager for the love of a forever family of his own.

Liam referral pic 3 - Copy

12 looks good on Liam.  He loves sports, especially ping pong!  Liam gets along well with other children, enjoys school, and is known to set an example for the younger ones in his orphanage.  Liam underwent surgery to repair a cleft lip and cleft palate when he was young, and has thrived ever since.

Liam referral pic 2




“Full of Confidence”

Liam referral pic 1

Liam’s caregivers love him very much, and know he will light up his family’s world.  So much so, that when asked to describe him, they simply chose “sunshine.”  Liam is an artist, friend, and sweet soul.  Let’s make his 13th year something to celebrate.

Please contact Simi at sriesner@livinghopeadoption.org with Living Hope Adoption Agency for more information about Liam’s adoption.


LHAA Supports Breast Cancer


Linda Pappas was a beloved employee of Living Hope Adoption Agency from 2006 until her death from breast cancer in March of 2012.  Please join Linda’s family for the Annual Walk for Linda on Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 9:30 AM at Ridley Creek State Park to help raise awareness for triple negative breast cancer.

For more information, please email Beverly Cynlinder at beverly.cylinder@gmail.com.

Pre-Adoptive Training

“Knowledge is power.”

Congratulations, you submitted your application and contract, and you’re ready to move forward with adoption.  So what comes next?

As part of the home study process, pre-adoptive training is required by the Intercountry Adoption Act and the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, and is an important part of the adoption process. It helps educate families and has been proven to increase the chances of a successful, healthy transition as a newly adoptive family and reduces the likelihood of adoption disruptions and/or dissolution.

The Hague Convention on International Adoption requires adoption education, both for prospective adoptive families and for adoption staff.  Most adoption agencies require a minimum of 10 training hours but on-going education is recommended to all families.

LHAA provides our families with pre-adoptive training through Adoption Learning Partners.  For additional training opportunities, please visit the resources below.

Web-Based Courses

Adoption Education


PATH (Parents As Tender Healers)

Parents As Tender Healers (PATH) Curriculum Training

PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education)

Pride Model of Practice

PS-MAPP (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting)

Partnering for Safety and Permanency

State Examples

State Examples Provided by Child Welfare Information Gateway

For Prospective Adoptive Parents

LHAA understands that adoption can be a little bit intimidating for new families so we have compiled some helpful tips from our very own adoption team along with a handy dandy general adoption timeline!

Helpful Tips

  1. Do your research on which country or countries you would be interested in adopting from, and narrow it down to maybe 1-2 countries that you qualify to adopt from (each country has its own set of requirements).
  2. Continue your research to find adoption agencies that offer the country or countries of interest as one of their programs.  Keep in mind that you will be working with this adoption agency for quite some time.
  3. When reviewing a child’s referral or discussing the needs of a child, trust your gut.
  4. Educate yourself on the adoption-related resources available in your area.
  5. Practice effective self advocacy.
  6. Have fun meeting other adoptive families either in your area or online.
  7. Remember to put yourself in your adopted child’s shoes and walk backwards every once in awhile.
  8. Become culturally competent.
  9. Be somewhat realistic and flexible but most all, enjoy the ride.

Handy Dandy General Adoption Timeline



Hungry for Honduras


Pronounced baleˈaða in Spanish, a Baleanda is funny name for a favorite traditional dish in Honduras. In the US, it is comparable to a soft taco and just as yummy!



  • 500 g plain flour, plus extra extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 125 ml groundnut oil, plus extra for frying
  • 2 cloves of finely sliced garlic
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 x 400g tins of drained kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • splash of white vinegar
  • 1-2 deseeded and finely chopped red chillies for serving
  • 1 bunch of finely chopped coriander for serving
  • lime wedges for serving


  • 220 g sliced and fried chorizo
  • 150 g coarsely grated cheddar cheese
  • 150 g chunks of feta cheese
  • 2-4 sliced avocados dressed with lime juice
  • 4-6 large fried free-range eggs
  • chili sauce


  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and 2 teaspoons of salt together in a bowl and a well in the centre.
  2. Pour in the groundnut oil and approximately 200ml of lukewarm water, and mix with a knife until it comes together.
  3. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 4-5 minutes, until smooth and elastic, then return it to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 1 hour.
  4. Place a large non-stick frying pan over low-medium heat and pour in a glug of the oil.
  5. Add the garlic, onions and cumin and sauté for approximately 10 minutes, until soft and sticky.
  6. Turn up the heat to medium, stir in the kidney beans, sour cream and vinegar, season well and simmer for approximately 5 minutes, until the beans have softened.
  7. Mash the refried beans for a coarse texture, or blitz them in a blender for a smoother texture.
  8. Return the beans to the frying pan and leave one side for reheating later.
  9. When the dough has risen, divide it into 12 even pieces and roll them into balls.
  10. Flatten out each one, then, on a sloured surface, roll them out into a tortilla 2mm thick and approximately 18cm in diameter.
  11. Place a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and, once hot, dry-fry each tortilla for 1 minute on each side, until slightly coloured (they should be soft enough to roll).
  12. Cover warm tortillas with kitchen foil while frying the remaining tortillas.
  13. When ready to serve, lay out chosen toppings.
  14. Place the pan of bean mixture over low-medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until warmed through, then spread a couple of spoonfuls of each tortilla.
  15. Scatter over the chilli and coriander, add toppings and serve with lime wedges on the side, for squeezing over.