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David & Shelly Roberts

Naomi was born an orphan on New Year’s Day, 2005, entering this world alone and in desperate need of heart surgery.  Naomi was assigned a social worker and transferred to a Children’s Hospital to receive care for her heart condition. Here was a baby, alone, without a voice, but not unknown to God. God knew the needs of this little one, and He had already begun orchestrating a loving plan for Naomi’s life.

Although they did not know it at the time, the Roberts family had begun praying intently over their adoption plans about the same time that little Naomi was conceived. David and Michelle, along with sons Colton, Nathaniel, and Josiah, had begun discussing adoption months before, sensing that God was leading them to expand their family in this way. Adoption is a big commitment, and the Roberts family understood well the difficulties that loomed, including the potential criticism from well-meaning friends and family that many parents of biological children hear when sharing their adoption plans. From a human perspective, there were many reasons for the Roberts family to discount the idea of adoption, not the least of which were their financial limitations. As church planting missionaries living on a tight budget, paying for an adoption did not seem feasible. As they mulled over their list of adoption pros and cons, David and Michelle were deeply humbled when their young sons approached them asking whether they were going to follow God’s call to adopt or listen to the voices of “reason” around them. Sharing a common burden to adopt, the family made a decision to proceed.

Enlisting prayer support, the Roberts family embarked on their adoption journey. After much prayer, they determined to pursue the domestic adoption of a healthy child of any race or gender. Throughout the process of filling out paperwork and opening their home to visits by a social worker, David and Michelle continued to read about and research all aspects of adoption, including financing options. During an internet search, the Roberts were excited to find The ABBA Fund’s website. With the completion of their home study, they submitted their application for an interest-free loan and settled in to wait expectantly on God.

Finally, on January 5, 2005, four days after the birth of Naomi and the day of her heart surgery, the Roberts received an email from their agency: “A little African American girl, born 1/1/05, undergoing major heart surgery … no placement.” David and Michelle still struggle with the realization that in America on that day “a little newborn baby lay there fighting desperately to stay alive with little potential for having a forever family.” As a family, the Roberts turned to the Lord in prayer for their little girl and were ecstatic to learn by that evening that she had made it through the surgery and was doing well! They immediately made plans for Michelle to fly from their North Dakota home to join Naomi in the hospital, leaving David behind to care for the boys until Naomi was well enough to travel home.

Michelle vividly recalls walking into the hospital room where she met her little girl for the first time. “She was surrounded by machines and tubes, still on a breathing machine and dialysis at that point … but as I went to her bedside her dark brown eyes met mine and she took my breath away.” At Naomi’s bed lay a bear given her by Star of Hope mission, a ministry for the homeless in Houston. On the bear’s back the words of Matthew 25:35 were written, “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in.” On that day, Michelle experienced the mighty power of God as His adoption plan for the Roberts family was clearly revealed in that little life. On their third day together, Naomi began to respond to Michelle’s voice and touch, and over the next two weeks, Michelle spent every possible moment at her side, rejoicing in Naomi’s constant improvements. The hospital staff expressed tremendous compassion for both Michelle and Naomi, creating many unexpected opportunities for Michelle to share her faith in Christ and dependence on God through their adoption journey. David was eventually able to join Michelle and Naomi in Texas and spend several days with them before Naomi was discharged from the hospital and given permission to make the trip home to settle in with the rest of the family.

As they reflect on the journey God ordained for them, the Roberts family still marvels at God’s hand of direction and provision along the way. By obediently following God, David, Michelle, and the boys placed themselves in the position to observe God’s work in them. Although the journey was difficult and not without trial, they rested in the realization that God’s plan is perfect. They praise God that Naomi’s birthmother chose to give her child the precious gift of life and that Naomi, as an orphan, received outstanding medical care from a top pediatric cardiologist surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital. Financially, God provided what seemed impossible as the Roberts stepped out in faith and received confirmation of their loan through The ABBA Fund only after Michelle had already made the trip to Texas to be with Naomi.

Today, Naomi is doing great and has recovered well from her heart surgery. She is much loved as the newest member of the Roberts family, which has grown in faith through their journey and developed an incredible passion for the fatherless. As for Colton, Nathaniel, and Josiah, whose challenge to be obedient to God’s call humbled and motivated David and Michelle, their grasp of the spirit of adoption led them to raise money by working odd jobs in the community during 2005 so they could make a payment towards the family’s ABBA Fund covenant loan. “The Lord has blessed us so immensely through this journey,” says Michelle. “He has given us a glimpse of His heart for all children … including us as His children.”

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