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Benaiah — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #592

The Count to 1,000 Families Assisted: Celebrating 10 Years of Providing Adoption Assistance for Christian Families

Nick and Typhanie Mahlstadt married at a young age of 19, both with families who had histories of adoption. Typhanie recalls growing up very poor, but as she witnessed the harsh environments of developing nations on TV, she wanted desperately to send her food to people in need. Even as a little girl she felt stirred to speak up for the voiceless and to stand against injustice.

After giving birth to four biological children, God began leading the Mahlstadts to adopt, with Russia as their first thought. Nick facetiously suggested they name their son Vladimir. Yet, a mission trip to the rugged desert land of Morocco, Northern Africa―the Western Kingdom as some say in Arabic, most notable for cities like Casablanca―imprinted a deep love for that nation on the Mahlstadts’ hearts.

In October 2010 a couple visited their church in Iowa and spoke about their adoption experience from Ghana. A year later, in December 2011, the Mahlstadts arrived as missionaries on the western coast of Africa. The following January they applied to adopt, and almost immediately supporting friends sent them a check for $2,000, confirming God’s hand in the process. The daunting financial roadblock no longer seemed insurmountable. They traveled to Ghana a second time in August 2012 to meet their son Benaiah.

Benaiah was named after one of David’s mighty men, general over Israel’s army as well as David’s chief bodyguard. The name Benaiah means “Yahweh builds up.” The biblical hero’s loyal service to the king earned him great favor under Solomon’s reign as well. Little Ben from Ghana was six-years-old when the Mahlstadts encountered this fearless, bright-eyed boy. In the beginning, he lived with his birth mother, too poor to feed him, in a shed about the width of four refrigerators. Eventually, Ben was found begging in a market and placed in foster care. In Ghana, if the father does not attend the naming ceremony, then he is not a legal guardian. Thus, Ben never knew his biological father.

Typhanie returned to Africa to file paperwork in December 2012, horrified to find Ben in another foster home with malaria and a temperature of 105 degrees. He had not been attending school. One man said, “He would have died in three days had you not come.” After his recovery, Typhanie brought Ben to the coast for the first time. To her surprise, he was unshaken by the giant, crashing waves as he ran back and forth along the reef. That is, until one nearly swept him out to sea just as Typhanie yanked him from the cool Atlantic. “Mighty ocean come and take me away. I will get a big stick and beat it,” Ben said to the ocean.

When the time came for Ben to come home, the Mahlstadts’ adoption account was at zero. God’s timing perfect, ABBA Fund supplied them with an interest-free loan for their remaining travel expenses. On April 16, 2013 Ben, with his new family, was welcomed to America. Now he is a healthy, courageous seven-year-old who loves soccer and plays brilliantly. He is ecstatic to join his brothers and sisters on the swim team this year, and is deeply attached to all his siblings. The Mahlstadts believe Ben was born in Ghana for a purpose and will one day return to his country to impact it for the Kingdom.

Join us in celebrating 10 years of providing adoption assistance for Christian families— 972 orphans from 35 countries are now sons and daughters in 780 loving, nurturing Christ-centered families thanks to $5.4 million in assistance they received through ABBA Fund. Please support our work to help us surpass assisting 1,000 families in our 10th anniversary year.


Would You Consider Adoption?

33% of Americans consider adoption. 79% of those are concerned about the costs, the biggest deterrent. Less than 2% adopt.