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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.

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MyLinh, Moses, and Mercy — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #77 Copy

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

Schell Family 2014 - Family Assist 77 (1)

It’s estimated that 17.8 million “double orphans” exist in the world — children who have lost both their father and mother. Each year only a tiny fraction of children that need families are adopted within their own countries or internationally. In much of the world, major barriers stand between these children and permanent family such as cultural biases against adoption, apathy towards orphans, policies that make adoption difficult or impossible — and the financial cost. A large percentage of these children are “hard to place” because they have special needs, are older, are part of sibling groups, or a combination of these. Placing these children in permanent, safe, loving families should be our goal whenever possible. ABBA Fund helps Christian families called to love these children with resources, relationships and financial assistance. In 2007, Alex and Riann Schell first heard God’s call to adopt. But it wasn’t until March 2008 that they courageously stepped off a plane. Click hear to dive deeper into their incredible story and discover what it was like to be greeted with the words, “You’re arms are going to be tired. MyLinh loves to be held all the time.” read more »

Basile — Meet ABBA-Assisted Family #???

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

You can help the Florance Family — and about two dozen others — become an ABBA Fund assisted family.

Their adopted son Basile cannot leave the Congo yet, and they are now responsible for his ongoing care. A typical day of care is about $12.50 … so $25 for two days of care … $88 for a week …

Congo adoptive families are financially tapped, emotionally drained and feeling abandoned. The family’s hearts have been knitted to the hearts of their children in the Congo – even though they are thousands of miles apart, these children are their sons and daughters. These families have humbled themselves to ask for your help … please consider providing from a few days of care to a week or more. Visit www.abbafund.org/congo for more information on how to help.

As for the Florance’s story, Joe and Lavender were unprepared for the pain of miscarriage after giving birth to 3 healthy biological children: Eden, Briar, and Levis. It was then that Lavender pondered adoption, although she’d always had a heart for it. Joe, on the other hand, had never seriously considered it—until he heard a pastor’s moving account of Africa … specifically the Congo.

The Florances had friends who adopted from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Also, a visiting pastor from the DRC spoke at the Florence’s church in California about an orphanage he oversaw in Lubumbashi. These two events highlighted the tragic need of children in the Congo for caring, Christian homes. Soon after, the Florances heard God speak that their son was waiting for them in Africa.

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Sophia — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #455

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

Hughes 455Darren and Margie Hughes were married in 2003, and soon they discovered it highly unlikely they would be able to have biological children. Since he was a young man, Darren had carried with him thoughts of adopting from China—unaware of where the notion came from. An emotionally trying miscarriage became the turning point in their family’s journey as Darren’s and Margie’s hearts were stirred to pursue the idea of adoption.

Margie also wanted confirmation that this path, which was so often difficult and financially burdensome, was the Lord’s will. One morning, while reading a devotional on her porch, her eyes struck the title: “God’s baby girl.” Tearing up, she continued down the page to Ezekiel 16 where it speaks about God inheriting a foreign woman as His bride. Margie clearly felt that they were to move forward with the adoption. She said, “It was a supernatural birth.”

(And don’t miss the song inspired by their adoption journey … lyrics and a link at the end of the full post!)

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Samuel, Keziah, Micah & Jeremiah — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #15

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

We’re so honored to share with you testimony of the 15th family ABBA Fund was able to assist, a family near and dear to our ministry’s heart and accomplishments — The Kovacs.

The Kovacs’ adoption journey has created a wealth of wisdom that they have used to bless thousands of other adoptive families all over the United States and Canada. They were not only ABBA Fund recipients, but Jason was a vital part of ABBA Fund’s growth as the Director of Ministry Development. During that time, God worked through Jason’s blogging and transparent sharing to establish him as one of the go-to resources early in the Christian adoption movement. Together with his friend and fellow adoptive dad, they founded “Together for Adoption” which continues to host an annual gathering of adoptive families across the country. In 2010 the Kovacs moved to a vibrant adoption and orphan care community in Austin, TX, where Jason serves as the Pastor of Care & Counseling at The Austin Stone overseeing their Counseling Center with a special emphasis on helping adoptive families navigate the post-adoption challenges that comes from raising children from difficult places.

However, their personal journey began in 2000 as Jason Kovacs was on the pastoral staff at Bethlehem Baptist Church where he met his wife, Shawnda. During his time there, Jason witnessed many white, American couples with adopted African children. God expanded Jason’s personal vision to include fathering the orphan, along with his wife’s intense desire to become a mom.

God touched their hearts and the Kovacs prayerfully started their own adoption journey in 2005. According to Jason, nine years ago most bi-racial children were categorized with special-needs children — the necessity for them to find caring, Christian homes was tremendous. The Kovacs considered this as they sought God on whom to graft into their family.  read more »

OVERFLOWING GENEROSITY … Meet the Gros Family

Gros family1After applying to be part of ABBA Fund’s Christian Family Adoption Grant Fund in November, Rob and Michelle Gros used their online Family Adoption Fund profile with ABBA Fund as an extension of the other traditional adoption fundraisers.

They raised $1,200 from a t-shirt fundraiser, $3,755 from selling special Christmas advent kits, $950 from pendant jewelry sales, $545 from a haircut fundraiser and additional funds from a variety of home party events and gifts from friends.

By Christmas 2013, the Gros family was celebrating $10,000 of blessings toward their domestic adoption journey – allowing them to move forward with their home study and initial agency fees. This was a great start toward their $35,000 goal, and the family had plans for more fundraisers in the coming year – but then, the call came. Rob and Michelle were asked to pray about adopting a baby boy who after being born was placed in the NICU from drug exposure he experienced prior to delivery … and they had 48 HOURS to get to him. An anticipated two-year timeline suddenly became a two-day timeline.

(Their adoption story is one that includes the brave love that was shown by a birth mother who despite life’s challenges chose life for her child and made the courageous decision to place her child with a loving, nurturing family — to learn more about honoring the brave, courageous choices that birth moms make and to hear some of their inspiring testimonies, please visit our ministry friends at BraveLove.)

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Isaiah and Nico — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #750

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

No strangers to the orphan crisis, Joel and Claire Davis served some of the world’s neediest street orphans both in Haiti and Peru. They demonstrated compassion to the abandoned children by playing soccer, teaching them Bible stories, and swimming in rivers with them. Quality time spent together communicated to the orphans they were loved, seen by God, not forgotten, and heirs to an eternal kingdom.

Joel and Claire’s adoption journey took them into two challenging African countries for adoption — Uganda and the Congo. Of the 368 families whose adoptions were halted in September 2013 because of the DRC’s suspension of exit letters for adopted children, the Davis family was one of the fortunate 15 American families whose adoptions were allowed to proceed in May/June 2014.

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Samuel & Jonathan — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #251

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

McClard Family #251 - web versionWith more than 127,000 adoptions per year, the United States accounts for more than half of the adoptions worldwide. And while a lot of attention is given to international adoptions, 78% of families who adopted did so within the United States. There were 52,039 children adopted domestically in 2012 with public agency involvement—but 101,719 children were left waiting to be adopted in the US foster care system. While private adoption numbers are harder to gather, more than 30,000 domestic adoptions were handled by private agencies and private lawyers in 2007—and ¼ of those were infant adoptions.

But the most important number when it comes to adoption is 1. It only takes 1 family to forever make a difference for 1 orphan.

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Anastasia — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #519

Brooks Photo Enews stickerThe Count to 1,000 Families Assisted:  Celebrating 10 Years of Providing Adoption Assistance for Christian Families

Mark and Stephanie Brooks answered the call to adopt in 2011, a redemptive portrait of how God changes all things for good. For Anastasia, a premature birth meant fighting for life at 1 ½ pounds, wrestling with hypoxia on a ventilator in Lodz, Poland. Her birth mother, unable to care for her, left her at an infant orphanage. When she was just two she was transferred to Jasksotle, a Catholic-run orphanage in Wroclaw. Two years later, Anna would meet Mark and Stephanie, her new parents.

Poland is rich in cultural influence spanning from Bohemian to Prussian to Austrian with stunning Gothic and Baroque architecture. However, the country has an estimated 80,000 orphans, of which 90% are social orphans, meaning they have been removed from their parental home because of poverty, unemployment, neglect, abuse, or loss of parental rights. Poverty is one of the main reasons why people place their children for adoption in Poland.   The Brooks discovered their little Anna through Rainbow Kids and began to pray diligently about this precious little girl with special needs.

Moving forward in that unexplainable peace and confidence that God often gives adoptive parents that she was their daughter and destined to be a part of their family, Mark and Stephanie traveled to live in Poland for six weeks to complete the adoption. read more »

Hannah — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #555

Bierly Family 555The Count to 1,000 Families Assisted:  Celebrating 10 Years of Providing Adoption Assistance for Christian Families

Ben and Rachel Bierly married in 1999 with the desire for a big family. Daniel, their first child, was born relatively easily—no pregnancy is without physical toll and cause for great perseverance. However, their second son, Joshua, entered the world after a very difficult pregnancy. The Bierlys would have two more sons, Noah and Asher, and the strain on Rachel only worsened. Where there is immense pain, God pours out greater compassion. For the Bierlys, that meant preparing their hearts to adopt a little girl.

On Christmas Eve in 2010, Ben and Rachel were qualified for adoption. But it would be two years later on October 12, 2012 before Hannah was born. Immediately she was placed in the foster-care system. This biracial tiny miracle passed from hospital to foster home, and even as an infant felt the void of unconditional parental love. Six other couples declined to adopt Hannah, possibly because of her heart murmur. When the Bierlys heard about her, they knew deep in their hearts God intended for her to be their daughter. But there was a limited window of time–they had to adopt immediately. The Bierlys’ sons collected soda cans for extra money. Ben and Rachel contacted ABBA Fund, asking for double the amount that is usually given. ABBA Fund agreed.

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Sophie, Christian, and Judah — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #255

hales 255The Count to 1,000 Families Assisted: Celebrating 10 Years of Providing Adoption Assistance for Christian Families

God planted the seed to adopt in Mark and Ginger Hales about 10 years ago while Mark attended seminary where he and his wife met several couples who had brought children home from Russia, Guatemala, and China. Mark and Ginger perceived that adoption is a clear picture of all of us as sons and daughters grafted into a heavenly family through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 1:5

“… you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs.” -Romans 8:15

God used the truth revealed through witnessing those families’ compassionate sacrifice and love to begin shaping the Hales hearts. Over the course of the next decade, the Hales would adopt three children. read more »

Nicholas & Ivan — Meet ABBA Assisted Family #430

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

 

Clint and Joanna Moore felt the tug of God’s heart to adopt before they were married. Joanna’s sister worked for an adoption agency, so caring for orphans was already an important cause to them. Later, a speaker that visited the Moore’s church, Desert Springs Church, further confirmed the redemptive representation of all of us as prodigal children grafted into a glorious family.

In October of 2011, the Moores hopped a plane from New Mexico to Africa. Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world located within the Nile basin. However, its natural beauty of endless golden African plains and flurry of unique wildlife make it a memorable country. This backdrop welcomed the Moores as they journeyed to receive their 3-year-old son Nicholas from a local orphanage.

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