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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. Their first child, Sophie, is from the Jiangxi Province in southeast China which extends from the banks of the Yangtze River into the hills. Mountains enclose the humid subtropical region that is known for its rice fields and kumquat trees. Although ABBA Fund did not participate in this adoption, it’s impossible to begin the story without first mentioning Sophie.   Sophie, a perfectly healthy baby girl, was abandoned by her parents at a local orphanage. But unlike so many Chinese orphans, she was fostered by a kind and caring elderly woman who demonstrated to her the unconditional love of a mother. Thus, when the Hales adopted her, she immediately adjusted to them as parents on their “Gotcha Day.” Sophie never cried, Ginger recalls. Mark remembered the words of his friend as he held his baby girl: “It will all be worth it when you see her face.” And it was. The three-year process, every dollar spent, every hoop jumped through, quickly faded away in the light of Sophie’s beautiful eyes. She is now a bright seven-year-old who swims, cheerleads, and goes on adventures with her American Girl doll.

The Hales’ second adoption was a much shorter process of 10 months but the most challenging of them all. Christian was born in the Shanxi Province where the Great Wall of China runs along most of the northern border, a land prone to dust storms. His birth parents left him at a police station when he was a baby and he was transferred to an orphanage with nearly 900 children, most of whom had severe disabilities. The Hales’ agency told them that only 10% of the children in Christian’s orphanage were considered adoptable. He was born with a cleft lip and pallet which isolated him from being properly cared for. When Mark and Ginger met him for the first time, he weighed only 13 pounds at 2 years of age due to neglect and insufficient feeding. He could barely hold his head up, let alone walk to his meals. He was diagnosed with severe malnutrition and suffered from diarrhea for the next nine months.   Christian was in and out of doctors’ offices and hospitals due to 3 surgeries and over 220 doctor appointments to repair his mouth. This also included extensive physical and speech therapy. One doctor said, “If you hadn’t adopted him, he would’ve probably died.”   After the Hales own sacrificial stewardship and the support of others, ABBA Fund was able to cover the remaining financial gap needed to bring Christian home with an interest-free loan. Now he is a vibrant, healthy six-year-old who is now taller and heavier than their other two children, and builds fortresses with Legos. He’s about to graduate from speech therapy and is a constant testimony of the faithfulness of God.

Mark shared that their third adoption was the clearest picture of our own redemption into God’s family. Judah was born in the northwest Chinese province of Qinghai to Muslim parents who deposited him at a Mosque with a note that said, “His name is Mohammed.” He could not physically see because of bilateral cataracts, and if he did not receive treatment before six months of age, he would permanently go blind. He was taken to a nearby orphanage crowded with severely disabled children.  God worked through an American woman teaching physical therapy to the orphanage workers to contact a Christian Action group and arrange for the Hales’ future son to have surgery in Beijing (a three-hour flight away). The doctors removed the cataracts and he was given thick pink glasses.   The same American therapist was able to navigate around a law which did not allow a foreigner to foster a Chinese orphan. With some legal changes, she was able to arrange for Judah to live with a Christian American family who taught English. The Hales received another interest-free loan from ABBA Fund just weeks before traveling to adopt Judah. Soon after, little Judah received two surgeries to insert new lenses in his eyes. He is now able to see with minor near-sightedness and loves playing with his brother and sister. He is adventurous and often carries a Thomas the Tank Engine toy for those imagined journeys around the world.

ABBA Fund’s assistance made it possible for Christian and Judah to be “grafted” into the Hales family – two of the 946 orphans that have been transformed into sons and daughters in 750 loving, nurturing Christian families. ABBA Fund is committed to making adoption more attainable. Join us in celebrating 10 years of serving orphans and the families they deserve as well strive to surpass 1,000 families assisted by the end of the year.

Please help ABBA Fund continue to serve other families like the Hales and bring more precious children into loving Christian homes.

Would You Consider Adoption?

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