Wednesday, December 16, 2009
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Adoption fundraiser: Family sells trees to help bring baby home
December 2009 Posted in People
By Mary Owen
It’s very possible that Abigail Stutzman hasn’t seen many Christmas trees, if any, but her family has a backyard full of them at their Silverton home.
The Stutzmans are selling the trees for $15 each to raise funds to adopt their Ethiopian daughter, even though they’re not sure who she is yet or if she has even been born. The family applied in January of last year to adopt a baby girl through All God’s Children, a nonprofit Christian agency in Portland. In October, clearing most of the pre-adoption hurdles, the Stutzmans were placed on the waiting list for one between the ages of 1 day and 12 months.
“We had 25 families ahead of us,” Amber Stutzman said of the adoption list status a couple of weeks ago.
“We are expecting our baby referral to come sometime around this March or April. After that, we will travel to get her about two to four months later.”
Meanwhile, the Stutzmans are excitedly preparing for Abigail’s arrival, which began years ago when Amber and her husband, Adam, who works for the Oregon Department of Transportation, signed up to adopt a bi-racial baby from the United States while going through several years of infertility treatment earlier in their marriage.
“But after getting pregnant with twins, we had to pull our application,” said Amber, mom to five children: Jacob, 11, Cassidy and Zachary, 7, Noah, 6, and Logan, 4.
Amber’s desire to adopt began early in childhood when her own sister was adopted as a newborn. Amber, a Salem Academy graduate, shared her interest in taking in her own baby girl with Adam, a Silverton High School graduate, while the two were dating.
“We both agreed that even if we had children, we would like to open our home to a child that needed a family,” Amber said. “We looked into domestic adoption and then through much thought and prayer, were draw to one of the poorest countries with one of the highest needs for families –Ethiopia.”
Ethiopia is one of the four poorest countries in the world, according to a government Web site. The African nation has 85.2 million people, of which almost half live below the poverty level. Malnutrition, poor health conditions, disease including HIV/AIDS, lack of education, high mortality, and other factors contribute to the number of children who are either on the streets or in orphanages.
Married for 15 years, the Stutzmans attend Emmanuel Bible Church. Now that their dream is about to become a reality, the entire miracle of adoption has hit full force, Amber said.
“Most likely another woman somewhere across the world is pregnant right now with our daughter, and that just gives me the chills,” she said. “We continue to pray for the mom and the heart-aching decision that she is going to have to make. Giving up your child so that they will not grow up in poverty is one of the most selfless things that a person can do. We are so thankful to her!”
Amber, who works two days a week as a delivery nurse at Salem Hospital, knows the emotions young mothers have when giving birth and the difficulty that is attached to giving that child up for adoption.
“It is so hard to wrap my mind around it,” she said of a young mother’s sacrifice.
But it won’t be hard for her to wrap her arms around her new daughter, she said.
To cover the $25,000 cost of bringing little Abigail to Silverton, the entire Stutzman family has carried out projects throughout the year and has others in the works.
“We started off in the summer when our oldest son, Jacob, parked cars in our yard during the Homer Davenport festival, the Art Festival and the Father’s Day Strawberry Shortcake day,” Adam said. “During Homer days we also had people donate stuff that they didn’t want any more, and we had a huge yard sale. Our daughter, Cassidy also did a bake sale.”
In September, the Stutzmans conducted a pop can and water bottle drive, a project that is ongoing. People are welcome to drop of cans at 404 Charles Ave. or call for pick up.
“Zachary has been the one doing this, and he actually loves taking the coins back,” Adam said. “So far he has made about $300 for his little sister.”
The family started a Baby Bottle coin drive last month, whereby families, coworkers and friends fill the bottle with spare change.
“We hope to collect them around the first of the year,” Adam said.
And then there’s the tree sale – a chapter to write about in Abigail’s adoption journey book, Adam said. Brad and Mary Jo Young of Scotts Mills provided the trees at a highly discounted rate, and the Stutzmans are selling them at their home. They’ll also take families who want to cut their own to the Young’s farm, and recycle trees after Christmas for $5, Adam said.
“Our family and friends have continued to support us in our fundraising, child care and prayer,” he said, commending folks for their friendliness and caring. “People we don’t even know have been willing to help us out.“
In the planning stages are a community car wash, silent auction, dessert fundraiser and maybe a bowling night at the Silverton Silver Creek Bowling Alley.
“More details will come as we continue to plan these events in the future,” Adam said. “We know that God laid it on our hearts to adopt this baby, which we know also means that ultimately he will provide. We are just thankful beyond words for the generosity of everyone that has helped us to bring our baby home!”
How to help
Donations to the adoption fund may be made
in the Stutzman’s name (their name must be
designated on check) at any MaPS Credit Union.
For information call the Stutzmans at
check their blog at:
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"Although it may not always be obvious to us, there seems to be one distinct moment when God begins a new story in each of our lives. He writes words on our hearts that long to be spoken and strain to be lived out. Then with His own great hand, He begins to write the script. Experience by experience through seemingly ordinary days, He supernaturally orders our lives. Only when we look back and reflect on what appeared to have been the ordinary events of life does it become clear what a miracle the Lord has performed." Jan Beazely