Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Adoption Fund
Adoption Fund Awards Grants Annually To Couples Seeking Adoption
Since it's inception in 2010, the Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Adoption Fund has awarded grants to 16 families over six years, for a total of more than $75,000 directly supporting the gift of adoption. Applications are due in the fall of each year for the following year's grants. If you know someone who would benefit from a grant, or you would like to donate to this fund, you can find more information throughout this site or call the Office of Natural Family Planning at 314-997-7576 to speak with a representative. For application materials, please click here
Waiting for Sabella: An Adoption Story by Grant Recipient Sheryl Crosier
I have been a Christian since childhood, but nothing would test my faith more than losing seven children to miscarriage and our son after his short visit on earth. I prayed that if I did get pregnant, the Lord would allow me to hold our baby in my arms. The Lord answered my prayer on September 7, 2010 when I was able to hold Simon in my arms for 88.5 days until he went to his eternal home at 10:45 a.m. on Friday, December 3, 2010. The Lord used Simon to teach me how to live in the moment, patience, compassion and most importantly, unconditional love.
Simon was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, otherwise known as Edward's Syndrome on his 3rd day of life. Simon had three of the number 18 chromosome which causes heart defects, bilateral cleft lip and other medical complications. The doctors were quick to say that Trisomy 18 means "incompatible with life." Even before the "label" during the pregnancy, because of Simon's cleft lip, medical professionals encouraged termination. Even though we changed hospitals, things didn't change. We tried to explain the value of our child, but our words fell on deaf ears. We believe that all children, regardless of their "label," posess inherent dignity and value. Simon was not incompatible with life. He was alive and living. I realized that God did not bless us with a syndrome; He blessed us with a son.
I started to feel a strong indescribable love for special needs children, because of Simon. I know the Lord gave me this love. I knew that children were not defects or disposable; they are created by our Maker. Sharing Simon's story is the ministry that the Lord granted me and Simon continues to impact people all over the world. Hearts are being changed and many have come to Christ and have been awakened spiritually because of our son. I learned very quickly that God does not want us to keep our testimony to ourselves!
As a Christian, I am called to spread the good news of the gospel. "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple," Luke 14:27. It is because of my faith and hope in Christ Jesus, that I can rest in Him. It is clear to me that all things work together for those that love Him. Our story is part of His plan.
It was a few years after we lost our son Simon, that the Holy Spirit kept nudging us to adopt. In late 2012, we began the paperwork for international adoption of a waiting child. We wanted to help a child with special needs. God led us to China. We believe our Simon also found his sister who had been waiting for years in an orphanage, and the Lord used our friend, Maggie Weik, as a vessel to introduce us to our daughter. This moment was so special. When we saw the picture of her in April 2013, we knew that she was our daughter. We also were humbled to discover that while I was pregnant with Simon in January 2010, our daughter was born, abandoned in a village and then moved to an orphanage.
In July 2013, at a Trisomy conference in Rhode Island, we named our daughter Sabella. Her name, which means "consecrated by God," kept popping up everywhere and we were sure it was a sign from Simon in heaven. Throughout our adoption journey, both my husband and I learned patience and allowed the Lord to comfort us when we were anxious. God gave us a peace and wisdom, and we realized that this was our "pregnancy on paper." We knew that we wouldn't get our daughter overnight, so we prayed for Sabella and asked Jesus to keep her safe until we got there. While we were waiting for Sabella, the Lord placed many compassionate people in our path: those who had lost a child and those that had adopted a child. Maggie Weik and her husband had already adopted nine girls from China. We were learning that love truly crosses oceans.
The journey was long and arduous, but after record snowfalls, school closings, travel delays and language barriers, we were finally able to hold Sabella in our arms at the Taiyuan Civil Affairs Office on February 10, 2014. Our daughter wobbled into the room after a seven hour train ride from her orphanage, turned towards us and walked into our arms. Our guide introduced us as Mama and Papa. We could hardly believe our eyes. She was absolutely beautiful and so small. Our daughter who we had been waiting for was finally with us, four years old, 34 inches tall and only 23 pounds. We couldn't wait to love and nurture her.
While in China, we witnessed something that will forever be disturbing. Sabella was absolutely starving. I am sure she never knew what the feeling of "full" was in her life. For several days, Sabella ate more than my husband and I combined. We could not believe our eyes! We were reaffirmed over and over why the Lord sent us our daughter. We were helping our daughter, previously an orphan, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. We would have taken ten children with us. No child should go hungry. I couldn't stop thinking of little Sabella so hungry and in need of a family...our family.
Scripture is clear that we are called to care for the orphans and we know that God has his hand in our adoption journey. We are teaching Sabella about Jesus and this is an absolutely beautiful experience. My daily prayer is that our daughter will feel God's love through our family. We were learning that God granted Sabella to us to look after and for that alone we are forever blessed.
Sabella has brought so much joy to our family. We know that if it wasn't for Simon, we wouldn't have Sabella. We most likely would have never considered adoption. Sabella has taught us to stop and take in the moment that God gives us. Everything is a first to her. We are so appreciative that we have food, shelter and freedom and can share this with her. We are not the same people we were before Sabella. Our hearts continue to be molded by Christ. Yes, our story is part of God's plan and all children possess inherent dignity and value regardless of their diagnosis or label. Our daughter deserves medical care and an opportunity to thrive. Sabella was from the poorest region in China and became another vulnerable child that was abandoned at birth. Yet, I am forever grateful that she was given life. She has so much value. I love how the Lord led us to her country and gifted us with a beautiful daughter.
We are honored and humbled by the generosity of the Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Adoption Fund and their donors. The adoption assistance grant was an absolute blessing to our family. We are so thankful and continue to pray that this adoption fund may be of assistance to other families like ours, who at times struggle on a single income. May the Holy Spirit stir in more hearts every day that more families can be blessed by the miracle of adoption.
In Christ, Sheryl Crosier
Sheryl Crosier is an author, an activist and an advocate for life and for children with special needs. She travels the world to speak about the value of every child and works tirelessly to pass laws that protect the most vulnerable children. More information about Sheryl and her ministry can be found online at www.simonismyname.com.