SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Having a child can be one of the greatest gifts, but for various reasons some families may not be able to receive the gift without a little help.
Families can come in all different shapes and sizes. That's something you'll find at Hillcrest Church in Sioux Falls. Years ago, the members of the church came across extra money after selling land and the members decided they wanted to give back.
"Rather than build a new building or move our church, we asked what are some things in the community our people are excited about that we could help fund," Hillcrest Church Ministry Pastor Brian Stroh said.
The people of Hillcrest decided they would fund ten adoptions to help with the financial burden placed on families who go through this process. One of their many missions is to help the orphans of the world. Church member Cindy Cummins was the first to receive the help.
"They came in and told me they wanted to finance my adoptions. I thought, 'What?' and stood there, in fact, that was one of the few times in life I was rendered speechless," Cummins said.
Cummins adopted her first child, Jadyn, on her own, but was able to adopt a second child, Mataya, with Hillcrest's help.
"All I had to do was turn in my final receipts to them and they paid for everything. It was probably $65,000," Cummins said.
Brian Stroh and his wife, Children's Ministries Coordinator Tarina Stroh had three children, but wanted to bring another child into their family. They adopted a daughter through the ministry.
"We feel like she is in a beautiful community where her very best little buddy is also adopted. And they get to share that journey together and so do we as parents," Tarina Stroh said.
The focus is on families, not finances. The ministry is aimed at putting these children in safe, loving homes. A few years and several thousand dollars later, Hillcrest Church reached its goal of financing ten adoptions. Nicholas and Joellen Welder were one of the last to adopt.
"Back in February this year, Joellen and I started discussing family options and adoption came to the forefront of all of that," Nicholas Welder said.
The couple is waiting for their child who could arrive at any time. They say their dream of becoming parents may not have been possible if it wasn't for Hillcrest Church.
"It is almost hard to put into words just the gratitude we have for Hillcrest because without them, we could possibly not be doing this. That's the bare bones about it," Nicholas Welder said.
As the Welders finish up the paperwork, they pray for the moment when a child is placed in their arms, all thanks to Hillcrest Church.
"We just thank Hillcrest for everything they have done and this is a ministry that they have chosen to accept," Nicholas Welder said.
"This child is defiantly going to change our lives more than we're going to change theirs, for sure," Joellen Welder said.
The church set an initial goal of financing ten adoptions, but members do not want to stop there. They would like to be able to finance more adoptions and find more children their forever homes.
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