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Community rallies to help widow, adoption effort

Posted: 10:19 AM, Jun 27, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-27 12:19:27-04

BOISE — More than one-dozen local companies and a slew of volunteers will be rolling up their sleeves and pitching in for a worthy “double” cause Saturday.

Brian and Rebekah Stearns of Nampa have three biological children of their own -- and are now in the process of adopting two orphan teenagers from the Ukraine: Serhii, age 17 and Natasha, age 16.

“Both were given up within days of their birth because of their cerebral palsy -- and have grown up together in the same orphanage. They are unrelated, but they have known each other for the past few years,” Rebekah said. “They have been waiting their entire lives to be adopted -- and we are their very last chance to have a forever family. Brian and I have been diligently working toward adoption for nearly two years this August. We even sold our wedding rings to help cover the cost! If we do not adopt Serhii and Natasha, then they will spend the rest of their lives in an institution.”

The Stearns family is working with the Tennessee-based group Both Hands in a unique effort to not only adopt the two orphans, but to also help a local widow whose home needs repair.

Both Hands is 501(c)3 non-profit organization “serving widows, orphans and adoptive families.” The group helps families raise funds for their adoptions, while serving a widow in the community through home improvement projects.

Rhonda Wesselman has not been able to keep up with the repairs and maintenance of her home on Hidden Valley Drive in Boise since her husband died seventeen years ago. “Her home is in need of landscaping, fencing, plumbing, lighting, carpeting, etc.,” said Lorinda Tuttle, organizer of the event to both fix up Wesselman’s house and aid her daughter and her family in adopting the two Ukrainian orphans.

“I feel in awe that I was so blessed," said Wesselman. “They explained to me that, by them helping me, I'm helping (the Stearns family) and these two orphans … and that's so amazing to me!” she added.

And many are pitching in.

Mike Stidham with Right Angle Fencing is donating fencing materials and time to repair a fence on Wesselman’s property that was damaged after a tree fell on it months ago … Scott Sparrell with Veteran’s Plumbing is repairing a backyard faucet and installing a new sink and faucet inside … Carlee and Jon Cayton with Floor Coverings International are donating and installing new carpeting … JC Penney is supplying new bedding … Target stores are providing bug spray and miscellaneous materials … Lowe’s is supplying kitchen cabinet knobs … RC Willey is providing a new bed frame, headboard, mattress and box springs … and a number of others –- including Sunrise Café, Walmart, Garbanzo’s Pizza, Chick fil-A, and Hugo’s Deli -– are all providing lunch and drinks for the crews.

But some items are still needed. “Some of the big-ticket items still needed for the widow's home include kitchen lighting, a new hinged screen door (36” x 80½”), etc. All supplies donated are tax-deductible,” said Tuttle.

When the adoption becomes finalized and the two orphans are finally home with the Stearns, “I'm not going to stop hugging them for a while. It's been a very long journey. We're so excited to make them a part of our family!” she added.

Rebekah summed it up by pointing out: “Over and over again in the Scriptures, God directs us to care for the widows and orphans -- so this project has been all about putting our faith into action.”

If you’d like to help with the makeover, e-mail Bethany Purdy at Bethany@bothhands.org or Lorinda Tuttle at Lorinda@brassey.net.
Or you can make a cash donation to help with the adoptions by giving online to BothHands.org/Stearns-521.

(photo courtesy: Rebekah Stearns)