I watched this video- It Began with Bale and I knew I had to know more about the family who adopted this precious little miracle girl, Bale. The Wahlberg family’s adoption story is truly remarkable and miraculous- a story only God could write.
Introductions from Bale’s new daddy:
“In February 2007, while flying home from Uganda I (Kenny) asked God to position our family to be better givers. The answer came in the form of bankruptcy. We lost everything except for one vehicle, learned humbleness, and how to rely on God in the process.
During this time, we became pregnant with our third child. We transitioned into a rental home and learned to re-prioritize family and finances.
After two years of maintaining a consistent, healthy pattern with our family and stewardship of our finances, we were blessed with our fourth child. In July 2009, immediately after the delivery, I (Stephanie) heard God speak to my heart to trust Him with our future children and to give Him control of how many children to add to our family whether it be natural children or by adoption. This was a paradigm shift for us, which took faith and obedience. This was not an easy pill to swallow.
In October 2009, during a Rock Seed Offering service, our church family was presented with the possibility of adopting from the Drawn From Water Orphanage in Ethiopia, an organization that rescues children deemed “mingi” by their tribe. Mingi means the children are cursed; the most common reason is because the top teeth grow in first. The children are tossed into the river or left in the wilderness to die. Drawn From Water has set up an orphanage for these children rescued from sure death.
By November, we were fully committed to adopt one of these beautiful children and begin to complete the necessary adoption paperwork.
In March 2010, we received an adoption referral for Bale, the first child rescued by Drawn From Water.
In May 2010, the Ethiopian Government deemed Bale our daughter, but because the U.S. Government requested more research and paperwork, it would be over three months before we could pick her up.
I (Kenny) flew to Ethiopia and met Bale on 9/11 – our gotcha date in adoption terms. In Ethiopia this date signifies Ethiopia’s New Year and there is celebrating in the streets as people wear traditional attire and put long grass in the streets and their homes. This is a time of expressing hopes and dreams for the future. This is indeed what we felt as we embraced Bale as our daughter.
During our early years of marriage Stephanie was diagnosed by doctors of having very little chance of getting pregnant. It was not until our 6th year of marriage and after 1 ½ years of trying that we finally had our first child. We are now expanding our family to number six – Stephanie is now pregnant again!
Children are a heritage and a reward from The Lord. In our scenario, 2.5 kids would be ideal, but we are so thankful that God has bigger plans and ideas then our mere ones. Our quiver is very full and we are beyond blessed. Choosing to obey, give sacrificially, and trust God with our lives is a much more satisfying and exciting life. We are not missing out with that combination!
As we are getting to know Bale we are discovering how much she really fits into our family. She is full of energy, loves to meet new people and make them feel special, and is showing lots of leadership qualities. Each of our family is learning to become a new an improved member of the Wahlberg clan as we discover the world of adoption.
God heard our cry to be givers and to make a difference in this world with our family; He has graciously provided. May God do the same for you as you trust Him for the cry of your own heart.” Bless you, Kenneth Wahlberg
New video to watch of the Wahlberg family
Our Story: Kenny & Stephanie Wahlberg from Rock of Roseville on Vimeo.
Update on Bale from her new mommy:
(pronounced Ball-A in case you were wondering) “Bale has adjusted very well like she never missed a beat. The major transition was the first 6 weeks when she would go to any mommy for comfort because they all represented nannies to her. (She lived in 3 places before she came to us….that is a lot of change for a 3 year old!) After 6 weeks that stopped and she knew I was her mommy and only came to me for love and comfort. That melted my heart! The practical side of things: She stayed in our bed the first month and then transitioned to a toddler bed in our room. My son who is the exact same age moved his toddler bed in with her so this was great! Then the following month, we placed both of them and our older daughter in their own room! And the toilet was her favorite thing for the first two months…..always going to the bathroom and twice I was not with her and she flooded the toilet. At church, they had a plunger in the bathroom and I found her plunging it and making a mess. Oh the joys! Having two toddlers means double the trouble too! I am always on the alert! One time I found teething gel all over their faces! Her English is coming along. She can put 2 or 3 words together to make sentences and she has almost from the beginning understood me. That was a surprise….she is a smart girl! And one last thing, I must say her favorite thing are flowers. She just loves flowers!”
Drawn from Water Website- Follow the blog!!
Drawn from Water Store- click here.
The mission of DRAWN FROM WATER is to rescue and provide the best possible future for children who have been deemed “mingi” and sentenced to death by their tribes.
In rural Africa there are three tribes that practice what is called “mingi”, which loosely translates to mean dirty or unclean. There are many ways in which a child may become “mingi”, but once the label has been placed all children suffer the same fate, they must be killed. But now there is another way, in January of 2009 Lale Labuko an educated man from one of the tribes who practices “mingi” and Yabibal Abebaw worked together with a group of visiting missionaries to start Drawn From Water, an orphanage who’s mission is to take in the children who have been deemed “mingi” and to educate the tribes that these children are a blessing and not a curse. In the three tribes, which practice “mingi”, there are a total of roughly 130,000 people living in hundreds of villages spanning an area totaling hundreds of square miles. It is estimated that more than 1000 children are killed each year because they were “mingi”. Drawn From Water is working to save as many of these children as possible. In the first 12 months 21 children were saved. Our hope is that with God’s help we will be able to reach the tribes with the gospel and ultimately help them see that these children are a blessing and not a curse.
The Children’s Homes
Drawn From Water provides two children’s homes exclusively for the care of children deemed “mingi” by their tribes, with a capacity of about 35 children total. Both homes are clean, cheerful and have within their compounds areas for outdoor play. To ensure personal attention for the children there is a high ratio of staff to children. We have staff for cleaning, cooking, and guarding the compounds.
Children of kindergarten age attend a local private school and are taught both the customs of their tribes and the country at large.
Although we see the children’s home as a way to meet an immediate need in these children’s lives, we understand that there needs to be a plan for each individual child’s future. For some of these children we see that its possible that their families may change their belief system in the future and that the family may one day be reunited, for others its clear that the family is not willing to accept the child back into their home and adoption may the only viable way to provide a nurturing home for the child to grow up in. We take extra care with each child to workout a plan that is specific to their situation, and constantly strive to give them the best possible future. Our first priority is always reunification of family and child when possible.
Sources of Funding
Drawn From Water is in the early stages of developing a funding base that includes individual, group, foundation and corporate donors, and sponsors.
Drawn From Water has an ongoing program that seeks grants and donations from individuals and organizations to support the orphanage and tribal outreach efforts. All donations to Drawn From Water are tax deductible as provided through the Rock of Roseville a non-denominational church under section 501(c) 3 of the United States Internal Revenue Code and receipts are provided for tax purposes. Drawn From Water is also seeking grants and funding partners. The need to grow and accept more children from these tribes is an urgent challenge and all sources of funding are being explored.
Drawn From Water is presently leasing 2 compounds to provide facilities for the program. None of the compounds is designed for its present use, and all improvements necessary to make the buildings and grounds suitable for the children are to the benefit of the landlord. Plans are currently being drawn up for a Drawn From Water Children’s Village and Tribal Training Center, a facility that will provide home-like care for the children and a school where people from the tribes can come and be taught basic life training skills and learn from the bible in hopes that they will go back to their villages and teach about the word of God. Ultimately helping to stop the practice of “mingi” and improve the lives of those who live in these remote tribes. A special building fund is being set up to pay for this project, which may include intermediate and/or incremental steps as we move toward the ultimate goal of creating the village.
You can purchase Drawn From Water products at their store- http://drawnfromwaterstore.blogspot.com/