Archived Story

Family hopes fishing tourney will help fund adoption

Published 7:55pm Monday, September 24, 2012

After much thought and prayer, Keri and Kirk Stallings of Clanton decided they wanted to add one more person to their family of four.

The Stallings are in the process of adopting Zhenya, 9, a male orphan from the Ukraine.

Before they can bring Zhenya home, however, they need to raise enough funds to cover paperwork processing, court costs, work leaves and travel expenses for flying to and from the Ukraine.

“I know in the end, it will be worth it,” Keri said and added their sons, Skipper and Ethan, are excited to have another brother in the near future.

As part of their fundraising process, the Stallings will host an “Angling for Adoption” benefit fishing tournament at Lake Mitchell on Saturday, Oct. 6, beginning at first/safe light.

The cost to participate is $100 per boat, with two anglers per boat.

All boats will launch from Higgins Ferry, and all anglers will receive lunch.

The first-place winner will receive $1,000, and cash prizes will be awarded to second through fifth place winners.

Keri said she and Kirk hope to hold more fundraisers between now and when they expect to go to the Ukraine to pick up Zhenya in the spring of 2013.

“Kirk and I know that this journey will not be a quick one, nor will it be easy,” Keri said. “But the sacrifices that we are making and are prepared to make will be worth every minute, every penny to know that this little boy doesn’t spend another second without knowing the love of a father, hugs from a mother and all the fun and mischief there is to be had with two little brothers.”

The Stallings met Zhenya through a ministry at their church, New Life Community Church.

Their family volunteered as house parents for a group of children from a Ukrainian orphanage through Bridges of Faith’s cultural exchange program.

Keri said her family connected with three children in particular, one of which was Zhenya.

It was not long before the Stallings knew what they wanted to do.

They wanted to adopt Zhenya.

“We kind of asked for a clear direction from God and got that answer from Him,” she said. “We absolutely cannot wait to be able to bring Zhenya home as our son, and our two boys are very excited to have a new big brother. We are ready for the upcoming tournament and hope that everyone involved has a great time, success on the water and walks away knowing that they each had a part in rescuing this precious child, Zhenya, from a life of uncertainty into a life of love and hope.”

For more information about the tournament, call Keri Stallings at (205) 299-2227 or email her at kmcminn3@aol.com.

The Stallings are also selling paracord bracelets to raise money for Zhenya’s adoption.

For information about the bracelets and how to order them, visit the following Facebook page: Stallings Family Adoption Project.

To learn more about the Stallings’ story or to make a donation, visit their blog at Stallingsfamilyadoptionproject.wordpress.com.

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