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Community help needed to bring home baby

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child; in the instance of Chris and Stephanie Tinseth, one might say it’s going to take the help of a village to bring a baby home.

The Andalusia couple, who are members of Southside Baptist Church, are asking for the community to help them raise needed funds to complete their adoption.

The couple hopes to adopt a baby sometime on or around March 22, but needs to raise some $21,000 to help with adoption-related expenses.

“Most of the time people want to know why we are adopting,” Stephanie said. “Chris was diagnosed at 14 with lupus. The medicine doctors prescribed left him unable to have children.

“We were matched with our birthmother three weeks after our profile went live,” Stephanie said. “Chris and I have felt called and directed by God to adopt a ‘fatherless’ child into our family.”

In October 2009, the couple began the adoption process by looking at different adoption agencies.

By November, the two had chosen an agency and three weeks later were notified that a potential birthmother had selected them as her child’s new family.

“It normally doesn’t happen that quick. It was definitely a blessing; kind of a pre-Christmas present,” said Chris.

For the Tinseths to complete the adoption process, officials said it will cost approximately $30,000.

To date, the couple has raised $9,000 and has everything they need for the baby to come home, but they still must raise nearly $21,000 to cover the remaining adoption fees, document preparation, home study, travel and attorneys fees.

The Tinseths, who are proud of their Christian faith, said they will raise the child to know God, as part of a Christian home with good values.

So when they realized they needed help to achieve their dream, they turned to their church family at Southside Baptist, where Stephanie works as a secretary, and to adoptive parents Laura and Barry Wilkinson.

The Wilkinsons adopted a child from China several years ago and have agreed to organize a fundraiser to help the Tinseths raise the needed funds.

A dinner and silent auction will be held March 6 beginning at 5 p.m.

Cost is $10 per person or $30 per immediate family. Dinner will consist of lasagna, salad, rolls and dessert.

Auction items include a plane ride, helicopter ride, a night at Sweet Gum Bottom Bed and Breakfast and a portrait from Amy Nichols Photography, as well as numerous gift certificates from local restaurants.

Patricia Barnes, founder of Sister Schubert’s rolls, will speak after the dinner.

Laura Wilkinson said she and her husband are “proud (the Tinseths) want to give a forever family to a baby who doesn’t have a family. They are a lovely Christian family. We love to support that. This is a great way to do that.”

Those unable to attend the night’s fundraiser may donate to the cause by visiting lifesongfororphans.org to make a tax-deductible donation.