Why We Do What We Do
In the book of Luke, from the New Testament, we can find these words: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7). In some places around the world, children in orphanages may be considered only as valuable as simple sparrows. But, God has not forgotten them. He sees them. He knows them.
Each one of us on the leadership team has a relationship with this God of the Bible. We believe that adoption was God’s idea and is at the heart of the best love story ever. Our lives were broken; we were alone, and God sent his son Jesus to provide a way for us to be made whole and adopted into His family. We desire to have a heart like His. We live this out in our own lives, including through our work with The Sparrow Fund as we serve orphaned and vulnerable children and care for their caregivers, both the ones who stand in a gap for a short time and the ones who want to fill those gaps forever.
Mark founded The Sparrow Fund in 2011, having been changed by the adoption of their youngest child and desiring to serve adoptive families. He considers it a joy to pour into mothers and fathers who are so eager to do the right thing for their families. Along with his wife Kelly, Mark has been trained to teach the Empowered to Connect material based on Karyn Purvis’ research and methods for children from hard places (TBRI). He also serves full-time with IECS, a nonprofit that serves university students in China through English training and short-term trips to bring a camp-like experience to Chinese college campuses.
Kelly has a passion for supporting adoptive families, specifically to encourage and empower parents to be intentional and understand their own hearts more clearly as they seek to care for their hearts of their children. Kelly has a Master’s degree in counseling from Biblical Theological Seminary and founded The Sparrow Fund along with her husband Mark in 2011. She works alongside Mark in his full-time purposeful work in China and works part time as a therapist at the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA, Kelly has a particular interest in (a) encouraging parents who are struggling to attach with their children, (b) helping parents walk with their children in understanding their own stories, (c) helping couples continue to pursue each other and grow together while they parent their children as a team, and (d) training and supporting orphanage staff in China to build relationships with children and each other. Kelly and Mark have been married since 1998 and have 3 biological children and 1 daughter who was adopted as a toddler from China in 2010. You can learn more about their journey on Kelly’s personal blog.
Erin has been a pediatric physical therapist since 2010, specializing in treating children with cancer and with neurological diagnoses such as brain tumors, strokes, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injuries. Erin was first introduced to The Sparrow Fund through serving on an orphanage trip in October of 2016. It was during this trip that her heart was stirred and she was drawn to a big career change in order to serve children living in orphanages, their temporary caregivers, and families who move forward to adopt them. Her passion is to help equip and train the orphanage staff on developmental and handling techniques to assist in reducing delays. She also seeks to be a therapeutic resource for families as they transition children to home and get connected to the services needed.
Abbey enjoys volunteering to help plan and serve during The Sparrow Fund’s training events. The adoption of her brother, Joshua, from Korea in 1997 began her heart for orphan care and adoption at a young age. While she and her husband Ben grow their family (with their first daughter arriving July 2017!), she’s happy to help others as they grow theirs through her work with The Sparrow Fund.
Ashley is a former social worker who currently works from home in order to spend more time with her children. She has a passion for advocating and educating families about adoption. She and her husband Mike have been married since 1999 and have three girls, the youngest of whom joined their family through China’s special needs program in the summer of 2010.
Zach and Nicole have been married since 2003 and reside in Maryland. They homeschool their four children, two of whom were adopted from China. Zach is a financial advisor, and Nicole is a part-time newborn photographer. Their family has a passion for supporting orphan care efforts, and they love to encourage other families who are considering adoption, in the adoption process, or who have already grown their family through adoption. Nicole is also a founder of Red Thread Sessions, a nationwide organization of photographers who volunteer their time to celebrate adoption. Their family enjoys spending time with friends and lazy summers at the beach together. Nicole blogs about their daily adventures at Living Out His Love.