“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to advocate for my child. I think every parent would say that. Every parent is going to fight for their child to have the care they need.”
In 2019, Steven and Kristin Link welcomed home their son, Aaro, from India. And as they navigated the early days of jet lag, bonding, and finding a new rhythm as first-time parents and a family of three, Steven and Kristin also stepped into the often overwhelming process of assessing their child’s medical needs determining how to effectively meet them.
For so many families, including the Links, this part of the adoption journey is full of unknowns.
“This is where faith comes in. You’re like, ‘OK, Lord, this is our son, so it doesn’t even matter what the road ahead looks like, what his medical needs are,’” Kristin explained.
Before bringing Aaro home, Steven spent seven years as a pastor at a church in Dacula, Georgia, and it was there—as a part of that community—the Links began their adoption journey.
“It’s really scary when you’re saying, ‘Yes’ and moving forward [with the process to adopt], and you think, OK, we have to raise how much money?” Kristin said. “And yet that was one of the best experiences of the whole journey—seeing God’s faithfulness as he provided through others. The Lord brought a really strong support system around us. It was really sweet to see how the Lord provided, above and beyond, what we needed.”
Then in April of this year, Steven and Kristin felt the Lord leading their family down a new path, so they moved to Athens, Georgia, to begin a church plant. This new calling meant leaving a stable salary as well as benefits and transitioning to fully fundraising their income—and it meant a change in health insurance.
Due to high premiums and Aaro’s pre-existing conditions, since April, the Links have mostly paid out-of-pocket for their son’s various medical expenses. In an effort to ease this financial burden, Steven began picking up extra work wherever he could.
“There are not many options when you’re in the church planting world,” Steven said. “Your son has to have medical attention—and that means you have to figure out a way to pay for it. I’m pretty decent with my hands, so in our neighborhood alone, I’ve built two decks and a pergola. But what I quickly found is that side work equates to sacrificing time with my family.”
For the Links, this sacrifice of time also came during a critical season of bonding and attachment with their son, Aaro, who had been home less than a year.
“I’m not afraid of work,” Steven explained. “But it can be pretty defeating as a family and sometimes confusing when we consider how the Lord led us to adopt and invest in this child’s life. I think, Lord, I know you didn’t call me just to work myself to death so I can never see my son. And as a result, if I don’t see [him], I can’t disciple him; I can’t invest in his life.”
It was in the midst of this season that Kristin heard about Show Hope. A nurse at the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, where Aaro was being treated, asked Kristin if she had ever looked into post-adoption medical grants.
“I said, ‘I have not heard of that. I’ve never been able to find anything.’ She told me about two organizations, and Show Hope was one of them,” Kristin said.
Unbeknownst to Kristin, the nurse had been mistaken. At that point, Show Hope had only awarded Adoption Aid grants as a means of helping families offset the financial costs associated with their adoptions. But God was moving.
In the wake of the decision to end its financial support of New Hope Foundation and the Care Centers in China, Show Hope’s Founders and Executive Leadership team began dreaming of new ways to further address the medical needs of children who have been orphaned.
Almost simultaneously, Kristin decided to reach out to Show Hope to inquire about post-adoption medical grants. Little did she know, the Show Hope team was deep in the process of developing and launching its new Medical Care grants endeavor.
And so, in October of this year, the Links became one of the first families to be awarded a Show Hope Medical Care grant.
“For me personally, this [grant] makes it possible for me to be faithful to the ministry that God’s called me to, and be faithful to my family, and not sacrifice either one,” Steven said.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to advocate for my child. I think every parent would say that. Every parent is going to fight for their child to have the care they need,” Kristin continued. “And you’ll do whatever it takes, but like Steven said, to what end—sacrificing what? What this [grant] does is provide hope.”
The Medical Care grant the Links received will allow them to cover the cost of a much-needed procedure that Aaro received over the summer.
“Honestly, if this option had been there from the very beginning and we knew that, we would have taken care of [some of] Aaro’s medical needs a lot sooner,” Kristin said. “Here we are a year into the process of having him home, and we had to prioritize what was absolutely necessary to do first.”
Today, Aaro is doing incredibly well, and Steven and Kristin feel that because of Show Hope and the generosity of its supporters, a weight has been lifted from them.
“It makes me smile when I think about how God provides,” Steven said. “It makes you think back to the beginning. He initiated all of this, and he’s been providing ever since.”