"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." - James 1:27 That one Bible verse sums up the relationship between Melanie and Chris Pickering, Pat Dawson and the Both Hands Foundation. The Pickerings and a team of about 60 friends, family members and volunteers will paint, landscape and fix whatever needs fixing at Dawson's West El Paso home starting at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. The Pickerings are in the process of adopting three-year-old Jisoo, an orphan living in Seoul, South Korea. "An international adoption is pretty costly and my husband and I didn't know how we were going to pay for it," Pickering said. "We had a meeting with the adoption agency about fund raising and one of the things they talked about was the Both Hands Foundation." The Both Hands Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps adoptive families raise funds for adoption by serving a widow in the community, And that's where Dawson, whose husband David passed away, comes in. "I wasn't familiar with the Both Hands Foundation before I talked to Melanie and Chris," Dawson said. "Because it's based on scripture, James 1:27, taking care of the orphans and the widows, I was really impressed with it. That's what being a part of the body of Christ is all about. It's supporting each other and building each other up. I'm really blessed that I'll be the recipient of their work and serve as an avenue by which they can bring this child home." For several months, the Pickerings and their team have been securing sponsorships and donations from several businesses who provided supplies for Saturday's cleanup. "Our team wrote letters to their friends and family, to anybody who was interested and we asked if they could be sponsors for any amount of money for our day of work on Miss Pat's house," Pickering said. "If they agree, they send the money to Both Hands Foundation saying they would like it to be put into the Pickering's account. Both Hands puts it into an account for us and when we come up with the expenses, they will pay those expenses for us." Pickering said the cost of adopting a internationally ranges from $30,000 to $35,000. "The home study is between $1,500 to $2,000, ours was $1,800," she said. "It's $500 fee for an international adoption, $800 to apply for an immigration application to be able to adopt a child from another country but the big expense are the agency fees." She said the local agency charged $8,500 and the agency in Korea charged $20,0000." The beginning Chris and Melanie Pickering were married three years ago and since that time, have tried to start a family. "I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis and basically infertility," she said. "We thought, 'OK, now what do we do?' We tried multiple infertility treatments. We were spending a lot of money to get this done and it really wasn't working and there is not a guarantee that it would. That's when we started thinking and praying about adoption." Shortly after their home study, where a social worker from the adoption agency spent about 10 hours going through the family history and interviewing family, friends and co-workers, the agency provided a video and photos of Jisoo who was two years old at the time. "She was diagnosed with cancer last April and has been going through chemotherapy and surgery since then," Melanie said. "Before she was diagnosed, she had another family looking at her but they decided they really didn't have the means to be able to take care of her because of her cancer. She went back into the pool of people looking for a child." The Pickerings knew they had found their daughter. "We have only meet Jisoo through pictures and videos but she has already changed our hearts," she said. "We realize that this is who He brought to us. She is who we are supposed to love." If all things go as planned, Chris and Melanie will be able to pick up Jisoo in Korea in August or September. "We are very emotionally attached to her already," Melanie said. "She's my little girl. It's just a matter of going to pick her up. That's going to be an exciting day, I can't wait." Victor R. Martinez may be reached at 915-546-6128. •Who: Chris and Melanie Pickering are in the process of adopting a little girl from Seoul, South Korea named Jisoo and need to raise $30,000 in adoption cost. •What: Through the Both Hands Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps adoptive families raise funds for adoption by serving a widow in the community, they are helping Pat Dawson. Anyone willing to donate their time is welcomed to help. •When: 7:30 a.m. to dusk Saturday. •Where: 7024 Granero on the West Side. •To donate: www.BothHands.org/chris-and-melanie-pickering. See full article: http://m.elpasotimes.com/elpasotimes/db_/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=hNorsuVd&full=true#display
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