Board member helps agency that aided him at his birth, adoption

Fifty years ago, Marty Tobben's biological mother placed him for adoption with Villa Maria, then an agency of Catholic Charities. He grew up in a loving household with his adoptive parents, Bob and Mary Tobben of Washington and two siblings.

Now he's giving back to Catholic Charities as a board member of Good Shepherd Children and Family Services, which connects children with families and keeps families connected through foster care, expectant parent support, adoption and maternity shelter. Good Shepherd includes the functions of the former Villa Maria maternity program.

The journey to adoption


Anne Stein was joyfully crafting an email to her school families, to let them know she was going to become an adoptive mother in a few weeks The teacher at St. James the Greater had barely hit send when she got a text from a friend of the birth mother:

She's gone into labor. Could you come?

Stein and her husband, Andy, quickly packed their things and took off for the UC Irvine Medical Center, in Orange County, Calif. They arrived just two hours after their son, Andrew, was born.

Family becomes advocates for In His Hands after adoption experiences

Dave Smith held his adopted son in Vietnam.

Inspired by their adoption experiences, members of a Catholic family in the archdiocese are helping In His Hands Orphans Outreach expand services to vulnerable children.

A nonprofit, faith-based organization, In His Hands Orphans Outreach describes itself as "sharing the heart of Christ with the unloved, unwanted and forgotten."

Webster Groves couple opens hearts and home in adopting 11 children from China


Carly Weik bounced around the house, asking anyone who would listen: "Where are my goggles?"

Eager to show a visitor her swimming pool from the window of her living room, the five-year-old had one thing on her mind that rainy afternoon — when she could next go outside for a splash.

Her energy and spunky personality were what stood out to Dave and Maggie Weik of Webster Groves. The couple adopted her from an orphanage in China, and she made the journey to her forever home in March.

Editorial | Adoption equals generosity

It wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

MaryPat St. Jean from Boston, Mass., recently wrote "The Blessing of 'Unanswered Prayers': An Adoption Story" for the U.S. bishops' For Your Marriage website. MaryPat and her husband, Tom, adopted four children.

The adoption application process, at times, felt profoundly invasive, she wrote. "There are some challenges that are unique to adoptive mothers and fathers. It is difficult to explain to adopted children that just because they were 'given up' for adoption, it does not mean that they were not 'wanted.'"

Mother of two named "Angel in Adoption"

Michelle Wright, right, embraced her daughter Cristiana Wright at a party Sept. 10 celebrating Cristiana’s 20th birthday at Matador, a Mexican restaurant, in Chesterfield. Michelle’s husband, Jamie, center, and family friends Ryan Dolnick, left, and his son Brennan Dolnick joined the party.

Jamie and Michelle Wright thought that by the time they were 30, they would have, as Michelle says, "a pew full of children."

"We knew that we wanted to be parents," she said. "But man plans, and God laughs. And that's not how it worked out."

God had other plans for the St. Louis natives. The Wrights adopted two girls, Cristiana and Victoria, and Michelle now is a strong voice in Catholic education in St. Louis for children with special needs.

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