Go To Bat for Kids provides unforgettable memories for kids

Carlos Williams threw out the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals’ game on April 20. Carlos had been selected through Catholic Charities of St. Louis’ Go to Bat for Kids campaign.

With three curved fingers hooked on top, and a thumb positioned underneath, Carlos Williams demonstrated how he held the baseball for his first-ever major-league pitch.

The 7-year-old threw the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals game April 20 as part of Catholic Charities of St. Louis' Go to Bat for Kids campaign.

Later, Carlos showed off his newly prized possession, the ball signed by Cardinals pitcher Matt Bowman.

"That's how he told me to throw it," Carlos said of his expert advice. "And I was the only one that got to throw that ball."

Through unlikely connection, couple fulfills dream to adopt


Thirteen-month-old Simon Callen knows how to command attention in a room — his toothy grin and sideways lean instantly charm visitors.

As providence would have it, Simon came into the lives of Steven and Liz Callen through prayer and an unlikely connection through the permanent diaconate program. In a whirlwind of about three months, the Callens went from adoptive candidates to parents. After they got the news they'd been matched, Steven Callen ran to the store to purchase a car seat.

"That's when it hit me — wow, we're bringing a baby home," he said.

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.

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