People driving through the Woodland Acres mobile home park Saturday would have seen a small army of volunteers working on Vicki Nordin’s home.
What the casual observer wouldn’t realize is that, by helping Nordin, the volunteers were also lending a hand to Katie and Jason Brabson, a Springfield couple adopting a 2-year-old special needs girl from China.
The connection between the two comes through a non-profit called Both Hands.
Katie Brabson explained that the process is similar to a charity run.
She and her husband contacted friends and family members, who helped them find people willing to contribute money to sponsor the volunteer work at Nordin’s house. The pledges will help offset the cost of the international adoption.
The group also solicited donations of materials for the work at Nordin’s house from local businesses.
About 30 people, including the Brabsons, spent part of Saturday working at Nordin’s mobile home. They power-washed the exterior, did landscaping work, installed insulation, replaced drywall, painted, put in a ceiling fan and installed a new toilet.
Katie Brabson said the project is a blessing for everyone.
“These people have given up a Saturday to help a widow who they don’t know,” she said. “They are doing this for our daughter, who they don’t know, but they already love.”
The Brabsons met Nordin through their church, Knox Knolls Free Methodist Church, 2251 W. Monroe St.
Nordin, 64, said she was “shell-shocked” by the amount of help she has gotten from the Brabsons and other volunteers. She said she wouldn’t have been able to do the work herself.
“”It’s unbelievable. I feel very grateful,” Nordin said. “I’m a widow living on a fixed income. The things they are doing today, it would have taken me three to five years, and that would have been if nothing else went wrong.”
Woodland Acres is off North Dirksen Parkway.
Johanna Mayer of Champaign was one of the volunteers.
“It’s awesome that you can help both people at once. The widow is getting all of this help, and then all the donations go toward Jason and Katie. It’s a blessing.”
The Brabsons have not met their new daughter, Ling Ling, in person. They hope to have her home in Springfield in about four weeks.
The couple has two other sons. They adopted Mussie, 6, from Ethiopia when he was 10 months old. Finn, their biological son, is 2.
The international adoption could cost about $30,000. They’ve raised $2,000 through the Both Hands project, and donations continue to come in to.
“We would have done the adoption regardless, but this is a big help,” Brabson said.
John Reynolds can be reached at 788-1524.