Counting their blessings

For one Seabrook couple, a happy home is a full home

August 6, 2011 

The Mansell family are shown at their home in Seabrook. Front row, from left: Yordanos, Sharon, Mark, Habtamu. Back row, from left: Bethlehem, Elaina, Hadassah Hope, Eska, Lawson and Madelyne.


  • Upcoming recruitment

    The S.C. Department of Social Services Foster and Adoptive Parent "Helping Hands, Caring Hearts and Loving Homes" recruitment event is from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at Community Bible Church, 638 Parris Island Gateway in Beaufort. No registration is required.

    Details: Jackie Adams, 843-953-9758; Claudia Gay, 843-525-0089, ext. 224

    S.C. adoptions

    In South Carolina there are 1,328 children in foster care who are ready to be adopted. In total, 4,044 children are in foster care in South Carolina, some whose placement has not been decided.

    State adoption is virtually free, said Jackie Adams, Department of Social Services adoptions specialist. Some legal assistance is provided as well as medical insurance. Depending on a child's needs, adoptive parents can receive an adoptive subsidy until the child is in college. There are many advantages to adopting out of foster care such as finding out the child's medical and educational background, Adams said.

    "It is what we are doing for the children that is important," Adams said.

Mark and Sharon Mansell's home is full, as are their hearts.

While the Seabrook couple had four biological children, they wanted more. Treatments from Sharon's breast cancer eight years ago left her unable to bear more of their own, so they chose adoption to grow their family.

In 1 1/2 years, they adopted two groups of children from Ethiopia. In May 2006 they adopted an 18-month-old boy, Habtamu, and a 5-year-old girl, Bethlehem, from an orphanage. Four months later, they started applying to adopt a group of four siblings, ages 4, 6, 9 and 13.

The Mansells didn't have the money to pay the $17,000 to $20,000 adoption fee per child or the airfare to Ethiopia to pick them up. "His Kids" ministry of Community Bible Church in Beaufort offered them financial help for their first two adoptive children. With the second adoptions, the couple found Christian World Adoption, a second agency that assists with financing adoptions.

"Never did we ever have the money," Sharon said. "(God) provides on an as-needed day, the eldest Mansell children are married and have moved away. Now Mark and Sharon are down to a mere eight children, ages 7 to 16. But their neatly kept double-wide manufactured home doesn't feel crowded. It is full of love and laughter and plenty of hardworking children on what they call a "mini farm."

The sweet aroma of freshly baked bread wafts through the home while their goats, chickens, cats and dogs roam the five acres where a vegetable garden grows. Madelyne, 16, bakes up to six loaves of bread a day from flour milled by younger sisters, Elaina, 9, Haddie, 10; Bethlehem, 10; and Eska, 13. Lawson, 14, and Madelyne prepare the chickens to eat, while the younger children, including 7-year-old Habtamu and 8-year-old Yordanos, gather the eggs and remove the feathers from the birds.

"We make Christ the center of the home," said Sharon, listing their activities which include family morning and evening devotions as well as home-schooling.

It takes a leap of faith to adopt, said the couple who are now looking at local adoptions.

"You can't look at the cost of adoption," Mark said. "God will provide."


The church will culminate its 125th anniversary celebration with a Holy Communion service at 10 a.m. Sunday. The church is at 209 Dillon Road, Hilton Head Island.

Details: 843-681-6446


The church will conclude the celebration of the 10th anniversary of its pastor, Dr. Edward Johnson, with services at 2 p.m. Sunday with the Rev. Joseph McKnight and Israelite Baptist Church on Lady's Island. Dinner will be served after this service.

Details: 843-524-8589


Service on Sunday will address topics of exclusion, oppression and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It will be led by congregational board members Celia Brown and Betty Chamlee Miller, who recently served on the UUA's Southeast District Task Force for Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression and Multi-Culturalism. The fellowship meets at 178 Sams Point Road, Lady's Island.

Details: 843-838-1399


"Spirit" will be the Bible lesson topic presented at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at 401 Scott St., Beaufort. Sunday School begins at 10:30 a.m. The society meets at Temple Beth Israel, 401 Scott St., Beaufort.

Details: 843-441-2262


Pastor John Dortch of Central Baptist Church will speak from noon-12:45 p.m. Wednesday in Helen Galloway's Memorial Chapel of Chisholm Galloway Home for Funerals, 808 Bladen St., Beaufort.

Details: 843-524-6634


Helen Dela Houssaye will speak at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Quality Inn, 2001 Boundary St., Beaufort. Houssaye will share the story of how she trusted God in business and became a millionaire. Registration for the free event begins at 6 p.m.

Details: 843-422-4047, 843-252-5530


The church will host its Back to School Bash: Second Edition on Thursday and Friday. Concerts will feature Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. John Lakin and Bank of Worshippers, Andre Delaine and Another Element of Columbia will be in concert at 7 p.m. Friday. The church with the largest number of members in attendance Friday will receive a donation toward its chosen ministry. All concerts are free, but a love offering will be taken to defray the cost. The church is at 25 Boundary St., Bluffton.

Details: 843-757-3652,


The choir will present "An Evening of Praise, Joy and Laughter" with inspirational skits at 6 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Quality Inn Hotel, 2001 Boundary St. in Beaufort. Heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served. A $25 donation is requested.

Details: Scott Gibbs, 843-812-6111; Gloria Jackson, 843-470-0858; Julia Butler, 843-263-0658


A Back-To-School Expo is from 10 a.m.-noon Aug. 13 at the center, 5855 South Okatie Highway, Hardeeville. Music, food, face painting and a school supply giveaway are planned.

Details: 843-784-6008


Beginning Aug. 14, Sunday School will be at 10 a.m. and worship service at 11 a.m. The church is at 109 Olde Church Road, St. Helena Island.



Veggie Fun World III is Aug. 15-26 and will provide a transition into the regular fall school schedule. The days for activities are 9 a.m.-noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Online registration and payment are available at

Details: Roz Dixon at 843-522-1712, ext. 22, or


The 146th church anniversary is Aug. 17-21. Services are at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17-19. Speakers are Aug. 17, pastor Joey Jordan of the Bethlehem Baptist Church; Aug. 18, pastor John Porter of Huspah Baptist Church; and Aug. 19, pastor Joseph Josey of Mount Sinai Baptist Church. Services begin at 2 p.m. Aug. 21 with the Rev. Dr. Elijah Washington of First African Baptist Church of St. Helena Island as guest speaker.

Details: 843-524-8528, 843-524-4465

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