SMITH: Grateful for their kids — in Congo

About the time the scent of pumpkin pie dissipates and the fridge door smacks shut on the leftovers, we'll begin to grapple with all we've got to do this next month.

Just imagine being Beth and Mike Hall.

As the parents of three pre-schoolers, the Santa Rosa couple would do well to fulfill all their preparations for Christmas even were they not to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo in December to meet the two youngsters they're adopting.

Beth Hall says that before she and Mike met, both knew they'd someday provide a home and family to an orphan living in great peril somewhere in the world.

Research led them to Congo, where civil war, atrocity, AIDS and deprivation have left about 5 million children abandoned.

"It would just blow your mind, the need over there," Beth says.

She and her husband inquired about adopting a Congolese child and upon learning of the plight of so many more agreed to bring home a second.

It's hugely expensive so they're raising money by several means.

Beth will sell nativity sets that she has hand-painted at the holiday crafts fair that opens Friday at Sebastopol's Twin Hill Ranch. Her website, lovehasrun.com, links to a virtual shop of items created by herself and her mother, Jan Steiner.

The orphans the family can't wait to meet are aged 2 and 3 and are not siblings — yet. Their names: Charlotte and Grayson.

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