Updated: Nov 1
Kevin loved his father, Phillip Qualls. A preacher’s kid, Kevin grew up admiring him, so much so, that surrendering to the call to be a pastor, like his dad, wasn’t a stretch. Kevin went to a Christian college and attended the same seminary as his father. His dad pastored for 40 years. Kevin served twenty-two years as a pastor. As adults they enjoyed each other’s company cheering on their beloved Tar Heels and New York Yankees together. They were friends and confidants as well as father and son.
It was no surprise that when Kevin was asked to leave church ministry to lead Christian Adoption Services (CAS) in 2016, he called his dad for advice.
“I remember calling my dad and the first thing he did was remind me: ‘Have you prayed about it?’ He told me that I needed to seek the Lord. And I did. It put me on that familiar track of faith through the decision and I never looked back.”
When the call came that his dad had passed away last year at age 76, Kevin’s heart broke. But as his family celebrated their patriarch’s passing into Heaven, he and his sister Dana Rice felt a stirring in their hearts.
“Just like Dad would have prompted,” Kevin says, “we began to pray about it.”
After Kevin became the president of CAS, Phillip Qualls poured himself into his son’s new ministry. He was keenly interested, becoming a donor and, of course, a prayer partner.
“Dad wanted to hear the stories,” Kevin says. “His love for adoptions grew and his admiration for birth moms grew. He celebrated when one would accept the Lord. The gospel and adoptions made sense to him—he became a champion for the ministry.”
The siblings knew what they would do. Touched by the generosity of those who gave to CAS in Phillip’s memory, nearly $8,000, Kevin and Dana decided to use the money to help ministers adopt. A plan was put in motion, and combined with a financial commitment by First Baptist Church Indian Trail, The Phillip Qualls Adoption Assistance Fund was created to help ministers and their families with the cost of adoption. It became Kevin and Dana’s desire to carry forward their dad’s love for pastors and his love for adoption.
The fund became CAS’s second adoption assistance fund. The first was created in 2017 with the establishment of The Jim and Doris Woodward Adoption Assistance Fund. The Woodwards founded CAS in 1979 and retired in 2016. Unlike the Qualls’ fund designated to help ministers, the Woodward fund assists any family. Both funds require applicants to be fully accepted and vested in the CAS adoption program. Applicants can be participating in either the domestic or international adoption programs.
The Phillip Qualls Adoption Assistance Fund applications are accepted quarterly and given based on need. Amounts are awarded ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. December 31 is the next deadline. Churches and individuals who are interested in giving to these funds are encouraged to come forward. As more and more families seek to grow their families through adoption, more financial assistance will be needed. To learn about the funds and how to apply, visit christianadopt.org/scholarships-grants.
“I believe Dad would be pleased,” Kevin says. “His was a life well lived and this fund is part of that God-honoring legacy—one that can now bless ministers responding to God’s urging to adopt.”