The Cornerstones in Practice: Distinguished Alumni of the Year

by Christopher Martin and Christian Brazo

In fall 1991, Carol (Wallace ’74) and her husband Bob Mardock ’74 spent an evening watching a news magazine with a segment on the plight of orphans in Romania. Like millions of other viewers, the Mardocks’ hearts broke as they learned of children living in warehouses, yearning for a parent’s love, a real home, and a future. But unlike millions of other viewers, when the television clicked off, Carol’s mind and heart clicked on.

“I knew – KNEW – we needed to be involved in this,” said Carol.

Soon thereafter, Carol boarded a jet bound for Romania to encounter firsthand the hardships of the thousands of orphans. As a result, she met Angela, a beautiful infant born in 1990 and future Mardock family member. Angela joined the Mardocks’ five biological children (three girls and two boys) and a sister, Marcie, adopted from Korea in 1985.

A Los Angeles Times’ article describing the Mardocks’ adoption of Angela, coupled with their previous experience adopting Marcie, led to calls asking the Mardocks for advice and direction in international adoption. Thus began International Family Services (IFS), now among the nation’s leading adoption agencies, placing more than 3,000 children from all over the world into loving homes in the United States.

Offices in Arizona, California, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington implement IFS’s three central purposes: to help children who need families; to help families through the adoption process; and to leave behind a legacy of aid for the children in institutions and countries where IFS works who may never find a family.

Though busy placing children into the homes of other Christian couples, the Mardocks continued adopting additional members into their own family as well. Nickolas, born in 1990 in Russia, soon became a part of the Mardock family, and in 1999, they were joined by Hannah, born in 1998, and Christina, born in 1999, both from Russia as well.

The Mardocks’ dedication to Christian service through their adoption agency led APU to name them as the university’s 2004 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award.

“Carol and Bob share such an awesome passion for placing children into caring, Christian homes, and APU is delighted to honor them as the 2004 Distinguished Alumni of the Year,” said Craig Wallace ’81, director of alumni relations. “They perform a tremendous service, not only for the children they place, but also for the adopting families.”