Ben and I decided to expand our family through adoption back in 2008. We pursued an adoption of a little baby boy from Ethiopia (up to 12 months old). As we embarked on this journey we started reading more about Africa since we basically just knew what we saw on tv. The first book I picked up at the store was "Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds" by Tom Davis. I admit...I picked it out because it had a cool cover. :) Turns out that book with the cool cover started a transformation in me that is going on to this day. In it I read about the AIDS crisis in Africa, about the millions of orphans in Africa and about the Church's poor response to these things that God cares so much about. I was broken. I started asking questions about my life and the way I live it. I started evaluating my love of "stuff" against my love for the least of these. I started wondering why I insisted on living my life so safely. I've just got this one life, right? What am I doing with it? How had I ignored this crisis? How had I closed my eyes and ears so tightly so I wouldn't be bothered?
That book led me to check out the author, Tom Davis. I looked him up online and found out he's the CEO of Children's HopeChest, an orphan advocacy organization. Through his website I ended up going to the blog of a woman named Brandi, who is now one of my best friends. We ended up exchanging emails and I found out more about the organization. The more Ben and I found out about HopeChest the more we liked it. We ended up driving down to Louisville to meet the new COO, Bob Mudd. He was leaving a very lucrative job to run HopeChest. We learned more about the organization and how we could volunteer so we decided to get involved.
Throughout this time I can't begin to describe what was going on in me. I was losing sleep, I was dreaming of Africa, I couldn't get the pictures and stories of the African orphans I had read about or watched videos of out of my head. My life as I knew it was over. Then came the opportunity to go to Uganda. The way God paved the way for our trip is CRAZY. What we saw there changed us. It shattered us into a million pieces. It gave us vision and the hope that people like you and I can make a difference in the world. One of the things that haunted us about Uganda was the number of child headed households. Children raising children. There were four and five year olds holding their younger siblings on their backs. We were heart broken for these kids. After seeing these kids we decided to change our age range for our adoption. We felt like we needed to be open to adopting an older child. Two days after we made the change we received a referral for our son, Tariku.
Our family went from this
But our journey isn't over. We have our son home, which has only further reminded us of all the children in the world who do not have anyone to care for them. Our hearts are now wired to give our time and energy to helping provide orphans with a hope and a future. We have been praying seriously for the past year about what our next steps as a family should be.
Through this time we've had to grapple with what we value and what is really important. We've been brought face to face with the question of what we are willing to sacrifice. It's been a crazy important journey for us. One that has brought us to this conclusion: We are willing to go wherever He wants us to go to serve His children. In the end, that's all that matters. The American Dream doesn't matter. How much stuff we have doesn't matter. But giving our all for the dream God has for us does. After years of running from the sacrifice that God requires of us, we are finally willing.
So today, my husband is quitting his job of seven years where he has done community development. We are leaving the city we have lived in for the past thirty years. We are leaving both of our families. We are leaving our friends. We are leaving our church. We are leaving our children's comfort zones. We are moving to Colorado Springs to work for HopeChest.
Are we scared? Heck yeah. Do we still need to sell our house desperately? Yep. Are we crazy? I'm sure. Are we excited? Completely. Are we in awe of what God has done in the past year? Totally.
Are we totally relying on God to continue to lead us and get us through this massive transition? Oh my, yes. The really, really great news as I was reminded yesterday is that "The One who calls you is faithful and He WILL do it". - 1 Thessalonians 5:24
Let the FUN continue!