Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Where A Willing Heart Can Take You

It was only three years ago that we were in the waiting stages of the adoption process and I was spending hours online reading about Africa, the orphan crisis, the water crisis and having my safe little world blown to bits by pictures and stories and statistics.  I felt like my insides were being ripped out.  Not only was I waiting to find out what little boy was going to become mine, but I was learning about the plights of all the kids in the world who would never know what a family was.

I quickly discovered that the whole adoption/orphan advocate world is a small one.  I admit that probably a quarter of my friends on Facebook are people I've never met who are involved in loving orphans in some way, shape or form.  As I was sitting at my computer one night back in June of 2009, a chat message popped up on my screen from Lindsey such stranger/facebook friend. :)  We had never spoken before and as we chatted I found out she was in the process of adopting a sibling pair from Ethiopia and was working with Children's HopeChest to get a community of children in Uganda sponsored through her church in Oklahoma City.

To make an aweseomely long story somewhat short: Lindsey flew to my house and we met face to face and did a fundraiser for Uganda together.  I traveled to Uganda a few months later to the place she had a heart for and soon after, Ben and I flew to Oklahoma city and watched as hundreds of kids were sponsored from the village we had walked in months before.  She got her referral for her two children in Ethiopia  and we received our referral for Tariku a few short weeks after that.  We walked through the turbulent world of the adoption process together.  We celebrated as pictures came through of our kids and we planned our trips to meet our children.  There were a few short days where we actually thought we might get to travel together to bring our kids home, but God had other plans.

When Lindsey was in Ethiopia getting her kids, she also got the opportunity to meet her sponsored child through Children's HopeChest, Kaleab.  I think it's safe to say that Lindsey's life hasn't been the same since.  I mean... look at those eyes!!!

A few weeks later, I met Kaleab for the first time as well and have had the privilege of spending lots of time with him over the past two years as I've traveled to Ethiopia.  He is AMAZING.

This boy lives with his grandma, who works incredibly hard to provide for him.  His mother sold him to a woman who begged on the streets of Addis because she needed the money.  Side note: Women who beg on streets with a baby on their back have a higher likelihood of getting more money...that was the reason this woman bought him.  Bought him...those words alone send shivers down my spine.  But Kaleab's grandma heard what happened and searched the streets until she found him and brought him back home.  She has raised him ever since and loves him fiercely.  When I think about how his story could have ended, it takes my breath away.  But, God has had a beautiful story planned for this little boy all his life and I am so excited to watch it all unfold.  Kaleab has the most beautiful smile and amazing countenance. The only time I've ever seen him without that smile is when Lindsey had to get on an airplane to go back home. He breathes joy and laughter.  There is just something so special about this young man.  This past summer I was in Ethiopia with Ben and we were taking Kaleab out to lunch when he started singing...

Oh. My. Heart. 

Kaleab and my own sponsored child, Mekdes together in September 2011

Lindsey was smitten by him.  She was heart-broken by his story, but inspired by his life. An idea started brewing in her mind about writing a book about Kaleab's walk for water every day.  I remember the day she sent me the Word document with the text she had written and how I smiled as I poured over every word, being able to picture it all.  Not long after that, I had a phone call from her saying she had lunch with an illustrator who was interested in doing the artwork.  The idea behind the book was that the proceeds of each book would be donated to a water project somewhere in the world...the first of which would be in Ethiopia.  She sat on it for a while. It was a big  risk. Then, a few years later after the idea was birthed... this happened...

This book is beautifully illustrated and powerful in its message.  And I suspect it's going to build many many wells over it's lifetime. :) So, if you are looking for a great gift for your kids or would like to donate one to your neighborhood library or school, just go to Lindsey's blog HERE and click on the "buy now" button at the top of the page.  Amazon is sold out just now, but Lindsey has a stash she can ship you directly in time for Christmas! I'm going to read this in a class at my kids' school this week...can't wait!!

The moral of the story is simply this: pay attention to those little nudges in your heart that seem far out and possibly unachievable.  God has always used people who are scared to death to change the world.  Lindsey did this one step at a time and with each step became more scared and yet more full of faith. This life of faith is a wild ride, people and one completely worth jumping on with all you have (which sometimes doesn't feel like much). 

What I also love is that all of this was birthed by Lindsey deciding to sponsor a child.  One seemingly small step has led to a beautiful relationship with a beautiful boy whose story will change the lives of many, many people.  I get choked up just thinking about it.  Maybe God wants to connect your story with the story of a child somewhere in the's not about writing a check every month.  It's about transformation - ours and theirs.  It could be there's a Kaleab out there waiting for you.  

Merry Christmas, friends.  Don't forget to head on over HERE to help change the world. 


  1. I am sitting at my desk. BAWLING my eyes out. You have told our love story (K &I's and you &I's) so perfectly. So blessed that our hearts are joined. Still praying that our houses in Heaven share a back yard. Thank you!

  2. "Pay attention to those little nudges in your heart that seem far out and possibly unachievable. God has always used people who are scared to death to change the world." I love that. Lindsey, thank you for changing the world.