Several months before we were invited to come to Uganda for our adoption court date, I knew I had more to do here than the adoption alone. Because I had travelled on a mission trip to Uganda the year before I not only had friends, but I also understood some of the needs of the people. As I was filled with a brimming desire to help with the best of my effort I invited my friends and family from all over the United States to participate in helping with the needs of the people and children in Uganda. The response overwhelmed me. Each day letters arrived in my mail box with generous donations. It was better than Christmas when the cards arrive, they never failed to produce goose pimples and shivers all over my body. These letters had more purpose than just catching up with friends; we were going to partner together to help the children of Uganda. By the time we packed our bags and said good-bye to life before baby and stepped into our adventure, we had been given $4,000.00 to distribute to the causes of the children. This doesn’t include the $2,700.00 Jack raised with his pumpkin bread fundraiser to educate children. That’s several blog posts on its own and these are stories that are materializing more and more each day.
This is a major responsibility for me. I do not take it lightly. I have consistently prayed that God will show me the need, not by someone’s request, but by the whispers in my heart from the Holy Spirit. Discernment is one of my spiritual gifts, and so when there’s a quickening in my heart I have to believe it’s something to seriously consider in prayer. I lean towards believing that coincidence is a tool God uses to reveal His will. I have eagerly sought God’s will and direction each day we have been here in Kampala. Our primary purpose in using these funds is to provide for the children and to grow the people here in their love and knowledge of Jesus.
The first bit of fun was using the money for the baby home. I sat down with the managers and discussed their future plans, the immediate needs, the daily struggles and their dreams. I learned, as I suspected, their major costs are formula and disposable diapers. Whoever is in charge has not allowed for spending of precious resources on the diapers because they are supposed to use the washable cloth diapers. They take a full two days to dry and the woman who does the laundry is quickly overwhelmed with this. There’s no running hot water, so it must be boiled first to kill the germs. When babies go on outings it is necessary to bring disposable diapers. They also need them for times of diarrhea to keep the skin dry and prevent diaper sores. They use them for night time as well. So I hired a car and we went shopping for diapers! We bought 25 packs of diapers and delivered them to the office at the baby home. We caused quite a spectacle at the store hauling out more packages than we could stuff into the small car. The manager at the home nearly cried, she clasped her face and repeatedly said, “praise Jesus”, “o thank you Lord.” I was so pleased she understood this was not my provision, but that I was a simple messenger girl used by God. I explicitly explained to them over and over again until I was sure I communicated clearly that I myself did not pay for these diapers. These were given by all my friends and family who wish to thank them for their dedication and work for the abandoned and orphaned children. The feeling that coursed through me was better than any memory of a perfect childhood birthday celebration I could recall. Maybe it was as good as the day Craig proposed to me and put a diamond on my finger…not quite as good as the first moment I laid eyes on each of my five children’s faces.
I also gave the baby home money to invest so they can work towards being a self sustaining operation, and there were whispers of purchasing more land for their future building project. An acre of land here outside the city costs $300. This is land that is among the most fertile in all of Africa! Little ole’ me thinks that’s a wise investment.
These diapers will last the home two months. Something in me thinks that’s not a big enough gift. I believe I’m going to repeat this project one more time just before Christmas and this time I’m going to have my boys do the purchasing and delivery and I’m going to hide behind a pole with my camera and let them feel the gift of being used by God to help others. I hope it’s among best Christmas memory my children ever have, and something in me believes that it will be so.
When I invited our friends to participate with us in helping the children of Uganda, I also asked for them to write a note to the Aunties who have cared for our baby all these months and encourage them with a photo and a bible verse. I collected over fifty of these and put them into an album and presented it to the office at the baby home. They clutched it like they had never before received such a valuable gift. It produced broad smiles and a lot of shaking of their heads in wonder at the people who are in this world that care about what they are doing. He said to me later, “that book…you did a good thing.” Maybe his eyes were a little glassy, I won’t tell.
I would like to encourage anyone who is planning to come for an adoption to consider a similar project. If everyone you know gives just ten dollars, it buys a package of diapers and they are easy to buy here so you don’t have to haul the bulk in your suitcases. The photos and words of encouragement are free to give and they last long after the babies they have loved dearly leave their home. I assure you they LOVE these children in individual and deep ways. One Auntie told me as she looked at Kira, “you are meeting your destiny now sweet child, and I have peace even though I feel sad because I will miss you.”
One final gift I plan to give the home is copies of the photos I am collecting of them showing their relationship with Kira. It’s been important for me to capture the relationship each Auntie has with Kira so my baby will know when she is older and finds out she was in an orphanage that she was deeply loved there. These photos are not only valuable for Kira but a precious memory for the Aunties who will pray for her as she grows up. (please understand I cannot share these photos, or specific information about the home because the home needs to remain anonymous so the government here does not suspect they are selling children. They are striving to be in good standing with the government and I honor and support this ambition respectfully.)
Our family’s plans and hopes for the future include returning here while Kira grows so she can know her beginnings, her culture, and give back with loving service. I hope to organize a mission trip to serve at the baby home, and I will definitely use Bridge Africa again. I assure the Aunties this is not the last they will know of Kira, and in the mean time they are excited to know they can watch her grow through my blog. Again, the blog keeps this world small, tidy and intimate. I am thrilled to have the pleasure of using my love of writing and photography to bless the lives of others.