Over a decade ago I felt myself searching deep within my heart for the cause greater than myself, greater than my family, greater than what’s mine or within my reach. I believed God had something for me to do for Him so I could pour all the gifts and talents he gave me into the cause. Oh, but I felt lost in the murky sea of a million causes.
My big motivator has always been gratitude. I never feel deserving of anything. Recently, at my feline vet’s office, while the lady doc enjoyed our new kittens, she pronounced them perfect in every way and said three times “you deserve these kittens”. (she helped me with the recent death of my kitten Fritz) Each time she said it, I flinched deeper and deeper until I had to look away. If I feel anything it is that I don’t deserve anything.
Twenty-four years ago, at my wedding, I was overcome realizing I didn’t deserve Craig. The gratitude for him in my life caused me to find religion! It wasn’t long after this discovery that I walked into the arms of Jesus. Why? I was so thankful to have Craig as my best friend and partner for as long as I live. I didn’t deserve him. I don’t deserve Jesus.
So back to that time when I was burdened with the search for my cause, it was because I was so thankful for what God put into me and my life that I needed to share it, use it, flex it and stretch it for Him. So at the bottom of my search I realized my heart broke the most for children who don’t have parents or families to guide them to a healthy Christ centered adulthood. I cry on impulse when I think of a child alone in this world. Nothing could be worse than that from my perspective, and voila, there, I had found my cause.
To explore what this meant for our family we jumped into the unknown and spent a spring break, the six of us, serving “Orphanage Outreach” in the Dominican Republic. We lived on the compound with 35 orphaned kids and just hung out with them for a week. It was an eye opening experience. It was our first time in third world conditions. We learned the ABCs of orphan care. We were cured of our fatalist viewpoint that all orphans are sick, dying, depressed or desperate. We left there with a lot to ponder.
The work there didn’t transfer to adoption until almost four years later. It wasn’t my idea either. It was God. First I had a jolting response to an opportunity to go to Uganda to serve an anti-abortion clinic. While I was there we played with orphans at Watoto. I honestly felt God nudge me, no audible voice, just the feeling of “why not adopt one from here?” Of course my husband had been praying for me to want to adopt for four years! That’s one persistent prayer request. I said, “Sure! Why not?”
Adoption wasn’t all God had in mind. He led us straight into this adventure of opening an orphanage in Uganda. And now I know that I know that I know what an orphan really is. Furthermore, the circumstances where an orphan becomes an orphan doesn’t define who the person is or will be.
I’ll admit a silly presumption I made. When we were expecting Kira to join our family and before we knew her I figured she’d be a meek child who would be so thankful to have a family. I assumed she’d be a very easy child because of her gratitude. Ha! There’s nothing meek about her. In fact she dashed my presumptions by rejecting me for the first five months. Truthfully she made it known every day she didn’t want me for a mother. I cringe remembering how she would reach with both arms to strangers in the grocery store to lift her out of the cart and take her away. Ouch. I had always thought I was such a good mother. HUMBLING 101.
She showed me that God puts the fire for life in every child and they don’t need us, they need HIM. We get to participate but all they really need is HIM. That’s the main message we give our children in our Kirabo Seeds home. “We are your family, we are committed to caring for you, you have jjajjas and Aunties or Uncles, but it is the family of God who really LOVES of you.” And our eighteen children are living proof of it as people from all over the world join us in sponsoring these children so they can have good nutrition, education, medicine, home, care takers, love, discipline and opportunity to reach their God given potential.
And I thought having a mother was the most important thing. Kira showed me I was soooo wrong. Being a child of God is the most important thing. In that way we are all orphans until we unite with him. It isn’t just our parents who raise us up. God puts all sorts of people in our lives to shape us into his original design for our lives so we too can discover our greater purpose on this earth.
When I look back and remember what it felt like to search for the cause I could spend myself on, I’m still so on fire for orphan care. I’m so thankful the doors flung open and I burst onto the scene. Because all I really hoped for was to make a difference somehow, somewhere. And let me tell ya, it feels really good, like a huge sigh, or as my horse would put it a big raspberry blow out from his nostrils with a head hung low and relaxed.
I could end there but I am compelled to share, our home is open and we have room for more people interested in sponsoring a child. This way anyone anywhere can make a big difference in a child’s life. I never figured I’d be the one opening the door to a home and able to invite and welcome others like me who searched for their cause to come in and fulfill it. I really didn’t figure it would be in AFRICA. I can’t say anything on this side of heaven feels as good as knowing we’re making a difference for God in the lives of children….children whose hope was answered when we said, Yes Lord. See…one big thing I learned is that orphaned children aren’t hopeless. In fact I think they can teach us all a few things about hope. I know the children in our home have become my teachers about life and God.