My heart fell for Uganda before I ever delved into orphan care there. The people captured me whole. They are friendly, courteous, welcoming, gentle and happy with life as it is. (can’t say I’ve met too many people like that in my life but they are abundant in Uganda!)Their faith is open and deep. As I became a student of this culture I learned how deeply rooted family members are to the whole community. When one child departs “for the better opportunity”, the grieving is felt from the whole community. At the same time they are willing to let them go, an incredible selfless act.
Our adoption case was such that our daughter was abandoned in a public place so there is no way to trace who her parents are. The children in our home have lost their parents but they are still loved by Aunties and Jjajjas. We honor this connection by developing relationships with the extended family. We partner with them to give these children an opportunity for education, health, parenting and protection. But our kids will remain in their communities and establish their own families some day among extended family. I hope the way they parent their children will reflect the good parenting they are receiving in our Kirabo Seeds home. Men will be committed hard working faithful fathers. Women will be educated, compassionate and respected. I hope they will give back to their community with service and teaching. My vision is to see their children pass on the love of Jesus in a healthy home to the generations that follow. The impact we can make now on 18 children will ripple on into the future because leaders, thinkers, and compassionate children are taking shape.
In a country where half of the population is under the age of fifteen I see crisis on the horizon if these youth are not taught the bible, well educated, and parented with love and boundaries. We’ve got to raise thinkers with tender hearts for God’s ways. We have to hope the future politicians of Uganda can practice with integrity, honesty and selflessness. This is my hope for the future of the culture where our Kira was born. Even though she doesn’t have identifiable birth parents the family of Kirabo Seeds is where I hope she can call her roots.
No child on this earth is forgotten by God. He is a “father to the fatherless” (psalm 68:5). I love spending myself for this cause. It is a relief to wake up and know there is something I can do that makes a difference in the life of a child who was once vulnerable but now is safe, loved, nurtured and understood. Auntie Julie taps each child on the shoulder and says, “you are our doctor”, “you are a teacher”, “you are a lawyer”, “you run a good business”, “you’ll be a pilot”…. Everyone on our staff has high hopes for the future of these children. Phiona scrutinizes their school work and test scores. Kiah tutors their weaknesses. Robert models a loving, connected compassionate father. Kenny gives them bible and computer skills. Julie runs the house and they each have roles and responsibilities there. Daily they gather in a circle in the courtyard for praise and worship singing. They listen to a bible lesson and learn about their place in this world God has created. They are finding their way. They are safe. They are loved. They are protected. And it is well with my soul.
These kids are thankful but they are kids so they have quickly become accustomed by my visits, God’s lavish provision, and the comforts they now enjoy. “Of course we have three big meals a day.” “Of course there are endless books to read, movies to watch, games to play and crafts to do.” We’ll continue to teach them about gratitude and perspective. But the jjajjas, oh my, when they greet me they understand what Kirabo Seeds is trying to do. They may not have the words to express our mission, but they feel the impact on their lives. They are overwhelmed with joy to see their precious ones develop so beautifully. They are most relieved to be invited to participate in watching it happen. They want to remain connected with these children. This is how I know we are hitting the mark with the work we strive to do.
I don’t count the costs. I only register the smiles, the joy, the peace that comes from serving God with all he’s given me. I’ll add in conclusion there is opportunity for others whose hearts are deeply burdened for this cause to participate in a meaningful way. I’m not interested in giving people “an experience” I’m committed to matching those with the calling for this work to actually impact the children and community with their abilities, heart, soul, and service. Long term internships with Kirabo Seeds in Uganda are possible.