The starting of an orphanage is surprisingly not so difficult to do. Keeping one going in the direction of the vision is the hard part. There are obstacles, greedy people, and government tangles. There are major cultural gaps. It is very expensive to operate at the quality we provide. Fundraising is a challenge. It is exhausting 24 hours a day seven days a week work.
We have seventeen children in our home and while we don’t want it to grow much bigger we remain open to an orphaned child that might come our way to join the Kirabo Seeds family. In a country that claims statistically to have 2.7 million orphans in a space the size of Washington state it is actually very difficult to find a child who is utterly alone and uncared for there. All of our children except one have relatives who love them and desire to keep them in the family. These children aren’t actually alone without Kirabo Seeds. So why are they with us?
Our children have lost both parents and were either living with their parents siblings or their grandparents. This is quite a burden for these guardians as they are either too old to adequately parent young ones, or very busy raising their own children. Our children were not receiving medical attention, education or adequate nutrition. They shared beds with many people and were often at risk for neglect and sexual abuse. We are partnering with the families of our children to develop each child, safely, and to their fullest potential.
What we are not doing is priming these children to be adopted to a foreign country. I am an adoptive mother to a child from Uganda and my own daughter has no known relatives at all in her birth country, I am not anti-adoption. She needed a family to call her own. But since working in Uganda there is only one child (after her) I have met who doesn’t have a single relative who would claim them as part of the family. One child in four years. That is eye opening.
I have met thousands of children whose relatives claim them to be orphans. Every time I meet a person in Uganda and they learn what I am doing there their next sentence is to ask me to take orphans they know. When I ask if the child has a living parent they say, “eh she is as good as dead.” There are countless orphanages in Uganda with unverified backgrounds for the children. The country claims there are 2.7 million of them.
I don’t believe God made a mistake when he gave a child a set of parents. Those parents should work hard and find a way to provide for their child. I don’t have pride to say my way is better than the circumstances God chose to put a child on this earth. We won’t consider a child with parents for our program. I’ll happily counsel parents, point them towards wisdom, but I won’t take a child with parents into our home to give the child a better opportunity in life. That’s why our standards at Kirabo Seeds remain firm that both parents must be deceased, or certifiably mentally disabled.
In the years of working with our children and getting to know their extended family members I can see how much the family cares for the welfare of these children. These family members can’t wait to welcome them home for the holidays and a few days between terms of school. Perhaps what we are doing is more of a boarding situation like so many schools in the country. Our difference is that we offer loving Christian parenting, full medical, tutoring, computers, field trips, sponsors, visitors, counseling and music lessons. We take them to church and give them devotions at our home every day. We are raising them in a family environment with Aunties and Uncles who truly love them as their own. And we aren’t charging the families anything for this service. We give it to the child for free.
Why are we doing this? I, myself, the President of Kirabo Seeds, don’t take a paycheck for this work. We don’t use raised funds to pay for administrative costs of this ministry. We give and give and give more to keep these children in the safety of our home. No one can say I am getting financially rich by doing this work. Yet, I hear all kinds of nasty slander against me.
The only thing that is in it for me is that I know for sure I am inside God’s will for my life. I know I am doing what He asked me to do and that gives me peace. I can’t live without the peace that surpasses all understanding. I receive such a great love from God that I literally overflow and where He has directed me to spill is on these children. They in turn will spill the Love onto their own families and communities. I will know I spent myself on something greater than myself and that makes it all well with my soul.
I have often been a voice and a fierce protector for these children when no one else would dare speak, all so I can be certain they receive the help that has been given to them. At times I risked my life to do this. I definitely risked my sanity. I lost my comfort zone long ago. I suffered in many agonizing ways for this cause. I would do it all again to be sure I remained in God’s will for my life. Seeing the fruit of the children’s smiles and progress as they grow is a great report card for my work.