It was horrifying to come across a news story this week where two families in America who adopted children from Uganda discovered their children were stolen from their mothers in Uganda. It was a big ugly mess for the parents to discover they hadn’t actually given an orphan a home, but been a piece in a big puzzle that took a child away from a mother. They both ended up returning their adopted children to the birth mothers in Uganda.
Being a mother who adopted our daughter from Uganda seven years ago I cannot imagine the extreme pain it would cause to return her. I do know, however, what it is like to be a victim of fraud and corruption in Uganda. When we started to help orphans in the beginnings of Kirabo Seeds we encountered characters who saw us as an opportunity to get some free money out of the flow of compassionate giving. I can definitely see how this develops in a society of scarcity. If there are no jobs people are quick to see where money is accessible. Us Mzungus carrying pockets stuffed with donations for compassionate causes are big targets. I learned that the hard way. It was an education I use as a defense going forward.
It’s almost impossible to imagine someone would trick a mother into giving up her child, and put that child in an orphanage who informs the waiting adoptive parents in America that they have identified an orphan for them. But it happens. And this is why international adoptions are so difficult to do. It is also why the children in our Kirabo Seeds home are not and never will be eligible for adoption. Our KS kids don’t have mothers and fathers but they have relatives who love them. And our children love their relatives and find the times they get to go back to their homes for holidays as some of their favorite experiences. KS partners in helping to raise these children with their relatives. We hope our children will take the opportunities KS gives them and take it back to their home communities and be good examples, become leaders, and make it a better place. By American definitions though they don’t have a mom and dad and so it is declared they would probably be better off in a family. It is ideal, but this is not an idealistic world where we live. I believe God can make good for an orphan between the partnership of extended family and an organization like Kirabo Seeds. We are able to connect the compassionate love of people all over the world to bring help to orphan children in need and raise them where they are in an effective way, as long as the extended family remains in partnership with us. KS will eventually graduate our children into the hands of their relatives and society. We hope they will honor God with the gifts they’ve been given from Kirabo Seeds.
After five years of experimenting with this type of orphan care, the results are gratifying. Our KS children are thriving in our home, eager to make their lives in their communities, proud to connect with their families, and thankful for our assistance. In another five years, we shall see what happens as they either enter the work force or attend college.
I wish I knew what will come after that. It is extraordinarily expensive to run a quality home like Kirabo Seeds. As the founder, I’m thankful to have been able to make a difference in the lives of these eighteen children. I’m also so satisfied to know we provide eight adults excellent jobs. I believe the trickle effect of what they have been given will reach their children, co-workers, relatives and communities. It is our hope to continue in the future and help more children. But that will require self-sustainability of the orphanage from some kind of profitable business in Uganda to fund the children’s home. For that to happen we need someone who can take that from a dream to a reality. The establishment of KS took all I have to give to Uganda. It’s like a thank you gift for allowing me the great pleasure and privilege to raise our daughter Kira. I’m so thankful and relieved to see the children’s home flourish. Hopefully God will provide the right people and resources to take Kirabo Seeds to the next step of self-sustainability. Who knows, maybe it will be one of our first graduates! I won’t underestimate Rachel either because she has just begun going to night school to get her MBA. With her business smarts and Irene’s people smarts they might take KS into the future. I hope so.