I’m Kari, he’s Donnie and we’ve been blessed with three amazing sons. Zach is 14, Eli is 10 and Jonah is almost 3.
To lots of people, three kids is plenty. To many, it’s more than enough.
To us, it’s just a really good start on the big family we always dreamed of having. We are in the process of adopting a beautiful 10-year-old girl from Uganda who, for now, this blog will call “Pearl”. This is to protect her privacy and safety, and for the same reasons, we won’t be posting full photos of her until much later in the process. (By the way, calling her “Pearl” is a reference to Winston Churchill’s comment that Uganda is “The Pearl of Africa”. Uganda’s children are truly precious as pearls!)
About a year ago, God connected me with a small orphanage in Uganda. Donnie (who has mad web design skillz) designed a website for them. I did the writing and photo editing, and through the process, we began to really get to know these orphans, their stories and the generous, Godly pastor who takes care of them.
Adoption has always been somewhere on our radar. Even as a little girl, I thought it was the coolest thing and hoped that someday, I’d be able to provide a home for a child who really needed one.
But we didn’t start helping the orphanage with the intent to adopt from there. We just knew the truth of Luke 12:48 and knew that God was leading us to give more and grow in Him through the process. We thought you had to be rich to adopt (we aren’t) and darn near perfect to be approved (thank goodness that is nowhere near the case!). So adoption, even as we grew to know these children, remained something on the far horizon.
Or, so we thought.
Pearl caught my eye the first time I saw her picture. And it wasn’t just me. Donnie commented on how cute she was, and our older boys both commented that we should adopt her, well before we thought it was something we could pursue. I told them that wasn’t likely to happen, as Pearl’s mother was still alive and I assumed that made her ineligible for adoption.
(Later, I learned that many mothers give up their parental rights to an orphanage after their husbands die, because they are left with no way of providing even the basic necessities for their children.)
As the orphanage’s pastor and I began to chat on Facebook, and worked on the site copy together, a real friendship was built. And often, as he and I typed to one another, little Pearl would be standing nearby, curious about this family in America that wanted to help them. Over time, she began calling me Mama Kari and Donnie, Father Donnie, because she said that we had the true love of parents for her and her friends. I thought it was endearing, and began asking more about her, building that relationship as well.
One morning, sweet, confident Pearl came to the pastor and said, “I had a dream last night where God told me that one day, I would be living in America with Mama Kari and Father Donnie. And I know that it is going to happen.” What she didn’t know is that the pastor had already spoken with her birth mother and told her about us; that he thought we would be a good family for Pearl if she wanted her to be adopted from the orphanage. Pearl’s birth mother has some health problems and won’t be able to take her daughter back, so she thought it sounded like a lovely option for her daughter.
And when I heard this, I cried so hard, completely overwhelmed that another woman on the other side of the world would trust me with something as precious as her very own daughter.
Still, I thought there was no way we would be considered wealthy enough to adopt. I also wasn’t entirely sure how Donnie would feel about something “Far in the Future” becoming the “Here and NOW.” I knew that I shouldn’t try to convince him that we should pursue this–I just made it a matter of prayer and knew that if God truly was orchestrating this adoption, He would move Donnie’s heart toward the idea without any interference from me.
And that is exactly what happened.
And when we talked to the boys about it, they were ecstatic. We were overwhelmed by their generosity, their excitement over sharing their lives with another sibling. They began praying in earnest for God to bring their sister home and wanted to know why we couldn’t just hop on a plane and go get her already!
I began reading everything I could find about adopting internationally, specifically from Uganda, and learned that we might actually be good candidates. I finally gathered the courage to contact a home study agency and set up the appointment. Our application was approved in May 2012 and now we are waiting for the home study to be completed before moving on to the next step.
In future posts, I will answer the most common questions we’ve heard, such as “Why are you adopting an older child?” and “Why Uganda?” and “Where are you going to get the money for this?”
For now, my family covets your prayers and asks that you join us in praying Our Ugandan Pearl here, to her forever home.