Wednesday, November 17, 2010


The orphan crisis seems to be growing exponentially in the world. As the nuclear family breaks down for various reasons, HIV/AIDS claims the lives of parents, war kills mothers and fathers and breaks up families, and various social and economic pressures are pushing parents to the desperate decision to abandon children (often those that are girls or handicapped) there is a corresponding need for more adoptive families and high-quality orphan care facilities. For some children, adoption will never be an option. For others, they are free to start over with a new family if only there are enough families able and willing to adopt them.

Through my online FIVE IN A ROW community and the orphan advocacy community we've become a part of through CHILDREN'S HOPECHEST and ADVENTURES IN MISSIONS, I've seen many beautiful stories of families growing through adoption.

Recently, I came across one such beautiful story online. Blake and Debi Jenkins, along with their two daughters, are in the process of adopting their first child. Here is their story:

I can remember being a little girl and seeing images on the TV of children on the other side of the world hungry and poor. It touched my heart. I grew up during the 1980s when the Ethiopian famine was in the news. Seeing children famished was bad enough but without families was worse. In my heart, I knew that one day, I would love to adopt internationally. I kept that desire inside my heart. When my husband and I got married, I shared this desire with him but he wasn’t quite sure he felt the same way…yet.

We went on and had two biological daughters that are now 9 and 13. They are blessings to us and a gift from God! Whenever I heard stories of people adopting it tugged at my heart. We went to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert and the adoption topic came up and it tugged at my heart. My daughter and I went on a mission trip to Honduras and helped clothe poor children and I so badly wanted to adopt a child in need. Soon, it wasn’t only my heart getting tugged. My husband, a family physician started having patients that adopted internationally and he would see these kids in his office. Most recently a family adopted twins from Ethiopia.

After the big Haiti earthquake, I felt the time had come and I brought up adoption to my husband. The amazing thing was, he too now felt the tug! So, in January of 2010, we started the Ethiopia adoption process and so far, it’s been smooth sailing for our family. We have been blessed with no glitches in the paperwork process and have now been on the waiting list 4 months. We are waiting to adopt a boy or boys that are 4-5 years old. We are using the Gladney Center for Adoption based out of Fort Worth, Texas.

There are children all over the world in need of a loving family and we are so blessed. The Bible commands us to care for orphans and the poor. Sure, we could donate money or just sponsor a child. That’s easy most of the time. But is it too easy for our family? Think of the difference it would make in the life of that one child that was given a loving safe home. Think about if it was you in an orphanage wishing for a forever family. Our blog and our adoption t-shirts feature the verse Psalm 82:3 which says, “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.”

So now we wait. We are learning patience and that God is in control. He has a child picked out for us and in his due time, he will reveal our son to us. It could be today or 10 months from now. I daily have to lean on God and remind myself that he is the architect of our journey.

My husband has a wonderful job as a physician. I was teaching kindergarten but last year, decided to stay home and just be a mom/wife. We weren’t really planning on spending $30,000 for adoption when we made the decision for me to quit working. We definitely didn’t want to go into debt adopting. So, we gave it to God. God continues to bless us financially. We have learned to budget better. I even started ironing my husband’s dress shirts instead of taking them to the cleaners. Every little bit helps! To help cover the travel costs so we can take our daughters with us on the first trip to Ethiopia, we are selling t-shirts (short sleeve and long sleeve), hoody sweatshirts and I custom make wood Africa shaped ornaments. All of these items are available in our Etsy shop which can be found through a link on our blog. I have been blessed with great sales on the Africa ornaments. They have been a hit! I will continue to make these year around and they can be used as wall hangings as well!

A few weeks ago, we had a big garage sale fundraiser and raised $1600 thanks to our Sunday school class that donated a garage full of unwanted items!

If you have a tugging on your heart like I did, listen to God. Take a step out on faith and God will bless your obedience. Pray that God will reveal to your family the plan he has for you regarding orphans across the world. Maybe God won’t call you to adopt but instead call you to give. There are so many wonderful organizations out there that are defending orphans. There is something for everyone to do. If you follow adoption blogs you see that so many are selling items to fundraise for their family. Support those people. But most importantly, pray. Pray that people will obey God and take care of his precious children that need love.

To read more about the Jenkins' adoption journey, visit their blog:

I can testify that Debi's handmade ornaments and printed shirts/hoodies are beautiful! The two pictured here are just examples of the many options available. These would make amazing Christmas and birthday gifts for that person in your life who loves Africa, is an adoptive parent, or is involved in orphan ministry. Someone like me, for instance. Hint-Hint if my family is reading this.

ANYWAY, head on over to Debi's shop and do a little merchandise ministering.


Coffee Bean said...

Very inspirational!!!

Elysa said...

I just love hearing adoption stories. Maybe God will bless us with our own, one day.