*be warned: I always re-read things before I post them. I didn’t re-read this one, it is liable to be messy…

I am processing so many emotions right now; I’m just going to go ahead and let you know that this post will not be eloquent or well written. It will not be a beautifully worded story, but just the ramblings of a mom who is tired today. It will just be, and it will be good enough.

On Thursday of last week,I went to check on Michael, a sweet little boy from the Karamajong village that we took care of a few weeks ago. I found him with open sores all over his body. As a result of severe malnutrition, Michael weighs just ten kilos at 6 years old. He is no taller than Jane (my two and a half year old). His skin is breaking and unable to repair itself because his immune system is so weak. His hair is white as snow and his skin is yellow and splotchy and his smile and little bug out eyes can melt your heart and light up the room. Michael is fearfully and wonderfully made, created in the image of my Savior.

I have warned myself over and over that I must NOT start bring home children from the Karamajong village. We feed them lunch and supper every day and twice a week I drive my van, the trunk loaded with a mini pharmacy, into the middle of their village and treat anything I can. And I told myself and told myself that I would not bring them home for treatment, that twice a week visits were all I could handle right now. I wanted so badly to guard my heart because here’s the thing: once you take one, you may end up with 13. I knew that once I had taken one sick child from this village home for rehab, there would be not stopping point because these children are ALL ALWAYS sick.

But as I looked at Michael, I saw no alternative. He needed to be bathed in warm water every day. He needed milk and eggs and ORS and multivitamins and fresh fruits and vegetables and there was no way I could get him all those things regularly where he was. Even if I did, there was no guarantee that his parents would not sell these things and continue only feeding him posho (corn flour). So he came home. He tested negative for HIV, TB and typhoid and we began a pretty rigid deworming routine as well as a highly caloric, protein packed diet. In the last 5 days he has gained 2.5 pounds (that’s a lot if you only weigh 20!) but he has gained more than that. I have watched him transform from a lifeless, expressionless little boy who slept all day and was unresponsive to a over-the-top cheerful, sometimes down right ornery little boy who hardly ever stops smiling and loves playing games with other children. The transformation has been remarkable.

I will keep him for about another week as I begin counseling his father and step mother (this is the biggest issue, often second wives do not want to care for their husband’s other children and sometimes even write them off as cursed or not worthy of food and provision…) about the most nutritious foods for him, frequent meals, bathing, ect. My heart will break to take him back and yet I will know that it is what is best for him and his family.

Wednesday as I met with the Karamjong children for Bible study a woman walked up to me and handed me a baby that I presumed to be dead. And then she breathed.

The mother told me that she was quite positive that she (the mother) had HIV and therefore was not breastfeeding her 10 pound, 9 month old little girl. I asked, quite obviously, what she had been feeding her then? And this was the response that awaited me, “Nothing. We have no food.” Um. NO wonder the baby looked dead. She almost was. I pleaded the mother to let me take her with me, to be tested for HIV and be fed. The mother instanly agreed but fist wanted to show me her house.

I think I have seen it all. And then this happens. Thier house was made of cardboard and was smaller than the bed I sleep in at night. On the floor lay filthy old rags on which they slept and a pile of charcoal which they cooked on (when they did have food, I guess). I almost dropped on my knees right there. It was one of those I-just-don’t-have-a-clue-what-to-do-next moments. So I did the only thing that comes naturally to me. I scooped her up. I prayed for her mother and the 6 other children living in the house/box and promised to return. I drove as fast as I safely could to the nearest semi-good hospital and then to get some high energy formula.

For the first 24 hours, I could hardly stand to look at sweet baby Patricia (her parents had not named her for fear she would die, and I could think of no one better to name her after than my precious Mommy). The hurt and the hunger in her lifeless little eyes was simply unbearable. Every time I changed her diaper, more big fat worms (we are talking really large, earth worm sized) had come out. I cried for the things this child has had to endue for so long. And I cried to know that though I deworm her now, the minute I take her back to her mother, the worms will return. Her HIV test came back negative and I am praising Jesus for that. She was diagnosed with severe pnemonia and malnutrition. She can hardly sleep at night for coughing so much.

Friends, I ask for prayer. For these children and for my heart. I have fallen in love with Michael and Patricia. Their sweet faces that arer Jesus. The tear stream down as I write this and have to think about taking them back to their parents, who I will try to help as much as possible, but still have such fear in my heart about. I look at their surroundings and simply wonder how children survive in this harsh world.

I am sad and I am angry. Between no sleep and a million doctors appointments (imagine that in Uganda you wait even LONGER in the hospital than you do in the US…) and Bible club on Thursday and Saturday program tomorrow and trying to raise 13 children and spend enough time with each of them, maybe you will right my saddess and anger of as the rantings of an exhausted mother and maybe they are, but this is my blog and I am going to say what I feel like. I am MAD. I have been sad and broken for these children for so long and it has finally turned into a hardened anger. I am angry that this culture so lies to women that Michael’s stepmother believes that she does not have to care for this child who is not biologically hers, though she has ample means to. I am angry that in the “Pearl of Africa” and the most fertile region of it at that, a mother has litteraly NO food to feed her baby, not to mention herself or 6 other kids. I am angry that the result of this is that these sweet ones suffer in their innocence. I have said it before and it still holds true: I DO NOT BELIEVE that the God of the universe created too many children in His image and not enough love or food or care to go around. In fact I believe that He created the Body of Christ for just that, to help these little ones, the least of these. And I believe that except for a handful, the Body of Christ is failing. And its not just me who thinks this. When I’m angry, I like to research so that I can at least feel a bit justified in my rage πŸ˜‰ According to several differnt resources, there are an average of 147 million orphaned children in the world today (this statistic includes children who have lost only one parent as well), 11 million children starve to death each year or die from preventable, treatable illness. 8.5 million children work as child slaves, prostitutes, or in other horrific conditions (making things like that cute baby Gap dress Jane wore today…) 2.3 million children world wide are living with HIV.

That is 168.8 million needy children like Michael and Patricia. Seems like a big number, huh? It shouldn’t, because there are 2.1 BILLION people on this earth who profess to be Christians. Jesus followers. Servants. Gospel live-ers. And id only 8 percent of those Christians would care for just ONE of these needy children, they would all be taken care of.

And now I’m just sad again. And I want to take care of all 169 million. But as I look into Patricia’s eyes, that since just 48 hours ago have turned bright and smiley, as I smell her hair freshly washed with baby shampoo and snuggle her into her new footie pajamas (side note: is their ANYTHING cuter than a baby in soft cotton footie pajamas?!) God tells me that this one is enough. That He will hold the others while they wait for someone to come along and hold them tight and give them their milk and their medicine. That He doesn’t ask me to take them all but to stop for the ONE because that one is Jesus, His son. Stop for the little boy with white haid and scabs covering his body, stop for the baby with feces covering her dress, so weak she can’t hold up her hear. Stop and take the ones right in front of me any trust Him with the rest. He whispers that it will be ok and that I can smile because tonight 2 less children are hungry and that is good for today.

My anger is gone and I am just a mom who is tired and going to make another bottle and tuck her children into bed and love them the best that I can, as we as a family love the ones God has entrusted us with. Tomorrow I will brainstorm and pray and come up with the best way to take Michael and Patricia back to their homes, possibly find their parents jobs, or supply them with food and medicine. Tomorrow I will remember that they were never mine to begin with, that they are HIS and He will go with them where I cannot. But tonight I will just be. I will just sit with my Father in my sadness and brokeness and anger and ask Him why His innocent children must suffer and beg Him to move people to action and let Him hold me as I hold the baby He has blessed me with for today.

146 thoughts on “

  1. Your words inspired me and also brought me to tears. I to my Mom's room with my computer, sat on her bed, and read your words to her. By the end, we were both in tears. We love you, Katie, and are praying for you. What difficult emotions and trials you bear, and we are praying for your strength. THANK YOU for sharing your heart so openly and willingly. We love your family and pray for your girls and the children for whom you care. We are praying for Patricia and Michael.

    We love you!!!!!

    Breclyn and Family

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  2. Katie-
    WOW!! I've just gotten back to Uganda and I'm in Entebbe feeling a bit bogged down by house-hunting and registering a CBO or NGO. All I really want to do is go looking for babies that need help!!! I've just heard about a little boy who's story is very similar to Patricias…mom was trying to save him from HIV but was slowly killing him anyway by not feeding him. And another of a little girl who was recently found very near where I'm staying. She's 2 years old and her mom is a prositute and was locking her up most of the time so that she could go out and make her living. She was found an taken to live with someone but she has no will to live and won't eat. BREAKS MY HEART!! I'm hoping to be in Jinja in the next 2 weeks. Any chance I could come meet you? Please email if you get a chance zembakids@hotmail.com

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  3. Katie,

    Wow. I found a link to this blog a while back but have been internetless all summer, so I just checked in again. I am so inspired by the work you do. I want to join you in it. Maybe not in Uganda — who knows where — but somewhere in Africa. The post your dad wrote — he sees things very differently from you. A lot more like I would I'm sure. Since he posted about your toilet seat, every time I notice an extra in my life (i.e. more dishes than I need, more craft stuff I want) I think, “How much food could I buy with the money I'd get from that?”

    Praying for you and your people, Katie. Aching to be there with you.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for doing what seems so uncomfortable and challenging. After reading a couple of your posts, I went to bed. My heart was heavy for the suffering so many of the children around the World experience. I have adopted 4little boys from the country of Ukraine. I like you have seen the suffering and pain of the children and because my eyes have seen, I cannot look away. At 16, the girls and boys are released from the orphanage into the great, big mean world. 60 percent of boys turn to drugs/crime and 60 percent of the girls turn to prostitution. 1/3 kill themselves. As a Christian, as a woman and as a person who is far from rich but blessed beyond measure, I have much to give. Needless to say, I will return next year to Ukraine to be united with two more “orphans” that I will Mother and they will find their forever family. Blessings to you! Keep searching and God will continue revealing. What a blessing to be used in such a mighty way! Stefanie in NY

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  5. praying for you, your girls,and micheal and patricia too. i'm just picturing you right now, snuggling with the baby girl in the footie pj's feeding her a bottle, smothering her with the love of Jesus and I'm smiling. one at at time sweet katie… I know it is unbelievalbly overwhelming, but try to savor the difference you are making in each one of these babies lives… one at a time.

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  6. You have no idea how your words inspire me.

    I just returned from Ukraine where I spent a week ministering to orphans.

    As I sit and think of the images I saw…I have felt myself also getting angry.

    I am praying for you. I have given your blog to so many people. Thank you for loving our Lord and suffering for Him.

    Aimee

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  7. Listened to the sermon on John 5 this morning. This post reminded me of Jesus in that sermon. He was MOVED by compassion. You, my sister, are MOVED by compassion that comes from the Spirit of God. Thank you for sharing. Praying for Michael and Patricia. Can you update us on them? Your life speaks volumes to many about the life of Christ and how we should ALL be living! Blessed be the Name of the Lord. May He give you STRENGTH to persevere and COURAGE to keep going. Your reward will be GREAT, and by HIS grace, you are making an ETERNAL impact on the lives you are embracing every day. May the Gospel and HOPE we have in CHRIST lift up their heads and cause them to sing a new song! May He provide abundantly for the needs of the villages you are visiting! Lord, let basic needs be met, let wounds be healed, let tummys be fed, let hearts be renewed in the name of JESUS!

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  8. Katie… You are so amazing! I can feel the love of Jesus in you, and I cried as I read your post. It is truly touching what you are doing for these children. I will be praying regularly for you and them!

    In Christ,
    Emily

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  9. Dear sister in Christ, my prayers are with you. I am serving in Korea (teaching English) and will share your journal with my church family and my students. One of my Korean brothers in Christ is on his way to Africa as I write. Should you meet him, we call him “tigerstone” for his spiritual strength and solid foundation in Christ.
    Hugs and Prayers, ~ Sil

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  10. I'm crying for all these children, but also praying asking God Why? I don't understand. Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God see. We must focus on the truth of God's Word. God Bless You, Sister Katie.

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  11. Katie,
    I have only found your blog today and I am just amazed. May God bless you and the work you are doing. May the Lord wrap his loving arms around his beautiful children.
    Em
    from Australia

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  12. Katie,
    I've been reading your blog and praying for you for awhile now. At the same time I listen to and read a lot of John Piper. You exhibit what he talks about time and again and I believe it's why so many people, once they read your blog, keep coming back.

    You display, in your words and life, complete joy in the Lord! You show us that joy in life doesn't come from a comfortable home, good food, expensive clothes and cars, constant entertainment…but joy in life comes from knowing Christ and living your life in service to Him and to those He created and loves. You show us that satisfaction is found in Him, not in the “American Dream.”

    Your effusive love for Christ and enjoyment of Him is what each of us longs for, as Christians. But so many of us find this hard to obtain because we want to hold on to the comforts and ease of this world. If we would live in a wartime mentality, recognizing that we are at war against Satan for the very souls and lives of people made in the image of God, just like us, than hopefully we would be willing to sacrifice, truly sacrifice, for the Gospel…like you have!

    Thank you for making a relationship with Jesus so attractive to the world. As you are most satisfied in Him, you are truly glorifying Him. And isn't that what each of us, as Christians, is supposed to do?

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  13. Hi Katie,
    I just wanted to thank you for your words of challenge to all of us,the church! While I'm passionate about adoption and have adopted internationally myself , please know that you can make a massive difference in one or more children's lives by sponsoring through amazing organizations like Compassion. Compassion radically changes the life of a child…in turn that child influences their family..that family influences the village and so on .. right to the whole nation itself. please give love and life to a needy little one now.. We have a real relationship with our sponsored children and I'll be visiting one of them again when I return to Uganda at the end of this month. blessings to you Katie and may God bless you richly.
    Chris H ( an Aussie Mum)

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  14. Katie! My heart is breaking! I can only pray, but pray I will! And I will continue to offer myself to God, saying, “Lord! Send me!” You are an inspiration and a confirmation that the youth of today CAN truly have a wild love for God! Keep on running the race.

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  15. I, like you is mad, mad that we don;t do more. We have adopted and are supporting missions. What else will the Lord have us do, I don;t know but more, we have to do more. I am absolutely horrified by your post and I am so happy that you shared the RAW truth. This is what we need to hear.
    I will pray for you and your mission and pray about what mroe we can do. Thank you.

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  16. I am mad with you. I don't understand the very upside down “Christian” statistics either. It seems so simple. Adopt just one…But there must be a purpose in it, a plan, He knows why, and we may never know why. I am full of questions too. Deep and wide the questions flow and never enough answers. I am glad you received some piece in putting your babies to bed. Many blessings to you as you serve this community and love on your kids.

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  17. you are right , if every christian did their part as Jesus instructed, there would be none of this. I feel as you feel and pray for you always. Blessings to you and the children. My heart cries each time I read your blog, whether for joy or sadness. You move me. It seems as though when I don't see a new post from you that i go through withdrawl symptoms = -). I know it is hard for you to post, you are so busy, but I so look forward to what you want to say to us. Be strong in the Lord, help others to see what needs done and take care of yourself and those children. Prayers always dear sister in christ. Much love sent your way.God Bless

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  18. Yep, you are right. It makes me angry too…. that led me to adopt 5 beautiful children years back…. I wish I could take more children in ..but there is only so much one mama can do……

    I sit with some forms to sponsor some babies in Bolivia….

    Friends, if you read this consider adoption, consider sponsoring a child, consider SOMETHING.

    I am with Katie, I too get angry.

    We can be doing more as the body of Christ..much more.

    Katie — I pray for you daily!!!

    Big ((( HUGS)))) from the U.S.

    gloria

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  19. I made it through the worms. For some reason, when you wrote, “is their ANYTHING cuter than a baby in soft cotton footie pajamas?!” I broke down. Please keep writing for us. And more pictures too!

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  20. Keep talking about it, Katie. I am a mom to eight, five of whom were adopted from Ethiopia, and two of those we adopted have medical special needs and all five were older children (8 to 13 when they came home). You said it clearly – if 8% of professing Christians were to adopt only one child, there would be no orphans. This statistic makes me crazy. And most Christian adoptive families that I know adopt more than one child! So we need even less than the 8%!!!!

    Please, everyone, step up to the plate! I promise, the blessings are so huge, so much more than you can imagine!!! God provides! I can tell you – we couldn't “afford” adoption! And yet, we have completed the adoption of five children, two boys two years ago, and three children now home three weeks! We have a total of eight children between the ages of 9 and nearly 15! It can be done. God will meet you! Just take those steps!

    Praying your words and all of ours will reap blessing for those that need it so badly!
    Christy
    http://mommyturtle.blogspot.com

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  21. Oh my Katie, a friend just pointed me to your blog and I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes as I read your story and think about how this could so easily be our sweet little boy's story. Thank you for allowing God to work through you!

    Hugs,
    M~

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  22. Katie,

    My heart goes out to you and to all in that village. I want to share with you a story of a remarkable 9 year old. OK, she is my daughter , and I admit a bias, but it is true nevertheless….

    About 15 months ago, we learned of the genocide occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was so moved by the speech a young man at our Church gave that she decided to act. She makes and sells St. Theresa Sacrifice beads (a string with 10 moveable beads to count 10 sacrifices done out of love of God and neighbor daily for the intentions of the doer – she offers up her sacrifices for the end of genocide and prevention of future genocides). To date, she has raised over $1200.00 and has spoken publicly at events.

    I am not telling you these things to brag, or to make anyone think well of my daughter, but to let you know that there are those out there who do care, and hopefully lift your spirits. Even though we cannot save every one, we need to focus on the lives we do touch and can help. One person actually had the gall to ask my daughter why should she care about people half a world away, and her response was “We are Catholic, followers of Christ. If it were you, wouldn't you want people to care?”

    You, and the people of Uganda are in our prayers!
    Sincerely
    Marybeth Slocumb
    Minnesota USA

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  23. I understand your anger and your pain. Although I live in the U.S., I feel it too. Right now in our state (Texas) there are 5,000 kids waiting to be adopted, stuck in a sterile system that cares more about itself than the children. And that's just in Texas.

    It makes me angry, too.

    But we can't fix the world.

    You just help the little ones he gives you and pray for the ones he doesn't give you.

    He doesn't expect you to do it all, sister.

    Jenn @ buildingmommymuscles.blogspot.com

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  24. Katie,
    This post moved me to tears again.
    I've linked to you on my blog, using your button.
    Thank you for being real in a world that is so fake, so wrapped up in itself, and so messed up. Thank you for showing your rage, your pain and your love.

    Hugs from Germany,

    Ruth

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  25. i desire to be alongside you right now as you care for these orphans…God is using you in many ways and GREATLY! You have no idea how many people you are touching all over the world that you don't even know (including me) that God has used you to touch b/c you answered His call and walked with Him in obedience. I desire to go back to Africa and do what you are doing.but its not my time yet…

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  26. I pray that many, many, MANY will read your words and be inspired to DO SOMETHING.

    I pray that God continues to give you all you need as you continue your life changing work. I pray that He continues to give you wisdom, strength and joy in the midst of all you see, hear, do and experience.

    You are loved, Beautiful Katie, you are loved. πŸ™‚

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  27. I am just now coming across your blog, for the second time, someone recommended it to me before I went to Malawi and a friend sent it again to me tonight. You are an inspiration. I have longed to adopt internationally and after being in Africa, that's where I am feeling called to help out. I want to be one that helps these orphans. Thank you for sharing your life with everyone, to open the eyes of people who have been trying to keep them shut for too long.

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  28. Dear Katie, My husband and I live in Canada. We have two children (so far!) and had agreed, when we miscarried our first baby, that we'd sponsor a child through CCFC for each child we would give birth two. So that's four kids for us, praise Jesus! We shall continue to help in this way. I am grateful to God for you.

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  29. Katie,
    Just found your blog, can't wait to read more after the kids go to bed. We have adopted 4, and it is not for the faint of heart. This Sunday, we will go pick up our son who, for the past 3 years, has torn our hearts out and stomped on them, but now he wants to repair, he wants to finally be home and so we pray and we believe and we hope. But it isn't so easy because of all we've been through, but I read your blog and I remember that he has come so far and I know I have to go and hand him my heart and hope he doesn't break it again.

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  30. I just found your blog today…I am soooo inspired by what you are doing. You, tired mama, are blessed with a selfless spirit. What a gift you bring..through you. I am a great sobbing bucket of tears…wonder how exactly it is possible to justify more waiting. is praying and breathing and asking for patience…for action.

    I apologize for this kind of cryptic comment…so many layers going through my mind.

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  31. Oh Katie – I would sit with you if I could. I would sit with you in your tiredness that my own young mama's heart can relate to. I would sit and make you tea and listen to your heart as it runs over.

    To just do the one thing – to just help the child in front of us – that is the key. If each of us could just do that, the world might be different.

    Your blog is scary in that regard, Katie, because it challenges us to really see that. To see them – the faces of the children that are each individuals– you make us face them and then you make us face ourselves.

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  32. Thank you. Thanks you. Thank you. My husband and I have been looking for a better apartment; an upgrade. I read this and was immediatly broken and humbled. I cried out to God my gratitude and asked His forgiveness over and over for my blindness. I couldn't believe the stories you told about the conditions these people (and BABIES!!) exist in. I will be praying. PLEASE, tell me… is there something I might do to help?

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  33. Would you happen to be Ken and Shirley Davis (authors of Oklahoma History in Light of the Cross and home schooling activist) grand daughter?
    They were our home school coordinators when my children were little. They're probably really old now, if they're still alive – but wonderful people. They had a daughter and family serving as missionaries in Cameroon.

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