Rummaging through our box of paperwork, I find it and it hits me unexpected.

Her birth certificate, the one her birth mom stuffed in her bag as she sent her off to a “better life” at her uncle’s when she was only five. And at the top is a blue stamp that reads Siripi Rhino Camp.

Camp. The word hits me like a punch to the gut and I fight the urge to vomit. In Uganda, the word camp does not mean summer fun or starlit skies. In Uganda the word camp means war, displacement, hunger, hurt, trauma.

I can’t really wrap my mind around the fact that my beloved daughter spent the first years of her life in a place that is so beyond my comprehension.

Camp, this word that I want for no one in this world and hate for my daughter, this is all we have of the first years of her life. She remembers almost nothing from before her uncles’ house, and life leaves me with this word to ponder.

I want her to be a baby so I can strap her on me and hold her there and she will feel secure and safe and protected. I want to be the person who taught her to write her name and how much fun it is to make mud pies, and I want to be the person who laughed with her when she lost her first tooth. I want to know where the scars came from that she can’t remember the stories about, and I want to be the person who wiped her tears when she fell.

But I know that is not how God intended it.

He did not choose me for those moments, He chose me for these. I entered motherhood through a different door, and I get a different kind of stretch marks.

I believe that this is how He has loved us and I do not pretend to know why. But I know that He who did not spare His own Son will also graciously give us all things we need, and so I cling to believing this is for good.

I believe that He held her all the years that I didn’t. I believe that He stood beside her in the line for porridge that the UN workers passed out, and I believe that He clasped her hand as she made the long journey from Arua to Masaka without her first momma, and I believe that she leaned her head into His shoulder as she fell asleep on hard dirt floor to the sound of her uncle’s drunken fury. I believe that He carried her all the way here to this new family and I believe that His hand is on her still.

And maybe the missing pieces just allow me to trust Him more.

So I kneel beside her bed and I whisper His name over her and when I look at her face, I see His. I am thankful that He did choose me for now, these moments.

He is a good Father. And I can trust in that.

95 thoughts on “

  1. such sweet perspective…very significant encouragement for me and where our family is right now. Thank you for sharing your heart and the love of our Father's heart.

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  2. katie, i stumbled upon your blog a while ago and am so glad i found it! you are such a beautiful person. you mirror so many of my thoughts in this blog… i am an adoptive mom of 4 children, all older with horrible beginnings. i see jesus in all of them. i also foster many little ones – again, it is jesus i see in them. i have been a hospice nurse for 15 years and have been with so many people during their last days and hours. i cant tell you how many times i have kneeled on their floors, in their bedrooms, living rooms, hospital rooms, wherever they are doing their dying work and think to myself that it is jesus i am seeing in them… sometimes its so hard to just follow where we are led but i also believe that it is so not up to us. we are placed where he wants us to be in what time he wants us there… i am shown over and over that it is not up to me… i still struggle with it sometimes but am always shown his path that he wants me on. thank you for your beautiful words. you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers often. anne

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  3. Katie, I am amazed at the good work God is doing in and through you. Your story is such an inspiration. I was reading your blog yesterday and ran across the one where you talked about your book coming out. You are afraid that eyes will be directed towards you instead of God. While, you are an inspiration to others, when I read your story, I see God alive and well working through you. Thank you for sharing your story so we can see God's love and compassion for others!

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  4. Thank you for sharing. God is so good.

    Suffering, loss, and terror will always be just that. Free will and spiritual warfare are real. While all things are not themselves good, ALL things can be used by Him and worked for the good of those who love. I don't bother anymore to ask why…I know enough over time, and in wrestling with the divine to know that God doesn't want the evil and pain. I know He's on the side of love, healing, goodness, faith and hope. The power we have to break the bonds of evil come from living abandoned to His heart – the same heart that is driving what what we are to do here and now, and now, and now…

    Kingdom come Lord…through our lives, by Your grace. In Jesus name. Bless you Katie, and your daughter. Yaweh Shaloam. Jehovah Rapha. Yahew Shammah.

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  5. Hi Katie
    My name is Jenna and I came across your site. You are one amazing, loving, caring, and wonderful person. You are a hero to all the kids you help, to all the lives you touch and most important a hero to your daughter. I was born with a rare life threatening disease, and love it when people sign my guestbook. http://www.miraclechamp.webs.com

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  6. You have such a gift for finding His heart and sharing that with us! He IS good, all the time, turning our heartbreak into joy, our worries into praise.

    BTW, I cannot wait for your book to come out! 🙂

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  7. As I'm sitting here today, very very sad because I am waiting for my daughter to come home. I, too, wasn't chosen for her first almost 5 years, but praise God that I was chosen at all. Thank you for your words, and thank you for making me realize that I don't have to be sad today. Your blog renewed my spirit today.

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  8. Katie…I know you will begin to be besieged as your book releases. I will pray that the Lord is glorified in that process and that you see Him use this for that glory. I was so blessed by your video this week and the few blog posts I've read so far. My husband showed your video during his sermon today (we are going through Acts) and I know it moved people, because that is what the Holy Spirit does. Know that the sweet congregation of Hope Community Church in Tucson, Arizona is praying for you, for your children, and for your nation and every nation as we all work together to be obedient to our Father. Thank you for your obedience and for your humility. : ) We see Him.

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  9. This is not our home… but Katie, you are such a blessing to those there, and to those who read your blog. I am so glad we get to “see” some of what goes on, it makes me appreciate my own children so much more. I am sure you are blessed by them also! Words cannot describe… it's all for Him, who did much more for us…

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  10. Katie, you inspire me greatly. Where I think of doing, you've done, when I think of helping, you have. By sharing your experiences you encourage me to do more and to give more than I ever imagined. I just wanted you to know that although I'm surely old enough to be your mother, you have taught me much. Bless you.

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  11. i see more clearly now. Jesus knows and was right there when my friend Alex was neglected and his heart was broken. Somehow Jesus didn't let him drown in pain. He gave his life away so that Alex would meet him one day in heaven, and God chose me to be with my friend in this season of his life…. Tnanks God!!

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  12. Hi Katie, you dont know me but I have sat in church with you in Jinga and prayed for you and your family. My name is Casia Brummett. I am a fellow, soon to be, single mom. I am moving to Jinja, Uganda to open a new babies home at Good Shepherds Fold. I dream about the day that I get to hold babies and wisper Gods promises to them. I know that it is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done but also know that loving through fear and pain brings me closer to Christ. People ask me all the time how can I live among so much pain and suffering. I answer them by saying “because the joy of loving one baby far out weighs the suffering.” When I read your post I am struck by the LOVE of Christ. I feel the Holy Spirit move in my heart as your words are spoken. I feel some of the same fears as you. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in this dream, this desire, to love beyond myself. Thank you for being real, for sharing your heart, and most of all for giving up you life to love others…in that you have found more life than you thought possible. May God bless you with love so deep you feel it in your bones.

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  13. I just started reading your book today, you are so inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to write it! My family is getting ready to move to Nigeria, to do mission work and your book is very helpful!-Abby

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  14. thank you for sharing katie. this is the first time i've visited your website and the first entry i've read, and i am moved to tears. you are a wonderful example to women – young and old, of what it means to follow after Christ whole heartedly. i became bitter and angry at God after my father passed away unexpectedly 8 years ago (he was not a christian, even after many years of praying for him). your heart reminds me of how i used to be, and where i want to get back to. thank you for this. God is using you in many ways to touch people around the world. i look forward to reading you book. blessings to you and your children.

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  15. Katie, I saw you today in Atlanta, ga at the Catalyst conference and I was so incredibly moved and encouraged by your story! I am currently in nursing school but I have felt in my heart that after I graduate God wants me to go overseas to third world and povish countries and lend a hand in ministry and medical care for those who so desperately need it! This has been a thought and dream of mine for a while, but your story has truly inspired me! Thank you

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  16. Hi Katie, I just finished reading your book today and it has opened my eyes to so many things. I am adopted and my husband and I are now considering adoption/will be looking at our finances to see how we can live more generously. Thank you for all the obedience you have shown to God. I'll be praying for you!

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  17. Hi Katie,

    I just heard your story at Catalyst the other day and found your blog. I couldn't believe how much I felt a heart connection to you. I went back to 2007 and read all of your posts. I guess that makes me one of those stalker-ish people who read your blogs and you said in one entry. haha. No, seriously though I wanted to say that your love for the Father is amazing. I cry asking God what do you want me to do with this ministry that He has given me. I ask him what to do with this heart that He has given me to rescue woman and children from sex trafficking. I ask Him what does He want me to do with this heart of adoption. And through all of my searching, pleading and petitions to the Father, He has answered me through your blog. Love one at a time.

    Thank you Katie for being obedient to our Father and answering His call. Now I will do the same.

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  18. Thanks for your blog. I'm a new mom, my daughter will be 13 months on Oct 24, 2011 and I love your posts. I can't help but become overcome with tears when I read them. Tears of joy, pain, love. God Bless you

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  19. Hi, Katie! My 4 year old daughter and I just “met” you by watching a video of you and your daughters. She sat on my lap and said, “Mommy, she is nice.” Then after the video was over, she looked at me and said, “she really loves Jesus.” You are a light in not only your daughters and community in Uganda, but for me and my daughter as well. Thank your for reflecting the light of Christ.

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  20. Thank you for sharing this…. YOU are one of Gods ANGELS…… A heart of gold and your daughter is truly a miracle. Thank you for sharing your story and her life with all of us. It enriches us, it shows that the simple pleasures and the hard tragedies of life are well worth it………

    Amazing is all I can say…… All I can say is GOD is there. I know this in a different way. I was sent to your site by a friend who has been with me through some rough times, and stayed there with me, to support me.

    I spoke about being grateful to God and paying it forward tonight on Facebook and he told me to come over here with this link…….. Your love, strength and love for God is truly awe inspiring!!!

    God Bless you and may he keep you and yours always in the palm of his hand.

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  21. I JUST SPOKE WTH YOU ON THE RADIO, ON HUGH'S SHOW. I JUST WISH WE'D HAD MORE TIME TO CHAT. I SHARED HOW BLESSED MY FAMILY HAS BEEN BY THIS BLOG. BUT IF I'D HAD MORE TIME, I WOULD HAVE SHARED WHAT AN INCREDIBLE PERSON I THINK YOU ARE, HOW PASSIONATE YOU MAKE ME ABOUT MY OWN FAITH, AND HOW MUCH I PRAY FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. YOU ARE TRULY A BLESSING AND I'M SOOOO THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING IN UGANDA. THE LORD IS SO PROUD OF YOU! I CAN'T WAIT TO BUY YOUR NEW BOOK. BLESSINGS–dianne 🙂

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  22. I found out about your book and blog from one of my favorite blogs (smilesandtrials.blogspot.com–a CA family who has fifteen kids, most adopted). You are doing a wonderful work and I'm praying for you.

    ~Joy Caroline
    joycarolinelive4Him.blogspot.com

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  23. I have been wanting brown and black boots for a long time. I found them, ordered them and was going to pick them up today. I cannot do it. I will go and return them because of the words in your blog. I don't need new boots, I don't need old boots for that matter. I have so much stuff that I'm giving bags and bags away…yet I think I need more. I will be buying your book on Kindle and I know and fear the change it is going to make in my life.

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  24. Dear Katie
    I followed the link to your blog from the USA Today article and it gor me crying. I realize that the book from your blog is out and I can hope that a copy will soon be available in my neck of the woods (South Africa), but I am also hoping that you will find a way to keep writing.
    Grace to you – in every season!
    Rosa

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  25. Katie, i go to Lipscomb university and i heard you speak today. There was alot that was confirmed today from God to me through your words, i would really like to personally speak with you either through email or on the phone if possible. i feel God has such a call on me to do something, and i am praying now that he reveals the steps for me to take in order to do so. i am willing to do anything, anything at all in order to have His will in my life. So i have felt compelled to ask you if you need help, and i don't just mean through means of donation and prayer because i will do that in a heat beat but i meant more in the sense of someone to come and help you serve, babysit, teach, anything. I'm not really sure, and i know this is completely random but i have this feeling in my heart that God is calling me to serve with you, near you or even through your ministry. Please let me know if this is speaking to you, i ask that you pray on it and seek God in it. My name is Kelsey Dennis, kadennis@lipscomb.edu 14016586981 please, let me know katie and thank you.

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  26. I had the great opportunity to hear you speak at Catalyst Atlanta. I have read your entire blog in two days, and will be ordering your book soon. You have accomplished much, yet remain humble to the fact that only through the grace and strength of our Lord and Savior can we accomplish great things. Thank you.

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  27. I sit back and am amazed at how God has instilled in a commitment to where He has placed you. Thanks you for your obedience, thank you for your submissive heart to the leading of His Spirit.

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  28. Thank you so much. Praying for you. Your story encourages me. I am waiting for your book to arrive in the mail. My 14 yr old wants to read it too…

    You are an amazing young woman.

    much love,
    Teena

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  29. i just came across your blog today and am in utter amazement at the work God is doing through you! how humbling and how inspiring the God of the universe is! how amazing how He uses us! I am following your blog now and look forward to your updates!

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  30. Just found out about you and your story today on the Dave Ramsey show. Wow. Thank you for the reminder of what really matters. I am pledging to Father this day to try and be more giving and find a way to give MORE. Thank you for all you do Katie.

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  31. I was nearly ready to check out at Books A Million yesterday when your book caught my eye. I knew immediately I wanted to purchase it. I was drawn to it partly because you serve in Uganda where I have a friend from there who also serves in the villages. The way the book seemed to jump right at me makes me think God wants me reading it. I am in the middle of it and find it hard to put down. May God bless you and your family always.
    Hugs and Blessings from Indiana

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  32. THANK YOU FOR WRITING YOUR LOVELY BOOK! Its really beautifully written and put together and I will be buying copies for family christmas presents!

    Best, Fiona

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  33. Thank you Katie! My husband gave me your book at Christmas and I read half of it by 5 am on Dec 26. We were offered a newborn baby here in the US which we turned down because God has put Africa on our hearts and children who are not as “desirable” by the world's standards. This post is exactly what I needed as we are planning a move and preparing to adopt in Africa and my heart breaks knowing that our children may already be on this earth and I hate not being there for them … thank you for your honestly.

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