In my constant quest to find some good, compassion and kindness in this world of messed up priorities I stumbled upon an inspirational girl named Katie Davis. (thank you Twitter). Reading her blog I instantly felt a connection with this young lady for three reasons;
- She’s from Nashville
- Her inspirational hero is Mother Teresa
- She started adopting kids at age 21
A girl after my own heart she reminded me of myself at 21 (back when I was less jaded and more idealistic). Of course her journey has taken her to a much different place than mine because Katie lives in Uganda (that’s in East Africa for the geographically challenged like myself).
Katie moved to Uganda upon graduating high school to volunteer her time at an orphanage thinking it would be short term. Quickly seeing the devastation and its effects, she felt compelled to help the people living there, especially the widows and children. Without thinking twice, she became an adoptive mother at the age of 21. Now at 23 she has 14 adopted daughters ranging from ages 16 to 3.
On top of her role as full time homeschooling mom, she also founded and runs Amazima Ministries. An organization that:
- Provides food to 1,600 children M-F
- Facilitates sponsorship for hundreds of children to attend school
- Started a vocational program for women to earn income making handcrafted jewelry
- Offers vocational training for teens to gain skills for employment
- Builds town enhancements such as wells, latrines and out buildings
And she’s not done yet. In the future Amazima plans to:
- Start a preschool sponsorship program
- Have a community garden and livestock
- Provide more outreach classes
- Start a school to serve impoverished children
Now you see why Ryun and I loaded the kids in the minivan and drove two hours in bad LA traffic to see her speak. And why the experience was worth it despite the wild goose chase to find the venue due to our broken GPS (which of course made us late to a crowded house with nowhere to sit and seven of us, but I don’t want to digress).
The kids listened with intrigue as Katie spoke of the many peoples’ lives she affects on a daily basis. You could see their heartstrings being pulled as she spoke of the numerous children who don’t have food and whose parents have died of AIDS leaving them to fend for themselves. It was impossible not to be affected by her heartbreaking and uplifting stories.
The thing that spoke to me most was when Katie answered a person’s question about the millions of dollars that get sent to Africa and how it doesn’t seem to do any good. She responded,
“You can’t just throw money at a problem and expect it to go away, you have to get your hands dirty to make a difference.”
That advice applies to any problem including our nation’s foster care crisis. I feel it’s easier for the people in this country to turn a blind eye to the children right in their backyard. There aren’t a lot of organizations actively seeking huge amounts of money to help these children in need. Nor are there countless people looking to get their hands dirty to try to fix the problem.
Afterwards Giselle told me that she wants us to “adopt more kids.” With pride I smiled and responded “then we’re going to need a bigger house so pray for that first.”
I want to say if you’re religious or not you can’t help but be impressed with Katie especially when compared to the floundering youth in America. I’m looking forward to reading her book “Kisses From Katie.” The kids were all fighting on who gets to read it first on the drive home (they’re still working on that whole love and patience thing).
We want our kids to have compassion for the world, to extend themselves to those less fortunate and to think of others first. It doesn’t have to be adoption or moving to Africa. It can be helping a single mom who lives on your street, giving an elderly person some help around the house, or even donating time to a child who needs mentoring. Need is everywhere. You don’t have to go far to find it and everyone has the ability to fill it.
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