For those who have known us for a while, you will remember that our lives were changed forever in the year 2000 when an orphan from Haiti joined our family and became our daughter. Mareah’s mom died of starvation and Mareah was starving herself when a relative brought her to missionaries who saved her life. The missionaries (who were friends of mine) knew we wanted to adopt and contacted us, saying, “We have a beautiful little girl we think you are going to want to meet, can we send you a picture?” We said, “No picture is necessary, when can we come get her and bring her home?” In December of 2000 we arrived back in Michigan with Mareah and were met at the gate in the Detroit airport by three very excited big brothers and one ecstatic big sister! We realize now that God used the amazing event of adoption to begin to open our eyes to the needs of orphans of the world. While I have been on the mend and slowly getting back to doing what I love, speaking to teenagers, Carol has been seeing a dream of hers become a reality and I have asked her to share it with you now.
When Brett and I were leaving Haiti with Mareah, the missionaries there said, “Mareah is saying good bye to her Haiti family and hello to her forever family.” I look back on this now and realize that this is the cry of my heart, to be a part of children finding their “forever families.”
I must admit that before we started our journey of adopting Mareah, I was totally unaware of the plight of orphans. But, after I became aware I wanted to do something. I believed that if others were made aware they would want to do something as well.
It was in January of 2007 that I was inspired by Dennis Rainey, our leader at Family Life (the marriage and family ministry that Brett and I speak for). He spoke about God’s heart for the orphans. My heart was stirred to start an orphan care ministry at Kensington Community Church where we attend. Not long after that our small group began to meet. From that small group we started an orphan care organization called Giving Orphans Hope (GO Hope). Our goal is to raise awareness of the needs of the orphans of the world and mobilize the Church to meet those needs.
Our start was slow as we spent quite a bit of time strategizing, planning and praying for God’s leading. There are many ways to minister to orphans. We were inspired to start in our own back yard by getting involved in foster care and we found that simple things can make a big impact. Some of the service projects we have done include putting together duffle bags for foster children, providing lunch for agency staff and hosting a BBQ for the boys at Christ Child House in Detroit. There are 1/2 a million children in foster care in America, 16-18,000 of them being in our home state of Michigan. About 5,000 foster children in Michigan are available for adoption, waiting for their “forever family.”
Did you know that there are 10,000 churches in Michigan? One family from only half of the churches could take care of all of the waiting children!! Of course we realize that adoption isn’t for everyone, but we do believe that everyone can do something. We want to provide the opportunities for people to get involved. It doesn’t have to be difficult; it can be as simple as donating diapers.
I believe that God is moving for the cause of the orphans. He is raising awareness in the church. He is calling families to be a “forever family” for a child. He is mobilizing people all over the country and around the world to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, insure justice for those who are perishing.” Proverbs 31:8
There are 143 million orphans in the world. We want to change the world, one child at a time.
Come visit us @ www.GivingOrphansHope.org
Thank you for all your love and support,