Monday, August 15, 2011

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 comments:

Barb G said...

Thank you, Katie. I was not chosen for our son's terrible moments either. Thank you for clarity when I struggle with those nightmare times he endured. Blessings to you, my sister in Christ.

Bird's Words said...

amen. Trusting that God chose me for "these moments" in my daughter's life as well has been one of the most beautiful blessings of life.

shelley said...

Thanks so much....every time you write, it is something so desperately needed in my heart. Thanks so much for sharing YOUR heart.

girlscout said...

as an adoptive mom, I can so relate. I cherish each first my daughter experiences b/c I wasn't there for her first step or word. God was there, and continues with us on our journey. He's helping us write a better story for our girls. Blessings to you Katie. To you and all the moms who celebrate the alternative firsts.

mkflickner said...

As a foster and biological mom who has all the moments with bio kids and missing pieces with foster kids, this is such an encouragement to read. I like to think I am entitled to moments. I am not. Not for my foster kids or my bio kids. God holds all of their moments and I take with joy, privilege and sobriety the moments he ordains for me to share. A good reminder with an uncertain future for my foster son and his unborn sibling. Thank you for your words.

Mary in Texas

C and G said...

These are words from the Lord to me today. I just got done with a conversation with God telling him that I didn't know if I would hold on much longer because of my fear. We've been trying to adopt two five year olds from Burundi for four years. Each day they get older the heartache of now knowing what the future holds grows. I fear the consequences of bringing two older children into our home . . . and fear the consequences of what will happen to them if we have to end the process. But their faces ARE His face - so we will carry on another day trusting that it is for His name and glory.

iduart said...

Praise God for you Katie! Hugs to you and to all of your girls! XO

Anonymous said...

Your posts never fail to move me. Your experiences, your children's experiences......I cling to them. Words, words, words in this world....but your words are changing lives (and hearts). They are like gold to me and so many others.

Erica said...

Beautiful. He IS a good Father.

Tracy said...

OH my goodness sweet Katie! My heart echoes this exactly -- this could not be more timely!-- Praying for your precious ones-- and mine. LOVE YOU!!!

Christy said...

Yes - He is a good Father. And He loves those kids so much!!! Praying for you.

me and only me said...

Katie you don't know me, and I quite frankly cannot remember how I stumbled upon your blog, other than I know it was a God thing. I spent hours(probably 8 or more)"catching up on Amazima and the work you are doing in Uganda and more importantly the LIFE you are living in Uganda, last night. I found myself rejoicing with you and mourning with you and praying right along with you. You and your life, the word 'story' just seems so inadequate here, have touched me in ways I think I cannot even fully comprehend yet. God is using you, your children and your willingness to share openly to touch people, I feel compelled to reassure you. I am praying for you and all of your beautiful daughters daily, as well as for the work of Amazima. May the blessings of our Lord continue to abound, Samantha

Jacquelyn said...

Amen

Tracy said...

OH my goodness sweet Katie! My heart echoes this exactly -- this could not be more timely!-- Praying for your precious ones-- and mine. LOVE YOU!!!

erinbeth said...

So beautiful.

Samantha said...

I love reading your blog, I am passionate about adopting the broken children of God through foster care and passionate about adoption in general. It is a beautiful reflection of Christ in this fallen world and I am immensely inspired by your life, your love, and your work in His name.

Benjamyn said...

Amen! Thank you so much for sharing
your experiences. Do you mind if I share this post with my friend s?

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

Beautiful!

I, too, have a daughter that lived an unimaginably HARD life for her first 5-7 years or so. (We don't have a birth certificate, so we must only guess at how old she is.) I desperately wish I could take her pain away.

I loved what you said about having "a different kind of stretch marks". Oh. My. Yes. Being an adoptive mother has stretched me more than I can ever imagine.

God has given you an amazing ability to love these girls ... each and every one with their own hard story.

You are doing a beautiful job of seeking Him ... following His will for your life ... and glorifying Him in all that you do. Keep trusting ... and He will keep guiding.

Hoping your week is BLESSED!

Laurle

Daughter of the King said...

Thank you for sharing this. It encourages me to continue loving in the present and trusting God with what is out of my control. I don't understand the pain in this world, but He does.

Missy said...

I love this, Katie. God DID choose you for these moments. You get to spend the rest of your life fixing the stuff from the moments before she knew you, before you were her Mommy. What a privilege in the eyes of our Lord, and a challenge to the way this world treats "damaged" children. She is your precious diamond, and she knows that, and you have shown her in a tangible way what Lord did for us, adopting us into His arms despite our scars and filth. I am praying every day for you, Sweet Katie!

Jen said...

This is how I feel about my 2 adopted children. Camp wasn't the word but a domestic violence shelter was. Beautifully said. Abba Father, thank you.

Deb said...

Oh dear Katie, thank you for your words! This Mama's heart knows how true they are. My sons came to me with stories I don't know, creating moments of wishing I had been there for them. From the beginning. But they have ALWAYS been His boys first. And He loves them far more deeply and perfectly than I ever could. Thank you, Father, for taking care of my boys for all time! And thank you Katie for allowing your words to speak to this truth!

You Can Call Me Jane said...

Amen, Katie. Amen.

Lauren said...

beautiful Katie... I feel the same way about my son. It often hits me unexpected. I'll just be watching him play and all of a sudden my eyes are filled with tears and I am overwhelmed with love for him and thanks to the God who entrusted him to me. I wish I knew his entire story too - I wish I was there - but I'm so thankful to be here with him now.

L.A. Krueger said...

I thank God that you chose to believe in Him and choose to surrender often to His Spirit and choose to live faithful to His Word.

I don't stand in awe of you, Katie, however I'm awfully glad you're a sister in Christ.

Guard your heart with all diligence.

Laine said...

'different kind of stretch marks'
I love that.
Praying for yall...

Michele said...

Beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

my little girl was 10 years older than i. she was scared by the sheer terror of the satanic occult that shaped her childhood. i couldn't go back into the moments of her past to soften the blows or to rescue her. what a place to be where trust reaches the past where we weren't and can't go. to learn in the toughest way possible, for someone we love, to trust GOD no matter what. to be in the here and now and have to give the past to GOD for HIM to have been sovereign in (even as HE must be for us right now).
i pray for you and praise GOD for you.

Meg said...

Thank you so much for the reminder of His fatherly love. This is a beautiful example of His hand in our lives.

Julie B said...

love you

Mark and Sarah said...

As a fellow adoptive mama, thank you for this post. May her heart continue to heal as you overflow with love.

MamaMimi said...

This is so beautiful Katie...and I can so relate, even though it was only months that I was without my precious daughter.

debra said...

I can so relate. Thanks for sharing.

Greta said...

This is so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post..we just accepted a referral for our baby in Ethiopia and I worry who is holding him and feeding him..I have to trust God that He is and trust Him like never before!!
Teresa

Charlie said...

Amen little Sis.

jojohnson said...

amen

chadandkeishastory said...

Beautiful.
I envy how close you are to the Savior. Your life a vessel for His love and goodness.

Makes me want to go out and move mountains.

On my knees.

Anonymous said...

Such a tragedy that her sweet life started off so difficult. Praise God that she is in a better place with you!

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

Trusting HIM more and more.....when we soo want to know more or do something about things....we can not. So hard, and yet we can, and will.

PRAYING for you and your mommy's heart!!!

Dawn K. said...

Oh Katie--your words of enerting motherhood from a different door spoke right to me. What a great way to put it into words. We have 5 children, 3 are adopted and that is exactly it, they certainly are a different kind of stretch mark!

Linda said...

It is sometimes difficult to understand His ways, but we can learn to trust that they are best. You do that beautifully Katie.
Praying daily for all of you.

Liz said...

In case I haven't said so already.... You are quite remarkable. Fullstop.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing!

Carey said...

Wow. As an adoptive mom of an older child I can so relate. Heart wrenching! And yet because of her behavior lately I needed the reminder. Thank you.

Krista said...

From one adoptive Mom to another.. This is an incredible post!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing-The world needs more people like you :)

Anonymous said...

I live in British Columbia Canada. I've been reading your blog for a LONG time now (2 years now, I think). I just want you to know I think of you and your family often. What you do for everyone there is awesome, inspiring and amazing. I know you credit all to God. Which is good, but you CHOOSE to do what God asks/tells you to do. You are making a difference. You are important. You are needed. You are amazing. Thank you for what you do each and every day out there.
I am a 32 yr old mother of 2, with hot running water, plenty of food and a a cushy health plan.
YOU are MY hero.

Anonymous said...

(my mistake, I've been reading your blog for 3 years now!)

Aileen said...

God bless you, Katie! God is using you to inspire and challenge us. Your story is so amazing!! God bless you Katie and your family and Amazima!!! THANK YOU!!

Janna said...

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.

anne said...

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

mandy alford said...

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!

Bella and her Mama said...

Very well said and such a sweet reminder when I am sad I do not know my daughter's early years either... THANK YOU.

Stephanie Pauline said...

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.

Anonymous said...

Wow... You really touch my heart every time you write. Continue fighting the good fight.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Touched to the heart, as always.

Anonymous said...

"These are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." -C.S. Lewis

Amazing--simply amazing.

Jenna said...

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. www.miraclechamp.webs.com

Melodie said...

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! :)

Jen said...

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.

Julie said...

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.

Kristen Hohl said...

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...

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

You´re not forgotten. Not to know how you´re doing makes me pray more for you. BLessigs Kate!
-Erika

Katharine Boucher said...

I want to be just like you.. you inspire me every day. ;)

saket said...

nice posting.

Chuy Tony said...

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!!

Anonymous said...

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.

abby said...

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

steph said...

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.

Kcolsson said...

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

Anonymous said...

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!

Confessions of a Newlywed said...

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.

teawithme3 said...

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

Dawn said...

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.

Ally said...

Do you need teachers? Is there anyway I can come help and teach?

Cpdcoppurr said...

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.

Butterfly Kisses said...

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 :)

Joy said...

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

Janelle @ Grace Tags said...

So true and unbelievably beautiful.

Janelle
GraceTags

Anonymous said...

Katie you are an absolutely amazing young lady. Your story has made my heart smile. I would love to share a website with you from the most amazing bible teacher ever! www.shepherdschapel.com

Sandy said...

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.

rosa said...

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

Kelsey Dennis said...

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.

Jason F. said...

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.

Adam said...

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.

Teena said...

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

Sanders said...

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!

Petrice and Caleb Rose said...

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.

Patty said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

Travel chacha said...

Thanks so much....every time you write,Very interesting pos

Joyful Le said...

"different kind of stretch marks"

i LOVE that!!!!

Ali said...

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.