James 1:27 says, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
I had the opportunity to travel to Africa when I was in college. Being that I had never even been on an airplane before, it was quite an adventure for me. The three months that I spent in Senegal has had a profound impact on my life. There are images and experiences that I can't get off my mind. Since that first trip, I have had numerous chances to travel and see what the majority of people live like. Those are images I can't forget.
One experience in particular stands out to me. I was visiting a school facility in Zambia. Most of the children that attended the school received their only meals while on the property. They were dirty, they were hungry, and they were without hope. I'll never forget walking into the school one day and not seeing my little buddy Eleanor. The teachers said she was in the sickbay. I immediately went to go see her and there she was, curled up on a dirty mat, all alone, shivering with fever. I didn't leave her side for the remainder of the day. I laid beside her and couldn't bring myself to get up. I held her and rocked her all day. When the sun came out, I carried her out of the dark, dank, sickbay and into the sunshine. She even forced a smile.
We tried to give Eleanor all of the love and medicine we had available. I ended up having to take her to the hospital where I had to force her down while they gave her a shot. I've never heard a child scream so loud. She was so scared and so sick.
Eleanor seemed to improve over the week. We made sure she had plenty of food to take home with her and warm blankets. Once she was home, the food and blankets were taken from her and she was forced to sleep hungry, in the cold.
Eleanor didn't survive. She passed away at the age of 5 due to malaria and anemia. Both of which could have been cured with a little medicine and a little attention. It breaks my heart. Eleanor's life is just a glimpse of what children are dealing with and we can't sit by and not do something to help.
When Jonathan and I began talking about our family, we always included adoption as a way we wanted to expand our family. One day I asked Jonathan when he knew he wanted to adopt and he replied, "when I married you." I am so blessed to be married to a man who not only considers my convictions but also makes them his own.
We have started this process and trust the Lord's leading. Already we have come across obstacles and we know it may be a long road. We may not be able to help all of the Eleanor's out there but we can help a couple...and that's just what we are going to do.