How The Journey Started

I thought I would start the first post with how this journey started. I hope this will give you an insight into who I am, what beliefs I have and why I am on this journey. I invite you to join the journey with me.

From a very young age (about 4) I knew that I was blessed in life and that what I had was more than most. We were not a rich family by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, until the age of seven I lived at a christian camping centre where my dad worked as the groundsman and my mum was a kitchen-hand and on-site nurse. But in knowing that I was blessed I also knew that there were others that needed help in this world. Africa burned on my heart the most and I would often go to bed at night and pray, "Dear God, please help all the poor people in the world." In praying this I truly believed that in that moment all the poor people would feel God's love, grace and hope. What child-like faith.

So, when creating my plan for my life (as we do) I pictured getting married, having a family and with that family impacting the lives of others for the better. Yes folks, I was going to get on my tights and my cape and save the world. I truly thought it was possible. I planned that my family would consist of both biological and adopted children. The only problem I had was that I didn't know whether it would be in NZ or overseas and 'helping' looked so different in those two scenarios.

At the age of 18 I studied at Ministry Training College and had the opportunity to volunteer in The Philippines for 8 weeks. This was my first time out of New Zealand and an eye opener into what another culture was like and what I was capable of (or not). One day we visited an orphanage and I fell in love with a little girl named Chrystal. She had a disability but I am not sure of the details of what it was. I wanted to bring her home and, on returning to New Zealand, talked about her for many months afterwards.

At the age of 26 I had been teaching for a year and didn't really know what I wanted in life. The first year of teaching had been very difficult and Africa still burned in my heart. When asked what I was going to do with my life I would say, "I'll find another job, go relieving or go to Africa." I didn't really plan to go to Africa, the thought actually scared me! But I believed this made my life sound so much more interesting than what it actually was.
One weekend I went for a holiday with some friends who asked, "What about Africa?"
Oh dear, someone was actually calling my bluff. I responded with, "I'll only go to Africa if I can go to Uganda, because that's where my sponsored children live and where Watoto is, and if I can go with  someone I know." There, I had put in tight perimeters and Africa was now much less likely to occur.
On returning home from this holiday I had a message on Facebook from an old lecturer saying, "What are you doing this year Amy? Do you want to go to Uganda with us?" My first response was, "No!" (Luckily this was only said in my head.) It turns out I did go to Uganda for 6 weeks. I visited my sponsored children, worked with former child soldiers and once again fell in love with a little girl. This time named Emily who was developmentally delayed and living in an orphanage. I spent many hours cuddling her and wishing that life was different. Wishing I could bring her home and love her as a mother would.

Fast forward 6 years. I'm 32 years old and still single. Definitely not part of the plan. But I'm older and 'wiser' and aware that 'saving the world' is God's job. My job is to play my part in His grand story. So what is that??

I have recently returned from a 4 months volunteer trip in Uganda with Baby Watoto. I had an amazing time working alongside the nannies and providing professional development for the teacher's at the school. But once again I left a large part of my heart there. This time it is a little boy, David. At first, I didn't like him at all. He would pull my hair out. Poke me in the ears and eyes, bite me... and scream. He was the naughtiest boy in the infants. One day he was screaming, and I picked him up. He stopped after a little while and he looked at me surprised. I felt God say, "He needs to know he's loved."
From then on that was my job, to show David that I and his big Papa in heaven, loved him. I loved all the other babies as well but I knew David needed something more from me. I would often arrive to work and find him sitting in a high chair as he had been naughty and this was one way to keep him clear of other children. The nannies would say to me, "Your son needs a walk." I would take him and another child outside and we would run around, swing on the swings and I would sing songs to them. Through this time I found that David was actually a bright boy but he was bored inside all the time and was one of the oldest in the room so therefore didn't have many older children to interact with. While I was in Uganda I checked the adoption policy for adopting children internationally from New Zealand. I had looked into this briefly before with Emily and on looking again had found nothing had changed. In New Zealand you can not adopt from anywhere in Africa. And a large part of me understands that. Because there are children who have families who just need more support in being able to raise them and in some cases children have been stolen and 'sold' as orphans. (Yes, this happens). But even so, my heart once again ached to be a Mumma to David. I even looked into living in Uganda for a few years to adopt him within his country. It wasn't to be.

So on coming home I wondered what I was supposed to be doing with my life. A mid-life crisis of sorts. I attended a 'Brave Girl' conference and selected an elective on 'Your Calling.' I hoped for answers, God heard my prayer.
The speaker used an acronym for PURPOSE. As she spoke I wrote notes under each 'heading'.

Passion - What do you love talking about (children facing hardship and suffering, inequality)
Understanding - What do you naturally get? (empathy, how people feel, how children tick)
Religion - What do you believe, what do you hold true to you? (We are blessed to be a blessing)
Personality - Who are you? (Sociable introvert. Fun loving)
Opportunity - What do you have available to you? (a house, a job, some money, skills as a teacher)
Skills - What can you do? (Teach, sew, cook, budget, bake, organisation)
Experience - What experiences have you had? (Adopted brother and sister. Experience overseas)

I got to the end and suddenly felt God put very strongly on my heart INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION! I felt an energy run through me but didn't know what to do next so I told my friend that I had something crazy to tell her. After hearing my crazy idea her reply was, "That's not crazy for you. Go for it."

And so from here this journey continues. Come join my adventure.


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