I Care For Orphans….Because I Was One

2 May

Blog post by Deborah P., Team Uganda 2012

Our journey started with following a blog written by Katie Davis about her heart for Uganda. When her book was released last year, I met her at Catayst in Atlanta and she signed a copy for Mallory [my daughter]. After Mallory read her book she told me she felt led to go to Uganda and wanted me to go with her. I told her we would pray about it and see where GOD led us. I felt that it was not the right time with having adopted a baby last year, it would be hard to leave him, but after meeting a man form Kampala in January at PASSION 2012, I was again spending time in prayer about our Journey to Uganda. I was contacted in February by my mission coach from a trip I took to Ukraine in 2010. She was wondering if I was interested in another mission trip. I told her about Uganda and she emailed me 3 possible trips. The first two were not feasible and after a month she called back.  When I checked out the 3rd email I realized that it was a trip to Kampala, Uganda…the very place we had been praying about going. I felt confirmation from GOD about now being the time and, after talking with my husband and friends, I knew that this would be the year to take this Journey with my daughter, Mallory.

I have had a heart for orphans since I was one myself. Even as a small child in the children’s home, I felt a calling to reach out to those around me who were hurting. I would always try to encourage anyone who was sad and I would dream of one day growing up and having my own children’s home where I would make sure everyone was loved and cared for. After many years of life hitting hard, I had long let that dream fade….until I gave my life to JESUS at 23 and started to live my life in His word. I was reminded of my dream to care for the orphans and sought a way that I could share what GOD had done in my life. I was asked to be on the missions committee at my church, and at the first meeting I was assigned the GA Baptist Children’s home as a ministry project. I went for a tour and met my sweet Ashley. She was 13 at the time and she shared that she wanted to one day run her own children’s home. She so reminded me of myself back then. I fell in love with her and all the other girls, and our family started to visit twice a month and build lifelong relationships. As they aged out of the system I realized that a lot of them had nowhere to go and some were sent back to the very situations they were rescued from in the first place. I began to take them into our home and teach them to drive and help them get into college or get a job and even had one enter into the Airforce. My dream had been realized in a way when we turned our home into a refuge for orphans. I have taken in 5 so far.

Ashley, my first love at the children’s home, was my most recent. She called me when she was 7 months pregnant and homeless and asked me to adopt her baby. I told her that I would give her a home and we would find the right home for her baby, but I didn’t think I was supposed to adopt a baby. I took in teens, and had 3 teens of my own and starting all over again with a newborn was nothing that I had thought of for myself at my age. We found an adoption agency and chose a wonderful family. They were there during her labor, but she needed a C-section and I was asked to go in with her. The adoptive mom was not comfortable with the sight of blood. I was the first one to ever see the baby and the first to hold him in my arms. It was very confusing. I had been to every doctor’s appointment and had loved him before I ever saw him. In that first moment in my arms I wept so hard. I felt as if I was giving up my own son, but I kept my agony to myself because I had to be strong for Ashley. The day we were to leave the hospital the adoptive parents came and just said that they didn’t feel it was GOD’s will for them to take him They had been struggling about it, and after praying they just were not led to follow through with the adoption. It was the craziest, happiest day of my life. He was ours after all! I called my Mom with the news and started going on about how he didn’t have a room or a crib or anything. It was right before Christmas, and she just started singing “….away in a manger, no crib or a bed.” She said love is all he needs. I had to go and borrow a car seat to get him home and run out and buy bottles and diapers, but I was excited that GOD had worked it out and that he would be where he was supposed to be. He has been the biggest blessing to our lives and every time I look at him I see a miracle and I am reminded that GOD is full of surprises and HIS plans are always better than our own.

Deborah will be serving, along with her daughter, on the Uganda Journey 117 Team leaving in June 2012. She resides in Americus, Georgia. Read more about Deborah’s journey at http://deborahpinnell.blogspot.com/  Follow Deborah on Twitter @dpinnell5.

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