Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I have had a rough few days.  It was a stretch of time when I thought I could do everything for everyone and not get tired and have everyone like me the whole time and save children through medicine, through advocating for them and through adopting.  In Ethiopia, I fell in love with the children.  I would find them all homes or at least provide resources for them to stay in Ethiopia and thrive....if I could in a perfect world.  When we returned home, I ached for the older children, specifically the HIV+ ones older than five.   I learned of this girl who was almost seven.  We even prayed about adding her to our family.  It was not the time for us.  That is a hard decision to reach.  Over the weekend, I felt re-convicted about her...her sweet face and her absence of family, because of age....because of the HIV...  I brought it up to JT.  He reminded me that while it is unfortunate, we live in a fallen world with many orphans and that I alone can not be a mommy to all them despite my heart's deepest desire to do so. 

I prayed that God would take away the constant nagging in my heart for her.  I knew this wouldn't happen.  How could I ever advocate for her and others if that nagging was not there?  So I simply asked for a peace.

It is interesting though how He gives peace.  There is never a big burning bush on 5th Street in Louisville.  There is never a glowing person descending into my living room  (though someday I think He actually will go there to squash my incessant sarcasm).... Just before I showered after my 28 hour shift, I called my mom...just to chat.  She had no idea what I was conflicted about.  She began telling of her dentist who is adopting and how he is struggling with trying to "save everyone"....  she said "I tried to tell him only God can save" .... there was the match to light my burning bush....

I then scrolled through my Facebook feed (as we all do) to see that www.fromhivtohome.org is back up and running with great stories, information and such.  I was reading one family's story and read this...my embedded comments are bolded and italicized:

I love many of Mother Teresa’s quotes (UM, me too). One that stands out to me, and I think about almost daily is “There are no great acts, only small acts done with great love.” I love this, because I feel like it empowers us to do something. We aren’t going to solve the world’s orphan crisis, until we solve global poverty…and even then, there would still be orphans (Please stop writing this to me). The problem is huge. It is estimated that there are more than 143 million orphans world wide. That can be paralyzing. So… What can we really do about it?


We all can do something. That will look different for different people. For us, it meant adopting 2 kids that happened to have HIV. For others, it will mean adopting one child, or for some, 10 kids or more! For some people it will mean giving sacrificially so that others can adopt (they can give directly to someones adoption agency, or have a fund-raising event to help bring a child home) It could mean that you decide to bring a foster child into your home, or that you provide respite care for an adoptive or foster parent. You could pray for and encourage your local foster care workers (never though of this). Go to their office and ask them what their greatest needs are. You could sponsor an orphan overseas…pray for them…visit them. You could gather a small group of friends and sponsor an entire orphanage. It doesn’t end there, there is so much you could do… A friend of mine is in process of converting her basement into a rent free apartment for a homeless teenage mom and her child. Is she serving orphans? I think she is. She is reaching out to someone who is without a family… and becoming a family to them. My challenge would be that you would pray and ask God where He wants you to move. And how. And then, do it. Do whatever small act He calls you to. I’m confident, that He will have something to say to you, if you ask.  (Yep, I get it...)

These words were the spark to join the match....I wish I could take credit for these words...even to paraphrase felt inadequate. Check out the whole story HERE.  These words are right... I can do something.  Everyday I can do SOMETHING and it does not have to mean being a literal mommy to all the children orphaned around the world.  I can swallow my ugly pride and love my patients' families even when they are needy and demanding and unloving to me.  I can advocate for children, regardless of health.  I can educate families on the medicine of adoption, the good and the bad sides.... I can be a good mom, or at least try, to the little blessing I have in my home.  So I can do a lot... a lot of little things can make a BIG difference despite the deceit that can try to convince otherwise. 

Then something came in the mail today which was the fire...the final "okay, I get it.  I see it. Leave me alone now God." A few weeks ago a friend posted that Funky Fish Designs was selling one of their pendants BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE.... I mean, duh, I had to look.  They were copper and silver pendants with a hummingbird on them, as well as a plus sign, to support HIV+ adoption.  The designer at Funky Fish designed these to raise support for Project Hopeful.  When Project Hopeful started, the mom's that started it called themselves "The Hummingbird task force." .... Hence the hummingbird.  I liked the pendants for what they meant.  I purchased and forgot.  They got lost in the mail and then after a resend (great customer support), they arrived last night while I was on call.

I arrived home today and ripped open the envelope.  I loved it even more in person.  I flipped open the website to re-read their story so that when I gave the second one as a gift today I could explain it better to my friend.  On the website, I found a more detailed story about the hummingbird.

One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest - a huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging
wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the
edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and
powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought
there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.

This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked
up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the
stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals
watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, "Don't bother,
it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you
can't put out this fire."

And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless
and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a
mocking voice, "What do you think you are doing?" And the hummingbird, without wasting time or
losing a beat, looked back and said, "I am doing what I can."

I, we, can only do what we can, but as the family story from above discussed, we all MUST do something.  So, now, at least for today, I get it.  I can only do what I can do.  As much as my heart would like to single handed-ly solve the orphan crisis and then move on to sex trafficking and then and then and then.... but you see, there is always an "and then" 

What do I about that girl?  I pray that there is a family for her.  I advocate for her and the next child just like her.  I pray for my boy that will be coming home soon.  I fight for the children who are in my care at work and what is best for them.  And then, I repeat tomorrow.  That is what I do for now.  What will you be "doing"?  What is your "something"?


  1. As always Nat I am so thankful for your honesty and your heart. You my friend are one of my kindred spirits.

    I loved the example given of the woman who is turning her apartment into a basement for a teenage mom. That is such an amazing example of orphan care that most people would never even think of!

    I too struggle with not doing enough. Often. I cry tears over this thought. But I remember that God loves the orphans more than I could ever love them and his plan for them is good and so much better than any plan I could ever come up with.

    Love ya!

  2. Hello from Addis! It's 4 am here...my body is clearly still on Ohio time. So...reading your blog and my heart is screaming out AMEN. After spending yesterday at our son's orphanage, I find myself overwhelmed by my smallness. THANK YOU for posting this Natalie! Can't wait for our sons to meet! Let me know if there is anything I can pick up or do for you while here in Ethiopia! -Kate