One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Blogging is a funny thing in that it gives everyone the chance to stand up tall on their soap boxes and boldly declare I AM RIGHT ABOUT THIS AND ALL THE THINGS!

I say this with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek because, Hi! I’m a blogger.

That said, even I find myself weary of all the chatter online sometimes, but I find that the chatter only frustrates me when it pertains to subjects for which I feel a significant amount of passion.


Orphan care  – For me, that’s a big one, and more and more I’m seeing posts that frustrate me.

Posts that take unnecessary digs at adoption, at Christians who work to make orphanages more comfortable, crop up now and again, and I find myself terribly annoyed at this idea that the “Christian Orphan Care Movement” is actually doing more harm than good for children in the world.

This attitude incites a sense of shame and guilt for those people who really just want to help. To be clear, it’s not the topic that I disagree with, it’s the attitude that families who want to adopt, or to help bless children in orphanages, are contributing to a world-wide problem that leaves me with a sour taste.

Here’s the thing – there is no one size fits all solution to the orphan crisis. In a perfect world, yes – all children would grow up inside their own families, their own countries, their own cultures. Absolutely, I believe that that is the ideal.


This world is not perfect, and the solution to children growing up in institutionalized care is convoluted. It will look different for every child, for every family, and for every country.

Photo by Keely Scott

Photo by Keely Scott

There are children all over the world who have been orphaned for a thousand different reasons. Some are orphaned by drugs and alcohol, some are simply abandoned. Some are orphaned by tragedy, others are orphaned because their physical needs are too great a burden. Some are orphaned because their culture and government dictates life in such a way that parents have little choice.

The reasons for a child to be left in an orphanage are far too great, and they each require different solutions. While I do not want to assume that adoption is right for every child in every orphanage, I do want to say to parents who are hoping to adopt, in the process to adopt, dream of adopting – you’re doing a good thing! You’re offering a child hope for a future outside the confines of the orphanage. Don’t ever feel guilty for that – ever.

To those who are working to restore children to families who simply couldn’t afford to raise their children – you’re doing a good thing! Thank you for working so hard to reunite children with their families. Don’t ever feel guilty for that – ever.

To those who are working to make orphanages more comfortable and livable – you’re doing a good thing! Providing a stable shelter, offering clothing and supplies, funding renovations and better equipment – these are all necessary to making sure that children inside orphanages are receiving the best they possibly can given their current circumstance. Don’t ever feel guilty for that – ever.

To those who host orphans for a brief period of time then send them back to their homes – you’re doing a good thing! Many of you will move forward to bring those children into your homes permanently. Others will love those children from afar, and give them the hope of knowing that they are loved and valued inside this world. Don’t ever feel guilty for that – ever.

I do believe that children orphaned by poverty are some of the most devastating, because I feel the heartache of a family who simply cannot afford to raise a child. This is a travesty, and in areas where this most often happens, let’s keep working together to help these families stay together.


Next week, a team of bloggers will head to Uganda to talk about the work of Compassion International. This is the 5-year anniversary of Compassion Bloggers, and it will undoubtably produce amazing words and images that will allow us to see what orphan prevention looks like. Because of their hard work, Compassion International is keeping families together, keeping children out of orphanages, and keeping communities in tact. I’ve seen them do this, and I’ve never been the same for it.

There are so many solutions to the orphan crisis that people are working on around the world, and I’m grateful for each one of them. We need to keep working together to defend the orphan, in whatever capacity that may look like. This isn’t a battle of Conservative Christian verses Liberal Christian and who has the best solution. Rather than continuing the argument about who is doing the best/worst job in defending the orphan, let’s work together to be part of the solution to orphan care (and prevention).


Drive Mercy


It’s hard to put into words the admiration I hold for Kristen and her husband. It would make her uncomfortable to know I admire her. Though I’ve never met her personally, I know from a few shared emails and from years of reading her blog that she doesn’t want any credit for the amazing work that’s being done through Mercy House Kenya.

My admiration for her and her husband does not come from the results of their work, but rather from the evidence of their obedience. They said “yes” to a really, really hard thing. They chose to follow the path of, as she calls it, a “God-sized dream.”

There’s a true beauty in obedience. When we’re willing to sacrifice everything, to lay it all down and follow the hard path, amazing things can happen. We’re all on the path to obedience in some way or another, whether we know it or not. It could be choosing to raise our children a specific way, following a dream, or simply living in a way that inspires others.

This week, Lee and I took a final step of obedience. Actually, this step was more mine than his, but he’s walked each step of the way with me. This week we officially acknowledged, out loud, our decision to stop pursuing adoption for the time being. In making this decision, we felt like the best way to lay this dream and longing down on the altar of obedience was to return the funds that were donated to us for the purpose of adoption.

It no longer felt right to keep those funds for something that may never happen.

I hate writing these things. I hate that I’ve had to lay this desire down. I wish this wasn’t my lot of obedience. And yet…

There’s something beautiful about sacrificing for obedience. There’s a new hope that’s birthed from fully dying to self and opening your hands wide – to saying “Yes” when it hurts.

Kristen and Terrell said yes to what God had planned. They felt a calling that, at first, seemed ambiguous and cloudy. Help women and babies in Africa. Where do you even go with a desire like that? If you’ve read along with Kristen’s journey and the start of  Mercy House Kenya, then you know that what started as an ambiguous idea has turned into a huge dream that is currently changing the lives of 12 young mothers and their babies.

Mercy House Kenya

Mercy House Kenya is more than a maternity home – it is a place where mothers and children are kept safe, and are kept together. Mercy House is orphan prevention, and in this time of uncertainty in our own family, Lee and I feel passionate about remaining at work in the process of orphan care. If we can’t bring one to our home, then by God I want to make sure children remain in their own homes.

Right now, you and I have an amazing opportunity to do something big – something huge. And we can do it from right here, in our own homes. We can go to Kenya today without leaving the comfort of our own homes.

Mercy House and (in)courage have teamed up with a group of bloggers to kick start a four month campaign to help provide essentials to the safety and sustainability of Mercy House and it’s 12 moms and 12 babies. 

There are five projects that we would love to see completed just in time for Christmas and Phase 1? The phase you and I are jumping in on? It’s perfect.

We are going to be a part of raising $8,750 that will help purchase a new van for Mercy House.


What do you think? Can we bring a little Minivans Are Hot to Kenya?!


As of yesterday, we are almost half way to this goal. Today, by the end of the day, I’d love to see the funds fully raised for the new Mercy House van. This is something worth rallying for, my friends! This is a powerful testimony of the amazing things we can do together when we’re willing to say “yes!”

Will you join us as we help buy a van for these 12 mothers and their young ones? Will you help us change lives on the other side of the world? Will you be a part of the miracle? Here’s how it works:


Click this link to head over to the Pure Charity page, which will allow you to give directly to the purchase of a new Mercy House van.

You can see the other projects that are coming up in the next few weeks by clicking here. By Christmas, we’d love to see $74,000 raised to complete all five necessary projects. This is huge. This is the power of social media at it’s very finest. This is the way to bless and be blessed.

So who’s in? Who wants to be a part of this one really big thing?

Would you do me a favor and share what’s going on here? Would you tell your friends? Let’s work together to see this first phase of (in)Mercy completed by the end of the day.


May your “yes” and my own be blessed today. Happy Friday, friends.