Beyond Adoption: A Bigger Heart

By: - June 27, 2013

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Carmen, Jim, and Almaz huggingMy daughter is from the gorgeous, almost mystical, deeply historic country of Ethiopia. On our trip to adopt, both my husband and I fell in love with the rich culture, the friendly, kind people, and the landscape of the country. We also felt an overwhelming heart break for Ethiopia’s orphans and a strong calling to return to help the children.

Our initial push to Beyond Adoption  is a long and complicated story and I’ll spare you this time, but I will say that we were locked in to Ethiopia. One night, Jim and I were talking and I said, “I feel like my heart is too closed to other orphans. Why don’t I feel for other orphans what I feel for the orphans of Ethiopia?” Of course, we understood that it was easy to feel complete compassion for Ethiopia’s orphans when each face looked so similar to our daughter’s. But, could we stretch and grow? Was that what God was asking of us? We could only pray for God to speak to our hearts and move us in the right direction.

Less than a week after that conversation, we sat down with our soon to become partners, Orphan Outreach, and had a long talk about our love and passion for the orphans of Ethiopia. Then came the sentence that changed everything, “It’s too bad you don’t want to work in Kenya.” We were told about an area looking for sustainability, overwhelmed with need, and ravaged by poverty and disease. It wasn’t Ethiopia. The children looked different from our daughter. We began to pray.

Then, we went to Kenya. And God opened our hearts in the biggest way possible. One night in Kenya, I wrote on my Facebook, “I have plenty of space in my heart for two countries in Africa.”

I needed to be willing to love outside of my daughter’s birth country. I needed a bigger heart to get to that place. I needed to ask God to stretch me to feel the plight of orphans worldwide and not just those who looked like my daughter. And when I was open to it, God gave me a bigger heart.

Kenya quickly found its place in my heart. I love and admire the community and the determined people who run the Madeline School. And, I am overwhelmed with excitement about visiting Kenya again to work with the school in September. God has taken me to Kenya. How might God be stretching you? There are ample opportunities to serve children without traveling around the world. If you would like to sponsor a child or would like more information about Beyond Adoption, please visit,  or email [email protected].


Beyond Adoption is the global orphan initiative of Tapestry, a ministry of Irving Bible Church. Learn more about Beyond Adoption at


Also Found In: Beyond Adoption, Tapestry Blog