It was a profound opportunity to work with Shared Hope for Orphans. We loved the company of children and compassionate staff.
I was born in Rupert (USA), VT, a small town where we went to a 2-room schoolhouse from K- 6. I have 6 sisters and 2 brothers and many nieces and nephews. I am the next to the youngest child and growing up it was mostly just my younger brother and I living at home because there is about 8 years difference between me and the next oldest child. I am a very active person and have to be doing something all the time. In 6th grade I started boy scouts, which was fun and well educating and it helped me to learn teamwork and a good work ethic. I also started karate and put a lot of time and effort into that. Karate helped me go from a kid with low self-esteem to a young man who was able to teach classes for my instructor.
People always said I was very mature for my age. I have always had a burden on my heart for children. I hate to see them suffer and always wanted to adopt to try and give them a second chance. Remembering back to when I was a child (about 6 or 7) I remember seeing a commercial for the hungry children in Africa. At that point I knew that I wanted to adopt, I can remember playing as a child and saying that I was going to pick up my children that I adopted. I never said too much about it as I got older but the burden on my heart never went away. When I got married to my beautiful wife Kimberly on October 6, 2001 she was raising her 2 boys Josh and Tyler, and her nephew, Micah who I took on as my own sons. I eventually was able to adopt her boys. In June of 2003 our daughter McKenzie was born. This was our family for a while then God continued to tug on our hearts.
Kim and I started fostering children in hopes to be able to adopt them and all the while I still felt somehow we needed to go to Africa. Due to the financial burden of it we just kept pushing the idea away until the beginning of 2014. We decided to pursue an adoption in Uganda. We put in our home study what ages we were willing to adopt and let God do the rest.
In February of 2015 I was able to bring our 2 new sons, Joel and Yusuf to America. While I was in Uganda for the month of January, God began to open my eyes to the work that was going on with Shared Hope for Orphans Uganda (SHO). I spent many days at the orphanage while I was in Uganda and got to see the great need of the children and the staff. But even though there was great need, the joy which was at SHO was amazing to me. The children and the teachers were happy even though they had little to eat and the teachers had no idea when the school would be able to pay them again. One day while I was there, some builders came in from out of town knowing that the only payment they would receive that day was a meal. While I was in the classroom speaking English to the children, the workers constructed an office. Since returning to America I have taken on a volunteer position with SHO to be the International Program Coordinator.
My tasks include trying to help people understand their adoption process, trying to get the children from the orphanage sponsors so they can continue their education, and fundraising here in the U.S.A.
It was a thrilling experience. I remember my first week, it was the most spiritual moment I had ever felt my whole life.