Love Will Find a Way—JCO Children’s Home Turns 5!
My goodness things have changed. This week marks our 5 Year Anniversary of the JCO Children’s Home in Kenya! It was just five years ago that we opened our doors to 10 amazing kiddos and we are all forever changed. Since then we have added more children. Some of them have grown up and moved on, but most of them are still living with us and doing really well. They are an awesome bunch and we are so thankful to have them!
I just recently returned from spending 5 weeks with our children in Kenya and I have been reflecting on how much has changed over the years. I can’t think of anything more beautiful than seeing the progress these amazing kiddos have made. The changes have been really drastic and many of you know about their miraculous stories. And although the changes in my perspective have been much more subtle, I still think that they are important to share.
I started this journey charging full speed ahead because this is what was right, this was my purpose in life and I was going to get it done. However, at some point something in me shifted. This project went from being a “mission to accomplish” to becoming just a part of me. Our children and our team in Kenya are now a huge a part of my life, my family and feel like an extension of myself. I am honestly not sure what I ever did without them.
This time 5 years ago Mrs. Opot, Patrick, and I were deciding which children we could take, meeting them and learning their stories. We were also negotiating on the prices of bunk beds, buying pink and blue sheets, mattresses, pillows, cups, plates—all for the first ten kiddos that would live at our home. We were hiring and training staff and trying to plan for every little thing, but none of us knew what to expect when we opened our doors and created a new home. It was exciting, stressful, fulfilling, and it wore me out.
A big part of that stress was from me trying to control every aspect of the situation, trying to find comfort in “covering all of my bases.” Don’t get me wrong, all of the details are extremely important and we must prepare as best we can. However, it is also just as important to recognize that when you are dealing with human beings there is only so much that you have control over. This is a lesson that I imagine most parents learn and that is ok, that is just part of life.
This is where faith comes in, with a healthy dose of patience. These kiddos had been through so much and I instantly wanted to take away all of the pain and hurt and let the healing ensue. But, it doesn’t work that way. True healing takes time. It takes consistent love and encouragement, a true feeling of safety. There is no set amount of time, it is different for everyone and it is part of his or her journey. We just try our best to do everything that we can for them and then have faith that love will find a way…
Five years later, the healing continues for all of us. These 17 children are truly amazing. They have come so far—they are some of the bravest souls I have ever met. They inspire me beyond comprehension and at the same time, they are just children. They sometimes fight over toys and most of our boys abhor the idea of bathing. They love to play soccer, play drums, play UNO, color, watch movies, read books, wrestle in the yard and learn about new things. While they all have good days and bad there is an overall love for life and for each other in our home and I am so thankful. It has been the most incredible 5 years of my life and I look forward to the years to come! Thank you to each one of you in our global family for all of the love and support—we couldn’t do it without you!
With Love & Gratitude,