Several months ago, we had the great privilege of meeting Clint and Esther Ouma. The Ouma family live in Moshi, Tanzania and have a passion for caring for orphans and for adoption. When we first met, they were introduced to us as a couple pursuing adoption of a little girl Gabriella (or Gabby) from a local orphanage that we were connected with. Naturally, we were intrigued and inspired by what God was doing in their lives. We just had to learn more.
Esther is a pediatrician at a local hospital and became aware of Gabby’s plight when she was first born in December 2013. A heart connection was made and soon thereafter, Esther and Clint decided that they would pursue adopting this precious girl. As the happy couple spent time getting their family ready (both them as a couple and speaking with their families of origin), Clint and Esther made regular trips to the orphanage to spend time with their girl and also invest in the lives of the other children there. The formal adoption process started in March 2015 and lasted 9 months before they could begin fostering her in December. Because adoption in Tanzania is rare and government offices are understaffed, the adoption process is typically quite convoluted. But the Ouma’s stuck with it and rejoiced upon bringing her home.
Clint articulated so beautifully the calling and understanding that he and Esther have through this adoption.
I believe adopting children is an integral part of God’s Kingdom strategy. We are all adopted into His family to become partakers of the Kingdom and to be called children of God. I once learned that grace is a gift that costs everything to the giver and nothing to the receiver (Philip Yancey – Whats So Amazing About Grace). We as Christians, or rather as children of God, have been called to exercise our God-likeness in His honor and that is to be dispensers of His love and grace. When I was deciding whether to take this step and adopt a child, the deceiver kept telling me that it would cost me my whole life because a child is not a temporary assignment and she would change everything. She will be my daughter for as long as I live. But the Holy Spirit said “that’s not so bad, is it?” What greater love is there than to lay your life down for another. This is the grace by which He saved us. I think every one working towards being like Christ should adopt a child or sponsor a child or simply take a participatory role in raising a child. There are so many kids in homes and rehabilitation centers. Its scary for us to go in and give ourselves away like that, but many of them are scared of everything outside the walls of those homes. Our entry brings light and life to a neglected soul. God uses people to carry out His will. We are the change we have been waiting for. We are the answer to the prayers we have been making. We are the laborers he led us to ask for. We are the children of God, His instruments and His voice in the world. For God so loved the world that he sent His Son… For His Son Jesus so loved the world that he sent His Church… for the Church so loves the world, that it is sending you.
Adoption has been a challenge in our East African setting partly because of the cultures. Many people who have ability often take in their relatives and raise them rather than adopting. A number of Christians are praying hard to be able to conceive their own children rather than taking the chance to adopt a child. Some think only people who can’t have children adopt. Adoption is then considered a declaration that you have a physical problem especially if you don’t have your own children. Another major obstacle is the cost and processes involved with the adoptions. Finally there’s the fear that the child may eventually reject them as parents. Most of these challenges can be overcome through the dissemination of appropriate knowledge and real life examples. We did not take Gabby as any statement or show, we just wanted to raise her and be her parents. I have already received more than a just reward in being her father for the last 6 months. Everyday going forward is a bonus.
While God was doing all this in their lives, Kingdom Families leadership was able to connect with the family as a source of encouragement and help with any logistical directives needed. We got them connected to a local adoption attorney who is capable of helping the Ouma family finalize their adoption. They hope to have the adoption finalized in the next few months and the cost for legal fees in their case is $2500 USD. Kingdom Families is committed to supporting this amazing family and seeing that their personal financial cost is zero.
We are working to see a culture shift in Tanzania where orphans are no longer on the streets or growing up in institutions, but embraced as sons and daughters. Clint and Esther embody this change that God is doing and we believe wholeheartedly that this is worth our time and money and it’s also worth your time and money.
We also believe that this kind of giving makes sense. Think of a little girl like Gabby at age 2 (when she began being fostered by Clint and Esther), if instead she stayed at the orphanage and gained a monthly sponsor at $50 a month. Four years later that $2500 would have been used up and she’d still be a six year old orphan growing up in an institution.
But with adoption, at age 2 she becomes a daughter to two amazing parents. She doesn’t grow up with an orphan stigma or not knowing her identity and self-worth. She grows up knowing the love, care and protection of having parents. And we get to play a part in that. One of the main things that we hear about why people won’t consider adoption in Tanzania is because of finances. We get to write God’s counter-narrative that says God provides for families that adopt and God sets the lonely in families.
If you’d like to be a part of supporting Clint, Esther and Gabby in their adoption, please do so by giving online here. Write “Adoption Support – Ouma” in the comment section. Kingdom Families is a project of Global-Effect Ministries, a 501(c)3 non-profit based in California. All donations are tax-deductible. If you have any questions for Kingdom Families or encouragements for the family, you can contact here. Whether you choose to pay a small amount or pay the cost in full, thank you. You are a part of seeing orphans in Tanzania be orphans no longer.