In her own words: My name is Claire and I am pursing God’s brave adventure for life. I am a mom, a baker, a social media coordinator, a musician, a hobby collector, and an avid user of sarcasm. I am addicted to going to school and think that chocolate is really what grew on the trees in the Garden of Eden. I love people, theology, and chocolate, but not necessarily always in that order.
I saw their faces.
I had been in love with adoption for awhile. We had a family friend who was unable to have children and slowly adopted five children from all over the world. She saw my interest and began telling me about the process, sending me DVDs of their trips to pick up their children. It implanted in my heart a love for adoption and possibly a yen for travel. I wanted to adopt from middle school onward. But I had never been to an orphanage or seen their hardship. I did not really understand the need.
Then, one summer I was given the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Moldova and work with orphans. I took Russian all through college so I would be able to help with translating and I got to work with orphans, it seemed like God made this mission trip for me. I went thinking about how I was such an asset to this team and how lucky these children were to have us. I’m not sure I would have said that out loud, but the feeling was there. We were bringing them hygiene supplies and teaching them about the Bible, so we must be extra holy.
When we got there, we took the longest van ride of my life to a small city and got a few hours of sleep before we jumped into ministry. I grabbed my guitar, we packed up the hygiene bags, loaded the toys we brought, and bought food to share. When we arrived at the orphanage, I saw their faces. I saw these faces for the first time in real life. Each child so beautiful and valuable. It just hit me so deeply that this trip was not about me. As we handed out each bag and child after child fawned over their new toothbrush, or the sandwich we handed them, or were just so deeply happy to have someone there who wanted to play with them, God pushed all ideas of myself as savior aside. These children needed love, they needed Jesus. I am so glad we were able to tell them about Jesus, to read to them from the Bible, but I know that God was most present in kickball and red rover. Throwing the kids up in the air, playing with chalk, allowing them to play with our camera, that’s where God’s love shown through.
Every day we got to greet and get to know all these beautiful little faces. We saw their living conditions and how little they had, yet we learned so much from their unconditional joy. We hugged many children who had never been hugged and told them how much they are loved. They drew pictures for us, one little boy brought me a rose, and hugged us until our bodies ached. I would have given anything to bring even one of them home with me. Sasha, Elvira, Vadim, Misha, Elisa, Vanya. I will never forget their faces. That experienced turned me upside down. I could not spend my money the same way I had when I had seen what others lack. I could no longer pursue the desire for “more” when joy clearing came from having less. I had to spread the Gospel, I had to fight the orphans cause because I had seen their faces.
Currently we support children who are not available for adoption overseas, and are working to bring home a child from India. We cannot wait until our child is united with our family. I cannot wait to see their face.