Sunday, September 12, 2010

So HOW did we get from being a comfortable family of 4.... to a family desperately pursuing an Ethiopian Adoption?

Here is a little background to HOW this journey started for our family..... Our church decided to roll out a "Living a Better Story Campaign". We had an anonymous donor doante $25,000 to our church and they handed the money out to our congregation. Rules were to give it AWAY outside the walls of our church. PRAY over the money; mulitply it like Jesus did with the loaves and fishes and see what happens... IF you would have told us that day that with this $35 gift, we would go on a mission trip to Africa and adopt a child from there, then we would have told you that you were nuts, or we would have looked in the pew behind us to see who you were talking to.

This African adoption, or any adoption, or going on any mission trip was no way, not even kind of or sort of, on our radar screen....

This was God's plan and we are humbly following his desire for our family... which has NOW become OUR desire. This story was shared and featured on the Belmont University "Living a Bettery Story Page". "The Living a Better Story Journey" is now being rolled out to Colleges and Universities across the U.S. We believe this is an amazing way to get involved HELPING someone else less fortunate. It is a GREAT teaching moment for young people and families alike to share in God's glory.

We are fundraising the $30,000 needed for our son's adoption to witness to people that "God funds what he favors." We know this was HIS desire for our family and he is very much still multiplying our $35 gift, just like HE did with the loaves and the fishes. We also want to advocate for the Waiting Orphans all over the globe. There are 147 Million Orphans who need a FOREVER family. 147 Million that don't have anyone to tuck them in at night, or comfort them when they are scared, or tell them that they are loved. If you would like to see photolistings of some of these children from our trip, please contact me. I would so love to share with you some pictures of God's children that are desiring more than anything to be picked and to have the opportunity to feel your love. Contact me at and I will be happy to get you the information on HOW to see these precious faces....

Here is OUR story that we submitted to our church and to the "Living a Better Story" organziation.....

The Payne Family’s Story
Posted on August 31, 2010 by admin
Here is our story.

Our names are Philip, Gina, Robby & Caitlin Payne. We have been members of Brentwood United Methodist Church (BUMC) since 2003. As Reverend Wright told us about the journey we were going to be a part of, I was nervous, trying to figure out what we would do to multiply our gift. We each took an envelope that morning, not knowing what to expect.

Three of us received a $5 bill and my husband received a $20. We discussed what to do with our money and how to multiply it.
We knew that we wanted to support Katie Davis with Amazima Ministries, who is a local girl from Brentwood, who now lives in Uganda, Africa. She is 21 years old and is a mama to 13 orphan girls and feeds over 1,200 kids a day in Africa. My family was so moved by her story and we knew we wanted to raise our money for her ministry.
We held a yard sale, collecting donations from our friends and neighbors. Our kids, Robby, 13, and Caitlin, 11, spent the $35 gift on breakfast items and sold breakfast at the yard sale. We raised $563. All of this happened in May.

The kids had such a great time fundraising for Katie and we were quite sad for our journey to be over. Our family had read Katie’s entire blog, and had met some local people who were adopting from Africa. My husband and I spent time reading and talking a lot to each other over our Spring Break trip (April), whether God was putting adoption front and center of our hearts for us to adopt. We began researching this possibility. I was much more on board with this idea than my husband. He wasn’t not on board; it was just a lot to process for him, and clearer for me.

After the yard sale, I spoke to my son about the possibility of us adopting to see what he thought. He was immediately on board – just like I was. We knew we had to wait and pray for his father and sister to get on board with this. The next morning, he told me that he had a dream that he had a brother and that he was dark skinned. I told him to continue to LISTEN to what God was telling him.

End of June, still waiting for my husband’s heart to “catch up” with mine, I found a mission trip through Ordinary Hero leaving for Ethiopia, Africa in three weeks. They were about to close the mission trip, but they had a few spots available. In 48 hours, I convinced my husband that I was supposed to go on that trip.

That was the easy part; the hard part was convincing him that my 13-year-old son was supposed to go with me. He finally said yes, and we began fundraising with a very short window for our trip. We raised $4,000 to go on this trip. Again, a pure example of where God kept on multiplying our gift. I began to watch my husband’s and my daughter’s heart soften to the orphans we were about to visit, halfway around the globe. We began talking to others who had adopted from Africa, who had a heart for adoption, and asked some of the real questions we had about what it is like to become a multi-racial family.

It was a life-changing trip on so many levels. We fell in love with this beautiful country and its people. My son and I watched God provide more than enough on so many occasions on this trip. We prayed for enough food, enough clothes, enough shoes — and he always faithfully provided. I am so grateful to have been part of this trip. There were 22 of us on this trip and it was abundantly clear that God had handpicked each one of us to be in on this journey together.

On the fifth day there, our morning orphanage visit didn’t work out. In Africa, itineraries can soon go out the door and that is just how it is. That afternoon, we had a call from an adoption agency director letting us know of a new orphanage that had just opened the day before where eight kids had just arrived. She asked if we could go and provide some clothes, shoes or a toy if we had enough and to just play with the kids. They had all just lost so much.

This was such a special day for us. I will NEVER forget it. You see, it is here on this unscheduled orphanage visit, that my son and I fell in love with a 3 year old boy. He had just arrived here the day before. His mother had died and his father was a rural farmer that couldn’t provide for him and had made the gut wrenching choice to give him up for adoption. I texted my husband that evening (yes, from Africa) and told him about the little boy. The text he sent me back was amazing. He asked me what we needed to do to get the little boy home to our family!!!!

The next morning, while I am still in Africa, he called and set up our first home study visit to pursue adoption. God had worked on his heart so swiftly, and he was as happy as I was about starting the adoption process. At last we were at the same place for what God was asking us to do! He told me when we returned that he knew this was God’s plan for our family!! We knew that we might not be able to pursue this little boy; we had just started our paperwork journey with this process. We knew that God had already selected a child for our family and we were anxious to get this long paperwork process going!

Amazingly, six days after our return home, and the morning of our first home study appointment, I received an email from the same agency director telling us that if we could move at lightning speed that we could pursue this little boy we had met on our trip!!!! What a blessing!

We announced our news on Aug. 7 to our friends and family!!

We need to fundraise the $30,000 needed for this adoption – again desiring to watch God fund what he favors. I keep hearing him tell me more than enough. I know that it is his plan for us to share our story through fundraising for this adoption, and by doing this we may open the hearts of others along the way. We desire to educate others about the orphan crisis that exists here in this world. There are over 147 million orphans in this world, who need a forever family.

Can you believe all of this started with the $35 gift? It is surreal at times. Africa and adoption was the farthest thing from our minds that day we took an envelope. I knew he had plans, but we didn’t realize they would be so BIG!

We want to thank BUMC from the bottom of our hearts. We want to thank the wonderful donor who made the Living a Better Story journey possible for our family and our congregation.

It has truly changed and is still changing our family! He is still multiplying that mere $35 gift and it has touched people we know here and people we met abroad. Thanks to God for always being faithful and showing us his Love in a way that we had never felt!

We invite you to read our family blog that chronicles this entire journey that we have been on. Visit our blog at

Love in Christ,
Philip, Gina, Robby and Caitlin Payne

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