Written by Katie Sallee and Ashley Eure
Laurence is a 17-year-old girl living with HIV in
Rwanda. Laurence’s parents died when she
was just two years old, and she was sent to live in an orphanage. For fifteen
lonely years, Laurence didn’t have access to the care she needed, and at times,
the painful skin condition she developed from her disease kept her out of
school and isolated from other children in the orphanage.
Laurence lived depressed and without hope. Because of her age and HIV positive status,
the orphanage claimed she was “unadoptable” - that no one would want her. Laurence couldn’t see an end to her
However, that is not how Laurence’s story ends.
Five hours away from the orphanage, a woman named Kabibi
also lives with HIV. Kabibi lost two
children in the Rwandan genocide, and though she heard God whisper that she
would have a family again one day, she couldn’t see how that was possible
without a husband. She asked God, “Will
you make me laugh like Sarah?”
Through the Global HIV&AIDS Initiative and the Rwanda
Orphan Care Initiative, Kabibi learned about Laurence, one of the last children
left in an orphanage, and her heart broke. Kabibi knew God had redeemed her pain so she
could redeem others, and she decided, no matter the opposition, she could be a
mother to Laurence.
As they met for the first time, Kabibi embraced her new
daughter. Tears streamed down both of their
faces as Kabibi told Laurence, “I’m going to be your mother.”
After years of living without a family, Laurence saw that
she could finally have a home with a mother who loved her deeply. She decided
to go with Kabibi.
With the help of a local Rwandan church and Saddleback
sponsorship, Kabibi has been able to
adopt Laurence. Just a few days
ago, Kibibi went to the orphanage to get Laurence. At last, Laurence left the orphanage and came
home to a family of her own - to a mom who will love her and make sure she gets
the HIV care she needs.
Half of the children who lived in orphanages in Rwanda
when we began matching orphaned children with loving families two years ago now
have a family of their own. Together as a church, we can reach the goal of zero
children living in orphanages in Rwanda.
Did you know you can sponsor a Rwandan family who is
willing to adopt a child like Laurence? For just $38 a month, you can bring a
child out of an orphanage. Please visit www.saddleback.com/sponsorship
for more information.