Yesterday, I interviewed actress, mom and funny lady Mary Steenburgen. She and her daughter Lilly own a candle company called Nell’s Compass and they donate a portion of the proceeds from every single purchase to Heifer International. I was so pleased when I read it and so I asked Steenburgen about it when I spoke to her.
Hearing her talk so passionately about a charity that I love was uplifting. Heifer International works with communities around the world to end poverty and hunger. The organization does so by giving livestock and training to individuals in need. It’s an amazing organization with a concept that works and changes lives.
But you know what? Before we adopted, I wasn’t aware of Heifer International. Nor was I aware of Kiva.org, a non-profit that takes your donation — which is actually a loan — and turns it into micro loans for individuals in countries where they cannot otherwise obtain loans. These loans allow them to start businesses that can support their families. Nor was I aware of several other organizations that work to truly make a difference in the lives of people around the world.
In fact, before we traveled to Vietnam to adopt our son, I was pretty darn naive. I didn’t think that at the time, but I can say with certainty now that I lived in a bit of a bubble. After coming home from Ethiopia, I knew I’d never be the same.
My kids were both born in incredible countries. I loved them both and cannot wait to return. Each of their birthplaces is rich with culture and history and visiting was a life changing experience for me. I also realized that I would rather travel to a developing country than stay in a five star resort, something I never could have imagined saying.
But that”s another post! This is about one of the many, many ways adoption has changed my life and opened my eyes. Separate from mothering and my kids directly, adoption opened my eyes to the world outside of my own. Because we adopted internationally, we had the opportunity to travel to amazing countries that I might not have considered visiting otherwise. In the process, I also became aware of so much and realized that even small things — a $25 donation to Kiva, for example — can change lives. It’s one thing to hear that people lack clean water. It’s another to see what a lack of clean water does.
The things I’ve experienced and learned are far too many to list in a blog post, but one of the unintended and unexpected experiences that adoption has offered to our family is an awareness that we did not possess before our kids joined our family.
How has adoption opened your eyes?