As we’re about to unfold our own global adoption story quietly here this week, I could not be more excited about this vision for a world-changing summer by Jamie Martin. Jamie didn’t plan to create a mini-United Nations with her family, but God had other ideas in mind. With a husband hailing from England, a biological son, and internationally adopted children from Liberia and India, she watched in awe as God brought them together from the corners of the earth. But after becoming a family new questions began: How could she honor her kids’ global diversity? How could she connect them with this hurting world, helping them first fall in love with it so that one day they’ll be inspired to change it? After trial and error and a lot of prayer, Jamie found the answer was a simple one—and she shares it with us today. It’s a grace to welcome her to the farm’s front porch today…
I sat by the edge of the island, watching God show off.
If you’ve ever had the chance to visit Hawaii, you know that’s what He likes to do there.
Miraculously, I had the beach all to myself as a full moon crept over the horizon and the crimson violet of sunset shadowed nearby palm trees.
To my right stood the turquoise guest house where we were staying, to my left the turquoise waves of the Pacific Ocean.
The kids had left behind the remains of their day’s busy work: inflatable inner tubes piled lopsided in a corner, crumbling sandcastles with plastic shovels nearby. With jetlag as their bedtime companions, they’d headed eagerly inside to an early sleep.
I didn’t try to hold back my tears as I whispered lavish thanks to the heavens for this idyllic vacation.
But Hawaii wasn’t our final destination.
In less than one week we’d board new flights and land in the Philippines, where we’d spend the summer as part of my husband’s work with Love146, a charity working toward the abolition of child trafficking and exploitation.
In less than one week we’d drive by hundreds of cardboard shacks—and those who dwell in them—on our way to Love146’s safehome, where a dozen girls live who have suffered some of the worst atrocities known to mankind.
Resting on the sand surrounded by nature’s splendor, how could I reconcile these two extremes? Hawaiian sunsets on one hand, child slavery on the other?
My own kids taught me how that summer.
No matter where we went, they were all there.
My ten-year-old daughter Trishna laughing in the ocean, or giggling with trafficking survivors her own age.
My nine-year-old son Jonathan snorkeling alongside colorful fish, or going with Daddy to buy Lego for Filipino boys who’d never had any.
My youngest, eight-year-old Elijah, digging with a mission in the sand, or gazing with empathetic eyes at the signs of extreme poverty on the streets.
Children don’t let the darkness of the world overshadow its beauty. They don’t make judgments. They just try to love—whatever and whoever stands in front of them.
You’ve seen this in your own littles, who live with awe and wonder as their daily companions—picking up a rock to examine, planting a kiss on the crease in your forehead, staring at a hawk overhead, beaming a sudden smile at a stranger.
And you know what? Almost always, the stranger smiles back. For a split second, our little one’s unconditional love brightens someone’s world.
Children start out this way, but often something happens.
We know, because it most likely happened to us, too.
Worries crowd out wonder.
Selfishness crowds out sacrifice.
Longing for more crowds out love for what is.
Problems crowd out people.
Knowing this, how can we strengthen our kids’ natural love for the world so it sticks around for the long haul? How can we grow it into their lifelong companion, one that leads them to care for others because of their deep passion for this planet and the people on it?
Thankfully, we have at our fingertips a miracle vaccine—one that can boost our immunity to the world’s distractions and heaviness. Story.
Well-chosen stories connect us with others, even those on the other side of our globe.
Build your kids’ lives on a story-solid foundation and you’ll give them armor to shield themselves from the world’s cynicism.
You’ll give them confidence to persevere in the face of life’s conflicts. You’ll give them a reservoir of compassion that spills over into a lifetime of love in action.
Parents naturally get concerned when we look at the state of the globe today. And it’s true—your children and mine will one day inherit a world filled with unique issues and problems.
But this is no accident. They have been chosen to lead their generation through its difficulties. Destined for this moment in history.
With love, faith, and compassion firmly rooted in their spirits thanks to the power of story, they’ll be able to see beyond the headlines.
Nothing will be too much for them. Our job is to fill their lives with that love, faith, and compassion today—so they can rest their feet on a story-solid foundation in their tomorrows.
This is what happens when you combine falling in love with the world and falling in love with story.
The world changes, one heartbeat and one page at a time.
I absolutely love this book! This one book, and a library, and you get to unpack the most world-changing summer with your family!
Jamie’s newest release, Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time, features a carefully curated reading treasury of the best children’s literature for each area of the globe, as well as practical parenting suggestions and inspiration. Called “an invaluable resource” by LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow, it includes more than 600 book recommendations from around the world, organized by region, country, and age range (ages 4-12). Introduce your children to the globe from the comfort of home by simply reading books together, then watch as they grow up to impact this world in the unique ways only they can. You have to read this book — for the best summer for your kids, right from home!
[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]