By Kari Janusz-
Our family first began receiving newsletters from All God’s Children International sometime around 2004. To this day we have no idea how we got on the organization’s mailing list, but I believe strongly that God placed us there. At the time, I had already been praying about adoption, but my husband Chris (who is adopted) was not quite there yet. I would lay out the newsletter on our kitchen table with the photos of children in the hope that God would soften his heart.
In December 2005, Chris asked me to go to Starbucks on a “date” and to bring my adoption information with me. So there we sat, discussing the possibility of opening our hearts and home to another child. I had already prayed about which country I felt God leading us to adopt from, but asked Chris what country he thought we should pursue. He looked up over my head for a second and said, “Guatemala*.” About a year later, he told me that when he looked up, he saw a sign advertising Guatemalan coffee, and knew that God was speaking into his heart. Chris and I both had ministered to Hispanic teens in New York City and knew that we felt at home with the culture.
I made a promise when we brought Wilmer home to the United States back on March 16, 2008. I promised the Special Moms of Dorie’s Promise that I would not forget them, that we would be back. Now, I am sure that they had heard that before, but we don’t make promises we can’t keep in our family. So in February 2009, we were on a plane to Guatemala on a mission trip to Hannah’s Hope/Dorie’s Promise. We continue to visit Dorie’s because of our desire to expose our son Wilmer to his culture, to maintain the friendships forged when Wilmer was growing up there, and because of our deep love for the country and her people. Guatemala and Dorie’s Promise are forever a part of our family, because they a part of our son Wilmer.
We feel strongly that God has called us to continue to support the place that raised our son for the first five years of his life. It is also important for us to continue to give opportunities for other children to be impacted by the tremendous love and care given at Dorie’s Promise by the Special Moms and staff.
Sponsorship allows us to see how the children are growing when we are not there.
Wilmer had a sponsor when he was at Dorie’s, and she reached out to me after we brought Wilmer home. This awesome woman had saved some of the drawings Wilmer did for her when she was sponsoring him. She sent those drawings to us, and we have framed them and hung them on our wall. Her impact as a sponsor continues to bring joy to Wilmer’s heart every time he looks at the pictures he made when he was young. Sponsorship has lasting impact. Even our 16-year-old son Caleb knows of the importance of sponsorship — he supports one of the teens at Dorie’s.
Mission trips provide such an awesome opportunity for people to bond with the children they sponsor. Personally seeing your sponsored child can make a huge difference. It changes the child from being a photo in your mind to a hug in your heart. Mission trips for our family provide us the ability to continue to grow the relationships that we already have with the children and staff there.
The bonds our family has with the children and staff are forever. Going back to Dorie’s is like going home. They are like family to us. The precious women and men who care so deeply for these children amaze us. Dorie’s Promise is a safe haven, an oasis for children and visitors alike. It is not just a house, it is a home. It is a place very hard to leave. That really is what sets Dorie’s apart from other places — it is a home. When God has His hand upon a ministry like this, you can feel His presence in such a palpable way.
If you want to find the kinds of connections the Januszes have, start by visiting our sponsorship section and reading about our children.
*International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008