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Saving the Starfish

November 4, 2023

Note: This is a guest article written by an adoption advocate.

by Katrina

Many times in the last year, my husband and I have talked in conversation about what our lives could offer a child, what we could teach a child, and what we could give a child. Of course, many things were brought up, such as education, activities, hobbies, and of course knowing the love of our heavenly father. However, it was not until now that we truly stopped to think about one thing we will most definitely give to our child, and truly to any child that we are in contact with: the power of action through our reactions to situations we face and see.

If God’s “forever family,” for our family, includes a child, I pray that we will glorify him in every way, including our actions and consideration of where he would like us to serve his purpose. We have been blessed to have an amazing, supportive church family with many families who have put serving God in top priority, allowing him to lead them wherever he will take them, through many different journeys.  Through these amazing families, we have joined a Sunday evening Bible study that focuses on the Orphan Crisis, and how the church will, can, and is helping to end extreme poverty. The study is called 58: Fast Living – How the Church Will End Extreme Poverty, written by Scott C. Todd.

Dr. Todd relates his experience most with the background of how God called him to really look at how we may not see the true end results of what we do here on earth; We may only see the broken pieces, but it is in those broken pieces that God can create, maintain, and sustain the life that he truly has created. Todd tells in the form of a little girl named Jacki. Jacki was a child who lived in Tanzania that had been affected greatly by the HIV Aids epidemic. Not only had she lost both of her parents and was moved into a small living space with her grandmother, but Jacki also had to bear the burden of HIV. Dr. Todd was seeking to help Jacki fight this disease by getting her into the treatment program to help sustain and regenerate her health. This program could only accept 53 applicants out of thousands. Jacki was accepted, but although she was a fighter, she was unable to begin the program before she herself met the same fate as her parents before her. However, through her spark, Jacki set God’s plan into motion. Todd reveals that upon Jacki’s death, he promised to do everything in his power to prevent another child from meeting that same fate.

After returning to Tanzania to read a letter at Jacki’s graveside for his own closure, Dr. Todd was unable to go to the graveside because of the time schedule for his trip. He did, however, meet God’s closure in the form of a little girl and a pink balloon. This little girl was the same age, same background, and same diagnosis as Jacki, yet she was alive and thriving. She was also among the 53 children on the list for the new lifesaving drugs, along with Jacki, but because of the work that had been done, the pink balloon girl had survived! Oh, and her name was Jacqueline. This sent chills down my spine; The kind of chills that God gives to say, “Hey, what more do I need to show you that you may know that I am in control, and I do not make mistakes.”

In November, as we look to National Adoption Month, we should remember that we can “save the starfish”, like in the story written by Loren Eiseley called, “The Star Thrower”

 A man was walking along the beach when he saw a boy picking something up and throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing”

“Throwing starfish back into the ocean,” he said. “The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, “I made a difference for that one.”

Let us make a decision that can light the fire in hearts of many who can work together to change the lives of thousands.

Todd goes on to bring this story a little closer to the here and now, just to show what we, as God’s hands and feet, can do for those who are in need of a forever family:

A man was walking along the beach when he saw a girl taking a picture of a starfish with her iPhone.

Approaching the girl, he asked, “What are you doing?”

“Uploading pictures of these starfish to my Facebook page and asking friends to Tweet the call to action.” She said, “The surf is up and the tide is going out, if I can get enough friends out here, we can get all these starfish back into the water before sunset.”

“Little girl,” the man asked, “what does tweet mean”

The girl rolled her eyes. She bent down, picked up a starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then she gave the man a wry, twinkly eyed smile and said”If you want to help out, this is how you do it.”

Within hours, thousands of children stormed the beach and every starfish was rescued.

So how can our lives be a call to action? How can we show our loving hearts, and put to use the gifts and blessings God has shown us to those who need it the most? By following the direction God is leading each of us. For some, it may be just the beginning of a journey across the world, like our friends who are entering their fourth adoption from Ethiopia. For others, it may be a waiting and serving the home front by getting conversations started about the Orphan crisis and the poverty crisis at home and afar. It may even be more of a call to prayer: “the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16, KJV)

As we go through the month of November, and we are called to think about the lives of those we have not yet met, the hope for the future of those who are waiting for a change in situation, living arrangements, or just for the chance to be loved unconditionally with no strings attached, let us remember that God calls everyday people, like you and me, to do extraordinary things; He calls us to be “starfish throwers.” Let your life reflect the call of your heart, and let us make sure that our lives reflect God’s blessing. He is faithful, so let us be faithful.  Let us take this time to volunteer at our local child care center, an after school program, a church group, or maybe even help with projects like Operation Christmas Child through Samaritans Purse. Let the gift that God has given you help reach those that he cares for.

In this study, my eyes have been opened to the large impact that one small step I take in my day can have. I have learned that I may not even realize how big of an impact each imprint may make on a heart that views the path I take. As the Body of Christ, let us open a door that could change just one life: it could inspire thousands. If you are in the journey of adoption, God is molding you and seeking your forever family for his perfect plan. If your heart is being tugged in the direction of adoption, seek out prayer and counseling, and don’t be afraid to ask God to show you what he has planned for you. You may be that person who can spark that flame in the heart of the another that God will use to change the lives of thousands!

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