As far as I can tell, this all started for me (Jessica) a couple of years ago when my cousin’s wife, Diane, told me about human trafficking – particularly sex trafficking. She’s involved in a ministry in North Carolina that helps victims of human trafficking. I couldn’t believe that this type of thing went on here in the U.S. Over the next couple of years, God just kept bringing this topic to my attention: through books, movies, news articles, random forwarded emails, and much more. A few months ago, He spoke to me so clearly saying, “Jessica, you need to help these victims.” This has been confirmed tremendously over the last few weeks, especially as I listened to the Passion conference online, which took place the first week of January. The whole conference centered around human trafficking and how we can help. While I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I can get more involved (I’ve been praying, asking earnestly, researching), it certainly plays a role in adopting Maria. Roughly 80% of girls in her situation will enter prostitution upon being released from the government’s care at age 16 (with $500, no education, and no people skills) unless she’s adopted.
Back to before we knew about her though… While the Lord was working in my heart about human trafficking, He was similarly working in Daniel’s heart concerning the poor. God repeatedly brought to his (and our) attention how blessed we are and that someday we will have to give an account for how we used our time, talents, money – even our house. Over Christmas break, we listened to a lot of sermons, and it just so happened that there was always a focus on the poor. A verse from James kept coming up – “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” – James 1:27. Daniel couldn’t seem to get this out of his head. He kept asking the Lord, “Ok – what do you want us to do?” The upstairs of our house has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a bonus room. About a week before we found out about Maria, Daniel asked me, “What do you think about letting someone live upstairs?” At that time, we had some people in mind, but little did we know God was planning for a little girl half way around the world.