Can you say the name of at least one orphan?
Fall of 2008:
As Carlee Hilger watched Troy and Sarah Duble follow the Lord’s lead on adopting their son Drew, she recalls, “My eyes were opened to orphans. I realized that I did not know the name of one single orphan. Not one. That was not ok. I certainly was not following the James 1 mandate to love and visit orphans and widows if I couldn’t speak the name of one child. I could tell you the name of lots of widows… but not one orphan.”
The more she learned and prayed about orphans, the more she realized that money was a huge deterrent for most families who might have a desire to adopt. The questions began, “What if we could raise $100,000 to give to 10 families on Lookout Mountain that wanted to adopt? Better yet, what if we could have a big bowl full of money that was replenished from the bottom and never ran dry? Wouldn’t that be amazing?” So, Carlee and Sarah began to meet, pray, and talk about what an orphan ministry would look like in their community.
All along, Carlee felt that HER family would have to adopt if they were going to be involved in starting an orphan ministry. But her husband, Eddy, did not sense that “calling” for their family. After seeing the movie The Blindside, Eddy was deeply moved and began to pray, “Lord, if adoption is something you have for us, you are going to have to get me there.” It was an honest prayer, and he was really open to the Lord working in this way, though he never dreamed the Lord would actually answer that prayer!
Spring of 2009:
Carlee listened to a Focus on the Family podcast about the boy who gave his lunch for the Lord to work miracles in the midst of the people to feed them. The boy did not have a lot to give, and he did not know what the Lord would do with it. But he gave it anyway. While Carlee was traveling in the car by herself, she felt as though the Lord was asking her, “Do I have your lunch or not?” Carlee recalls, “I cried out to the Lord that there were many other people with better lunches than mine! I kept telling Him it was NOT MY LUNCH that he wanted. I knew nothing of adoption, I knew nothing of orphans, and we did not feel called to adopt as a family. So why me? Why MY lunch?” He gently kept repeating the phrase in my heart… “Do I have your lunch or not?”
Carlee says, “I remember pulling over and crying out to the Lord, FINE! You can have my lunch…whatever that looks like…you can have it! I don’t feel like I even have a lunch to give, but if you are asking, then I will give what I have.”
Winter of 2009:
From that day forward, Carlee and Sarah were committed to taking small steps of obedience. Those steps began as prayer meetings and potlucks with other individuals who had a heart for orphans. The momentum for orphan care was growing all around them. Their community was showing a lot of interest in orphan care, but there were still no funds to actually help families adopt. One December day, a man in our community approached Sarah and said, “My wife and I would like to give you the seed money to begin your adoption fund…we will start with $25,000!”
Lookout For Orphans began financially assisting adoptions in the Lookout Mountain Community, as well as supporting families through prayer and practical help. Since that day in December, Lookout For Orphans has raised a total of $180,000 that has provided financial aid for the adoption of 41 children, both in our Lookout Mountain Community and the greater community around us. The Lookout For Orphans fund is managed by Lifesong For Orphans. You can read about Lifesong For Orphans here.
Sarah and her husband, Troy, adopted their son Drew in 2008. You can read more of Drew’s story here. Since then, they have adopted another son, Ezra Derrick, from Uganda. You can read more about his story here.
Carlee and her husband, Eddy, adopted their son, Kervens, from Haiti in 2013. You can read about their journey at http://hilgersonthelookout.blogspot.com/