Defining Moments – Carissa’s Post

Last time I posted about one of the major defining moments in my life.  I talked my friend Carissa into writing some of her memories of the same day.  Here is some of what she wrote:


I remember a lot of concrete. This was an orphanage for the mentally and physically disabled. As we walked up to the metal doors and waited on a mentally challenged teen to open the door, it felt surreal, almost like a horror movie.

Inside we were led up a few flights of concrete stairs. I can still see the layout of that floor. The rooms were lined up, in all their grayness, with different ages and abilities in each. The second room made me freeze. There were maybe 8-10 toddlers tied to potty chairs, just sitting there rocking.

The next room had beds for kids who couldn’t get up. The bed closest to the window was empty, but you could see exactly where the child always laid. The hollow and the pee stains looked old. The girl in the next bed looked like the Toy Story doll without any hair. I remember my heart felt a little warmer when the volunteer who had brought us pointed to the picture above the bed. It had a name on it. Someone did value her!

Then it was lovin’ time! These girls from the UK would come every day and take one kid, for one hour each and just give them attention. How cool was this! They had a room with padding on the floor and a few balls and toys. The volunteers would brush teeth, sing and play, change diapers (very, very dirty diapers) and smile a lot. I remember playing with one little boy and giving him piggyback rides. He had this piece of string that he would wind around his finger and then hide back in his teeth. After play time was over, they told me I was hanging out with a 15 year old girl. Yeah, a little strange.

Feeding time was another shock to my system. All these little kids needed to be fed in a timely manner I guess, so the orphanage workers just shoveled it in faster than I thought possible. And then it was my turn to feed. I sat in front of this 2 or 3 or 4 year old and tried to get the big metal spoon into his mouth. And then my eyes met his. I saw Jesus. I don’t know how, but that is what I saw. Jesus’ eyes were staring back at me. This was one of the “least”. I will never forget that.

Before we left the orphanage that day, they took us on a quick walk around the building. Many rooms with many kids, sitting in beds.  I don’t remember much except the empty faces. And giving my Band-Aid and my ABC gum to two excited kids. They had nothing.

It took me days to process what I had seen. Even now, 13 years later, the memories bring deep emotion with them. That day at Siret will always be with me. And I am a better person because of it.


This is just part of Carissa’s journey in loving the “least”, but today her and her husband Jon are in the process of adopting two babies from Uganda.  If you are interested in helping their dream come true, here is a link to their facebook, they are doing a t-shirt sale to raise funds.  They are an awesome example of intentional parenting. Every time I’m with them I’m inspired. 


Men’s Front                                                           Ladies Back

 Truthfully it feels kind of funny to do this, because you know, only “real” bloggers do giveaways.  But this cause is so exciting to me, I can’t help but be a part of it.

If you leave a comment on this post, by Friday March 4, I’ll enter you into a random drawing for two of Jon & Cari’s t-shirts.  One for you and one for the man in your life.  

So you’ve got nothing to lose, leave a comment! I’ll announce the winner on a pulse; and then get in touch for the address and stuff. Thanks Everybody!

14 thoughts on “Defining Moments – Carissa’s Post

  1. I only know of John and Carissa through mutual friends, but I see in them such a heart for others. I think it is awesome that they are in the process of adopting two more kids into their already (somewhat) large family.I would love to have one of those t-shirts.  But if I win, I would also like to send a donation to help them and cover the expense of the shirts.

  2. I met Carissa at HBS, but haven’t seen her in years. Amazing what they’re doing. Love the shirts! Very cool idea to raise money. And sweet of you to do a giveaway!

  3. Oh, I lOVE hearing about adoption! I don’t know for sure whether or not God will lead us in that direction, but it really tugs for both of us. This is so sweet of you.

  4. Seriously, this makes me want to cry.  The toddlers tied to potty chairs … it breaks my heart to hear the words.  I can’t imagine seeing it first hand.  

  5. This post made me feel a tight in my chest and pain…actual physical pain.  Oh, my children like these stir my heart like few other things in life.  But then there’s the reminder of how little I am and how selfish.  i keep hearing the words from an adoption seminar–we want to adopt the cutest, the brightest, the star athlete, but Jesus would have rescued the outcast, the one no one wanted, the crippled one.  Why is my heart so selfish?  Why would I want to rescue all of these children, but the truth is I’m not up there vying for someone with huge needs?  I know that we have limits and specific callings, but the glare of my own self-centeredness chills me.  What stood out to me in this post is when she said, “I looked into his eyes and I saw Jesus,” about meal time.  Isn’t that what you had seen, too?  I didn’t go back to check, but I’m thinking you kind of experienced the same thing.  I was going to leave this comment before I saw there was a give-away; but I’d love to win.  I’d be proud to sport that T-shirt!

  6. You ladies both put it so well.  I can see and feel it like I was there myself.  And the tears it brings are convicting, compassionate, grateful (for the good life I have.  The good life my children have.) and horror-filled all in one lump.  I am interested in your friends and their ministry.   God bless them.

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