Two years ago, I made my first trip to Uganda with my friends Andrew and Carissa Gallo, a young couple who were part of my film crew for A NOTE OF HOPE. While we were there, I saw the attachment Andrew and Carissa had to the orphaned children we were filming. That tenderness showed up in their work as they filmed.
A year later, they returned to Uganda to visit Carissa's sister, Carly, who was working as a missionary for Children's Heritage Foundation, which runs a boarding school in Mukono. While they were there, they met a six-year-old girl whose mother had died of AIDS and whose father had abandoned the family, leaving her alone. This little girl, Rinah, captured their hearts. And even though they had only been married a short time and were in their early 20s, the Gallos decided to adopt Rinah before even having their own children.
Their paperwork is in process, but there are no guarantees. For one, they are still raising the money it will take to adopt Rinah. For another, Uganda is about to hold a national election on February 18, an event which could trigger violence. Even though the State Department has issued a travel alert for citizens visiting or residing in Uganda, Carissa is bravely going to Uganda to continue work on the adoption process -- things like scheduling a court date, meeting with their lawyer, and hopefully scheduling Rinah's medical exams. They are going forward with this process because they see the hand of God clearly moving, as Andrew explains:
When we started sponsoring Rinah, we had no idea how God would lead us in the next three years. We had a very different picture then of how we thought our life would go, and even what we hoped for. Looking back now, we see His hand on each event, perfectly orchestrating the details to lead us to where we are now. We have a deep love and burden for the doctrine of adoption and how we are called to live that out. We are so grateful God has lead us to adopt this little girl. With every person that asks us how it's going, gives a dollar, or says a prayer, we grow in our gratefulness. Many people in our community, and even people we don't know, are responding to God's call to care for the orphans, and we know Rinah is being welcomed home by many more arms than just our own.
Therefore, I am asking you for help in four ways: 1) Please pray for the effectiveness of Carissa's trip and the next steps in the adoption process; 2) Please pray for the safety of Carissa and her sister, Carly, as they wrap up this visit (February 4-14) and head home; 3) Please pray for the safety of Rinah and everyone else in Uganda as these elections go forward on the 18th; and 4) Please consider donating to the Gallos' adoption fund. They are more than halfway there, but still need help. Your small gift will help them lay the groundwork for a lifelong commitment. They've made a short video about the adoption, which showcases both their generous compassion and their artistic talents:
HAPPY UPDATE: The Gallos have reached their initial goal!