How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

I know this is an old saying, but my wife says it to me all the time. I tend to get overwhelmed easily, so she constantly (and gently) reminds me to take a deep breath…and take one bite at a time.

I think this same concept applies to orphan care. Sometimes we try and solve the problem all at once, but in reality change is made one child at a time. I saw this concept played out in such a beautiful way by Lucy, the strong woman who greeted us at the airport. (Miss our first post introducing Gan Sabra from yesterday? Find it here!)

Lucy is the founder of an orphanage for children with HIV in far eastern India. In the small town of Aizawl, Gan Sabra home has literally saved the lives of many of the children and they are even starting to shift the town’s views and fears about HIV. They also have a community outreach program that helps children stay with their families or relatives instead of being orphaned. Amazing right!? But up until 2006 Gan Sabra didn’t exist and Lucy wasn’t in the market for an orphanage. It all started with one choice…..or one bite.

Lucy worked at an emergency clinic for sex workers. One day woman came in to give birth and shortly after abandoned the baby. Lucy tried her best to find of home for the child, but the baby had HIV and the fear of this disease made it impossible to find a home. So Lucy made a choice. She decided to adopt this baby that no one else would. When word got around that someone had adopted a baby with HIV, multiple people started contacting Lucy to see if she could take in more children. Lucy kept saying yes, kept being obedient, and kept putting these vulnerable children above her own needs. And now, because of Lucy’s choice to take in a child that no one else would, there is a place in Aizawl India where children who have HIV can thrive.

When I think about the elephant that is orphan care, I still tend to get overwhelmed. There are so many kids with so many needs, and I wonder how we will every change this tragedy. But I’m reminded of Lucy and how change happens one child, one choice, and one bite at a time. And before you know it, you look back and see that the world has changed.

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