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She Prayed for a Forever Family - God Answered in a Unexpected Way (#ShareYourStOOry)
by Kaylei Ward
Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Can one person truly make a difference? This is the question we so often ask ourselves, especially when it comes to orphan care and short-term missions. The number of orphans in the world is staggeringly overwhelming and we often ask ourselves, “What can one person really do?”


In 2009, Kylie McCracken first heard the number of orphans in the world - 147 million at the time - but it was followed by the number that would change her life. ONE. She was told that it would take only one to transform statistics to flesh-and-blood children. The problem was that she didn’t know the one. The desire to change that and gain a heart for orphan care led Kylie on a mission trip to Guatemala with Orphan Outreach in 2011. Jumping on a plane and traveling to another country with strangers was far out of her comfort zone; little did she know that this was just the beginning of a God-designed path.



It was in Guatemala that Kylie’s entire view of orphan care and missions was changed. For Kylie and the team, the time wasn’t about painting walls, baking cakes, or teaching life skills. While these were all things that they were able to do with the various partnering ministries they visited, the trip wasn’t about projects - it was about people. She was able to witness the heart of Orphan Outreach and the message they extended to each individual that they encountered.


“You matter, you are loved, you have value, you are beautiful, you are known, and you are treasured.” 


Traveling to another part of the world is where God tore Kylie’s world apart. God had stirred the very passion for orphan care she desired when she went to Guatemala. Getting on the plane to come back and then do nothing wasn’t an option. Kylie says, “The importance of long-term relationships and the power of returning were engraved in my heart and mind.” 



So, she began to seek out opportunities locally, and she heard another number - 400,000. This time, it was the number of orphans in the foster care system in the United States. She began to support foster families in her area, mentor teenage girls, and even lead trips to a children’s home that her church supports in the Dominican Republic— with the mindset that Orphan Outreach had instilled in her for long-term care and returning. 


For Kylie, fostering as a single woman never seemed like an option. But two years after she traveled to Guatemala, on a whim, she stepped into a foster parent class with her single roommate. After a blur of saying, “Why not?” Kylie and her roommate finished classes and received the first knock on the door of their home to take in two little girls. 


Years passed and her roommate adopted two children they fostered before she had to move away. Now alone, Kylie said she was reminded of God’s providence. She shares, “There is no path that God places us on that He does not walk with us.” Being a single foster mom was hard, but God provided a support system to surrounded her. He placed just the right roommate to move in with her. “She ended up moving into my crazy home and became the chaos controller and sanity keeper,” Kylie laughs.


After receiving two little girls in 2015, the months turned into years and eventually their two brothers moved in too. For Kylie, adoption was not her mindset. “Foster Care is about reunification. It is about restoring families and redemption. But when that is not possible, adoption is the outcome.” After seeing the biological family sacrificially release their children for a family that could care for them best, Kylie looked at the four children living in her home and saw them as orphans for the first time. God began to change her heart and every argument she had for why she couldn’t be their forever family. Each doubt was broken down by the God who filled every gap she feared.



In December 2018, it turned out that the one forever mom that she had spent years praying for was herself.


The path is not one that she has walked alone. “The only reason I have survived is because of the incredible community God has placed me in.” Kylie is quick to remind others that while not everyone is called to foster or adopt, everyone is called to care for orphans and that means walking beside those who do. From the roommate who shared the heart for foster care and attended the classes with her, to the people who invite her family to dinner and pool parties or send gift cards, God uses the people who walk beside her to remind her that she is never on the journey alone. 



It took a lot of 1’s to add up to the 1,415 days that her children spent in foster care. It took hearing about that one orphan, going on the one mission trip with Orphan Outreach, attending the one foster parent class, and answering the one knock on her front door. These 1’s lead to helping the many orphans, going on the multiple trips, finishing the foster classes, and answering the many knocks on her door over the last six years. Kylie reflects, “God is the author of our stories - mine and theirs.” The story that God is writing for Kylie is one she never even dreamed of or hoped for but it’s one that she is so grateful for because it is the one that lead to one forever family.

Kylie is quick to say that she's not doing anything extraordinary by opening her home to orphaned and vulnerable children. As she says, "We can all do something." One of the great ways you can serve all the ministry partners of Orphan Outreach around the world is by becoming a James 127 Advocate. You tell the world you are part of a movement dedicated to doing what’s in the best interest of a child. Your gift of just $10.58 a month or $127 a year allows Orphan Outreach to serve orphaned and vulnerable children worldwide, focusing on areas of greatest need throughout the year. You tell the world, “I stand for orphans.” And you tell a child, “I stand for YOU.” Become a James 127 Advocate now.

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