Our New Daughter

When I met her in the slums of Mathare Valley, I knew Maureen was special. I watched her march into the heart of hell in her crisp, white satin blouse and heeled shoes and I didn’t doubt for a minute that she’d been rescued from poverty.

But I didn’t know that God would bind our hearts and our lives in such an unbelievable way. Just four short months after meeting in Kenya, our family drove to meet Maureen at a Student Life Camp while on vacation last week. Compassion and Student Life partner with the goal of child sponsorship and they invited her to the United States this summer to travel from camp to camp sharing her amazing testimony (and thousands of precious kids have been sponsored with Maureen’s help!)

Through Facebook and email, we have become dear friends. But I wanted my family to meet Maureen. They fell in love with her and understood immediately why I fell in love with her and Africa.

We spent 2 glorious days together, eating pancakes and bacon in our RV, italian food for dinner and a late shopping trip to WalMart. Maureen taught us a bit of Swahili, we taught her how to eat sunflower seeds. She called my children her siblings. She referred to me as Mom and we exchanged necklaces. She called my husband Dad. And I cried when I learned that this was her first hug from a “father”:

We laughed and prayed and enjoyed rich fellowship together with our new daughter.

God is slowly revealing a pretty amazing plan for our lives to be intertwined…

We will meet again.

*Updated to add: Maureen isn’t one of our sponsored children. She is actually about t0 graduate from Compassion’s Leadership Program and will graduating from the University in just a few short months.


  1. 2


    Maureen touched my heart when I first heard of her during the Compassion Bloggers trip to Kenya, and she continues to touch it. What a God-filled woman!!

  2. 3


    Kristen, I have tears in my eyes and chill bumps on my arms! :) So very precious! I love seeing your heart shine as you love on your “new daughter.”

  3. 6


    I imagine you wish you could move her right into your house. One of our Compassion kids is an orphan; I’d do it in a heartbeat, if the right doors would open!

  4. 7


    I love that girl. I am so happy your family was able to spend time with her and experience a piece of Kenya in its most beautiful way! She is such an amazing young woman.

    You got my heart with the fact she had never had a “dad hug”. Wow!

  5. 13


    Wow, this post gave me goosebumps! What a beautiful girl with a beautiful heart! You are doing such good things and I am loving getting to learn about so much and start dreaming about what actions I can take from reading your blog! Thank you!

  6. 19


    I started following your blog after your trip to Africa and I have been so touched by your heart. My husband and I have just started the process to adopt from Ethiopia and I will be going on my first mission trip to Uganda in March! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and life here. It is encouraging to see that there are others our there who are ready to throw out the American Dream for God’s Dream! Love the pictures of you with your “new daughter” may God continue to bless you all!


  7. 22


    How amazing…especially the part about having her first hug from a “Daddy”… Precious….precious….. tears in my eyes and chill bumps on my arms! God is good!

  8. 23


    So Amazing. So full of Grace. My Heart is Touched. God has Moved in this intertwining and meeting. How special for you. How special for Maureen to have That Family as her family. God bless you all.

    From My Deeply Touched Heart to Yours,

  9. 24


    Tears welled up when I read this one. We just sponsored a girl from Colombia, she is 9. I hope one day we can meet her too.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  10. 26


    Ah, the gift of a “father’s” hug. Such a beautiful thing. How wonderful that you could spend time with her here in the US. We’d love, love, love to meet our sponsored child.

    Can’t wait to see what God does next!

  11. 27


    This has me sobbing Kristen. Thank you for sharing, and I cannot wait to read about the other “stuff” God is doing in your lives.

  12. 30

    Jennifer Ott says

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us and what God is doing in and through you. My husband and I are embarking on our own “radical” year, thanks for learning of the book from your site. May He continue to guide and direct you!

  13. 32


    Kristen, I am more than happy for your family.

    My favorite line:
    God is slowly revealing a pretty amazing plan for our lives to be intertwined…
    We will meet again.

    God bless your family!

    Reluctant Entertainer

  14. 36


    Wow. I love this. I’ve been a Compassion sponsor for about 20 years and every time one of my children grows up or otherwise ends up outside of the program I cry :) Praise God for such blessings in our lives!

  15. 38


    Oh wow, I am full of emotion and tears are in my eyes. It hit me when she called your husband dad and had never had a father. What a blessing you are to her! What a blessing she is to you! Beautiful.

  16. 39


    Oh WOW. Incredible and now I am crying…how amazing God is and how He pours out His love in so many ways, intertwining different lives in ways we never knew could be.

  17. 41


    What a sweet photo-story! I love your little girl’s face in the picture! What a blessing to be able to get to know your sponsored child so well. I pray that we’ll have the chance to meet our kids someday too!

  18. 44


    I’m sure you will meet again, and many times over the years. Who could resist that smile? BTW, did you know that in Gaelic, “Maureen” means ‘wished-for child’?

  19. 45


    OH you. I did not want to go there today, and yet you took me there. My heart is so easily spilled over these days, I wonder if I will ever not be easily spilled over? Like we’ve written about so much, being wrecked – well I have a tenderness that yearns to touch the face of God in the here and now, and since I can’t little pieces of Him (like this post) bring me to my knees.

    Thank you, so happy for y’all.


  20. 50


    Tears for me, too. I thank God for tears – without them my heart would turn into a brick! Thank you for sharing your journey!

  21. 51


    Oh that is wonderful… the connection and then coming together again!!! Awesome – our God does work in mysterious ways!!!

  22. 53


    What an amazing experience!! So great for your family to get to be a part of what you’ve been feeling since you’ve come back from Africa. I’m so thankful for what you’ve shared, it puts so much into perspective!! I love that her first hug from a “father” was from a Godly man.

  23. 55


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