Gift... all wrapped up in the love of her family!
While driving Uber this weekend I came upon a bizarre sight deep in a rural, wooded area of Lehigh Acres, Florida. There at a crossroad was a group of young ladies dressed as fast food items, all jumping enthusiastically and beckoning me to their family's garage sale, a short distance down the road.
At first I was determined to drive by, but their joyful excitement convinced me to stop and see what was for sale.
It was a neatly arranged yard sale, and I actually found a number of great buys, including two large satchels, several plaques, and a fancy mug.
While paying for the items, I enjoyed a delightful conversation with the salesperson and learned a little about her unique family.
Stephanie is the widowed mother of seven children and serves as the children's pastor of a local church. Her children range in age from twelve to twenty six, and three of her daughters were adopted from Uganda!
Both Stephanie and her husband, "Big Vinny" (who passed away unexpectedly two years ago) were actively involved in Child Evangelism Fellowship and served together in ministry to children throughout the United States and other countries.
Stephanie met one of her adopted daughters about twelve years ago. This baby girl had been found abandoned in a sugar cane field and was brought to an orphanage in Uganda where Stephanie and her parents served.
This precious girl, a gift from God, was given the name "Gift"!
Although Stephanie and her husband were ready and anxious to adopt her, another couple had been waiting for a baby and were awarded the adoption.
Stephanie was grateful that Gift would have a wonderful new home, but at the same time felt a strong connection from times of holding and feeding her. In her heart of hearts she loved Gift and was hoping that somehow the adoption wouldn't be finalized. At the time, that was not to be.
Six years later, however, due to a series of unfortunate events with her adoptive parents, Gift was returned to the orphanage. What initially seemed like a heartbreak became a new opportunity! As soon as Stephanie and Vinny heard of these difficult developments, they immediately made arrangements to adopt Gift as one of their own.
Now at the age of thirteen, Gift is thriving!
Stephanie explained that Gift has an awesome attitude, and exudes the joy of the Lord in her life! Her huge smile radiates the reality that, despite her many challenges, she has been wrapped in the love of her family!
Gift is home schooled with her siblings and enjoys playing basketball and learning sign language.
After hearing her story and meeting her family, I have no doubt that Gift is, indeed, a gift to this world!
Please welcome Gift and her amazing family to Ubernamez!