“Hahahahahaha!!!! You can’t catch me, you can’t catch me ahhhh!!! Brittanie! Brittanie! Mama Brittanie come here, look! Hey, stop that! Ouch! Help! Joooooyyy!!! Mama Joy tell Em to stop hitting me!! I’m hungry Brittanie, what’s for supper? Joy can you please reach that for me? Mama Brittanie why do you have to leave us during the day? Mama Joy can I talk to you about something? Brittanieeeee!!! Jooooooooy!!!!!!!! Mamaaaaaa!!!!”
Welcome to the Bella House! There is never a dull moment. At any given time there’s an emergency of some kind, whether its two sisters so angry at each other that they vow to never EVER talk to one another ever again… until five minutes later when they are chasing each other excitedly around the house, or whether its that Mama Joy bought bananas home today! Yay! What a treat, and definitely reason enough for a dance party in the kitchen! Bella House is full of life, laughter, and love. Sometimes the emergency is two tired mamas too exhausted for another game of treasure hunt. That’s when the fun really begins because Holy Spirit crashes in and fills in for us where we lack. As you can see, Bella House is not at all what I expected. It isn’t a project. It’s not a missions field. It’s a family. It’s a home. It’s our family, our home.
A lot has changed since the last time I wrote. Firstly, we have brought five girls home, and hope to be getting 3 more really soon! Just writing that sentence makes my heart leap! As I type this I am watching them all cuddled up on the couch together tired from our pizza and worship party.They look so comfortable, and happy, and loved. Every once in a while one of them glance over at me… just to make sure i’m still here. Wow, this feeling is indescribable. I have never been able to understand the love a mother has for her children. Now I do. Having children changes everything. I love our girls in a way that I wasn’t able to love before. The way only a mother can love. I didn’t know this kind of love existed. The amazing thing is that what i’m feeling for our daughters is just a portion, just a preview of the love my Heavenly Father has for me. Wow!!!
Believe it or not, our day to day life here is pretty much like every other family. We wake up, eat breakfast, have devotions, the kids have some education time, then an extracurricular activity, play time, dinner time, then family time and worship, then bed time. Then we do it all again the next day. On Saturdays we go on an outing and on Sundays we have a home church. The main differences (pause as our 11 year old just came crashing into my lap because she saw a wasp)… As I was saying, the main differences between our family and other families is that we have to talk about sex and sexuality a lot more than most families do. Our girls all have painful sexual histories. Bella House is a rescue and rehabilitation home for children forced into prostitution, sex slavery, and other forms of sexual exploitation. Therefore our girls are going from being forced to sleep with up to 20 men per night or being stuffed into a suitcase and snuck into a hotel room where beer is forced down your 11 year old throat and you are used as a human sex toy to living in Bella House where you are taught that your body belongs to you and no one has the right to touch it without your permission. The transition has been difficult and is requiring lots of talking, listening, praying, crying and lots and lots of laughing the pain away. Laughter is actually probably the most unique thing about our family. I believe that God is using laughter to heal because our house is almost always so full of laughter. We tease each other, play pranks, have silly dance parties, and make fun of ourselves all the time in Bella House. We have actually gotten two complaints (one from the chairman of our area) that there is too much laughter coming from our house all the time and asking that we laugh less. Haha! We found that really funny!
Another big difference is that our family is all women. The girls sometimes joke with Joy (our house mom) and I and say “Mama, when are you gunna bring us home a papa?” They are always trying to set us up lol. I plan on visiting the States in a few months and they keep begging me to fall in love and get married and bring them back an American dad. These girls are so silly!
But besides a couple of exceptions we are just like any family, where love looks like finding Jesus even in the mundane of everyday life. I must say that this is absolutely the most challenging thing I have ever done, but also the thing that has brought me the most joy. When we were dreaming for Bella House and preparing to open it I just didn’t realize how crazy what we are doing actually is. I’m 26 years old, Joy is 27, neither of us are married, and almost everyday at least one of our five kids climbs into one of our beds and reminds us “Brittanie, you said family is forever. So, you’re never going to leave me right? You’re not going to get tired of me one day and move back to America and leave me here are you Mama Brittanie? Because that’s what the last American that came did” or “Mama Joy, you’re the best mom ever. I don’t want anyone else to come here and take care of us. You’re always going to be our mama right?” It’s so scary when the true answer to those questions are “I have no idea” but that’s absolutely not an acceptable answer to the little girl who you picked up from the dirt, looked in the eye and said “You’re coming home with me now. You don’t have to be hurt by those men anymore. I’m going to take care of you”. Everyday somehow my visit to America comes up and I have to continually reassure them that its only for 2 months and then ill be back home. We have started a family and yes they are right, family is forever. That’s huge. It’s a huge commitment, especially because I also have another family that I love dearly and miss so much in America. A few months ago I didn’t ever even dream i’d ever come to Kenya for a visit, and now Love has tied me to Kenya forever. Whether i’m here or not, there will always be 5 girls who understand the true meaning of adoption. It’s a heart thing. It comes from God. Adoption looks like seeing a wasp and knowing exactly whose lap to run into. It looks like being hungry and knowing who to ask what you are eating for dinner. Our girls know that just like Papa God adopted us as His sons and daughters they have been adopted into our hearts. They can’t be un-adopted. Family is forever.
I’d love to write more, but the kids are begging to go for a walk. Joy is in Nairobi so i’ve been here alone with the girls for the past couple days. I’ve been saying “give me five more minutes” for about 20 minutes now so I should go. To everyone that has donated for Christmas and to all that have been sending me support thank you sooooo much! I have been overwhelmed by your generosity to me and to our girls. Bless you bless you bless you! You have truly been an answered prayer!
Because of your extreme kindness we now have enough gifts to give the girls on Christmas Day itself. If you’d still like to donate for Christmas and haven’t yet we would LOVE to accept your donation and it can go toward one of two things 1) a Christmas tree and decorations or 2) gifts for the girls that will not be given to them on Christmas Day but will be spread out over a few weeks and given to them slowly. The reason for this is because we want to love our girls extravagantly, but we also don’t want to teach them that Christmas is all about presents. Most of them have never had a Christmas before and we want to really focus on Love himself that day and not get them too distracted by all their fancy new stuff. FYI their biggest wish that hasn’t come in yet is a swing set for our yard 🙂
I’m off to take a walk with my girls 🙂 Many blessings!