Presentation from Ethiopia to Kentucky’s First Lady Bevins

When I descended the 11,000’ rim of a crater to photograph these courageous female monks in Ethiopia, I had no idea that the results of my work would be displayed on the walls of the Governor’s mansion in Kentucky. 

Kentucky’s First Lady, along with Governor Bevins are strong advocates in their state for adoption and foster care. They are the proud parents of ten children, four adopted from Ethiopia and five biological (one of which lives in heaven). 

At this years annual CAFO (Christina Alliance For Orphans) summit, First Lady Bevin was visibly moved by the presentation made by Jodi Tucker, the International director of Orphan Sunday. 

Jodi’s heartfelt introduction and presentation to First Lady Bevin:

“I had the great honor of meeting First Lady Bevin last year and was so impressed with her rare combination of passion, determination and humility. She and her husband are leading not only this great state, but are models for the rest of the nation in their singular focus for children. Her bio reads: “My heart lies with Kentucky’s children and families. My top priority as First Lady is to help build stronger families, and this includes reducing child abuse throughout our Commonwealth. Child abuse is all too prevalent, and it affects all races, across all income levels. Kentucky’s children deserve to have the best possible start in life, and that begins with prevention of, and protection from, abuse. I look forward to partnering with child abuse prevention and treatment organizations, and fighting alongside them to protect our most vulnerable citizens. As a mother of 9 children – 4 of whom are adopted – I’m concerned by the obstacles faced by Kentucky families trying to adopt. I plan to work to make adoption simpler and more affordable, while helping would-be parents navigate the adoption process. It is my hope for every child in Kentucky to grow up in a loving home, and I am committed to working to move us closer to that goal.”

Photo presentation – This photo is of a female monk in Ethiopia. Amazingly, it was taken at 11,000 ft on Deber island in Lake Wenchi, home of a Greek Orthodox monastery. The monastery is known for how its inhabitants “sing” the bible every day, accompanied drums. These saints dedicate their lives to serve the monastery and to pray for the country and its people. They eat very little and have no contact with the outside world. An Ethiopian familiar with the monastery sent us this message about them: “These women sacrifice their lives for God and the words of the Bible and their prayer will remain with them until the end of their time in this world.” This to us seems to capture your spirit. Thank you for praying for the fatherless and for having this kind of faith and resolve for His children.”

During this year’s CAFO summit, Governor Bevins was describing the difficulties of their journey to adopt when his wife interrupted with a smile, saying, “but so worth it”. 

I admire the Governor and First Lady Bevin’s leadership and strong voice for adoption. I am grateful for a part of my story to become a part of their’s.

These photographs tell the story at CAFO last week and of my Deber Island adventure in Ethiopia back in 2015’. 

Thank you Julie Miller of the Adera Foundation for making the trip to Lake Wenchi and Deber Island possible.

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