In the spring of my junior year at Purdue University, I rode in a car with a boy named Dave. We both liked backpacking and mountains.
We spent eight hours together in that car and several more days in the beauty of the blue Smoky Mountains together. It turned out that we liked each other too.
That backpacking adventure led to a wedding and, now nearly twenty years later Dave and I are still living out our dreams of adventure here in the Midwest. Dave became an attorney, dad, and general rock star. I became a wife and a mother who still loves adventure and suffers from wanderlust most days.
I am a passionate person…in the best and worst ways. I love so many things and sometimes just don’t understand why someone else can’t love them too! I love riding horses, music, sports and reading. I also have a deep love for Africa–I respect all the dichotomies that exist there in beauty and brokenness, joy and bone-crushing sadness.
Through a series of beautiful, tragic, heartbreaking, and miraculous events my husband, David and I adopted three boys from Africa. Our sons were born in South Africa, Ethiopia, and Democratic Republic of Congo respectively.
My boys are amazing—full of life, strength and kindness. Being their mother is one of the greatest honors of my life and it was out of their adoption journeys that I founded JabuAfrica.
I am often asked, what the word “Jabu” means. “Jabu” is short for the Zulu word, “jabulani”, meaning “joy.” I have been to some of the most difficult places in Africa and yet the joy, perseverance, and beauty of the people there captured my heart. Even in the most difficult places…there is joy.
There is a Congolese proverb that says, “You can outrun what chases you but not what is inside you.” I think that best describes my love for Africa. For whatever reason, my heart has always been pulled there, even as a child.
It was my love of Africa that led me to adopt but it is now my deeper love and understanding that motivates me to empower families so that poverty does not determine a mother’s story, a father’s story or a child’s future.
JabuAfrica works as a partner walking alongside initiatives that empower Africans and provide the resources for leaders to rise up and lead their communities. There is no pity here. This is an investment into a positive future for all of us. This is the spirit of the African philosophy of Ubuntu—“I am because you are.”