For one of my social work classes, we had to define what Happiness means to us in an artistic form. I chose to showcase a painting I made over winter break as well as the following essay:

“The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

– Frederick Buechner

I believe that there is an intersection between my deep gladness, God’s calling for my life, and the world’s deep hunger. One of the world’s deepest hungers is the cry of the orphans. I personally feel a call to answer the cry: to defend the fatherless and help them find forever families.

I went to Chile for my study abroad with missions because the struggles of these children spoke to me. I went to pour into their lives, to tell them that they have value. I left deeply impacted and hungry for change. While in Chile, I became fast friends with a girl at the girl’s home for orphaned and abused children. I was her favorite tía (aunt, the name they call all caregivers) and we spent time together every Wednesday. We shared a tear-filled goodbye our last day together as we realized that most likely we would never see each other again. I was returning to America, my home and place of comfort. I was leaving her behind. The difficult goodbye makes me think of the possibility of the end of the need for goodbyes for these children worldwide.

And this is where everything intersects. These children hunger for families, God calls us to love and defend the orphans, and I find deep gladness in adoption. This deep gladness is much more than happiness; it is where my joy comes from. Hearing others stories about adoption, playing with kids born from all over the world and thinking about the new life and new hope that comes with adoption is what gives me great joy. I chose to become a social worker in order to find forever families for those who don’t have them. The opportunity to give someone a new chance and a new home is thrilling and brings me great joy.

My happiness comes from the thought that I may one day be able to change the life of orphans. It may be through adopting them myself, it may be through finding them a loving home, or it may be through changing legislation to re-open closed countries to international adoption. These children need hope and love. With adoption we can give them the possibility of a new life, while deeply impacting our own.

This blue canvas with crisp white letters serves as a reminder of why I’m in college, what I hope to do for the rest of my life, and the potential to change the lives of some very special young people around the world. Serving and caring for others while following Christ is where my ultimate satisfaction and joy come from.



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