Full Circle

Almost three years ago, I walked into an orphanage in Jinja, Uganda and fell in love with the sickest baby girl I had ever seen ( of course, I just didn’t know what my life was going to be like…) Her name is Josephine. At a year old she could not hold up her own head or roll over, still had no teeth and was the size of a 2 month old. Mom and I took turns holding her and carrying her all over Jinja. When she was sick, we took her to the hospital and spent evenings holding her while nurses poked and prodded. I sang her to sleep. I cried when she cried. I begged the Lord that she wouldn’t die. I went home with Josephine still in my heart and spent counless hours thinking and praying about her.

I watched her grow through other volunteers’ pictures on facebook and was so thankful for Julie whose heart had also been stolen by this sweet girl. When I moved back to Uganda seven months later the first thing I did was scoop sweet Josephine, now able to sit up by herself, into my arms. She was still small, still had the same sweet smile, still held my heart. I was working pretty far from Jinja, teaching Kindergarten, but would sneak away in the afternoons to get back to the orphanage and hold little Josephine as often as I could. I would sneak her bananas a give her baths. I prayed and prayed and prayed that her forever family would come soon to take her home. She was happy, but she wasn’t growing fast enough, she wasn’t developing like the other children, and it was completely out of my power to do anything for her but continue to pray and love on her as much as I could.

10 months ago I sat in my new-found bestest friend Suzanne’s house and she mentioned to me that if she ever had another baby girl, she would name her Josie Love. My heart lept. JOSEPHINE. I instantly stole her computer and showed her every picture I had of this precious little girl, talking too fast about what it would be like if Suzanne could bring her home. She looked at me as if I might be nuts and laughed but I left feeling like, just MAYBE, a seed had been planted.
7 months ago, Suzanne, Mike, and their two oldest children, along with some others came to visit. Of course the first thing I wanted to do was take them over to Jinja to meet sweet Josephine, who I of course had started referring to as Josie Love. The Mayernicks had been seriously praying about making her part of their family, but were unsure of what all her special needs may entail. But sweet Josie had done it again, she stole their hearts as well. Not long after they returned home, I got an excited phone call from Suzanne announcing that they felt that God was asking them to make Josie a Mayernick. I watch as their fears and uncertainties turned into excitement and joy. I continued to visit Josie at the orphanage whenever I could, but now I could whisper to her, “They are coming. Your Mommy and Daddy are coming to get you.” My heart was full of joy.

Last month, Mike and Suzanne came to pick up their sweet baby girl. In a rountine medical exam that takes place before and child goes to the US, sweet Josie Love tested positive for HIV and TB. As I thought back over the time I had known her, it seemed all too obvious. Yet when she tested negative at 5 months, no one ever thought to re-test her. My heart nearly broke in half for this sweet baby girl and for my devestated friends. If you have ever wondered what it looks like to truly follow the call of the Lord, to truly TRUST God, I invite you to meet the Mayernicks. I was blown away, and truly challenged and encouraged as I watched them process and decide to take Josie HOME, regardless of her condition.

Today Josephine is standing up, holding onto my knees, unaware that I am typing about her on my computer. She is singing and grinning that big grin, the same one that looked up at me three years ago, although now it is full of teeth. Josephine is staying with our family for a bit, while Mike and Suzanne finish some things in the US and we treat her here for TB.
As I look at her happy little face I am marveling at God’s goodness, His plans that are greater than anything I could have ever imagined. This sweet baby girl who I fell in love with years ago is going home to live with two of my favorite people in the world. She will grow up down the street from my mom who loves her to pieces and she will live near one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation… my words are failing me. I can’t even convey how beautiful it all is.
We are priviledge to have a few weeks or a few months to love on Josie Love Mayernick, priviledged to have her family walking life with us, priviledged to watch the Hand of God move in these magnificent ways that only He can. We appreciate your prayers as we take on a few more sleepless nights, a lot more dirty diapers, and an abundance of joy.
Mike and Suzanne, I love you. Your baby girl loves you. Thank you for being the example you are to me, thank you for all you do for Amazima and my family, thank you for loving Jesus.
Jesus, thank you. I don’t have enough words. You could do it all by yourself, and you choose to include little me. I am so humbled and so grateful. You knit our stories together so perfectly. Thank you for your perfect plan for Josie, thank you for allowing me to witness it, to be a part of it. Thank you for your love for this precious one.

on earth as it is in heaven 2015-02-10 19:54:00
on earth as it is in heaven 2015-02-10 19:54:00
on earth as it is in heaven 2015-02-10 19:54:00
on earth as it is in heaven 2014-09-30 17:43:00
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00117333167904518647 Suzanne

    Amazing all that you get to see as you have entrusted your life to HIM. He is so creative! Thank you for contuning to share your journey with us.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00671809610777791393 botanical brouhaha

    Praying that Josie Love will get to go HOME soon! We are so inspired by the Mayernick's trust in the Lord and the timing of His plan. What a blessing to watch this beautiful story unfold!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07448389192107360549 Amy

    Wow! What an amazing story. Josie is so loved.

  • Anonymous

    God has blessed you all! Your faih amazes me everyday!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17247824698674815568 Mom to 9 Blessings!

    HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!I have been getting to know Suzanne over the last month and so blessed Katie!What an incredible testimony of the power of His love!!!!!Hugs and prayers remain for you!Love,Jill

  • Anonymous

    Amazing. There really are no words for how truly amazing God's perfect plan is. He knits us together in our monther's wombs and He doesn't stop there. He continues to knit our lives together in a beautiful tapestry that we will only fully see when we are done being used by Him on this earth. This story is truly one that is clearly the Hand of God.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13589698549708645809 Cindy

    Wondering if it's possible for you to write a blog that doesn't make me cry :) I had read a little about Josie on Suzanne's blog, but hearing "the rest of the story" is truly incredible. God is so amazing, so much bigger, so worth throwing it all out the window and running after Him.

  • Carlee

    WOW i am moved to tears again!!!! I live in New Zealand my name is Carlee i have been married for 17yrs and we have 4 awesome children. God has been pulling our hearts to Uganda. I friend just told me a few days about your blogspot i nearly read it all. So moved and excited in what God is doing. We too are feeling God calling us to Uganda. Its a long story too. But thankyou for all you do. And for sharing your heart through it all. May God continue to blow you away Katie. we are looking at coming to live sometime next year. We have no idea where but are trusting God to open the doors. Thankyou again.XXXX

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00306049499606669381 drea

    Okay, just when I don't think I can take one more story…just when I think that my heart can't contain one more little thing, you blog. I just ache and ache, a real physical ache for these kids. Katie, how? How am I going to go to Africa and leave with just three. ALL of me wants to be there, loving as many as I can all at one time. How, can my heart break and break, I feel so helpless. I love Jesus, he loves these kids. I want to love what he loves. I pray the Lord give us oportunity to love as many as we can, feed as many as we can, parent as many as we can.Thanks for sharing once again.xoxodrea

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14043677672931768639 Tammy On the Go

    this brings me unspeakable joy and hope

  • Diane and family

    Hey Katie:)Oh my goodness, Miracles, Miracles, Miracles!!! Love hearing and seeing them, and, the journey of adoption brings soooo many:) Thank you so much for sharing this lovely Miracle, little Josie Love.Are you too young to remember the Stevie Wonder song, "Isn't She Lovely"? After reading your post and just looking at precious Josie Love, that was the very first song that popped into my mind….Isn't she lovely? Yes, yes she is!!Covering Katie and her sweet growning family and friends:) in prayer, nightly!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09878145582788717026 Tania

    Every child is precious and loved by the Lord! Praise You God that Josie Love is also loved by not only Katie but now her own family!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09878145582788717026 Tania

    Every child is precious and loved by the Lord! Praise You God that Josie Love is also loved by not only Katie but now her own family!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18220618712377183612 Jennifer

    Dear Katie, Every time I read your post, I feel ready to come and help you. I ask myself what should I be doing. I'm a wife and mother to 4 small children. My husband and I live a very modest life and struggle to make ends meet ourselves. I've said to my husband, let's go! He looks at me like I have 4 heads. I homeschool and often feel overwhelmed with my life. I know the Lord, but I don't know the joy that you have in service to Him. I'm not sure what I should be doing. I'm asking the Lord. I long to have more children, but may not be able to medically speaking. When I see all the children needing Mommies and Daddies there with you, I think that's the answer. Let's just go and take care of some of those children. I'm praying for you and your family, please pray for mine. Pray that the Lord would show me how He wants to use me and give me and my husband unity in that decision. Though I've never met you, I love you! Thanks for being such an encouragement and an example. I know you have no time, but if the Lord leads you please feel free to contact me with any advice or words you might have. I feel the Lord impressed upon me to contact you in this way tonight. God Bless! Jennifer jmminor@hotmail.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18223939369873935964 dani

    a beautiful full circle story of God's grace and love. thank you for sharing it and for sharing the pictures of gorgeous josie love and her mommy and daddy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09940754394594870352 Kendra

    Katie,I am blown away–I hadn't known this story and wondered. Thank you for sharing this. You are an inspiration to soo many and my biggest motivator to bring my own little girl home from Africa. I think everyone I know now knows about you and what you are doing for God's people. Thank you. I am soo happy that Suzanne and Mike were there to make your dreams for Josie Love come true. Beautiful…absolutely beautiful.Kendra

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12955029706756769653 Jewels of My Heart

    What a small world we live in….. Once again I am amazed as I see the hand of God perfectly orchestrate His beautiful and loving will for little Josie Love….. Will continue to pray for her and her family… that she will be able to go home very soon and for healing….but until then I am so thankful that once again Jesus answered our prayers… that she will get to stay with you and your precious girls until she can go home.God's Speed little one.

  • Amber in SC

    This is just beautiful!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10719534060309826843 Connie

    Katie, I am rejoicing with you and your friends, and little Josie Love. I pray for you.

  • http://andyblanks.wordpress.com/ andyblanks

    Great story, Katie . . . Just found your blog. By any chance do you know Steve Wright? I spent a half-day with Steve not too long ago. He mentioned a girl he knew. Her story sounds very similar to yours. Wondered if there was a connection.I'm looking forward to following you and your work. God bless.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03552944942986801747 Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five

    What a precious story and reminder of the great and mighty things the LORD wants to show each of us EVERY day, if we allow HIM to guide our steps.Many blessings from the LORD to you, many prayers for you from the Mattox family in south Georgia,Robbie

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10925615006720302501 Renee

    LOVE it!! I can just hear her "Hnnuhhh?" in my ears right now! You are the one that said the words "redeemed tragedy" to me…isn't this a perfect example? Can't wait to have her home! SO thankful she is there with you and your sweet family! Love you, Katie!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16905747148121548053 Lindsey

    What an awesome family – walking by FAITH… not by sight.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08411875604165948012 SiLa

    You said it all!Dear Jesus, "You could do it all by yourself, and you choose to include little me…You knit our stories together so perfectly. …thank you for allowing me to witness it, to be a part of it… Thank you for your love for this precious one."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17946903135252874458 Are These Kids All Yours?

    WOW love that story! God is sooo good! Praying for the process so Josie can get home as soon as possible!!!!!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00137447642476108042 Lae

    i always keep up with your blog. your amazing and it's no doubt that your Reason in this world has already shined out already.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08702155590852921913 Mark and Diane Button

    God is so good… ALL the time! Though, not all the time do we understand His goodness. Sometimes it takes miracles like the Mayernicks, Josie Love and you, Katie! Thank you for all you are doing for His Kingdom! Much Love, Mark & Carly Button

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00324479985950087358 PegS

    And thank you Katie for allowing me to be a part through prayer!

  • http://lauradodson.typepad.com lauradodson

    :o) oh i'm so glad she is with you for the time being…we were in town when Suzanne and Mike were there and it is wonderful news to not only hear her whole story, but know she's being treated and cared for at your home. :o) Yay.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06091232102936751058 The Ferrill’s

    Oh such a beautiful story that could only be written by GOD! The Mayernicks are such an inspiration, as you are Katie. I know both of you have an abundance of those crowns waiting on you!!!!!!!!!Praise the Lord! We will continue to pray for sweet Josie Love as the Lord prepares her for her new home!

  • http://todaysjourney.momaroo.com miss mary

    beautiful pictures.So glad to hear she has a home. Thanks for sharing. GBU always. Big Hugs from the states.MaryBeth

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07588978573620170416 Carissa

    So great to hear that Josie Love has a forever family!!!what a beautiful blessing from the Lord!

  • Anonymous

    She is beautiful and so are you!

  • Shannon Wallace

    This post made me so happy. I love it. I miss you and your sweet girls.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08060489989029219645 Christina

    I have now read through your blog from start to finish, making comments along the way. I have to say that I have been so blessed by your journey. I've been torn in two reading heartbreaking stories of children & families living without food, medicine, or Jesus. Thank you for bringing them all of this. And for deepening our resolve to do the same. My husband & I are adopting 2 children from Ethiopia & have been discussing for months now the "crazy" (ha!) notion of moving there permanently to open an orphanage. Of course, we have no clue how to do this, but we are inspired by your story. By what God is doing through you. By what He could do through us. Thank you for being a light in this world, for those who don't know God & for those who want to follow Him.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11032630661754190363 Jessica

    I spent two weeks in Jinga this summer and met Josephine. I'm so glad to hear that she is doing well and has a special place with you and your friends.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14052540960264054327 Liz

    WoW! Thanks so much Katie for your work and the work of those around you! I know the work is hard. I am living with my family in South Africa and am blessed and encouraged by your stories. Stories of faith and love. I was working on our blog and listening to Tomlin's Hello Love and the song Love was playing as I was reading this blessed life story of Josie Love. God is big! I see it everyday and am thankful for you and sharing your journey. liz at evenfamily5@gmail.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03260128034075895347 Eve

    We have an adopted, biracial daughter named Josie Love who is now 14. My husband named her, picking these names from a list i had made. i had prayed that God would give me a sign that this adoption was of him, that it was the right thing to do for our family. when i looked up what "josie" means (feminine for joseph), i found the sign i had asked for: Josie means "He will add," so Josie Love meant "He will add love." how could i doubt the adoption of this promise of more love? she has been nothing but blessing and love in our lives ever since, just like your Josie Love will be.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07951899392870242084 KDHarris

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06826190879329559194 Erin

    Katie,I left a comment many posts back asking for prayer and I just wanted to say thank you. For your obedience to the Lord. You don't know me, but I feel as if we're made from the same piece of cloth. You say and do and love in ways and words my heart aches for. You get goosebumps on the hottest days simply because the spirit of God is moving, as do I. Katie, I'm blessed by you, your family, and what the Lord is stirring in me again because of you. I don't know where God's leading me, but I pray it is someday to a place where our paths cross. Many blessings.Your sister by His Blood,Erin

  • Anonymous

    http://www.myspace.com/bethanydillonmusicI don't know if you can, but you should go and listen to "you are on our side" and "everlasting God"

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04483596714203378092 Michael Boyd

    Katie, I've read through your blog along with my wife and love the work your doing. She and I are adopting 2 orphans from Ethiopia along with my sister and B-in-L who are adopting 2 to 3 (she has also read your whole blog). We all are more seriously considering giving up our lives in the US and going to be missionaries in Ethiopia in hope of starting and orphanage to serve orphans and the people, and to spread the Gospel. What you are doing amazes us and we want to follow you example! We would love to do what you are doing and duplicate it in Ethiopia, Lord willing. We are praying for you and your work and we look up to you as an example of a true disciple of Christ who is following Him, not counting your own life. We have a lot of love for you and pray that God will richly bless you in your amazing work. Once again, we are all laboring in prayer for you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04989587338864674079 ~love

    what a beautifully knit story that only God could do. amazingly beautiful. praying for you, josie and her family!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08990296450449193032 Audrey

    Praise God for His faithfulness to sweet little Josie Love. I had the privilege of meeting her this summer when my team visited Amani, and I'm so happy that she is coming home!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07595087387069634003 Myne Whitman

    May God continue to bless you and your family for being a vessel in his use. My prayers will remain with Josie and her new family. The story is awesome, what and inspiration.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06023166965641992124 Brian and Mandy Harvey

    I think that is the first time I have heard the whole story like that start to present! What a rare gift to be able to see the seeds be planted and grow. Thanks for sharing sweet Josie Love's story. There really aren't words for how amazing our Father's heart is toward us…so loving!

  • Anonymous

    Amazing and beautiful, Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02250527593449041309 Lauresa

    Hi Katie. I just wanted to let you know that you were on my mind and heart today. So I prayed. I hope you are well.Love.Reese

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06616861396562405112 StillMe842

    After reading this, I've fallen in love with God all over again! I'm speechless! I WANT so bad for God to use me in the same ways he's using you guys out there, but until then, I have to be faithful over what He's given me now! All to edify, all to glorify Him! Love you guys!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11010104269610747930 Gran

    Katie, thanks for continuing to let the Lord lead you and speak through you and for just being the hands and feet of Jesus! What an incredible example and inspiration for all of us. YOu are often in our prayers, and we also thank you for caring for our little Josie when no one else did and for loving her and caring for her now while Suzanne and Mike are waiting and following the necessary processes to bring Josie Love home. We of course, are not all called to do the same thing, but we are all called to do something: to pray, to give, to provide support (of all kinds) where we can as He leads, and to also go if that is a part of His plan for us. Isaiah 40:31 is one of my favorite verses. "They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Teach me Lord, teach me Lord, to wait (and pray).Our love, sweet Katie. (I loved the video Mike and Suzanne brought home–so many heart stories!) We will keep you lifted up in prayer to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Love, MaMa Gaye (AKA Gran)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08881500017562498377 Beautiful Mess

    God is so faithful!Thank you for the back story! It makes it an even MORE beautiful love story! Praise God!

  • Anonymous

    God is doing amazing things through you and through those that love you. What a beautiful life Josie Love is going to live and what each one of His children deserve. God is good!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04455698547207302964 David and Sarah

    Dear Katie,I was walking and praying today and the Lord brought you to mind. He particularly impressed upon me that He wanted me to tell you how much He loves you. I know that you know this! But, I think that He just wanted to give you some extra encouragement today.Much love to you,Sarah

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07877682982361449979 Becca

    This is amazing! I cannot tell you what an encouragement and blessing this was for me to read today!! I will be praying for you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05599495970402878858 rollingrn

    Thank you for giving your heart to show the orphans of the world the way to the father!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00275534210444292008 Margie

    I found your blog through a friend of mine. Been reading about your journey. You are one amazing lady! I admire all of the wonderful things you are doing for the children. You have such a big heart. I pray that GOD will continue to lead you in so many wonderful directions! Praying for you and the sweet children!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10934944438834274324 Jody

    So excited for everyone. We adopted 5+ years ago from Ethiopia, and one year ago brought home their sibling who is HIV+, words cannog express, the love, delight and pure joy that God has brought our family…Our prayer is that you will experience this also. We are so happy that others are taking on "Gods leading" in adoption and adoption of HIV+ kids!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12566760765304375314 Brooke

    wonderful how God planted a seed in your heart and has now allowed you a chance to see it bloom! thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

  • Costanza

    From Rome, Italy, all of my thoughts and prayers to you and your children. It is amazing to see what a young girl like you can do only through the power of her heart, faith and devotion. I really would like to say more, but my poor English skills do not allow me to express myself as I wish…may your life be an example to all of us, and to me: a typical 25-year-old Italian girl, lucky, healthy, wealthy, and still sometimes complaining. Thank you Katie! I will keep on reading about your praiseworthy journey.

  • Anonymous

    So inspiring! So glad that God has led them to adopt Josie Love. What a precious story.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03038616897215918144 Mike . Caitlin . Ki

    My husband's family adopted a 3-year-old girl from Haiti with HIV. She's now 13 and doing awesome! You'd never know that she has it and her numbers are so good. God is in control and can do amazing things! Just thought I'd throw out some hope. :)Caitlin