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I grew up wanting for nothing. I grew up with a mom and dad who loved me. I grew up never feeling unsafe or unsecure. 

That didn’t stop my parents from ensuring I understood that not everyone had it as good as me. To ensure I had the opportunity to come face to face with people in poverty through volunteerism. This and my faith led me to choose this type of life work. 

But, poverty became truly personal to me when I became a mom. My husband and I made the decision several years ago to become parents through adoption. We adopted our Olive from Taiwan. 

The day we flew to Taiwan to get our Olive was the most special day of my life. My heart was filled with joy as I held my baby girl–I thought I would never let go.

Hours after we met Olive, we had the opportunity spend time with her birthmother, a 16 year old girl.

During the 10 month time period between when she gave birth and we were allowed to come get our baby, Olive’s birthmother studied English. She studied English because she wanted to be able to tell us in her own words, her hopes and dreams for her daughter. That she would learn to read. That she would be loved. That she could be who she was intended to be. I sat shaking as she shared the life that she knew she couldn’t provide for her, but felt that my husband and I could. 

In this 16 year old’s poverty, I became a mom. 

And while I will be forever grateful that she made the choices she did and that Olive is my daughter, I will never quit working to end poverty as long as I have a breath in me. Because I believe poverty should not stand in between a mom’s dreams for her child and her ability to make that happen. – Heather Reynolds