rebelling against low expectations

Gifts of Grace by Emilie


I was four when it all began. It started with something most children hear at one time or another: “Em, you need to finish your food. Think of all the children in other countries who don’t have anything to eat.” Within minutes, I was in my room collecting pennies, candy, and cracker packs in a paper bag which I promptly handed to my mom.

“What’s this?” she asked.

“I want to give this to those children,” I said earnestly.

Mom and I couldn’t find a way to give those things to those children, even though I asked many times over the next several weeks.

Fast forward ten years

Gifts of Grace by Emilie

It was the summer of 2012. I had read a few articles and books that really sparked my burden for orphans. I couldn’t just sit around and think about the fact that there are 150 million orphans any more; I had to do something. Mom and I started praying about ways we could help, an outlet for my burden. We came up with the idea of an Etsy shop where all the proceeds would go towards orphan care. At first, we decided to give the money to an Ethiopian orphanage. But God had a different plan.

Through a friend we learned that Nik and Stacy were adopting a child from Ethiopia. The more I prayed and thought about it, the more I felt like we should give the proceeds of our Etsy shop toward Nik and Stacy’s adoption expenses. Well, it turned out that Mom had the same idea.

Over the next few months, Mom and I got in touch with Nik and Stacy and things began to line up. On October 31, 2012, our Etsy shop opened.

On November 3, 2012 we had a booth at a craft fair to kick-off our shop and raised over $350! Since then, we’ve attended another craft fair and made our first several Etsy sales. We were recently able to meet the adoptive parents to be!

How You Can Help

I want to use this Etsy shop to raise orphan and adoption awareness. You can help! Do you know of any families that are adopting (or looking to adopt) in your area? If so, look for ways you that you can help them. Even if you don’t have the means (or the money) to help them finance their adoption, there are plenty of ways you can help:

  • If they already have children, volunteer to babysit so that the parents can work on the piles of paperwork that come with adoption. Even something as simple as keeping an eye out for adoption resources (fundraising ideas, helpful articles, etc.), can mean a lot to someone in the process of adopting. But most importantly, pray. Pray for the child, the parents, and all those involved. Let the adoptive parents know that you are praying for them and their child!
  • If you don’t know of anyone who is adopting in your area, there is still a lot you can do. Have you thought of helping someone who is not in your area? The adoptive family that we are helping lives over 900 miles away from us! is a great place to find families who are adopting.
  • If you have a blog (or any type of social media), help us spread the word about adoption and orphans. I encourage you to do a little research on the subject; you might be surprised at what you find. For example, did you know that a child is orphaned (without one or both parents) every 18 seconds?

We didn’t come up with the idea of caring for orphans. God calls us to do it. James 1:27 says: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Visit Emilie’s Etsy Shop + Visit Emilie’s Website

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About the author

Emilie Hockman

is fourteen years old and loves photography, web design, and children. She loves and wants to serve her Lord and Savior with all her heart. She is currently homeschooled and uses her free time to raise money for orphans.


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  • Emilie–Great work! You would also find adopting families and waiting kids on, a fundraising and advocacy group for children with Down syndrome and other special needs.

  • Wow! This is so amazing to read; how great is our God! This post is personal to me especially because I am also a fourteen year old girl with a similar burden and passion for orphans…and Africa! Along with the girls in my Christian middle school, I
    have been raising money for orphans and street boys in Kisumu, Kenya for about
    a year. The proceeds we collect go to a ministry called Agape and sponsor the
    boys and girls at the home ( It is awesome to read
    about similar projects that girls my age are doing! Thank you for your post! God has been faithful in these missions, and it is awesome to know that He smiles upon what you are doing! Keep up the good work! I will certainly be praying for you and your ministry!

  • This is a spectacular vision. I am blown away at the thought of you ministry. Being fourteen myself I understand how huge of a step this is. If I may give some advice that Brett and Alex gave in the book Do Hard Things: don’t slow down and compare yourself to others, instead always compete with yourself. I am very inspired by your ministry. Thank you.


  • That is so cool! I love how you got that burden when you were still a little girl, and how you actually took the comment that I have rolled my eyes on and took it to heart. 🙂 Keep pressing on!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →