Friday, April 15, 2011

Kelly and Nick's Journey

Superkids physical therapist, Kelly Mortellite, and her husband, Nick, are thrilled to begin the journey to adopt a child from Ethiopia.  Below is their inspirational story.  




Introduction
Nick entered the military right after graduating high school and spent ten years between active and National Guard duty. He finished up just a month before we got married so after the wedding, we were assured there would be no more deployments. We were married on May 27, 2007 in Cincinnati, Ohio and Nick moved down to North Carolina where I was in school.


I graduated from University of Cincinnati with my Bachelors in Health Sciences and continued on to Duke University where I earned my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. A short ten days after graduation, I boarded a plane to spend two months living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, volunteering as a physical therapist in the government orphanages. I was so blessed to have this experience and know God used it to change me. I came home, excited to see my husband again, but devastated to leave the kids behind.

What Now?

Knowledge is a great thing right? I mean most of us spend a great deal of money and time trying to acquire knowledge through schooling, travel, or through the counsel of our older and wiser friends and family. We strive to know about the world around us, but when we gain some of that knowledge, what do we do with it? Kelly and I are at a stage in our lives where we have been confronted with some new information about our increasingly small world and we’ve asked ourselves the question: what now?
What we’ve learned has come from a combination of research and Kelly’s first-hand experience in Ethiopian orphanages. She had the chance, as many of you know, to spend two months in the capitol city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia working as a physical therapist directly with the children of the government run orphanages. Kelly’s job wasn’t just to help children, but also to educate their caregivers on better ways to take care of the children or “kiddos” as she calls them. Things like ensuring the kiddos get out of their cribs and spend time outside in the sun They are so understaffed that spending time with each child throughout the day isn’t a possibility. Children often feed themselves with a bottle and there simply aren’t enough hands to pick every child up every day.
The pictures and videos Kelly sent home definitely had some eye-opening moments for me and a bigger reality hit both of us as we learned more about the magnitude of the orphan crisis in Ethiopia. This link will take you to a video made by the Gladney Center for Adoption and you will see some amazingly awful numbers and some beautiful children: http://adoptionsbygladney.com/html/services/human_ethiopia.php   

Now that we know there are over six million orphans in one country what do we do with that knowledge? Do I pretend I didn’t see the part of the video that said twelve percent of six million children will die before they are five years old? Let’s pretend something else. Let’s pretend I was good at math (a stretch I know!) because numbers this big don’t seem real to people like me on the other side of the world. 12% of 6 million is 720,000. If that number is still too far out there let’s think about a football stadium. My team, painfully, is the Cincinnati Bengals and their stadium holds over 65,000 people so you would have to line up ELEVEN Bengals stadiums filled to capacity along the Ohio River to match the number of orphans that will die in Ethiopia before they are five years old. 
Multiply by eleven, then imagine all of those people gone. That's the number of orphans that won't make it to their 5th birthday in Ethiopia.
So what now? Something! Just do something is the thought screaming through my head when I try and understand this massive problem. Of course it is too big for my wife and I to tackle by ourselves, but we don’t feel that’s what we are called to do. Kelly and I are confident we have been given a chance to gain this knowledge so that we can simply do something. For us that something is adoption and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Earlier I asked if knowledge really is a great thing. If you can turn it into wisdom by applying it to your life, then I say yes, knowledge is a great thing!


Kelly was given a fantastic opportunity through Superkids that turned into a love for the people of Ethiopia and when she brought that love home with her it was infectious. The passion she showed and the desperate desire to return to help as much as we can was passed to me and I’m so grateful. As we learn we are continuously faced with the simple question of “what now?”  The best answer we can come up with is, just love.

Kelly and Nick returned to Ethiopia this past February providing much needed aid to orphans in Addis Ababa.  You can follow their entire journey on their bloghttp://justloveethiopia.blogspot.com/.