It was 2001, Carrie and Rocky Gill sat in their Tyler home content. They had a beautiful daughter named Hannah and no plans to expand their family.
Carrie says, "We had really not talked about adoption." Rocky adds, "We just drive down the streets of Tyler and we don't think about the children that don't have homes."
But that would all change the day they met another local couple who had adopted. "The turning point for me was when this man told me it was a distinctively Christian thing to care for the widow and orphans. That's when I felt like I had no excuse. I had nothing to hide behind. This was my call right now," says Rocky.
The next day, they began the process to adopt a little girl from China. "And 22 months later, we had Campbell. You can't explain it, but I just knew that she was mine," says Carrie.
And Hannah, now 15 years old, got a little sister. "It was never like she was a stranger. It was like I knew her. It was instant, like I immediately fell in love with her whenever we first got her."
With Campbell now 7 and their family complete, it seemed God was leading them in yet another direction. This time, to help other families adopt.
"We've been working for months to build a team of people at the church to help families with pre-adoption support, post-adoption support and financial support. We are also providing an avenue for families to become foster parents or become involved in mission trips to orphanages," explains Rocky.
The Gill's created "Hope For 100" at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler. "My prayer for a long time is that this would be a nationwide movement," says Rocky.
The challenge to the Green Acres congregation is to care for 100 orphans through adoption or foster care. Rocky says, "When a family steps forward and says we think we want to do this, we're going to have another family who will walk along side them and help them."
Those adoptions will include domestic as well as international. The campaign will also address foster care. "We went to the other side of the world to an orphanage and you don't have to go to the other side of the world. There are plenty of children in East Texas who are living without parents," says Rocky.
"I just tell people, adoption's really not hard. If God wants you to do it, you just jump on that train and you just go where you are supposed to go. We didn't mean to hop on the train. We didn't even want to hop on the train, but God knew that we had a baby in China," says Carrie looking at Campbell.
There are 143 million orphans in the world. It's a daunting number but Carrie says, "What you do for one person really does make a difference." Rocky adds, "Once you've seen how bad it is, if you can turn around and walk away, there's something wrong, something bad wrong.
Nobody ever said it would be easy but then, no one can argue with the results. Hannah says, "It's hard to share your parents, because it was just me and my parents for 8 years but it was worth it after you get used to having another sibling in the house."
Rocky says, Life is all about others. If we can love other people and take care of them, that's when we find the greatest joy for ourselves!"
Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler is holding an all-day conference on adoption and foster care January 31st called, "If You Were Mine." It will provide a relaxed, non-threatening environment where people can get information and their questions answered. For more information, and to register for the conference, go to www.hopefor100.org.