MORRIS – When Steve and Tina Rain went to Africa to adopt their daughter, Alayah, they had no idea the impact it would have on their oldest daughter, Alexa.
“I want to raise money for the orphanage my sister came from,” Morris Community High School junior Alexa Rain said. “I got the idea about a year and a half ago to make T-shirts and I thought it would work.”
That idea has turned into a fundraiser with the help of Erik Enervold, who printed the shirts Alexa designed with the help of her mom.
The shirts say “got family? Adoption counts” in white lettering on a black shirt – a play off the “Got Milk?” campaign. The shirts are $15 each, with $7 going to Hannah’s Hope in Ethiopia, an orphanage served by All God’s Children International.
Alexa said she wasn’t sure how much money she would be able to raise, but knew she wanted to do something.
“I had a lady from church who said whether I raise $100 or $1,000 that I will make a difference,” she said.
She wants to make a difference just like second-grader Alayah has made to her.
Alayah was 3½ when she came to live with the family, having been put up for adoption by her father who was unable to care for her after the death of her biological mother.
When Steve and Tina decided it was time to add to their family, they knew they wanted to adopt from a Christian-based organization and soon found All God’s Children International.
Just like the nine-month wait in the womb, the Rains found out nine months later they were getting a beautiful little girl.
“It only took nine months to get her, it moved very quickly,” Steve said.
At the time, families only had to take one trip overseas to meet and pick up a child, so, as they boarded the plane to Africa, they knew they were coming home with their second child.
Alayah, now 8, always has known she was adopted. She has vague memories of the orphanage she called home in Africa.
She recalls waiting at a window for her mom and dad to come back from a shopping trip they made while at the orphanage, and running to her mom when they came back.
Alayah said she loves her home in Morris, where she has made friends and has a big sister to look up to.
Tina said Alayah always has been an affectionate child, who repeatedly says she loves her life.
Alexa had wanted to be an only child until Alayah was brought home when Alexa was 12.
“I loved that they got her,” Alexa said. “For the longest time I wanted to be an only child, but when they brought up adoption I thought it would be cool to have a baby sister.”
The family said there was an adjustment period, but as long as it wasn’t a little brother, Alexa was happy.
Steve and Tina said they like that the orphanage has a ratio of five or six children to every “special mother” whose job it is to get the children prepared for adoption.
Alexa hopes the money she raises can be used to buy supplies for the children who are still in the orphanage waiting for adoption.