Categorized | Featured, Missions

My Hubby’s Greatest Big Love Moment [His Story]

Posted on 20 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

Man Up is really about LOVING BIG

Three years ago, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I found myself lying in bed shaking from the fear of death.   Not my own, but for my brand new daughter. I had already been down this path before not once, but twice.  A daddy losing a little child definitely has a lasting sting. The first one I lost, the second one became our beautiful daughter, Hannah.  I was not ready for trip number three.

After 48 hours of constantly nurturing Zoie Senait, being rejected by four hospitals, and finally the doctor who did see us said, “Good luck. I hope she makes it” as if she was trying out for the junior high cheerleading squad. Finally, we made it back to the hotel and we put Zoie down to sleep. I fell crashed on the bed and tried to go to sleep, but my mind was racing to figure out how to get out of my daughter’s death. (I know, pathetic.) I felt guilty that I was even thinking such thoughts. I just couldn’t face the thought of it.  For me, it was the pain of failure. How could a real father allow a little girl to die? How could a real father not provide the things that she needs to have a GREAT life?  I had only been her daddy for two days and I was scared out of my mind!

Kari could sense my anxiety so she encouraged me to pick up the phone and call the one person who always seems to have the right answers, my dad. Hearing his voice is always so calming and his words are filled with wisdom. It was in the middle of the night back home, but I needed my dad, so I made the call. As soon as he picked up the phone, I instantly started sharing how inconvenient this whole adoption thing has been – problems with the embassy, problems with our paperwork, and to make matters worse, a sick baby in a foreign country…  blah, blah, blah. I finally ran out of words and was patiently awaiting for his perfect, uplifting words. I needed him to validate my inconvenience. There was a long awkward pause … then I hear the words I will never forget … Man Up! (Did my dad just tell me to Man Up? Where was the validation I was looking for? Doesn’t he know how much I’ve been through?) He repeats himself to make sure I did indeed hear his words, “Man Up, Son! Zoie needs you. If she were to die right now, at least she can say she had a daddy for two days. Who loved her and fought for her with everything he had. Who else is going to stand up for her? Only you, so love her BIG!”

Man Up is really about Loving Big.

Man Up is really about doing what we (men) were made to do: lead, protect, and love… the greatest of the three is love.  I’m often reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan when thinking about Man Up. Lying right in the middle of the path is a beaten, unconscious, naked man who has just been robbed of everything. The first two dudes to walk by actually sidestep the problem as though it doesn’t exist. These were guys who would have been the most qualified to “fix” the problem, but chose not to. The third guy was just like me and perhaps you – ordinary. Yet, Christ uses an ordinary Samaritan to demonstrate what it means to Simply Love.
That dreaded, embarrassing meltdown I had in Ethiopia is forever etched into my memory as me being one of those “qualified” wimpy dudes. Not wanting to be inconvenienced, or face another possible sting, or sacrifice my time. I’m so thankful for my dad speaking truth to me. The rest is history. Zoie is now a healthy, beautiful three year old girl that I could never imagine life without. Since that time, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to Man Up for the Fatherless. Men, they need us. They need to experience authentic love from a man. They need to feel the healthy touch from a man. They need to see a smile from a man. They need to experience the blessing from a man. They need you.

If you are interested in joining me this summer on the Visiting Orphans Man Up mission trip July 31- August 14th, please email me [here on the blog] and I will get in touch with you.  I promise you, it will change your life forever!

Roger Gibson

Visiting Orphans Website

17 Comments For This Post

  1. Erica Reed Says:

    I remember your trip to Ethiopia and the uncertainty and mixed emotions that Kari shared with the AWAA families who were so closely following your journey. I remember thinking that I couldn't imagine being in your shoes but one day I was. We lost our ET baby girl only 4 days after her adoption was finalized – we were to travel the very next weekend to bring her home. Our next referral couldn't bring heartache again – surely! We were wrong. (Must continue in a new comment – too long to post)

  2. Erica Reed Says:

    Our baby almost died twice before we could get to her and then we arrived in-country only to find her sick but we didn't know at that time that she was actually in congestive heart failure and death was looming above her head. Maura came home with us only to find her new home in Vanderbilt cardiac care unit. Death was all around us but God prevailed. My husband and I actually discussed Zoe and your family's journey during this trying time. So you see, God used your heartache and trials to give us strength to keep fighting and loving and like Zoe, Maura now has a family who fought the court system, the Embassy, doctors, etc. to give her a chance at life. Your family brought hope to those of us who followed along behind you! Thank you for sharing your family!

  3. Megan Miller Says:

    Okay, I'm tearing up reading this! Roger, you mind me of my amazing hubby Joel, who has also had to "Man Up" for the sake of our family on several occasions, not the least of which is our current adoption (also, QUITE inconvenient!). Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggle with such candor. May it bring courage to many.

  4. Amanda Lawrence Says:

    This made me cry and it made me so so so thankful for my incredible husband, Simon, who has so Manned Up to help bring our little girl home from Ethiopia as well. We are seemingly stuck right now in between her being in Ethiopia and getting her home to us…but instead of just throwing up his arms and retreating, he is pressing in in deep spiritual intercession, warring for our little girl in the Spirit. Believing with all his might that God will bring her home!!! But not without him fighting for her. I'm so glad Simon will be leading this trip with you Roger. So proud of you both and so proud to know you both and to know that we get to send out this team to the fatherless…I am honored.

  5. Ann Terese Brandt Says:

    Thanks for sharing Roger! Really encouraging and a great challenge to all of us!

  6. April Says:

    Thanks for sharing this story, it really touched me.

  7. Anna B Says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Roger!! I found it encouraging and inspiring as we go through our adoption process. I shared your story on my blog today!

  8. Dustin W Says:

    Roger very inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story I can totally identify with you.

  9. Roger Says:

    Erica, thank you for your kind comment. I'm so glad that Zoie story was able to be an encouragement to you and your hubby. I love the way God takes our negatives and turns them into a positive. He is an Awesome God!

  10. Roger Says:

    Thank you. My main objective for the post was to validate the feeling that a lot of men have of adoption and that is the "inconvenience" that the adoption process presents to our lives. But regardless we need to Man Up as Christ calls us to. I'm glad Joel knows how to Man Up!

  11. Roger Says:

    I'm looking forward to hanging with your amazing hubby for the Man Up trip.

  12. Roger Says:

    Hey Ann Terese, I will be out at your church May 12. Hopefully, I will get to see you and BB. It has been a long time.

  13. Roger Says:

    Thank you for sharing the story on your blog. I pray it ministers to your audience. Rog

  14. Kari Says:

    Hubby, thank you for FINALLY sharing your story on my blog!! God wrecked your life and watching Him build a love for missions and caring for orphans has changed my life too! I know God will continue using your story to encourage other men and women to Man Up 4 orphans!!
    Love you!!

  15. Says:


    Great story. My wife and I are in the process of adopting and it's certainly not easy. I've had all those thoughts that you had about the inconvenience this whole process is, and the financial burden, and the government issues… and on and on.

    But at the same time, I know I have a son that is waiting for me to take him home. To give him all the love that we've been storing for him.

    In the end, I know it'll be worth it, but for now, gee whiz :)

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  16. Alida Rodriguez Says:

    I just got back yesterday from Visiting Orphans Ordinary Hero Team two to Ethiopia. My hubby REALLY wants to go. He was just laid off and this is probably the only time he’d be able to go. We LOVE your ministry and your heart for orphans and the poor. Is it possible to get a passport in a couple of days? We would need to fundraise but with God all things are possible. We are prayerfully considering moving to ETHIOPIA. My husband Huatzin wants to see how it is first hand. Please contact us at Thank you. Alida & Huatzin

  17. Alida Rodriguez Says:

    I just saw that there are place where you can get your passport the same day. Please pray God’s will and funding in my husband. It would have to be totally supernatural. We’d need funding ASAP! He is really interested. In Christ, Alida w5

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here

I Partner With

My BFF’s Project

Adoption Loans

Lifesong for Orphans

Grab My Button!

My Crazy Friends