Des Moines couple adopts from Nigeria, support needed from the local community

Jonny and Kayla Craig met in high school, in a theatre arts class to be exact, and they’ve been high school sweethearts ever since. They are strong believers in their Christian faith, they live in Beaverdale, and they drink a lot of coffee. Jonny and Kayla might seem like your average young professional couple in Des Moines but if you take a deeper look, you’ll quickly notice that they are a little different from most.

Jonny and Kayla knew they were called to do something, so they followed their calling. A little over a year ago Jonny and Kayla made the decision to expand their family.

“Everywhere I looked someone was blogging or tweeting about the orphan crisis,” said Kayla Craig. “I knew that the orphan crisis was something that was weighing on my heart. It was actually kind of crazy because one night Jonny told me that he’d watched a video in school about political unrest and genocide in developing countries, which made him think about all of the children in those countries. We looked at each other and we knew that God was calling us to adopt.”

Kayla and Jonny had done all of their homework about the adoption process. They’d read countless blogs, websites and searched online, but they were still a little lost in the process. After running into Eric Idehen, who founded Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage in 2006, their path became clearer. With Eric’s help, the couple began the adoption process. They completed all of the necessary paperwork and they were eventually matched with their 8-month-old son, Joseph.

Joseph was born in Benin City, which is located in southern Nigeria, Africa. Nigeria is a little more than twice the size of California and there are many children there who are in need of the basic necessities of life. In February, the Craig’s traveled to Nigeria and they were able to meet their son Joseph for the first time. They were able to feed him, change his diaper, and love him as any parents would, but leaving him behind was especially hard for the couple to do.

“The hardest part of the process was having to leave him,” said Kayla Craig. “It’s just heartbreaking leaving your son. It’s also hard knowing that you don’t have a lot of control. It’s been a good life lesson. Even if you think you have things planned out, life never works out that way.”

As you can imagine, the adoption process has been filled with a lot of paperwork, has taken nearly a year, and has become quite an expensive endeavor. When all is said and done, the Craig’s will have spent between $23,000 and $25,000 to adopt Joseph.

“Part of this process has been us learning to lay down our pride and asking others to come along side us,” said Craig. “We’ve paid the large majority of the costs already by working second jobs and saving everything, but we still need a little extra help.”

The Craig’s, along with the help of a few others, have put together an event, “Networking for a Cause: An Evening for Joseph,” to raise the last few funds needed to bring their son Joseph home to Des Moines. The event will take place on Thursday, April 14 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Badowers on Ingersoll Avenue. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

But keep in mind, this isn’t your typical networking event. Of course there will be drinks, entertainment, hors d’oeuvres and great people to mingle with, but this event is driven by a cause and directly supports Kayla, Jonny and Joseph in their journey of starting their new family in Des Moines. If you cannot attend the event but you’d still like to donate, you may do so by visiting Kayla and Jonny’s website.

“We were looking to give something to the community and to also raise a few funds to go towards Joseph’s fees,” said Craig. “We are hoping to have professionals come out to support the event. We have some really cool things planned, the silent auction items are great and we’ll even have some chair massages and music. It’s been really great to see people in the community, people that we don’t even know, coming together to be generous without an agenda.”

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