She looked around at the young, beautiful faces of the orphaned girls that needed a home. She decided there and then to leave her childhood dream of marriage behind her.
She was married to her purpose, and that was enough for now. But when she lay awake at night, her loneliness grew. As did the affection of the man that she never saw coming.
Katie Davis was your average American girl from Franklin, Tennessee before she became something drastically different.
She was homecoming queen and class president at her high school. She had intended to study nursing in college, graduate, bag her dream job, her dream man, get married, have a dog, start a family. But things didn’t exactly go as planned.
Katie was 18 years old when she first took a flight out to Uganda for a year-long mission trip. Something that is not uncommon for anyone who identifies as Christian.
Katie spent the year working with a pastor who asked her to teach kindergarteners at his orphanage. A job that would be purposeful for most people, but for Katie, it would be more than that. It would be life-changing.
Katie fell in love with her work as well as the culture and children of Uganda. She felt inspired and an undeniable calling that this is what she was meant to do with her life, but for now she tried to ignore it.
She went back home in order to carry out the life everyone saw for her. She enrolled in nursing school, and tried to get Uganda out of her mind. But she couldn’t.
She dropped out and took the next plane out to Uganda. Now, she knew what she had to do. It repeated in her mind like a broken record when she was away from them.
She was going to start an organization of her own and adopt the children that she bonded with that had nowhere to go. “Knowing there was nowhere else for them to go, I didn’t find myself capable of sending them away”, she said.
Four years later, at 22 years of age, Katie had begun the process of adopting three daughters. Two years later, she had 13 adoptive daughters. All of these girls had lost parents to AIDS or had otherwise been abused or abandoned.
No one was there for them, except for Katie. But soon, the responsibility of being a single mother to so many children began to take its toll on Katie. And who would be there for her?
At first, everything was fine. She was realizing her purpose in life. She knew with absolute certainty that she was doing the right thing, living her truth and her dream.
But suddenly, it hit her. She had adopted all these children, but she was single afterall. She came to the realization that she’d have to let go of her any dream she had about marriage.
She had resolved to be alone for the rest of her life. She was married to her purpose, and that was enough for her. But in the dark stillness of the nights, her loneliness grew with each passing day.
Little did she know, the man she was going to marry was already in her life. He was just around the corner. But Katie had no idea what was in store for her.
As soon as she laid her eyes on him, she felt butterflies swarm about in her stomach. His name was Ben and he was from Franklin Tennessee too.
Like Katie, he came from a devout Christian background but Katie never could have imagined what this so-called Christian had planned for Katie and her family.
Their relationship had started off professionally as he worked with Katie. But the more time they spent together, the more they realized they were destined for more than just friends.
However, as lonely as she was, she saw her children as her priority. She didn’t want to be distracted from that.
Ben asked Katie out for a date and she agreed. While on their first date, she made sure to tell Ben just how much her organization, Amazima Ministries which provides food, medication, and school fees to Ugandan children in need, means to her. As well as her adopted children of course.
Ben wasn’t phased by this, in fact, he told Katie that’s what he liked about her; her desire to help others. The date ultimately went well, Katie left feeling like a giddy school girl walking home. But this loved-up woman had no idea what was coming.
A month passed, and Katie and Ben became inseparable. The two were on cloud nine, reveling in excitement and infatuation. Katie finally felt she found her missing piece.
Despite how good their relationship was going, Katie had yet to introduce Ben to her kids. After all, she wanted to make sure Ben was worthy and the “real deal.” And she thought he was, but she was so wrong.
Katie’s children were used to having one parent; Katie. In a world where things and love were scarce, her love was all they needed.
They didn’t want their mom to get hurt or trust someone who wasn’t willing to let her live the way she wanted.
It was a Sunday afternoon when Katie finally introduced her new boyfriend Ben to her 13 daughters. It was a nerve-racking moment as Katie wanted her kids so badly to warm to Ben.
And at first, they did, Ben showered her Katie’s daughters with love and affection but it was a slow process. The younger girls embraced him as ‘Dad’ while the older girls looked at him with caution, unsure what to make of him. Why didn’t they trust him? But then strange things started happening.
Katie’s 15-year-old daughter, Maria was usually a cheery and outgoing teenager. She loved nothing more than making her sister’s and family smile. But recently, it seemed her smile had disappeared. She was withdrawn and spent her time all by herself.
Katie noticed her daughter’s shift in personality and like any concerned mother, she pulled Maria aside and asked what was wrong. However, Maria insisted nothing was wrong. But Katie could tell something was going on. And she was right.
It was 1:04 am in the morning when Katie woke up to a strange noise. She rubbed her tired eyes and reached out for Ben, but to her surprise, he wasn’t there. Where was he?
She checked her phone and saw the time, and then got out of bed, trying to find the source of the noise. It sounded like banging, but then suddenly, it stopped. Katie carefully opens her door and peeks out into the corridor. And what she saw left her feeling sick to her stomach.
She saw Ben, but for some strange reason, he was creeping out of Maria’s bedroom. What was he doing in there? Why was he up this time of the night? Questions flooded Katie’s mind as she stood watching her boyfriend creep through the house.
She saw he was making his way back to their bedroom and she leaped into bed and pretended to be fast asleep. But that night, Katie didn’t sleep a wink.
The following day, Katie knew she had to find out the truth. She had worst-case scenarios fly around in her head, and she tried too hard to not think the worst.
She asked Maria over breakfast about the incident but Maria just looked alarmed and didn’t say anything. She picked up her orange juice and retreated back into her bedroom. Katie knew she had to confront her new man.
Katie pulled Ben aside and asked him about what happened last night. Panic crept over Ben’s face as Katie stood, arms on her hips demanding an answer.
He took a deep breath before revealing the truth. And when Katie heard it, she was lost for words.
Turned out that Maria had been struggling with anxiety and Ben had been there when Maria had a panic attack and had helped her through it.
Katie’s mind was put to rest. How could she think such a thing? She knew he was her prince charming. And slowly but surely, Katie’s daughters began to understand who this man really was.
Ben Majors was the pastor that had worked with Katie when she first arrived in Uganda. He was a patient and caring man who felt his calling in life was to support his own Mother Teresa as well as continue with his own work.
Katie and Ben were a power couple. A love story written in the stars. After a year of dating, they married and were pregnant with a son. But what did her children think?
Her daughters grew to love Ben as he stumbled his way through parental advice and communicating with little girls. Often, he got it wrong, and doubted his ability to be a good father and husband that Katie could rely on but he never gave up. The girls were all bridesmaids on their wedding day.
Everyone was happy, except for one woman.
At 15 years old, Katie’s oldest daughter was only 7 years younger than her. Child welfare office Caroline Bankusha outlines that Katie must be 21 years older than her eldest daughter. She also disapproves of Katie raising 13 children, and advised her to settle for 5.
Little did Katie know, this woman had vowed to bring Katie down. She was going to do whatever it takes.
Child welfare office Caroline Bankusha did whatever she could to prevent Katie from carrying on with her family life.
It wasn’t right. How could someone so young look after children? Caroline wasn’t going to stand for it. But then Katie and her husband Ben found a loophole in the law.
Judges can make exceptions given that it’s in the best interest of the child. And the oldest child has stated that it is definitely within her best interest to stay with Katie.
“I feel like she’s really my mother,” she said, “because she shows me love and I feel like, yes, this is my mom.” With this much love and security voiced by her eldest daughter, we’re sure they won’t be separated anytime soon. What a story!