Knowing Gavin


Gavin’s family traveled to pick him up from the orphanage in January of 2013.  

When they got back to the US Gavin was almost immediately evaluated by specialists.  His health issues were complicated, and he would face many surgeries.  It was also discovered at this time that neither of his new parents would be a match for donating a kidney to Gavin.  The harsh reality is that Gavin would likely wait 10 years to be matched with a cadaver kidney.  He would likely need to start dialysis in a matter of months.  

The search was on for a living donor.  Many people stepped forward to offer to be tested to donate.  I messaged Gavin’s mom that I would like to be tested. 

Only one person can be tested for donation at a time per recipient.  I am not sure why the Thomas family chose me to be tested first.  I am not the youngest person who volunteered, or the fittest.  My children were astounded that anyone would want my kidney (yeah for the vote of confidence).  My husband suggested maybe I should hold on to my “spare” kidney in case he needed it (yeah, right) I was a little shocked that they picked me!    

People have asked me why I would donate an organ to someone I have never met.  I feel to some degree that I “know” all the children that I have placed for adoption.  I work closely with the families for years while in the adoption process.  They are clients but they are also people who I grow to care about.  I have never met the Thomas family in person, I have never met Gavin, yet I feel like I do know them.  

I know that Gavin’s mom is a wonderful and caring woman who has a wicked sense of humor.  

I know Gavin’s dad has devoted his life as a Marine to keeping my children and the children of all US citizens free and safe.  

I know Gavin’s siblings are active children who’s lives would be harshly impacted if he had to travel one hour for dialysis three days a week.  

And I know Gavin’s story.  I know some of the pain and anxiety he has endured in his short life and can guess about what has not been told.  I know he is one of the most Joyful children I have ever seen despite all of this.  


In my lifetime I have never known anyone but Gavin who is in need of a kidney donation.  I know that donating my kidney to Gavin will make his life better and will make the life of his family easier.  I am happy to help.

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