Katie Davis was only 18 years old when she made a decision that would permanently alter the course of her life.
The Tennessee native was in her final year of high school, serving as class president and preparing to be her high school’s homecoming queen when she announced her intention to her classmates.
Katie was driving a yellow convertible vehicle in 2008, with intentions to enroll in nursing school. That is until she decided to take a trip to Uganda before returning to college.
She informed her family in Brentwood after she returned from Uganda that she would not be attending college and that she had opted to travel to Uganda to serve as a missionary committed to delivering education to the people.
She returned to Uganda to begin her missionary work, promising herself that she would earn the nursing degree she desired at some time.
She began teaching kindergarten in an orphanage, but a mud hut fell on three children whose parents had died of AIDS one night during a downpour. One of the kids, 9-year-old Agnes, asked Katie if she could live with her while she was in the hospital, and the 18-year-old agreed.
Katie had gone from being an 18-year-old homecoming queen to the mother of 13 orphaned or abandoned daughters ranging in age from 2 to 15. Davis was handed the youngest kid by a 12-year-old HIV-positive mother.
“My initial thought isn’t, ‘Oh, there’s a kid! Let me adopt it!’ Because, in the best-case scenario, I believe kids are raised by Ugandans in Uganda. “However, knowing that they have nowhere else to go,” Katie explained, “I don’t believe I’m capable of sending them away.”
Katie went to the United States momentarily to fulfill her commitment to her parents and enrolled in nursing school, but she missed her girls too much and dropped out and returned to Uganda.
Katie wanted to adopt the girls, but she was told that she wouldn’t be considered for adoption until she was 25 years old, according to Ugandan law.
Because of how effectively she looks after the children, she was designated as their court-assigned carer.
Katie’s children believe that sticking with her is in their best interests.
Prissy, one of the daughters, said, “I feel like she’s truly my mother because she shows me love, and I feel like, sure, this is my mom.”
Katie explained that when she first began out, her goal was to teach these girls the Bible, but she had no clue how much she would love them and feel compelled to become their mother.
When Davis was interviewed by NPR more than a decade ago, she commented, “I believe it’s clearly something that I was created for.”
“God just built me that way because he already knew — even if I didn’t — that this was the plan for my life,” Katie, a devout Christian who idolizes Mother Theresa, explained.
Katie has since founded Amazima Ministries International, which has assisted in the establishment of two schools as well as other services such as medical and vocational outreach, sponsorship, and scholarship programs focused on preserving Ugandan families.
Katie married Benji Davis in 2015, and the couple currently resides in Uganda with their two biological boys and 13 Ugandan children. Even though they grew up close to each other in Tennessee, they met for the first time in Uganda when Benji arrived in Uganda to work as a missionary.
Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption and Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful are two of her memoirs that have become New York Times bestsellers.
The mother of 17 children claimed that the Ugandan people have become like family to her and that anything she does there can be replicated abroad. “You don’t have to be in Uganda to be a missionary,” she explained. To be the hands and feet of Jesus, you don’t have to adopt 13 children.”
Katie’s story is wonderful, and many children now have the stability and bright future that all children deserve as a result of her efforts.