My Story

My Story – Part One

Your journey has molded you for the greater good. It was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you have lost time. It took each and every situation you encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time. ~ Aasha Tyson

When I was a little girl, I always wanted a baby doll with dark skin. I never told my mom, my aunt, my grandma – it was sort of my secret. Reflecting back, I’m not sure why it was such a secret. 5 year ago (2006), Santa brought me a wonderful dark skinned baby that smells of a hint of vanilla. She has curly black hair and a smile that I wish every child had. She is my constant reminder of a passion so deep in my heart and my soul that over the years has strengthened and become a beacon, guiding me and keeping me wishing, hoping and praying for a “right time” and the “right direction”.

What I know for sure (thank you Oprah for this line), is that all of my work and experiences over the last 43 years has delivered me the tools and given me the space to prepare for a Journey that I know will have a significant impact. There have been five markers on my journey in the last 13 years that were pivotal in illuminating my path and getting me to where I am today.

    1. Having children, becoming a parent
    2. Supporting families in my role as a Postpartum Doula
    3. Working for Bringing Baby Home – specifically my work on the Attachment Toolkit ( A Vulcan Sponsored Program)
    4. The Book “Start Something that Matters”
    5. My dear friend and former client Carrie Morris.  Thank you for giving me inspiration and concrete objectives to get this journey started!

So what is it that I am so passionate about and why? 

Babies – The answer is simple but the challenges in the World are so complex specifically when it comes to those children who are orphans.  An ‘orphan’ is defined by the United Nations as a child who has ‘lost one or both parents’. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 16 million children under 18 have been orphaned by AIDS. Around 14.8 million of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa. According to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, in some countries badly affected by the epidemic, a large percentage of all children, for example 16% of children in Zimbabwe and 12% in Botswana and Swaziland, are orphaned due to AIDS. Even with the expansion of antiretroviral treatment access, it is estimated that by 2015, the number of orphaned children will still be overwhelmingly high.

What do these percentages really look in numbers? You will be amazed! According to a 2010 UNICEF/UNAID Report the number of orphans due to AIDS, alive in 2009 look like this:

Nigeria 2.5 Million
South Africa 1.9 Million
Tanzania 1.3 Million
Uganda 1.2 Million
Kenya 1.2 Million
Zimbabwe 1.0 Million
Zambia 690,000
Mozambique 670,000
Malawi 650,000

My heart aches knowing that so many children all over the world (even in this country) are without a loving and nurturing mother and/or father or consistent caretaker. For years, I would find myself drawn to information and articles about orphans in third world countries.  I was inspired by organizations who were doing their best and making some difference in these orphans’ lives but always wondered what more could be done.  In 2007, while working at The Relationship Research Institute for the Bringing Baby Home program, I was involved in a project sponsored by Vulcan called “This Emotional Life”.  More specifically, I worked on an Attachment Toolkit called “Early Moments Matter: Small Steps, long-lasting effects”.  While doing some background research for this project, I came across article after article about the unfortunate conditions of newborn orphans and the emotional and developmental impact they suffer years later.  It struck an emotional chord with me that  gave me a feeling of ah, ha – that’s what I want to help with!  But how? I am not a celebrity figure and I don’t have a lot of money.  How can Tina Millican, from Kirkland, Washington begin to help these children?It wasn’t until December of 2011 while walking through Nordstrom that something hit me to get started.  A TOMS shoe display caught my attention. Yes the shoes are wonderful ( I have a pair on now – Carpe Diem no less) but what really caught my attention was the book that was on display titled, “Start Something That Matters”.  Another ah, ha!  I flipped through a few pages and came across the first of three inspirational messages. It was obviously my day to hear and receive them!

“If you are like me and most people I know, you yearn for something more than business success.  You’re searching for meaning.  You want to have the time and freedom to do the things you love and contribute to making the world a better place.” 

I said to myself, “yes I do”. 

I flipped a few more pages to a Chapter titled, “Face your Fears” and read the following quote:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

I felt goose bumps after reading this, and said to my children who were patiently waiting to spend their Christmas gift cards; I have to get this book. Remember the title. We left the book and made our way to Justice and then Zumiez.  After Zumiez we started heading to the car and I said, “What was the name of that book?” None of us could exactly remember so we walked through Nordstrom again and I took a picture of the book with my phone.  I was sure to remember this time.  I quickly read the inside cover (the kids were really ready to go) and found my third inspirational message and the push I needed to move forward.

“What matters most to you?  Should you focus on earning a living, pursuing your passions, or devoting yourself to the causes that inspire you?  The surprising truth is that you don’t have to choose – and that you’ll find more success if you don’t.  You don’t have to be rich to give back and you don’t have to retire to spend every day doing what you love.  You can find profit, passion, and meaning all at once – right now.”

Amen!  And that is where my journey begins!  I am letting go of that fear of the unknown, removing a huge roadblock an instead taking a leap of faith and moving forward. I haven’t figured it all out yet (I do have ideas) but I am confident that I am on the right track and open to all the possibilities, explorations, discoveries and opportunities 2012 delivers upon me.

“This little light of mine – I’m gonna let it shine!”

Coming Soon
My Story – Part Two:  The push I needed

One Response to “My Story”

  1. Joyce Dersham March 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Tina, I am so inspired by your story that I have decided to take the first step in by “Starting What Matters” most to me. I am exited to share our journey as we move forward toward our dreams and making those dreams a reality.

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