From the moment you meet Lillian (@_lillianbradley), you know she is someone special. She has a light that radiates and makes everyone around her feel special. She has a beautiful home, 3 adorable children, and a happy marriage. She’s athletic, extremely educated, and is a published model.
But Lillian’s life hasn’t always been so picturesque- and after hearing her talk about her history and passions, you realize why she is full of light. She has overcome some unthinkable challenges and has dived back into them just to help other people do the same.
Lillian was born into extreme poverty in Buduburam, Ghana. She was told that her Mother died during childbirth after which her Uncle took Lillian to raise as his own. Her uncle wasn’t in a position to raise a young girl, and often had to leave all day to work. She, like many other children, was born in poverty, experienced malnourishment and suffered from malaria.
A missionary couple from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints saw Lillian’s living conditions, and upon returning home, sought out the Martino Family. They described Lillian’s circumstances, and felt compelled to approach people they knew to help her receive the opportunity to be adopted. The Martinos decided to adopt her.
They flew to Ghana to pick up Lillian, and found a 3-year old girl that desperately needed to be taken care of. They made the final decision to do just that.
Fast forward a decade, and Lillian was a smart, strong, happy teenager. But in addition to these passions of friends, education, and sports, she felt a constant pull back to her home country in West Africa. She decided to learn more about her past, and booked a plane ticket with her Mother to Ghana.
Lillian quickly learned that there were many others who were not as fortunate as she had been. Many were neglected, abused, and even exploited through modern day slavery. She recalls that it was “difficult to absorb the reality of the lives they were living, and [was] aware of the fact that had I not been adopted, I very well could have been living the same life.”
Amidst all of the beauty, kindness, and welcoming spirit that Ghana has to offer, she learned of situations where individuals experienced being sold into slavery. She sprung into action. She partnered with non-profits that hired investigators who would conduct rescue missions for those who had been sold.
After being able to help a few children, Lillian understood that this was only the first of many crucial steps to make a true difference. Many of these children didn’t have the resources to get an education and would often find themselves in a similar fate as before. With these brutal realities in mind and heart, she started her own non-profit, called Fahodie for Friends. Funds raised would go to rescued children to help with education, food, shelter, and various rehabilitation programs.
Lillian didn’t stop there. She traveled around the globe to work, speak, and raise awareness about this cause to help individuals rise out of poverty.
In 2015, she married Gerritt Bradley, who also had strong ties to Ghana. He served an LDS mission to Ghana, and believed in Lillian’s cause.
They now have 3 beautiful children, and travel back to Ghana as much as possible. Lillian is working on a Masters degree in Public Administration and hopes to continue working with governments and Nonprofits in her native home of Ghana to help people gain the resources they need to live better lives.
Here at Plum + Sparrow, we learned of Lillian’s amazing story and felt a strong connection to her. Our baskets are handmade by men and women in West Africa, and we work closely with them to make sure their work is Fair Trade certified. We know of the poverty and difficulties that people in west Africa face, and we are so grateful for the work Lillian is doing.
With her 3rd child on the way, we wanted to say thank you. We decided that we wanted to help welcome this new baby into the world by completely redecorating Lillian’s nursery. It felt like a small way to say thank you, but we know how comforting it is to have a space to nurture a new baby, and if anyone deserves it, Lillian does!
We’ll be launching our first-ever Sparrow Mama Nursery Makeover reveal on Monday, January 25, 2021, complete with a video showing off the entire experience. Keep an eye out for our next blog post that goes in-depth into Lillian’s story, the nursery makeover, and all the brands that participated to make it possible!
There will also be a chance to nominate a friend as our next mama to receive a brand-new nursery. We are so excited for all the amazing mamas we will be able to meet through this new series!