Our Story

Founders Story | Uganda Operations

Meet Josh & Emma

As a little girl Emma's heart was broken for the special needs orphan. At 6 years old, she began to pray that God would pick her to take care of the orphans in Africa. On her eighth birthday, her parents recorded a video of her saying she was moving to Uganda to help take care of the orphans. At 13 she began taking mission trips to Uganda. In January 2013, Emma moved permanently and her dream had now become a reality. Soon after moving, she began the lengthy and arduous process of registering and opening The Gem Foundation. Eighteen months later on July 10th, 2014, the first 11 Gems arrived; they were home forever!

In 2015, Emma married her high school sweetheart, Josh. They were married at The Gem Foundation, surrounded by the children and her staff. Emma and Josh are truly a team. The Gem has been open for six years, and they have had the privilege of caring for 70+ Gems. God has been faithful every step of the way, and neither Emma or Josh can take credit for what He has done! And in Emma's word: "I am humbled that He chose to use me. Today my husband Josh and I, together as a family with our four children, have the joy of caring for our most precious Gems! We love living in Uganda and loving our Gems! There is truly nowhere else we'd rather be."

Founders of The Gem Foundation: Josh and Emma Quisenberry
Founders of The Gem Foundation: Dwight & Linny Saunders

Co-Founders | US Operations

Meet Dwight & Linny

Thirty-five years ago Dwight and Linny Saunders brought home their oldest son from Asia. Over the years they would lovingly gather ten more children from around the world and sprinkle a few bio kids in their pile as well.  Now, married 42 years, their six oldest have launched from the nest and they are expecting their 15th grandchild!  Of their almost 15 grands, 5 are also adopted. One of their greatest joys is that they are a multi-generational adoptive family.

But as beautiful as each adoption was, they were burdened remembering the ones left behind and Dwight and Linny knew they had to do more! So

Read more of Dwigtht & Linny's story icon pointing right


Every child with special needs is a Gem from the heart of God therefore: we will rescue the abandoned Gem, restore their God given value, and release every Gem into their God given destiny.

  • We rescue abandoned and neglected orphans
  • We restore their infinite God given value
  • We rehabilitate with PT an OT. (We restore health to our Gems through physical therapy & occupational therapy
  • We release them into their full potential – at Gem Village, rehomed, or adopted.


We envision a world where no child with special needs is left behind.

Each and every child deserves a safe, loving home and we envision a Uganda where that will happen.


Our values are seen in everything we do each and every day.

  • Thankful An attitude of thankfulness will permeate our culture.
  • Homes We provide safe and loving forever homes.
  • Excellence Our standard is excellence.
  • God The Gems are God’s children, we are His stewards.
  • Equip We equip families to care for their children with special needs.
  • Magnify We magnify God in our words & actions toward the Gems.
  • Serve We exist to serve our Gems with local staff and International support