Sunday, June 27, 2010

2 months as a family (and a little reflection)

As we celebrate the 2 month anniversary of being a family, I find myself looking back to Ethiopia. A family who is traveling for court and another family traveling to bring their son home have agreed to carry some photos and cards to the children at the orphanges and to the in-country staff.

While I has looking through the MILLION photos we have of children at the orphanages, my heart was breaking. The young men at Kolfe were amazing. Polite, thoughtful, ambitious. I told one boy at Kolfe that he had very good English. He said, "No ma'am. I don't. I need to practice." Then I responded, "Have you heard my Amharic?" Seriously, his English was spot on! He wanted to work to be an engineer. Their dreams inspire me!

At the younger children's orphanage, my heart was won by one little, filthy, stinky boy who only had the use of one arm. (He's in the photo above - we can't show faces of the children in the orphanages). I would guess he was 4 years old. One of the ladies in our group was passing out candy. She gave him a lollipop, and having one arm, he couldn't open it. I knelt to open his candy for him, and that was it - we were bonded. He held my hand. I carried him. He laughed. Somehow he got another piece of candy. And, while we were touring the facility, one little girl was lying in bed. I am not sure that she could get up, but her face was smiley and beautiful. My little friend willingly gave her his second piece of candy because she didn't get one. Our hearts broke. This little guy has nothing. Looking through the photos today, I see that his shoes were worn out and probably 2 sizes too big. His pants were probably two sizes too short and about 100 years old. But he gave away a treasure!

Then, as we were leaving, this little guy followed us to the car. He held onto me so tightly. We hugged and kissed. Then hugged and kissed some more. One of workers had to pry his hand off mine. Then he just sat down and bawled, I mean broken hearted wailing. Driving away, my heart broke. I think of his very often, and the photos broke my heart today.

We saw so much loss. So much need. So many little faces who just want a family.

As we were touring the baby room, which was desolate - way too many babies, many without diapers, in a small room, Travis reminded us of the story of the starfish. You know the one - the little boy throws starfish back in the ocean. Someone told him to give it up, that his efforts don't matter. And he replied, "It matters to the one I threw back."

Boy, are we thankful for Zadie Hayat. She loves us. We love her. We laugh together. She comes to me for comfort. In a public place, she holds tighter to her mother. I mean, we are thankful for the progress she has made. I hope we are wise as we continue our attachment. I just really want what's best for the little piece of love.

But, I can't stop thinking about all of those children. All of that need. What is my responsibility? The question haunts me.


  1. beautiful post. it's stories like this that make my heart hurt and so worried about when we travel to ethiopia. i cannot imagine how you felt leaving this little one in such a state. :(
    your daughter is just beautiful and i am so happy to read that all is going well with you.
    much love and light.

  2. Oh, man. I so know your heart! What is my calling in all of this heartache? We were so inspired at Bridge, we are still praying about what we can do, how can we help. Ahhh. Ethiopia.

  3. Thank you for sharing and offering insight into what those of us about to travel will see. I don't think much will prepare us for the need we're about to experience, but your post paints a very real picture.
    My mind is aleady spinning with thoughts of how to help these children.

  4. The story of the little boy giving away his candy- amazing. I'm beyond blessed, and trying to figure out my own small way to affect the world for the better.

  5. I ask myself that same question...EVERY. DAY. I am so torn between there and here. I truly wonder if I will ever feel like I "belong" anywhere after ET. Maybe this is what it feels like to long for Heaven.

  6. WOW, thank you for this. As we prepare for travel, I have been thinking a lot about how this trip will impact me and I have started asking myself a similar question. I know that question will reach new levels when we return. Life is somehow messy and beautiful and tragic and uplifting all at the same time. That I know. So glad you have Zadie too!

  7. I sit here crying...I feel the same way....My heart is broken for these children, and we ask ourselves also, what can we do??? The starfish story really touched Brad...When we got home he went and got a tattoo with Lidya's name and underneath it says My lil starfish...I cry everytime I look at it...