As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Dream and A Cry For Help.....

The other night, after crawling into bed, I was trying to remember how to say 'I love you' in Amharic. I finally remembered, and repeated the word to myself several times before falling asleep. I dreamed that we were meeting our adopted child for the first time. It was a girl, about 20 months old, and she was absolutely beautiful.  I picked her up, held her up in the air, and talked to her. I had tears running down my face, and I remember thinking that she was so soft as I held her cheek next to mine. Then I woke up. I was so sad that it wasn't real!

There is a family who traveled over to Ethiopia last week to meet their daughter for the first time. They posted lots of information about their trip and their time in Addis Ababa on our agency's yahoo group. Their account was so beautiful, heartbreaking and convicting all at the same time. The taxi driver that they hired to take them around the city also took them to his home to meet his family. About 11 families live together in an area of makeshift houses, made up of mud, cardboard, stucco and sheet metal. Each "house" has two small rooms, concrete floors, and no sink, toilet, shower, or heat. They wrote, " We stepped into the first of the two rooms that made up his "house." There was an old small couch, a wooden chair, a tiny tv and a small fridge. In the room behind it was where his wife and he slept on one side, and he had makeshift metal bunkbeds on the other side where his two boys, 13 and 8, slept. It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen and I really felt guilty - why was I born in America and why was he here - why do I complain and he doesn't AT ALL? Each family has to pay a huge sum of rent each month - outrageous - which the landlord continues to raise. So basically they are paying to live in a garbage dump, and even though (the father) is working class, this is all they can afford.

"His family was so beautiful! He is so giving. He went and walked down the street and got us each a bottle of water (which was probably worth several day's wages). His wife performed the traditional coffee ceremony (roasting whole coffee beans, crushing them up with a bowl and rod and boiling them). This alone probably cost everything he had for the month - that is how special it is to them and they only do it on special occasions. So basically he gave us EVERYTHING he had, everything he could offer. They had nothing, and yet they gave all they had.

"When he stepped in to show us where they slept, he put his hands in the air and said, "Thanks be to God for all this." This is when I lost it - my eyes welled up and I couldn't believe how spoiled and selfish we as Americans (including myself) are. He was SO genuinely proud of his home and SO thankful to the God that had "blessed him so."

"He told another member of our group that he was so proud that his sons were in school and even though he has to pay $25 a month (which is SO much money there), he said that they go hungry if they have to, so that the boys can go to school. Even if they can't eat, including the boys, education comes first. Another family with us gave one of the boys a soccer ball and he was over-the-moon excited. He slept with it in his arms by his head all night. The boys were in clothes worn through with holes and his wife had just gotten really sick and had to go to the hospital. So, get this - there is no insurance here, and if you can't pay before being treated, you don't get treated at all! But he said, "She is my life, she is everything to me." He loved her so much and the boys were so kind - well-mannered and amazing people with great hearts.

"The other couple that was here went and bought them a pizza...they were so thrilled as they had NEVER had pizza before (can you even imagine this as an American citizen?) But, they don't keep things for themselves. This culture is more sharing than we tend to be. So, what did he do? He shared (the pizza) with the other 11 families that live (around him).

"His wife is in school, but get this - you have to attend 4 years of college to become a hotel receptionist! That is what she is doing and has one year left. He drives a taxi, but doesn't own the car and has to pay to use it. To buy a tiny car in Addis is around $30,000 - $40,000 US Dollars!

"As we left their "house", kids and people were milling around in the dirt all over the crowded compound. They were smiling and the little kids broke our was all so overwhelming and I just couldn't shake the fact that they have absolutely NOTHING, and are so happy and thankful....smiling, and yet look what we have - everything to be comfortable, and we are still not happy, and are always wanting more.....I know that if each person went to his house for that coffee ceremony and saw what we saw, the world would be SO different!"

This family's account brought me to tears. They also told of a visit to a state-run orphanange, where only 2 women were caring for about 17 babies. "It was horrible. Some (of the babies) slept 2 to a metal crib. They looked at us with eyes that were so hopeful, but we couldn't pick them up. We walked by and talked to them and they would smile, but the older kids wouldn't smile. They just laid there in their cribs and stared because they knew that they wouldn't be picked up. They said that they don't hold the babies - they just prop a bottle or maybe hold them to feed them quickly and change them, but that is it! The smell was horrid and there were babies that were soaked up to their waist in urine and who knows what, had spit-up on themselves and were just crying for love. Some would reach their hands up to us and it killed us as parents to just look at them crying for comfort and to walk away just like the orphanage workers did. How can this be? They just want comfort and love - why is this the reality? Why can't they have someone to call their own and someone to give them comfort and someone to be their mom and dad?"

The family then went on to encourage us waiting parents and reiterate how WONDERFUL our agency's transition home, Hannah's Hope, is. The children there are treated fantastically, and all of the special mothers love them so much. The care that they receive is exceptional.

I have heard before that around 62% of Christian families express an interest in adopting. However, only 2% actually ever do anything about it. How can this be? God commands us in his Word to care for the orphans. And once our eyes have been opened, we can't pretend that we don't know what to do. God knows our every thought, and will hold us responsible to act. So how about you? Can you help a hurting child? Can you help to lighten someone's load? Today I'm asking you to pray to God and ask Him what you can do to help. What you can do to make a difference in this dark world. And He can show us clearly what to do. This Thanksgiving, let's open our hearts to those who need us. Let's truly be thankful for the blessings we have been given, and let's be willing to share those blessings with others.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! I have been thinking and praying about those babies in that orphanage since I read that on the list serv! It is breaking my heart!