So far, overall, things are going fairly well with the kids, no major break-downs yet, just the normal things, but it is just a lot - for not only us but them as well, and it is going to take time to adjust. I look at the pictures of where they lived before the orphanage, and know that they had literally nothing, and went hungry, and I have to remember this as we try to teach them how to live in a family-how to share, how to give personal space, how to not take things that are not yours, etc. It is exhausting, but also good. Sounds very odd I am sure, unless you have done this :-)
We covet your prayers-they are sustaining us during the harder moments!
Thank you to EACH and EVERY one of you that have prayed us and our children home! We are so very thankful!!
Thank you to our family, especially Adam's parents :-) for keeping our other kids safe and happy at home while we were gone, and my mom for making us dinner tonight-and helping with the kids, what a blessing both were! We couldn't cook right now to save our lives! My sister Kelly, and sister-in-law, Rachael for making the girls room so very cute. We love you guys!
Want to say thank you for the awesome pictures that people took for us at the airport-priceless!! Thank you as well to our awesome church family for the great gift of a clean house, the great welcome home, the berries (all that sounded good today was fresh produce-so very perfect), and your encouraging verses, prayers and words and listening ears :-). We love you all!
HERE WE ARE A FAMILY OF 10! OUR ARRIVAL IN PORTLAND-
HERE IS WHAT I HAD JOURNALED FROM ETHIOPIA-WANTED TO SHARE:
We are here-doing great, we went to pick up our kids yesterday. Everything is going good with them! Our hearts are SO full and yet SO sad-the things you see here in this city, no one should ever have to see, let alone live through!
One thing that stands out in my mind was sitting at a curb in our van and having a mother come over with her about one year old baby-she kept putting the baby out to us, toward our open van door and speaking in Amharic. We couldn't understand her, so we finally asked our guide what she was saying. He said she was saying, "Do you want a baby, please take my baby, take her please!" She would have literally, right there, given us her baby! My heart broke as I looked back and we were driving away and I have to ask, what kind of desperation, what kind of horror does it take to actually have a mother offer total strangers her baby. Can anyone answer this for me. How is it possible that a mother would be in that much pain and sincere need to give up her baby to give it an actual existence?! Our hearts hurt so bad and this is just one of the many, many stories that we will bring home with us!
We went to meet our kid's half-sister and let me just say, that brought on a whole other type of pain, but yet thankfulness that she was willing to meet us. We got the privilege of going to the children's house-the house that they lived in with their mother before she died. Yet, we can't even call it a house-it was a ONE room hole in the wall-(see pictures below)-that made our hearts hurt even more wondering how FOUR people could live in that small of area-basically just room for the ONE bed and a chair?! This is her existence and this is what she faces everyday! WHY is what our hearts cried out and still do! She was just a sweet and precious 18 year old that was forced to make choices that no one should ever have to make and yet, as her heart cried out, we know that she loved them and gave them up so that they could have a future-one in which she will not have.
We got to see our old friend Solomon-our driver from when we adopted Seble-and were able to give his son's shoes-that was a great time. They are precious and living in poverty too. We keep in touch with them and it was so great to be able to see them again. He made a profound statement to me that stuck-he was driving and pointed out the multimillion dollar Sheraton Hotel and he said, "I was told that for certain rooms there at the Sheraton per night is over $1,000 dollars-this makes no sense because people need bread to eat and you could buy so many people bread for that one night at a hotel"! WOW-um YES!!! That is what I was thinking exactly! Very true friend!
It is all over-our brains and hearts are tired from processing it all. Then I get angry-and ask myself, how is it possible that WE that I, that ALL of us in this world allow this type of desperate poverty stricken situation to actually happen as we go back to America and live our spoiled rotten lives?! How can we go on and just ignore that there are millions of children in almost every other country that don't have parents, that are living on the streets, that have no governmental assistance-which means, NO food, No healthcare and No help?
These questions plaque as as we try and come to grasp with the fact that in 2 days, we leave here and go back to our lives in America-but what is in our hearts will never leave-what we have seen with our eyes will never leave us-it has changed us and I have to tell you, it has changed us for the better. Just like when we came here to get Seble, we will never be the same again and my one desire is to share this with others, even if you don't want to see it or hear about it, even if you want to try to ignore it and live your lives for yourselves, it is real and it is here and it's not OK that is continues to happen!
When it all comes down to it-it is hard to find hope here-the only hope that can be found in through Jesus and through His people stepping up and doing something and deciding that it isn't OK with us that this goes on. We have to love them like Jesus in order to give them hope for their future.
One of the precious moments that we had in Ethiopia was when we got the privileged of attending church service on Sunday morning. I can't tell you how I wept when I was standing there worshiping the Lord with some American's, some Europeans, but mostly, Africans. I was thinking of the day when we will all worship together once and for all and as our voices rang out, it was such a sweet sound of praise. Truly felt God's spirit there!
There is so much to write and not much time, we are going constantly, trying to get in as much as we can in just a few short days and the internet is down much of the time. But I will try and write more later-for now, we are here, they are with us and are doing good-eating and sleeping well and trying to communicate. They are sweet and our kids are all doing well together. We are so missing the other three back at home, and can't wait to all be together! Keep praying as we learn to adapt to each other, as we get to know each other. We went to the orphanage for the good-bye ceremony Thank you-we are so thankful to EACH and EVERY ONE of you that helped us get to this point. We would have never been here if it were not for each of you and your financial support as well as your prayers! We will forever be thankful for it all-and will never take it for granted! Here are some pictures for you guys-more to come!
FOR NOW-THESE PRETTY MUCH SAY IT ALL.....
We want to share with you some pictures-the moments of getting our kids, of visiting with their sister, of saying good-bye, hard but good times-and our new life has just begun! We went to the orphanage yesterday to pick them up and they had a great "good-bye ceremony" for our children. It was beautiful, and at the end, we all stepped outside and then, after pictures, you could have heard a pin drop-it got totally silent and then the tears started. As their friends all kissed them, hugged them tight, and said their good-byes, they all were weeping. You could see the pain on their faces-and it was so bittersweet. We cried with them and held our kids as they mourned for the life they were leaving behind. The part that was the hardest, was looking at the older girls and boys-around 12 or so, that didn't have a family coming for them, they didn't have the hope that the other kids there had. They didn't have a family that they had been referred to and they cried not only for their friends that were leaving, but for themselves I am sure. There sweet faces said more than words could and our hearts ached and cried for them. They need families, why can't they too have a family. Why can't more people want to bring these precious kids home?! It isn't right and it hurt!
|OUR HEARTS BROKE NOT ONLY FOR OUR KIDS, BUT FOR THE KIDS WE LEFT BEHIND-THE ONES THAT DON'T HAVE A FAMILY COMING FOR THEM-|
|ORPHANS NO MORE-|
Today we head to the US Embassy-the final step in this process of the adoption to get officially cleared and then wait for their visas to be issued tomorrow. We are also going up to Entoto Mountain today and giving the old women that carry the 70lb bundles of euchaliptis branches down the mountain every day-we are giving them money that we collected to try and bring some joy into their lives and lessen their burden, if only for a few days. I can't wait to bless these precious women-thank you to those that contributed money for this!
|Visiting about an hour out of the city-saw some beautiful scenery and some great lakes and even kayak.|
|Traditional cultrural dinner and dancing-they asked Adam to come up and dance on the stage-um, let's just say he won't go professional! :-)|
|We got to visit with Wass again-he was the guy that took us everywhere for Seble's adoption-so fun to see him again!|
HERE ARE THE WOMEN OF ENTOTO MOUNTAIN-AS WE WERE ABLE TO BLESS THEM WITH SOME MONEY TO HELP THEIR BURDENS LIGHTEN:
THIS GRANDMOTHERLY WOMEN WAS CARING FOR THIS BABY GIRL-THE BABY WOULDN'T STOP CRYING-IT BROKE OUR HEARTS. IT WAS SUCH A CRY OF PAIN.
|THE DOOR TO OUR CHILDREN'S FIRST HOME-|
|THIS IS OUR VISIT WITH THE HALF-SISTER (SITTING ON THE END OF THE BED) AND THE SOCIAL WORKERS FROM OUR AGENCY-THIS WAS THE KIDS "HOUSE" - A ONE ROOM SHACK WITH A SINGLE BED AND A CHAIR (2 ADULTS AND OUR 2 KIDS LIVED HERE)! THIS IS REALITY.|
|Solomon our driver from Seble's adoption and now our friend for life-|
WE ARE COMING HOME!