Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Goodbye for Now, Ethiopia

Our final day in Ethiopia was kind of bittersweet. We were both ready to see our families and yet I was trying to take in everything around me, not knowing when I would be back. This world compared to America....well, there is no comparison and yet these people only dream of America and what it could possibly be like.
My sister took Lucy into her old room to say one last goodbye to her special mothers. IT WAS SO SAD. Seriously, I hate goodbyes more than anything. These mommas loved this little girl. I didn't think the one below was ever going to give her back. You can only imagine how they become bonded to these children. They tend to their every need and and love on them as if they are their own for months. Then that day comes when they have to say goodbye to that sweet face, knowing that they will probably never see her again. How do you say goodbye like that? Well, they do it quite often and I'm sure it never gets any easier.

Out in the courtyard on our way out the gates for that last time we find the children playing as usual. I am trying to take in everything that I am getting ready to leave behind. I am reminded again what a miracle in itself it is that these children were set apart. They not only have a future and a hope but most of them also had a family member, whether it be mom, dad, grandmother, uncle, aunt, who took that giant leap of faith to release that child into the custody of the unknown all in hopes that the child can live a better life....a life that even they themselves have never known but only dreamed about. It is a sacrifice that includes the one thing that I mentioned that is so painful to watch.....Goodbyes.

While on this trip I not only witnessed the love that my own son's birthmom had for him but I sat and watched the birthfamily, many of them mothers, of some of those within my sister's travel group come in to say their last goodbyes to that precious gift they have so selflessly handed over. I watched as they grabbed that sweet, little face in their hands and gave that one last kiss goodbye and then turned and walked toward the gates wiping their tears away. They opened the gate and walked out for many of them....forever, knowing the reality that they might never see that child again. I can't imagine what the walk home must have been like.

These are just a few glimpses of those gifts that were left behind...only to be moved forward into destiny. Each child is a gift from God.

The little girl below, as she peered through the front gate of the orphanage to try to get a peek on the other side, reminded me of a picture of this world. This little girl has been chosen. She has a family waiting on her, a destiny, and a future. For whatever reason in God's eyes her time is now. But on the outside of those gates is a world of struggle, of want, of hopelessness, and for many, death. It is a world that many of us can't even imagine in our wildest dreams, yet God loves them all. They are all His children, and you have some, like this little girl, who has been set apart and yet some don't have anyone who has taken the steps necessary to make sure they have a better life. That is when God relys on His chosen ones to remind them that God loves them and that they have a future and a hope.
So what lay on the other side of that gate? .....let me show you. It is a world of struggle, yes.....but more than that I see beautiful precious lives that God created and just need someone to give them a glimmer of hope.

Danny, below with my sister, has become kind of known to all the travel groups. Guaranteed if you travel to HH then you will meet Danny. He is a boy who lives across from the hotel and he longs with everything in his being to go to America one day. It is his dream. So when he sees the Americans he walks with you and talks with you, in pretty good English I might add. He talks of how he wants to go to America one day and study. It is his opportunity to get as close to his dream as he can when he sees the Americans arrive. I think at one point he even pretended he was part of the group. We went on a tour and I looked up and there was Danny right in the middle of everyone just chatting away. Everyone knows him and lets him tag along.

I found these buddies below just walking down the street together on their way to obviously go play some soccer. Do they get any cuter than this?

There is no Wal Mart. There are small make shift stands to get your basic needs. I watched each morning at the hotel as a young boy came in carrying what looked like a plastic sack of nothing but individual eggs. The brown fresh eggs that I'm sure he just removed from the chicken. That is how it works there. If you need something you go to the source to get it.

These were three cuties that greeted me in the streets each day. They came to know that I had treats to pass out every time I walked by. They became by new bff's.
You often see herds of sheep and goats at any random place. I guess when they don't have a sitter they just load up the whole goat herd and head out for the day.

I also spotted this cow resting in the road. I'm wondering if the woman in the background is looking for him or calling him in for dinner or what?

The street people, especially the children break my heart more than anything. This is the life that our adopted children were spared from. I am reminded each day I am there that these kids are no different than our own. This little boy below, running with all his might to get some crackers I had in my hand, is no different and has no less of a purpose in this world than my own son that I brought home from this country. God, help this little boy find his place in this world.
I'm guessing that these families live in the metal shacks around the corner. What does it take for a momma to walk up to a total stranger and beg for food for her little ones. What a picture this is literally right on the other side of the gate that the little girl is trying to peer through. This is the reality that she is leaving behind when her forever family arrives to take her to her new life.

You can notice the crackers in all of their hands.
Just look at how beautiful all these children are.
God, help these mommas find food for their little ones.

Below is the life that the above children live in . They have no running water, no electricity, no plumbing. There are no luxurys, only hard work. You see a mom washing her clothes while her children play around her.
Below is the entrance to one of the tin shacks. I would see the children coming and going. Behind the tin entrance you see one of their homes built of sticks and mud. You also notice all of the little children's clothes hanging on the line.

These are boys that live in the tin shacks as well. They have set up some sort of vegetable stand out of one of them to try to bring in some income I'm sure. The little boy in the distance is the one that broke my heart. As I started passing out goodies to the boys he started crying and tried to make his way to me but fell down. That is when I noticed his feet turned inward and he couldn't walk properly. He did not want to be left out and was trying with all his might to make his way toward me so I just walked over to him.

As I approached him, he got a glimmer of hope in his eye. The closer I got the more my heart ached for him. He couldn't have been more than three or four years old. He was dirty. Who knows when the last time he had had a bath. He had a handicap. He had one shoe missing and a sock with a big hole in it with his toes sticking through. He had no one but his brothers watching him I'm guessing and he lived in the big dark hole behind him.
And yet.....Look how precious he is. Oh, it hurts me!!

So, now that we have seen a glimpse of what is on the other side of the gate, let us not forget those on the inside that still need families.

Here is one last glimpse of the waiting children at HH that still "peer through the gate" so to speak, to the other side wondering who is out there to come rescue them. Many thanks go out to those of you who have inquired about these children. My prayers are with those of you whom the Lord chooses to place these kids with. He knows who you are and these children will be forever blessed.

If you feel led to inquire of these waiting children see my post below for more info. I can't wait to post that they have all been adopted. That post is coming soon.....I just know it.

And when it is all said and done, and this amazing trip comes to a close.....

THE BELOW PICTURE SAYS IT ALL.........Thank you, Lord.

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