While we have only been back from Ethiopia a few short weeks it seems like forever ago that I was able to watch you in your homeland and your element. What a treat it was to be back in Ethiopia with you serving your people. At this time last year we were both unclear as to what was next for you yet we knew it was a privilege to spend so much time together. I clearly remember being so pleased that your English had improved. We could finally communicate and within a few days together I knew that God was asking us to bring you into our home to provide you with a family. Last February I returned home with the task of figuring out how a student Visa might allow you to further your education all the while growing you up into a young man who would have a family and hopefully the future that you so deserve.
What a miracle that you are here tonight, asleep in your own room, ready to head to school tomorrow. You and your journey to us is a miracle. There is no way to deny that God has a big plan for you dear Tadesse. Sometimes I lie awake dreaming of what you will grow up to do. It’s great fun to dream big for your future. So often I share the story of your life and the history of what you have endured. I watch people as their eyes widened and they take pause. There are so many questions and so many hurdles we all face as a family and while we do not have all the answers and we cannot predict the future I must tell say that I thank God that our paths crossed that July day in Korah several years ago. I am grateful that it was you who opened the van door to greet me and you that wished to show me around your community with nothing on your mind but a giving heart. That is day I will never forget. God’s plan to connect us was put into motion.
Having you join me on a trip back to Ethiopia this month after only being here in our family for 7 months felt risky and for many there were the uneasy concerns like “what if he does not want to return?” I asked myself the same question so many times it hurt yet it was clear in the end that I had to trust God with your life and your heart. You are not mine but instead you are His and that was the answer I needed to embrace. We decided you needed to be a part of the team. As a leader for a team of 20, I was truly unsure how taking you with me would go. I just wanted you to feel supported and able to see those who you have dearly missed and I knew I would have little time to nurture you. The trip was a joy and your testimony of God’s redemption was helpful to many. There are few words to describe the pride I felt as your Mom bringing you back to care for a people we both love. Your love and support of those in need showed exactly who you are in Christ and helped me to see that the struggles we face here in the US often pale in comparison. I want to thank you for the integrity and service you showed our team and the people of Ethiopia.
There is no doubt Tadesse that you are an exceptional person with so much to offer the world. I have been blessed to be called your Mom. Thank you for allowing me in. Thank you for letting us parent and nurture you even at your age. You have the courage of ten men even though I know there is pain in your head and in your heart. I know returning home to the US and getting back to school and life here is not easy. It is clear that you are pulled between two worlds. I wish I could shoulder that struggle for you. I wish I could take away the questions you ask about what is next or what you should be doing to help other Ethiopians or children in need. We cannot change the past but I do know that God will carry you into the future if you let him. God will walk you through the trials and help answer the tough questions. Do not ever forget that it is God who has carried you and God who will set you free. There are choices ahead but all you need to do is say yes just like you did while in Ethiopia. Say yes to prepping for college. Say yes to the self discovery it will take to learn what is next for you and say yes to the idea that God wants you to be the very best you can be before using you right here, in Ethiopia or anywhere for that matter. It is clear you have been placed here to search, to trust, to persevere and to learn all that you can to take it with you where ever God intends to use you next. We are grateful to be a part of your education and your story and we love you dearly. Thank you for being our son.