We’ve been home just over a week and I still want to pinch myself to make certain I am not dreaming. Last night late in the evening Tadesse looked deep in thought and he began to ask difficult questions such as why him. There are so many answers yet most do not really make much sense without the deep faith that God brought us together and connected our hearts through similar hardships we faced as young people losing parents and feeling unwanted in this harsh world. We finally explained to Tadesse that perhaps our motives have been selfish, but honestly we felt called to help after getting to know him throughout the past two years. It was obvious he needed us but already it is obvious just how much our family needed him. It’s tough to explain but what I have gleaned ( if I am truly honest with myself) through my many trips to Ethiopia is that it feels good to help someone in need. It feels pure and just and right to help a child who has endured so much. My posts typically showcase the positive and the beautiful of the story but this morning I woke up feeling the need to remind myself and others that the coming to America story does not make all the pain or the past disappear. All the comforts and the stuff of American culture is not exactly easy to take in when you have seen the other side. Nearly 80% of the world lives in circumstances of raw poverty and what we do not want to do as a family is to assume that bringing Tadesse into our home is a perfect solution. Every time I return home from Ethiopia I sit in awe of all that we have been given and all the opportunities we have before us each day I am grateful and shocked at the same time. I find myself asking why the chasm between the two worlds must be so big. Last night it was clear that Tadesse is asking some of the same questions and feeling some angst about the gap between the two worlds. The comforts are wonderful and we can feel his constant gratitude but the struggle lies in being chosen when others remain behind to endure very challenging and painful daily circumstance. Simply put it is tough stuff and we will be praying for the healing of his heart and the resolve in our hearts to do what is right for him.
Our days have been fun and it is wonderful to have him join us during the summer where the days are long and lazy. There is so much to show and teach him and I reminded each day as I watch him interact with our pack of boys that he was meant to come home to a family filled with active and surly boys. From that standpoint he is clearly in his element and right at home. The boys make him laugh with their universal language of crazy athletic/dance moves and brotherly fights. Already they have begun a fitness training routine and love that Tadesse can show them all up with his many pullups. We are teaching him how to swim and have made it a family affair to show him the dog paddle and the freestyle stroke. He has marveled over the dishwasher and the washing machine and one day last week I caught him holding his glass in front of the button for the water on the fridge and thinking it would magically go. We’ve taught him how to use a dressing room at the store and the modern convenience of one cup of joe from the Keurig machine. All things new keep us cracking up each day and I wonder just how bad his brain aches from all we are pouring in.
The other night at bedtime I thought I would play a game called find the countries on our leap frog globe. I explained what to do, set it all up and hit the start button. “Find Ethiopia,” the computer demanded. We both busted out laughing. These are the little things, the daily happenings, that light my path on this journey of unknowns. I love waiting for what God will show us next as we explore options such as driver’s training, class levels for school this year, our high school youth group through church and possibly even work opportunities. This child loves to work and has been a bigger help to us than he can know. We want him to be able to work but we are trying to give him some space and time. Tadesse needs time to acclimate, heal and trust. The orphan spirit is never light and although we know all things are possible with God, this child is processing so much and needs time to move ahead with the love and nurturing of Jesus and a family. We are blessed to be on this journey and so glad he has come into our lives and now into our home.
This Independence Day we are feeling particularly blessed to share it with a boy who will study and grow here in the USA!
Please keep praying for Tadesse and for our family as we trudge through these first few weeks with many unknowns.
The love and support we have been shown so far has been amazing and I know he is feeling very loved and very welcome in his new home.
Peace and Grace,