I must admit I am already missing Ethiopia. Never thought I would say that so soon after enduring that grueling flight but I already long for the day I return. One thing is certain… I am feeling so happy to be home in the arms of my family and friends. We returned last Saturday evening after 30 hours of travel. Our dear son had never been on a plane, through security check points, in front of immigration officials and so much more. His courage was inspiring and as we walked off the plane arm in arm he was visibly eager/nervous to meet his new family. Ava ran toward us and up into my arms. I dropped his arm and he went straight into the arms of my husband., a father and son bond that began over two years ago although they had never met. Yes my husband too has incredible faith and courage. We all embraced and I felt like I was beaming as I introduced all of my children to their new brother. All the while I just kept repeating in my head,  thank you Lord for this precious and divine opportunity. Tadesse is a gift and as much as he needed us it is already clear just how much we all need him.

We made our way home from the airport and the boys were so excited to show him his new room and his home. They were calm and soothing, gracious and helpful in their words and actions and my heart continues to sing as I watch the four of them interact playing soccer, sharing meals, cleaning the kitchen and more. I think it is clear that Tadesse coming home to three brothers was all part of the plan. From his early days in Korah to his days at the boarding school Tadesse is very used to hanging with many boys so coming home to brothers has been a natural fit. Ava is already warming up to him and his gentle heart makes every one feel very comfortable in his presence. He is just so dear.

Tadesse has been granted little time to rest although we are trying to give him breaks. All the kids who gather for soccer in our front yard love the new challenge of his skills and of course the first thing all the men in this house thought he needed was a pair of soccer cleats. That was his first outing on Sunday afternoon.  Yesterday Hayden and I worked at teaching him to ride a bike and he did well trying swimming at the pool. We have tried bagels with cream cheese and bagels with peanut butter. Cream cheese wins. We discovered a spicy bean dip that brought great delight since it was similar to shiro. We pulled through our first drive through this morning and as I was ordering my skim latte I heard him ask from the backseat, “Mom to whom are you speaking?” It took me a minute to make the connection that I was talking to a screen and yes it would look terribly silly had you never been through a drivethrough.  That made us all burst into laughter. “Amazing,” is his favorite response to the water that flows from the refrigerator and the spinning of the washing machine. It is all new and so far I am amazed how well he is adjusting to his new life here with us.

Our days spent together in Ethiopia were such a gift and I will say that I miss learning his history and all that is Ethiopian culture through his eyes. He taught me so much during our week together and the many people we shared our days with were so encouraging and helpful as we went through not only the Visa process but also the process of making some peace with his past and finding some closure with family and friends. I will never be able to get over this boy’s unfailing courage and his unshakable faith. “All things are possible with God,” were the words he spoke daily while we were togther in Ethiopia. If you knew his story and you watched him in his day to day actions today, you would know that his words are so true. This amazing boy was protected as he endured years of hardship and pain. God touched his heart at a very young age and His light shined bright even in the darkest night, carrying Tadesse through hunger, fear, doubt and loss.  Today as he rests on our couch and shares life with us we are filled with excitement and gratitude. Thank you Lord for carrying him home to us.

tadesse exiting plane0195 from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.



4 replies
  1. jennifer taylor
    jennifer taylor says:

    I loved reading this update…just returned home from my first trip to mekele, Ethiopia. Your story of bringing Tadesse home is so heartwarming. We spent time with the older boys at one of the group homes, they have such a sweet spirit…there are really no words to really convey how special the older boys are….hoping your story of adopting Tadesse continues to inspire others! God bless!

  2. Mama Mimi
    Mama Mimi says:

    Oh, I made it through the update smiling ear to ear. I love watching people discover American culture for the first time. But oh that video had me in TEARS!!! So precious!!!!! Welcome home Tadesse!!!!

  3. ememby
    ememby says:

    I echo the comment before me – such happiness and then even more when I watched the video and am now in tears! Wow! Thank you for sharing that moment with us!

  4. Jaime
    Jaime says:

    The video of the homecoming is awesome and amazing! Your family is inspiring. Watching Tadesse immediately pick up Ava and hug her and the boys was wonderful and brought tears to my eyes. The whole story is great and I love reading the updates and hearing the stories unfold. Thanks for sharing that moment with us all!

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