It begins with one…

Being home has been better than we could have expected. With all the crazy days of three boys being home and adding a 4 month new baby to our mix I must admit I was a bit terrified as to how it was all going to go. What I have found in the few short days we have been home is that keeping it simple and staying true to the cocooning is making a big difference in all our lives. In fact I feel like we are all right where we belong so to speak. Ava is thriving, the boys are enjoying their days and we are all working hard to prepare for a new back to school attitude and routine.  Now if I could just get back to some sort of normal sleep pattern I would be a bit higher functioning during the day. I am trying to get Ava and her love of sleep to rub off on me. She is a good little sleeper save for the waking during the night to eat.
We are working on that 🙂

So here she is with her curls slicked back and her eyes filled with enthusiasm after a bath.
She is joyful and each day I already see her changing and growing. I am trying with diligence to
take in all her subtle cues and changes. We are getting to know one another and although she tries to
psych me into feeding her when she really just wants to sleep, I am beginning to figure this little girlfriend out. Gotta love babies and all that they say without ever saying a word!
While we are busy here settling into new routines and our newest addition, I find myself unable to stop thinking of all the children left behind. This entire journey began with one. We chose to heed the call, knowing we could adopt one child. What I never anticipated at this stage of my life was feeling that there is more than one who needs us. Now obviously at some point we do realize with great clarity that we cannot adopt them all. In fact after spending just over two full weeks in Ethiopia, I do not necessarily believe that all the needy kids should leave Ethiopia to come to America. Yes many need home but I am looking to advocate for the children who are orphaned and to some degree thriving on the streets.
Many of the children do seem to get by even though it is a horrible and very unpredictable existence. I witnessed and met so many children in the city who have no family, no home and basically nothing to their names and they are not part of any foster care or orphanage. Perhaps they are ages 10 and above. Who wants to help those children?
As the mother of three sons now ages 6, 8 and nearly 10, I was so drawn to the such children.
They were so dear and so endearing. They offered to shine shoes for mere pennies, they smiled for my camera often asking for nothing, they stared with wonder as they saw me holding my new daughter. They were dirty, they were hungry, they were often coughing or had runny noses, but what surprised me most is this:
They were still joyful. They were still hopeful, they were still smiling, they were still trying to get by, they were banded together, many of them as a family unit, they were gracious, they were able to accept hugs and affection.
I simply never knew I would be so drawn to wanted to better understand their lives, their stories and their needs.
You see every day I meet the daily needs of my children who have it all. We eat, we play, we bathe, we brush teeth, we plan adventures and explore new things, we attend school and learn, we ready books and we attend church and many fun outings. We snuggle and laugh and sometimes debate and argue. We crawl into warm beds and worry not about what tomorrow brings. That is our reality and although I am very grateful and by no means suggesting that there is anything wrong with that scenario, I am beginning to feel compelled to share all that we have in a way I never saw coming.
With all the visible need in Ethiopia, I just wanted to share my smiles, my hugs, my thoughts, my resources, my faith with the children who seem forgotten on the streets.
Yes, there are needy children all over the world but I now see that God used me during my visits to
connect with THESE children. Now I am praying and searching hard as to how I must act. This
journey began with one child but perhaps
there is a next child, the next one who we help. Maybe we reach out to one and then two and than three. Isn’t that what God means when he says we must defend the fatherless?
Maybe the small group who sleep in a bus overhang near the shopping area called the Post Office in Addis Ababa, is the next “ONE” we are meant to help. Maybe it was God’s plan all along to give me the precious little one with the sparkling Ethiopian eyes in order to remind me to keep my eyes on HIM, to keep my eyes wide open. Perhaps it was all part of the plan that we were one of the very first families to have to travel twice to Ethiopia after a two year wait to adopt. Maybe it was God’s hand leading me to Korah
left by her own Mother at the age of seven, would be granted so much healing and grace in my forties as I finally embrace the fact that I cannot change the past but I can be a part of healing the future.
I believe we are not meant to know all that lies ahead of us. God’s work, I have rapidly realized over the past few years, is hard work. It is demanding and maybe if we knew ahead of time all that would be asked of us, we would never crawl out of bed. We might never accept the challenge. We might even run in the other direction pleading not to be the chosen one.  I love the visual of the Mother of four who feels like her plate is sooo full running in the opposite direction all the while yelling, “no please do not pick me. I just need a few hours to myself and a very long nap.” Now what fun would that be?
Right now there are many questions…
Please pray for me to be open to the answers.
Here are the children of the Post Office area in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Oh and one more thing… what did 12 year old Brahane ask me for when I inquired what I could bring him when I returned to pick up our daughter? Books. Can you imagine that?
Books. Just books.
Here is the crew… They are precious and so stinkin handsome!
The little guy in front- just look at him and you can see that he can
pull some heartstrings!
Here is my dear boy, Brahane,  and his friend. I asked him to show me where he sleeps each night and this
is where he took me…
Can you imagine sleeping here?
What if your children slept here?
Here is the sweetest smiling face of a child who is loving being the center of the universe for at least a hour. I spent time with his friend who owns a small shop. Here we are exchanging information so we can communicate about how to best help the boys.
After spending time dialogueing about how we can help I took Brahane
down and around the corner to buy a pair of shoes. His feet were so
worn and so tattered and filthy that he was made to wear a plastic bag in order to
try on shoes.
What an amazing afternoon of being the light for one child…

5 thoughts on “It begins with one…”

  1. Great honesty, great transparency. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and how God has opened your eyes to see a greater vision of His world and His plan. Beautiful little girl!!

  2. Oh Melanie, I love your heart! Thank you for sharing SO much of your story with us and for loving on those boys. What a lifelong gift you have given those sweet boys.

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