Three weeks home… {is this a family or a traveling circus?}

I’ve been on hiatus and in spite of the hundreds of thoughts swirling in my head  since my return from Ethiopia three weeks ago, I felt it was best to refocus all of my attention on the needs of our growing family. It is here I will give a resounding shout out to you Mom’s who have many kids, home school and still find time to document their lives through writing and photos. How on earth do you do it and manage to ever shower or even sip a cup of coffee? Daily I am reminding myself that He who lead me down this wild and wonderful path of adoption and orphan care will in fact equip me if I trust enough. With all the kids home each day this summer, a variety of summer activities, a demanding two year old and now a seventeen year old to whom all things are new, I have never felt more like I need to stay connected to God minute by minute. Just finding the patience to meet everyone’s needs in a noisy circus like household is almost more than one person can stand and so I turn inward and look up asking Him for guidance and more importantly patience. This past week I have truly needed patience.

 

Tadesse being here in our home still feels like a miracle to me and I would guess to us all. He is doing life with us each day and so willing to go with the flow, digging in without question or complaint. I find myself wondering if I could ever surrender the way this child has as he learns about new foods, ideas, schedules, expectations, worship styles, family rules and on and on. His faith and commitment to us as a family has not wavered and we are so blessed by his presence. Most days I would say it feels like he has always been here and he feels very strongly that coming home to us at this stage in his life is all God’s plan for him. I am telling you the conversations we have are deep and although we sometimes struggle with what means what or how to translate an idea, there is nothing lost as you see how he lives and as you watch how he treats others. God is in this child through and through and nothing can change the rock solid faith of his heart. Oh that we should all be so fortunate as to set aside our questions or doubts to just say yes to the one who brings hope to the hopeless and peace to the lonesome and suffering soul.  We return home from a short trip and he thanks God. We are about to enjoy a meal with neighbors and I see him bow his head. He hears us struggle with one of the children and he comes to me to announce that he will pray for him. His faith is contagious and has helped me to feel closer and closer to his heart even when the days roll by and I have been busy meeting the needs of the other kids.

 

This week was challenging and I was riddled with my post Africa mindset that we are truly crazy in this country. Can we ever sit still? Can children ever just be? Do we really need to make sure we have exposed our children to every sport and sent them off the best of the best camps. Yes my mind was clouded and questioning this week as I felt overwhelmed by what felt like too much on our plate for a family of seven. Now I know what you are thinking and of course I realize we live here in this country and maybe I should not be comparing African ways to American ways but there is such a fine line and so often I feel that we have crossed way over to the dark side of never being idle. I am speaking directly to myself here people since being idle has never been my forte. And then I begin to question my use of the word idle. I mean I understand that children need challenges and that we parents want our children to learn about the many opportunities that exist in the world but have we gone too far at the expense of losing the intimacy and fun of raising children, teaching them to just be and to think outside of the box. With Tadesse in our midst I have been acutely aware that he does not have expectations of grandeur every day and yet he is happy and content. Maybe the best word is expectation. I sometimes want my children to learn to have different and more reasonable expectations about the world around them. I am on a tangent I know but this issue is a deep struggle for me and it becomes especially hard after each trip to Ethiopia. The flip side is watching Tadesse find a sense of purpose to his day. He will work hard and not because it is what we all are doing or because we have asked him to. He goes above and beyond in his efforts because here in this country there is always so much to do and he loves the sense of purpose . You should see him weed a garden or wash the family car. He beams from ear to ear with a sense of accomplishment that many American children perhaps cannot understand because they have not gone days with nothing to do except search for food or water. They have not lived without food or car to get to where they need to be. It is only my observation. I am not pointing fingers but to me the picture sometimes is all too clear.

 

The challenging week of running here and there came to a hault today and thank God. Of course there will always be errands, cooking, cleaning and laundry but this week was so busy I was dropping the ball on many details. I even drove away from the gas station with the gas pump still attached to my car. DUH! I forgot several phone calls and struggled each day to communicate well with anyone in my family. Thank goodness my husband always has my back but all week I questioned how I was chosen to parent five kids. My patience was thin and my energy weak. How could I do it and why was this all so hard?  As the challenges would come and go so would my thoughts leading me straight back to the many faces of children in Ethiopia. They may not know any better but still their precious lives are so hard. My hard days pale in comparison and it is that thought that makes me want to travel back again and again with others along for the journey to show them what I have seen. Tadesse is just one of millions of children who endured so much and I love knowing that his story will change me and will change the heart of our children, extended family and beyond as it is brought to light. We as a family need time and he needs time to let God’s plan unfold and until then we are going to relish the time we share and the countless blessings that have been bestowed upon us as a family.

 

heading to a high school soccer practice just to meet all the guys... you should have seen us teaching him to use shin guards and tall socks. LAUGHTER!

 

we've been enjoying watching Hayden tackle swim team and even teaching Tadesse some new moves in the water.

 

three beautiful boys...

 

my ethiopian loves on Independence Day...

 

we love watching the many ages of kids all play together during some weekend hang time with neighbors...

 

after three weeks we finally got this boy the spicy food he has been craving...

 

Ava enjoyed the Injera...

 

my Bako and Jimma children sharing their heritage on the restaraunt blackboard... melt me!

Here’s to a blessed week ahead.

Peace and Grace,

Melanie

 

 

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