When Doors Open {next steps for our family…}

I love the surprises I find as I live by faith. So it is with surprise and strong faith that I feel compelled to share next steps for our family. This post is all about a boy and the passion God has given us to help heal his heart and create change in his life. We have known him now for two years and his presence in our loves has been a gift, but what happened during my trip to Ethiopia just last month provided me with questions and answers we never saw coming. For this child we have prayed. Lord carry him through school, bring him peace regarding his past… Help us to know what is best as we strive to help him.

His name is Tadesse and he is beautiful and charming both inside and out.

Let me tell you about meeting this dear boy. Nearly two years ago my husband and I traveled to Ethiopia to meet our daughter for the first time. Yes we were one of the first families who had to travel twice to adopt our daughter from Ethiopia. At the time we learned this news it was a big blow. Two trips? Seriously… We have three bio kids and how could we leave our lives and a business to travel twice? Those were the questions all adoptive families were asking when the program changed. It was just another stress point, but I do remember looking on the bright side that we would be able to visit Ethiopia twice. There was something beckoning me in addition to our daughter.

Enter my crazy research and the connections that lead me to Project 61 and all the work that was happening with children who were being rescued from the slums of Korah. Prior to our first trip, I emailed the project director and asked if I could meet her and see for myself the work they were doing with the vulnerable children.  I went to Korah alone. All the other adoptive families and my husband visited our daughter’s orphanage and I was picked up by the director to see for myself this place called Korah. Gods’ plan was in full swing…  We turned onto the rocky Korah roads and I cringed as I watched out the window. There were so many people selling items they had recently pulled from the trash dump. There were children and adults, many crippled by leprosy, trying to navigate the rocks. It was the middle of the hot rainy season and the slimy mud made my stomach turn. In that moment I found myself asking God why He had sent me. I wanted to go back and I was not sure I was going to be able to get out of the van. The van stopped and children surrounded the van quickly. They opened the door and the smell was so strong I gasped. Give me strength to do this, were the words racing through my head. Within minutes a shy boy took my arm. He asked to help me with my camera through gestures only. He did not speak English but his gorgeous eyes spoke volumes. He never left my side all day! I left that day asking to sponsor Tadesse, not knowing all the details of what that would entail but knowing that our connection was already deep and I wanted him to have the same opportunity as many of the other children, to leave the horrors of the trash dump to be educated.

Fast forward to our next trip to Ethiopia and it was so wonderful to have time with Tadesse. He was able to meet my sister and we were able to have him join us for a team dinner out.

He was the most respectful and kind soul. He was so excited that Ava was going home to our family and he presented me with a sweet bracelet, showing honor and respect. I retruned home as the Mother of a new daughter and dug into managing four children. All the while I was feeling the pull to connect deeper into the plight of children in Ethiopia. I would share with my husband that I felt as if we were meant to help an older child. It was another of those strange feelings that until this past February, I could not totally understand. Being patient in the spirit and trusting those feelings God gives us is such a tricky thing to do. I am a make it happen now kind of girl and am learning everyday that letting go of my control brings greater gifts and awareness!  We have now supported Tadesse at the boarding school for two years. He has surprised us in every way, blowing grades out of the water and mentoring all the younger children who have come out of similar harrowing circumstances such as his. He is a leader at the school and much of his broken spirit has been healed through his learning and faith. He is an amazing young man who deserves high praise and a future. For the last year we have prayed for what is next in his life. He will soon graduate from school and his greatest fear is having to return to the hardships of Korah where he is homeless and has no family to call his own.

What I discoverd this past February is that Tadesse is the child I have had on my heart for many months. He is the older child we are meant to help. He is the one who God has called to become a strong and faithful leader in Ethiopia and beyond. Tadesse is the older brother my children have never had and he is the next one waiting on us to act. This reality hit me hard while I was with him for nearly a week in Ethiopia. He served with my team, loved on orphans, held my hand and asked everything imaginable about our family. He poured out his history and trusted me with his very broken past.  Our time together was so dear to me and I long to give him the chance to study here in the states to help him grow into a man with a servant heart. I long to have him join our family for meals, hectic schedules, soccer games, movie nights, hardships, work and studying. We want to give him the gift of family!

We are not sure exactly what this looks like but we are taking action. It’s just like our adoption of Ava. Six years ago the idea of adoption was brithed in our hearts and we took baby steps to follow our hearts and God’s leading. Tadesse is too old to adopt and that is OK. He is already a part of our family. So now we meet with schools, fill out paperwork, order his transcripts and pray. We wait for the opportunity to be shown and we remember that he was brought this far for a reason. His life has great purpose! We do not need to know what the end will look like if we are acting on faith. We know there will be many who might look at this with ridicule or doubt but we ask instead that you ask us questions and pray for us. We can use all the help we can get. This is not a fairytale and we do not expect it to be easy, but here is our mantra as we move ahead… We are blessed to be a blessing.  If the doors continue to open then we will continue to walk or perhaps run full steam ahead. Tadesse’s life is one of great redemption and we are honored to be a part of what is next for him.


6 thoughts on “When Doors Open {next steps for our family…}”

  1. Oh Melanie – this make my heart sing with joy – I second everything you say about Tadesse and more. Having spent quite a bit of time with him myself I can attest to the fact that he is an incredible young man. He has that “something” 🙂 that draws you to him – his whole countenance exudes gentleness and love. I’m so pleased beyond words to know that he has a family like you to love him and care for him and call him son and brother – WOW!!! I’m also very grateful to God for Project61 and the Yates family who answered the call to reach out and rescue so many children from the Addis city dump – what a privilege it has been and still is to come alongside them and what they are doing!! I’m so looking forward to what God is going to do through all of you as you submit every step of the way to Him who knows all:):)
    BLESS YOU!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Melanie…..I have been secretly praying for him to come to the U.S. and I don’t even know him! I am so excited for your family and for him to experience all that God has for his life and yours! Many cannot understand others passion for certain things, do it anyway! If God told you to do it, HE will bless it! I hope to meet you in person soon and eventually Tadesse as well!

  3. Melanie,

    I am honored to say that our paths once crossed and am in awe of your courage and commitment. You and Bob are agents of change whose impact on the world is worthy of singing about on the mountain tops of the world. I hope and pray that Tadesse’s path to the USA, your home and the right school is smooth and swift.

    With deep respect and honor,

    Ana Dunn

  4. 😀 Love what God is doing to our hearts. I am glad I had the chance to be in Korah with you once upon a time, falling in love with my own son of Ethiopia. Praying our boys get to join us soon!!

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. What a gift to be able to give him and what a gift he will be for your family – however it is God works it out. Your lives have all been forever touched – thank you for being willing to listen to what God has to say to you and following His direction!

  6. Melanie – So good to see pics of Tadesse after hearing about this wonderful soul! I pray blessings upon this journey and am eager for updates!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *