Have you ever had a day when you wondered if God was watching over you? There are times when I say things like, "Hey, did you see that? Why did you let that happen? Are you paying attention?"
More and more I am learning about the terrible impacts of poverty and my role as a Christian to respond to it. How can there possibly be so many living in unbearable conditions, dying from hunger and treatable diseases? This is even more evident as we have traveled the adoption journey.
When God lead us to adopt two beautiful children from Ethiopia, I had no idea what was in store. My sweet friend made me realize that God put adoption on our hearts when a beautiful young lady became very sick. She was already poor, struggling as a single mom to provide for two children. Was God listening? Yes he was. He surrounded her with loving neighbors who supported her family to the best of their ability. Her son responded in love and worked to help provide for their family, while other boys were tempted to pocket their earnings for things like cell phones.
As her health deteriorated, her prayer was for God to keep her children together. Meanwhile, God gave us a baby which seemed like a miracle at the time. Why a baby when we were praying about adoption? Shortly after, God took away our baby and threatened my life. Loss is difficult. It does not make any sense. The bible tells us to consider these times with joy as they will make us stronger. Will it be easy? No. Is it the path we would have chosen? No. We will be reminded that we are not alone and that God's power is in us.
God brought two families together from different cultures/countries to answer prayers. Simply amazing to me. I can see God's fingerprints everywhere.
A mom is gone, taken from two children who need safety and security, to be loved by a mom. Where will they go? Who will take care of them? Why is she gone? Can't she stay just a little bit longer? Answers soon come. You must leave. We love you and want to honor your mother's prayers, for she was a good woman. We don't have the resources to provide and care for you. We must take you to an orphanage. Meron, we will take you to the orphanage. Dawit, this will be harder as you are too old and the orphanage wants more information before we can take you there. Here is some money while we work to get you in the orphanage.
Dawit waited for 6 months while the community worked diligently to reunite him with his sister. She cried for her brother and missed him deeply.
We had the opportunity to travel to meet this community to see where Dawit and Meron grew up. We were overwhelmed by their love and affection towards strangers. But they did not see us as strangers. They saw us as answered prayer. They celebrated this answer with a big party, early before work and school with popcorn, dabo (bread) and freshly roasted coffee. The community gathered to celebrate and say a final goodbye to Dawit and Meron. I will never forget this trip and praise God that even though our lives have been joined because of loss, God was and always is there with each of us. He blesses us with gifts along our journey.
For the first time I am reminded that his birth mom is unable to see him grow up. She already knew what a gift he was. She cared for him, held him, fed him and wiped away his tears. She knew that he:
He is such a caring young man.
He loves small children and is so good with them.
He has a beautiful smile that warms your heart.
He is an amazing soccer player and he absolutely loves it. The way he moves his feet is magical.
He loves God.
He is so helpful at home, always eager to help.
Our Social Worker just came for our 3 month post adoption visit. She asked what the hardest thing has been since coming to Utah, he answered language. His favorite thing has been school.
He is doing really well in school. His teachers are impressed with his efforts and how quickly he is learning. The kids at school love him, love to play soccer with him, help him with his school work and cheer him on.
He also loves to play jokes on his family. My favorite so far has been one he played on his sister. He called her in his room complaining that the cat had pooped in his closet. She ran out, "Mom, gross! Look!" I come in and he is holding it! "Look, rock!" And oh he laughed.
Yes - he truly has been a gift to our family. I wait expectantly while God works in his life and walks beside him as he grows up. With all this change - Dawit has asked for one more change. "Please, can we change my name?" So, we chose Micah. Which, you guessed it, means "gift from God."
P.S. I wonder if Micah and Meron's sweet birth mom is holding our baby in heaven? Wouldn't that be neat?