"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Keeping It "Real"

So, I've been wanting to write about the hard parts of adopting an adorable three year old from Ethiopia... Adopted children are no different than biological children in the sense that they all have quirky little behaviors that are challenging, frustrating, and very real. First of all, I tend to post cute pictures of my little darling all dressed up and smiling for the camera. That is not always the way things are around here. We have our struggles and our days are not all sunshine and roses. We have experienced many meltdowns. We have had our share of temper tantrums (both child and parent). I can't begin to guess the number of times I have heard Grace tell me "NO." Huh? You are three and I am ... not three... you shouldn't tell me no. Grace has also enjoyed being held and carried around a lot since we met her. When we first brought her home, she liked to be carried whenever she was upset...At first I thought it was sort of neat to be the special one that got to carry her around to comfort her...well, when we realized that she was "working" us to whine until she got her way, we had to revert back to our regular parenting skills...Things are getting way better. We are not having to listen to as much crying (thanks, in part, to the "crying chair" we have at our house - she is welcome to cry if she needs to, but if she is just whining, she needs to go have a seat on our special chair). She has come a long way. I am attributing it to her feeling more and more secure every day. Most days she is a true joy, but most days also come with little challenges. So...this is ONE of the hard parts of adoption...

The second thing that I have really struggled with since bringing Grace home, is how much I think about her relatives in Ethiopia. I also struggle with the amount of questions I receive about her birth family. It is REALLY hard to answer questions about her background. These photos are not of Grace's relatives, but they are some of the millions of loving, compassionate people that live a hard life in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people were the most warm and gracious people that I have ever met. Grace did not spontaneously appear at KVI (her orphanage). Obviously, she has a history and a beautiful story filled with "grace." Grace does have loving relatives who made an incredible decision for her. She has a story and that story is HERS. It would not be right for me to blab about her story to everyone who asks. And those people who innocently ask (and keep asking) are not trying to be rude. The problem is, Grace should be the one to understand her story and decide what she wants to share about her life in Ethiopia. Her story is not super unusual or anything, just sad and true. She experienced three years in a beautiful country. A country with people that we have come to love. Three years of her life that are real and special. I can't wait to talk about it all with Grace as she grows. The facts of her coming to us are not public knowledge, but they are definitely orchestrated by a higher power. I don't doubt for a minute that she was chosen to be with our family. God has orchestrated our lives in such a way that Ethiopia and Grace's birth relatives will be in our hearts forever. I never expected to feel so protective of Grace's Ethiopian family. It kills me to think that people may judge them for choosing to give Grace the opportunity to be adopted. All people need to understand is that she had loving relatives and they made the most loving decision that anyone could possibly make - and not a day goes by that I don't think of her relatives and pray that they somehow know how well she is doing and how much she is cherished.
The third thing that has been HARD since coming home from Ethiopia, is remembering all of the faces that we saw throughout Addis and the orphanages we visited. We met, played with, hugged, and took photos of, literally hundreds of orphans. And that is just a drop in the bucket of how many orphans are living in Ethiopia. Over five million children are orphaned and still wait for a loving family to call their own. Many haven't had the privilege of living in a nice orphanage like Grace did. Many live on the streets. Many are waiting to leave overcrowded government facilities. We are so excited to partner with our adoption agency to raise funds for a new orphanage in Addis. I can't stop thinking about the beautiful faces of the kids that are waiting to call the new orphanage (which is called Love In Action) their temporary home. We spent time at LIA and saw it while it was in it's raw form. Many of our friends donated money for us to use for humanitarian aide while we were in Addis. With some of the money, we were able to purchase the new cribs needed for the orphanage. Since our trip, the building has been remodeled, the grounds have been improved, a new water system has been added, and children have been waiting to move in. The orphanage is almost ready. There are still some monetary needs to be met before the kids come, but we are excited that they will be arriving soon.

It is so hard to think of the sweet kids that we met in Ethiopia and know that so many of them are still waiting for families. One of the sweetest and saddest things that happened at KVI - Grace's orphanage - was when we were being introduced to Grace. The director brought her to us and while we were being introduced to her, a little boy her age came along and would not leave her side. The director said that the little boy was her best friend and had traveled with her and arrived at KVI the same day. They were both from a region far from Addis. He was so sad! He knew his best friend was leaving that day and he would not be going with her. I wish I could post a picture of his sweet face, but I am not allowed to post any photos of the kids who are still at the orphanage. We DO NOT want to forget these sweet children who wait. If you have any desire to learn more about adopting from Ethiopia or know someone who is thinking about it, please consider contacting our agency to learn more. Every child we met was cuter than the next...and they were such well behaved, sweet kids!

Our family does not want to forget the waiting kids in Ethiopia. We also want to continue to support Love In Action orphanage. In an effort to stay involved (and keep our whole family involved in the project), we have decided to sell some adorable necklaces and key chains to raise funds for LIA. Very soon, I will be posting about how you can help us with our efforts. I can tell you that the necklaces are cute, cheap, and great little gifts that will share the story of Love In Action and the beautiful country of Ethiopia.

Here is Grace with a sneak peek at one of the designs...She loves to point out that

"G says Grace."Please check back SOON for more details! We can't wait to see what we can do to raise some funds for LOVE IN ACTION!


  1. I understand completely. Every word.

  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing the ups and downs. We all need to hear it, and I think people who are thinking about adopting need to hear the realities too. It's not just about saving a child......it's about wanting another child and having lots and lots of love and time to give that child! Praying for lots of moments of joy for you today!