Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Ones Left Behind

There is a part of our time in Ethiopia that I haven't really spoken all that much about. A point in the blog writing that it just became too painful for me to continue on with the rest of our journey and time in Ethiopia. I couldn't think up the right words and so I just moved on and talked about the unicorns and rainbows in our life.

But try as I might to ignore, or at least push aside these feeling and thoughts, my mind will not let me forget. The images are still present in my mind and my brain is constantly thinking about the one's left behind. I feel like I am in a completely helpless place right now. I am pregnant therefore we can't adopt again. We have very limited funds so I can't give as much as I would like to. So what is left of me? For now, I try to remember the words that Almaz, the director of Hannah's Hope gave to us. "You are not here to save Ethiopia. At this time, you are here for your child and to take him or her home and love them." But it just doesn't feel like enough.

When we arrived in Ethiopia, we spent the first several days at Hannah's Hope - the transition home that Malachi spent 3 months at. It was a very clean place, the special mother's were incredible, and the babies had every little need met. You hardly heard a baby cry because the second they let out a whimper, a special mother was there to meet that need.

At some point in our trip, we went on a little trip to an orphanage. Specifically the orphanage that all of our little one's spent some time at before going to Hannah's Hope. Since we were in Ethiopia over the rainy season, we had to park in the middle of like a freeway and walk up the hill to the orphanage.

We were amused to see these boys playing soccer with a water bottle. Soccer is such a big deal and it was very common to see kids kicking some sort of object around.

We walked up this muddy road and I remember trying to make sure I didn't slip and fall as I had Malachi in my arms.

As we entered the gates of the orphanage, it was very apparent that this place just did not have the funds that Hannah's Hope had.

We got a brief tour of the facilities. It is also very apparent that this place does not have the staffing that Hannah's Hope has, but they are truly doing the best with what they are given. I still remember distinctly the smells of this place. They were trying to keep the facilities clean, and had even minutes before we arrived mopped some of the floors but there was still a very strong odor. They were preparing lunch for the kids while we were there. Here they are making Injera.

Then it was time to meet the kids. Now we have all seen images of orphans, and we all know they are out there in this world, but having them physically right in front of you wanting you to just touch them. To have them look you in the eyes where it seems like they are wondering if you came for them - I don't know how put the words together to even say how hard it was.

We walked into the room where all of the toddlers were and they just came swarming our travel group. They had their arms up and open and were begging to be picked up. I had Malachi in my arms so I couldn't hold them, beyond just touching their hands. I hated that I couldn't do more. I will never forget the little girl who latched on to Peter's pant legs, like she was claiming him. How I wish we could have scooped her up (and a few more) and brought them home with us.

The biggest difference between this place and Hannah's Hope though, was that the majority of the children at Hannah's Hope had family coming for them. At the orphanage, all the children were waiting. They had no families coming for them.

Then it was time to eat. All the kids sat down and when the food came they were ravenous!

This little one melted my heart. He or she ate so much food, like they would never get to eat another meal again. That always makes you wonder about their story. This kid ate like 3 full bowls of food and then was finishing off other kids food. It was so good to see that they didn't cut him/her off though. They kept refilling the bowl until this little one decided they had enough. The children are taken care of to the best of the orphanages ability!

But it was still hard to look into the faces of the waiting and know that there is nothing that you can do in that moment to get them into families.

I just cannot forget about the millions upon millions who are waiting.

And in reality, I don't want to forget.

It is so hard to know that not every child will get a family. That outside of Ethiopia there are millions more all around the world, even in my hometown that are also waiting.

There is not much we can do right now for these kids, but we do what we can. You can't forget the faces of the waiting, it is impossible. I have found what my heart beats for and what my passion and obsession is - Doing something - advocating, praying, giving, going, adopting those that wait.

These are just a few of the faces. The number of orphans in this world is truly beyond comprehension. As I kiss and snuggle Malachi and see him smile at me, I still think of the ones who don't know what it feels like to be adored by a mom and dad.

If you have ever considered adoption, I challenge you to read "Adopted for Life" by Russell D Moore and pray about being mom and dad to a child who is waiting. In adoption, at first we thought we were making a difference by being a mom and a dad and providing a home to a child that needed it. But in reality, we are the ones that are completely changed. We were the ones that received the biggest blessing of our lives.


ASH said...

Ugh. Waiting is so hard...and yet I have to trust that God's timing is best! I long to meet the needs you are talking about too, but God also has me in a spot of waiting (21, single, in school). Thanks for advocating for these kids even while you are waiting! I can't wait to, Lord willing, be a mom to some of these waiting little ones!

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

Read it - LOVED IT!!!!! Can't wait to see who else will join our family some time........

Praying for open hearts to fulfill God's promise.

Alison said...

Oh, this breaks my heart...can't wait until we get to our baby girl in Ethiopia!