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Thursday, October 6, 2011

.My Habtamu.

As soon as our eyes met on that dusty street in Addis, I knew my life would never be the same. The statistics that we hear regarding poverty and third world countries and orphans and street children are staggering. But truly they did not become a reality until my world collided with this boy's.

I'm not quite sure how to share or what to share, but Jim and I want to share. We are learning and growing in the area of transparency, and this falls into it.

A few weeks after we came home from Ethiopia Jim and I felt that we had to do everything we could to pursue adopting Habtamu. It didn't matter that the odds were stacked against us. We had to try. No one else was fighting or advocating for this boy, and at the very least we felt God tugging us to do that. Jim called our agency and explained the situation. Our agency is amazing and honest and ethical. Because of this they were cautious and upfront, but agreed to at least investigate further.

We had to have our initial home study interview with our social worker in order to start the process. She approved us with glowing recommendations - she is truly a blessing. Then we had to once again fill out that tedious online application in order to be accepted back into the Ethiopia program, along with sending in our initial payment. We were approved and accepted. Then we prayed and waited all summer. We kept in touch with Habtamu and continued to care for his needs from afar. And everyday he knit his way deeper into our hearts.

Jim had a phone conference with the director of our agency twice. We prayed and gathered a circle of friends to pray. We learned information that would prove detrimental to Habtamu's adoptability, and yet we prayed.

I do not believe that adoption is the solution to orphan care. I believe it is a small and valuable part of it, but not the answer.

But I thought that adoption was the answer for my Habtamu.

We were giving him everything that he needed - food, shelter, clothing, and an education.

Yet the one thing he lacks, and he told us every single time we talked is a family.

We began to dream and plan about making this a reality for him. We talked about what it would be like to bring a teenage boy into our home as a son. We remodeled our upstairs to accommodate him - in our imagination. We prayed for, cried over, and pleaded with God for Habtamu. We advocated for a son a world away.

We whispered our desires to a few and got encouragement and prayer. We got a few you guys are crazy even considering bringing an older boy into your home comments and when are you guys going to go back to being normal - you've made your point looks, too. But I am beginning to take those kinds of comments and looks as confirmation that we are on the right track. {grin} I believe God's grace is big enough to blanket any plan He has for our family - no matter how crazy it appears. Nothing is outside of His grace.


"God gives the very best to those who leave the choice with Him" Hudson Taylor

This quote was shared with me a few weeks ago when I was battling some fear over another issue. However, it applies here as well.

I believe with all of my heart that God desires for Habtamu to have a family, and I have prayed and prayed that we were that family. I thought, in my human understanding, that this choice was best.

However, we have been told, and we believe after what we have learned, that Habtamu is unadoptable. We are at peace with the decision, and we understand why that conclusion was made. But it does not make the hurt less. I have carried Habtamu in my heart for nine months. I think of him multiple times a day. I worry for his safety, and whether he is eating well. I am sad that he has no Dad or Mom to cheer for him at his soccer games. It doesn't seem right.

So, where do we go from here? We don't know. It seems pretty obvious that God orchestrated our meeting Habtamu. We are going to get some help in order to officially be able to sponsor him. As we have just been coordinating it all on our own - which is really, really tricky across an ocean.

Just a few short hours ago Jim stood on Ethiopian soil and once again wrapped his arms around a son we will almost definitely never be able to call our own. I skyped with Jim, and he was just broken. He said Habtamu looks so sad, and he was asking to talk to me. Jim will be the one to share with him that we will not be able to bring him home. I think Habtamu already suspects this. Please pray.

I never planned to adopt. I never chose to fall in love with a sea of brown-eyed orphans. I never dreamed of connecting with a teenage boy on the streets of Ethiopia. I would have chosen something much safer for myself, much plainer - much less stick-outish. I would have just been content to blend in with my two children and midsize house in our comfortable neighborhood in America. I would never have chosen to ignite this passion inside of me for justice and mercy for needy people. I never would have chosen to say and write some of the things I have in order to bring a voice to those without one. This is not me. I would rather everyone just like me, and I keep my lips tightly closed.

But something happened to me. I allowed God to lead in one little choice which dominoed into another and another, and truly in letting go of what I pictured for my life, and letting God choose the path, I have been given the very best. My life is far different and far more fulfilling and wonderful then I could have ever dreamed. It hasn't been an easy process. I have cried more tears than any other time in my entire life. But I am feeling more. I keep begging God to break my heart for what breaks His, and to allow me to see with His eyes. And the truth is that hurts more than I can bear sometimes. But I do not have to bear it alone, because I have Christ in me.

I am leaving the choice about Habtamu up to God, because I know He chooses the very best.


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