surprising difficulties of international adoption, #3

In-Country Experience:

This was another one that caught me off-guard. From the first moment we arrived in Ethiopia, I felt totally conspicuous. Of course, for obvious reasons: two white faces in a sea of brown ones. I had experienced this before during our travels to China and Central America. But this time my self-awareness was a little harder to brush-off.

Much of what I wrestled with was probably my own imagination. However, I simply couldn't keep from thinking that every set of chocolate eyes which glanced our direction pegged us as an adoptive family. No, "adoptive family" isn't a bad word -- but it is probably a painful reminder.

I wanted to paint a sign, and hang it around my neck, saying:
...We're not rich Americans who are adopting because it's the cool thing to do!!
...We love Ethiopia, and we will teach our son his culture and traditions!!
...We are doing more than adopting, but in ways you cannot see! We are supporting projects in Ethiopia to promote spiritual and social improvements!
...We value the people of Ethiopia, and want to see your nation conquer poverty, famine and disease!!

The glances that most often sent my own eyes toward the ground were the ones from women...especially, young women. Some of them probably weren't married, so not having children of their own. Or, maybe they did have children...but unable to care for them. And here I am with this beautiful Ethiopian child...
The whole experience just made my heart ache...in ways that I am unable to put into words.

And then came time to board our flight...to the US...on the other side of the world. It was all I could do to remain composed as we stood in line to check our luggage...more heavy glances. I grieved for the people of Ethiopia...I grieved for my son. Sin is a wicked thing -- no one is beyond its devastation. Except Jesus, and oh, how I praise God for that!!

The people of Ethiopia are most gracious. And I do know they understood what we were doing, and why it was so. But the fact that it was so...that's what ripped my heart.

But even in our own lives, it's often hard to perceive how God is redeeming the devastation that sin has left us with. But, one-child by one-child...whether through adoption, sponsorship, or able-biological families...I believe God is redeeming the devastation that has swept Africa. I believe that He is using His Own Adopted Children to "repay" this beautiful, precious continent for "the years that the locust have eaten." It may be generations before we see the effects. Or like Abraham, we as adoptive parents my not live to see the effects...but I still trust that salvation has come to Africa -- and as arrows in a quiver, God will release His Children...our children...to proclaim freedom to the captives!

Be glad, O children of Zion,
and rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the latter rain, as before.
The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,

the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
Joel 2:23-27


Reno said...


I want to read this post over and over again. This is EXACTLY how I felt when we were in ET, and still when I think about B's birthmother (which I do often, especially when I am rocking him to sleep, thinking, she is missing THIS...it breaks my heart).

Thank you for these words of truth and hope!

Traci said...

I thank you for writing this post. I wish I would have read it before we went to India. It verbalizes nearly my exact feelings.

My heart broke for the same reasons you mentioned and also for the oppressive idol worship. It is such a dark thing among such a beautiful people.

However, God gave us a sweet gift in the Chicago airport. As we waited to fly out we met a group that had been sharing the gospel for 3 weeks in the rural areas of India. They excitedly told us how the gospel was alive in India. Precious words to remind us that God has a heart for India, for everyone.

Tara said...

amen to all your feelings, congrats!!

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