Hubby and kids have been in Ethiopia since Sunday. So far, it has been a wonderful trip. They are just setting out on Day 3 at Kind Hearts school. Tomorrow they head toTrees of Glory which is located about 67 kilometers outside of Addis Ababa. Our sponsor child Abush attends school at Trees of Glory so this part of the week will be extra special. They will have 3 days to spend with him and all of the 80+ kids at Trees of Glory.
We attended an Ethiopian Cultural Festival last Saturday night that a local Ethiopian church holds for adoptive families. It was an amazing experience. The pastor was so kind and so grace-filled toward the families. I will admit that at times I have struggled with what the Ethiopian people feel about Americans adopting their children. Do they resent us? Are they full of heartache for the loss of so many precious children to a continent so far away? What do they feel? I will try to quote something he said that has been on my mind . . . "Ethiopia is a very beautiful, very special . . . very poor country. It has been hit hard by HIV AIDS, by famine, by poverty. Some say there are 4 million orphans, some say there are more. Some say there are 6 million. I want to say that we support what you are doing. Adoption is a very beautiful thing. It is God's plan. We are adopted by God if we are in Christ. He has adopted us into His family. We say 'who are these Americans? Who are these people that adopt these orphans into their hearts and into their homes? You are doing a good thing. It is good.'" To me, it was the voice of God confirming our decision, casting aside doubt, encouraging my heart.
The entire evening was so special. The beautiful women of the church prepared a HUGE spread of traditional Ethiopian food. It was spicy, textural and overall very good. I am in search of good Ethiopian recipes for Injera and Doro Wat if you happen across some! They also dressed in traditional Ethiopian costume and sang Ethiopian praise songs and danced. It was something to behold. Let's just say American worship leaves a LOT to be desired. There were so many precious children who had been adopted and were there with their new families. The church community really reaches out and DESIRES so deeply to stand in the gap for adoptive families. They have such a heart to be the thread that weaves together the child's birth culture with their new culture. I really cannot express the depth of love and sincerity they communicated to us all. I left full of excitement and utter longing to bring our kids home. I have worried some about how we could teach our children (all of them) about a culture we had never truly experienced. I left with a total God-filled peace knowing the community is there and that we will be tied together with these incredible people in the coming years - feeling blessed beyond measure by their willingness to be that real and true link.