Tuesday, August 9, 2011
This week I had the opportunity to travel to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, with my brother, David, and sister-in-law, Shanna. They were at the end of their eighteen month long journey. They finally had a date at the U.S. Embassy that would finalize the adoption of Musse. Musse is a little over 2 years old, although he's about the size of a one-year old, and he is the cutest little thing. He has a gorgeous smile that lights up a room and eyes that dance with laughter. And his laugh! What a beautiful, infectious giggle he has. Musse is also the master of facial expressions; the best is when he rolls his eyes and smiles a very sly grin.
We arrived at the transition home where Musse had lived for the last 10 months to pick him up and bring him back to the guest house with us. It was so beautiful to see how naturally he went to Shanna and David. He had last seen them at the end of May and it was now August, but it was just like he had see them just the day before. And in the four days he's been with us, that bond has already grown exponentially. He walks to them with his arms open wide and grins when they pick him up. When he cries, a hug and simple words calm him down. Despite his limited vocabulary, his eyes and his smile have communicated so much to us. Words can't really express how awesome it is to see the three of them together. It's hard to believe it's only been a few days. And I can't wait to see Kyle (my other precious nephew) and Musse together. Kyle has such a good heart and he has been waiting for a little brother for so long; I am excited to see their relationship grow.
Families who adopt are the ultimate rock stars, in my opinion. It is a long, frustrating, and often heartbreaking process. But despite that, thousands of families adopt children into their families every year. And the process, however painful it might be, yields rewards that are immeasurable. It is a game of waiting - waiting for the referral, for court & embassy dates, and for answers. And it is during the waiting that families grow stronger, closer, and even more faithful.
Many times you may hear people (often strangers) comment on how lucky an adopted child is. And to a degree, that statement has some validity to it. Adoption does afford a child the opportunity he or she might not have had otherwise. There are millions of kids out there who have been orphaned; the reasons are numerous and not even that important. What is important is that these children deserve the opportunity to live a life of happiness without fear of hunger, disease, abuse, or neglect. But a greater than a child's "luck" are the blessings the adoptive family feels. When I think back to the conversations and the tears of joy and frustration over the past 18 months, it's no wonder that families grow closer. As I sit here and think about what to write next, I feel overwhelmed for my blessings are too many to count.
Mostly, though, I think adoption is about love, hope, faith, and doing what is right.