The morning we were to get the girls, our agency’s in-country director was able to provide us with a little more information about them. The one thing that stuck out was that our girls’ mom was actually from Mekele and that our oldest daughter spoke both Amharic (the main language in Addis Ababa) and Tigriniya (the main language in Mekele). I thought it was crazy that we had just unknowingly visited the birth place of our daughters’ birth mom. Had we not gone to meet Jonas in Mekele, we never would have had a reason to go there, so I knew that God had orchestrated our trip there. There is a distinct difference between that region and the city of Addis and I was really glad that we had the chance to connect with a little of the girls’ history and experience the people there.
Little did we know that we would one day have a daughter from that region that had touched us so much.
So back to how we’ve landed back on the road of adoption. Once we got home, Ethiopia was almost all I could think of. I missed it for so many reasons. I’ve never felt so alive as I did there. I’ve never seen such despair as I did there. I’ve never been exposed to so much culture as I was there or as much community or joy, even in desperate circumstances. It was an amazing experience and I longed to go back and to be among the people and to make a difference in the lives of those we left behind.
My eyes had been opened to a world that I guess I subconsciously knew existed, but that I had never really given a second thought to. Suddenly, it became very difficult for me to continue living out the “American Dream” as so many literally starved to death every day. How could I so nonchalantly throw food down the garbage disposal while children existed on next to nothing? How could I so wastefully allow the water to pour down the drain as I leisurely washed dishes or showered when millions have to drink dirty, disease ridden water across the world? How could I justify buying one more outfit or pair of shoes when my drawers were overflowing and others go naked? It just didn’t add up.
And so began my summer reading fest-an all out search for answers. As I’ve written before, I started with “Red Letters”, by Tom Davis, then “Fields of the Fatherless”, “Adopted for Life”, “One Million Arrows and finally “Radical”, by David Platt. While all were building up to the same conclusion, it was “Radical” that really wrapped it up for me. The senselessness of how I was living my life out as a “Christian” was overwhelming. What had I been doing all these years? I had become content with securing my place in heaven, going to church like a “good” Christian, tithing and basically living my life in a manner that met society’s definition of a “Christian.” But based on the bible, was my life really reflecting that? Was I actually living like a Christ follower? The short answer is NO.
But we had already adopted two kids. We were involved with our church, we had church friends, we talked about the bible with our children and we weren’t committing any of the “major” sins. At least we didn’t think so. We had lived our lives out the way we had been raised to. We went to school, got married, got good jobs, bought a house, had a couple of kids and started planning for retirement. We were on the fast track to the “American Dream.” The only problem was that millions of people around the world were paying a high cost for that dream-our apathy and self-centered aspirations would cost them everything if we didn’t wake up and make a change. I began to realize that although my little contributions to the world could never eliminate poverty and orphans and sickness and despair, that this was no excuse to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Yes, the problems are too big and they will always be too big because our world is not as it should be. I knew this, but I also knew that I must act because the bible says, “Anyone that knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t, sins” (James 4:17). Now I knew and my eyes were wide open, and the bible says, “Once our eyes are opened, we can not pretend that we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and hold us responsible to ACT” (Proverbs 24:12). So now I was responsible.
More to come...