Wednesday November 21, 2018
After weeks of preparations, all of the list have been made, all of the schedules relayed, pick ups and drop offs coordinated and to dos completed. Leaving the country is never a breeze, but when you’re leaving a herd of kids at home, it takes quite a bit of planning. This is the first time that Nick and I have been back to Ethiopia together since we brought Eli home six years ago. I always experience so much on my visits and it’s hard to relay all of it. It’s an interesting thing when a foreign country becomes so familiar that it feels like a second home. That is what Ethiopia feels like to us and we can’t wait to be back.
We are especially excited for our girls, Caroline and Meron, to go and know it will be a life changing trip for both of them. The world is so big and we really want our kids to know that. So often we get comfortable in our own little worlds and we want them to see the beauty of the cultures and people from all over the world.
As we disembarked at Washington DC, we got a wonderful taste of the world’s diversity in one bus ride. There were so many different cultures represented on the ride from our terminal to baggage claim that it would have been difficult to count. A flood of different languages were spoken amongst the sea of different hues and it was like music to my ears. It made my soul full.
We recently attended a conference about race and the gospel. We talked about how our preconceived notions of others shape the way we interact with them. It made me reflect on the way I was raised and I am truly so thankful for the way I grew up. My maternal grandmother was the daughter of Italian immigrants who endured discrimination because of their race and later lived under the stigma of mental illness when my great-grandmother became mentally disabled. My father was raised by a single mother who was excommunicated from the Catholic church because she divorced her abusive husband. She courageously raised her four children in poverty. My parents knew what it was for their families to be thought of as less than or outcasts and they had always been taught to treat people with kindness and equality, a lesson they passed on to me.
I grew up in a city that was made up of many different cultures and races. I had African American, Hispanic and Asian friend in my neighborhood and schools. I even had an Ethiopian friend named Simret and a friend who had escaped from Vietnam and made it to our country on asylum. From a very early age, I knew that people were people no matter what they looked like or what disabilities they had and that they should be treated with dignity, respect and love. I want our children to know the same.
I believe that God placed me in such an environment to open my eyes and heart to children all over the world. As a child I always wanted to adopt. It just made sense to me. So the fact that we have children of all shades and races in our home feels like the fulfillment of a dream.
Now, because of that dream, I have an unbreakable connection to an entire country and culture of people. As I sit on our last flight to Addis Ababa with my “twin” daughters I can’t help but marvel at Gods love and faithfulness to bring our family together and to allow us this time to spend amongst friends and family in the beautiful country of Ethiopia.