Friday, August 29, 2008

Email, Poverty and a Fragile Heart

Crazy huh? .... the stark contrast of our current technology and the poverty crisis that so many face today around the world. You see, I struggle sometimes with what to share. Opening your heart to feel the needs of orphans is gonna hurt. Allowing your eyes to see their reality ... well, it's gonna sometimes be hard to even look. Keeping your ears open to hear their reality .... it will make you cringe.

As you know by now, if you've been following our journey ... someone claimed a part of my heart in Ethiopia. All during our preparation time I had this growing burden for the boys at Kolfe. If you've never seen it, you'll want to see this video. I thought maybe it was perhaps because I had three boys of my own and so seeing other boys in such circumstances just tore at my heart. But now I know that God was preparing me to meet one special boy in particular. Perhaps you heard about him also here where my dear friend Angie got a very surprise package! And so after being home, we've been writing to each other and I just never know when I'll grab my morning cup of coffee and sit down to check my mail and see a letter via email from our far-away-son.

At first he called me Shelly, then Mom Shelly, then My Dear Mom ... and now I'm sometimes Ma. We write about various things ...

  • the current economic crisis facing his people
  • how he tested to pass the national exams (so he can stay studying in his program)
  • about his parents that died
  • how his grandmother is a good woman
  • the need for a jacket in this rainy weather
  • his belief that God is real and His Word is true (smart boy!)
  • his questions of when God will come and help his people
  • what his shoe size is
  • his sister and the tragic way in which she died
  • how he wants me to visit him again in Ethiopia
As a mom, we want to "fix" our kids' lives ... at least as much as we're able. Right? When they outgrow their shoes, we get them another pair. When they face hard times, we walk beside them helping them back up again. When they are cold, we get out the winter blankets. When it's supper time and everyone is hungry, we sit around the table together. When they are grieving ... we wipe their tears.

At times I feel so limited by what I can do for Getahun. It took me about 3 months to get him to tell me he needs a jacket and a pair of shoes. What JOY for not only him to finally feel close enough to tell me, but for him to also begin to realize this is part of what love is!!! ... to help meet needs ... not just physical, but also emotional and spiritual. How I look forward to seeing my handsome boy is his warm jacket.

You may be wondering how he emails me. Well, this clever young man has gotten himself a job and earned favor with his boss. For part of his "pay" he is able to use some time to email. Yeah!!! ... happy American family are we!!! And his boss helps him to be able to purchase some shirts he needed. Those will be a great help when he goes to school again and works hard to make it in a system that forces so many odds against him.

Today he wrote me more about the situation with his living distant relatives. He also shared about how he is tutoring some other young boys. I was so pleased to learn that one of those boys is Solomon, which you may have read about here.

Will you have ears to hear?, eyes to see?, and a heart to feel their needs? My dear Getahun is only one boy.

This is the kitchen in which
their food is cooked.

This is an area that needs torn
down and replaced with working
restrooms. Don't you agree?

This room needs chairs and tables.

You see ... I can't just come home and forget what I saw. These are real people with real needs. Most have lost their parents, they get cold and wet .... they desire an education. Many are bright and eager to learn. They long to have family. For Getahun, he is to old to be considered "adoptable" by current laws. But Lord willing ... he will never question again if he has a family. Even if we never share the same name or dinner table. What absolute JOY fills my heart when I see my dear son Getahun's message in the "inbox" on my computer screen. I'll admit ... my heart is fragile ... it sometimes hurts deeply to be open to feeling these needs. The poverty can be overwhelming and cause a person to just grow numb or feel inadequate to even make a difference. But how I thank the Lord for email!! .... crazy or not .... it is a link to our son that we treasure.

Thanks to the Baggett Family!!! .... there is a package going to him very soon. I am SO excited! :)

Perhaps some of you families preparing to travel will have someone claim residence in part of your heart, just as what happened to us .... a few short months ago.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Maleah is 18 months old!

What a difference a few months makes! Our girlie is now walking, talking and blossoming. She is quite comfortable with us now, not afraid to whimper or show preferences and certainly not afraid to spat a bit for a toy. All the "normal things" that toddlers go through and I have to say we are rejoicing to see them! I'll never forget the day she learned the word "MINE!" and could say it with such force! My first reaction was to say "No!" and go into a little lesson on sharing, etc. But I found myself saying "Yes!, that's right!" .... she had figured out the comprehension of yet another English word. No worries, now that she "gets it", we for sure teach her to share. :)

Long ago are the days of her giving Daddy the cold shoulder. She now squeals in absolute delight at the sound of his voice when he's coming home from work. Gone are the days of being afraid of most any food. She's even learned to enjoy ice cream with the rest of us! Having to sit by her crib in a chair while she falls asleep is no longer a necessity to every nap and bedtime. Now we go from snuggling and rocking with her night-time milk bottle to saying "baby?" .... "blankie?" ... and she just smiles huge with delight!, knowing it's time for bed! (we have our sleeper back!! - thank you God!)

It has been quite a summer in the Roberts family. Maleah coming to join our family was only one part of this huge time of transition the Lord has taken us through. We came home for Ethiopia with an even greater burden about what we, as a family, were to do about the needs of orphans. We find ourselves on a new adventure of trusting in our Heavenly Father in great and amazing ways. We rest in His Faithfulness and praise Him for His Goodness to us for carrying us through. More to come on that in the days ahead.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

They Need Someone

While much of our recent adoption journey that we've shared with you has been about the children's needs in other countries .... never far from our minds are the needs right here in the US.

How can it be we're all so busy in our daily lives that we don't stop and listen to their cries? I encourage you to take a few moments and view this wonderful video put out by the Dave Thomas Foundation.

Some of us are called to open our homes and make room for a child. Some are called to foster-parent through an especially difficult season in another family's life. Some are called to give.

As we wrestle through what God is calling our family to do it all comes down to one simple, yet profound truth. These children need someone.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thoughts of my distant son

Tonight, as I catch up on some correspondence, I come across one of the most precious people to me .... our "distant son", Getahun. As I begin to write to him, my heart breaks once again. How does a mother love from so far away? I have only come across one regret that I have while being in Ethiopia ... and that is much too little time with this boy that I love so much. While I am so grateful that he is in our lives . . . it is also incredibly bittersweet. There is so much I want to do for him, yet I feel so limited. What he longs for is family. Tonight, I pray .... Lord help me because I feel so inadequate.

I think of him as I prepare dinner and I would love nothing more than for him to share our meal. For tonight, a letter must suffice. I must continue loving him from afar . . . praying for him, writing to him ..... and never cease asking the Lord to make a way for more children like Getahun to have a family.

He calls me Mom ... I call him son ... how I love him.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Call to Prayer

Today my heart is heavy for all the many families waiting for their court date ... Aug 5th Ethiopian time .... which means for us tonight (the 4th). Several of these children we met on our trip. We touched them. We took photos of them. We prayed that soon they would be united with families. Arsema is a daily reminder to me of all the many, many children still waiting ... either to pass court and meet their parents .... or to still be in the long process of waiting on God to provide them a family.

Will you join us in praying today for these precious families that are SO READY to make that long, tedious flight across the world to bring home their children? Will you pray for court processes to go smoothly, extra strength for the incredible Gladney staff working on these children's behalf, and for the families who sometimes feel their entire life is on hold just waiting for that news that they passed and they can go.

What a comfort to know that GOD CARES about these children. "A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5 Lord, may your will be done in the lives of each of these children. May you bring beauty from ashes. May you minister to them in ways we cannot even fathom. We trust you ... and we call out to you for your help.