Yesus On The Streets: If you sent a bag for this project and I did not email you a link to a video I put together after we got home, please send me a personal email so that I can do that.
Correction to previous post: Avery tells me that the mitad lid does not come from Bethany House Publishers. I need him around to correct me on this type of stuff! Regardless of where the lid comes from, I found it (Okay, Avery found it) and I can make injera with it!!!! I still was so positive that the website said that they were Bethany House Publishers...then again, I'm the same person who has watched a pink North Carolina (tarheels? UNC? I know nothing about sports) shirt at Target all winter. I really wanted it because it's pink (my favorite color) and it said North Carolina (my state of residence). My desire for this shirt had nothing to do with the sports team it represented. So, I watched it all winter hoping it would go on clearance so that I could buy it. Finally, my opportunity came last week. I sorted through rack after rack of random clothes until I found my size and I bought my pink North Carolina shirt. I got it home and pulled it out to show Avery and wouldn't you know it- my "North Carolina" shirt now read "NC State"????!!!!! How in the world did that happen on the way home?!?!?! When Avery saw it, he was less than pleased with me for buying it. He said, "Heather, you know that's not our team!" OUR team? I don't even have a team! All I know is that our "family's team" (this means that this is the team that Avery has designated as our family's team) is blue just like our car. That's how I remember it. Our car is blue and our team is blue. The fact that my shirt was pink had really thrown me on this little system for remembering. Evidently, I bought the competition's shirt instead. I really felt like I might be crazy since I had watched this "North Carolina" shirt all winter. Yet here was "NC State" in my bag. Well, I do feel better to know that I'm not crazy, as Avery later went to Target to try to buy me a more appropriate shirt and he did manage to find my "North Carolina" shirt. Unfortunately, not in my size! So, I've been wearing my "NC State" shirt and am discovering that they are really not the favored team in my circle of friends! People have been making derogatory comments to me and giving me dirty looks as though I just cursed at them! I guess this sports stuff is serious business around here!
Okay, now...where was I...Oh yea. I was writing about my two incredible kids whom I had the good fortunate of spending a little bit of time with earlier this month. Day 4. The day before we left. It wanted to be a sad day, but we wouldn't let sadness steal the joy of spending an hour with our kids during our allotted visiting time at their orphanage.
This day was incredible. The moments that really stand out for me are as follows:
The kids spend this time doing their homework outside and it tended to get a little chilly as the sun was starting to set. Mihret's legs and hands would get really cold while she did her homework. She liked to touch me with her hands where upon I would exclaim in a whisper, "Beredo!" (cold!) She would smile. Then I would take both of her hands in mine for a few minutes until they warmed up. Then I would kiss them and she would smile. This was a game she liked to play all week and I was more than happy to be able to take care of her in this small way.
Today, she was sitting in an adult-sized plastic lawn chair so I picked her up to hold her while she rehearsed her reading book. She whispered, "aiy" as I picked her up, but I sat down with her on my lap anyway. If she really didn't want me to hold her, I was going to put her down, but she immediately relaxed in my arms. At one point, my hand that had been around her waist got so relaxed that it slipped down to my side. She stopped what she was doing, reached down for my hand, and once again placed it around her waist. I love this kid so much!
The nannies had oiled her hair before we came and some of it had run down her face and neck. She softly reached up to get some of the oil on her hand and with a most gentle caress, she rubbed the oil into my face. Talk about my heart melting!!!!! Would you think it was gross if I said that I still haven't washed my face since that moment?! Well, rest assured, I have washed my face. But I contemplated never washing it again! :)
Her school work this day was to read sentences about various pictures. She was so sweet. She would point at pictures of people and say their names. Their names were always, "Mom, Dad, Yosef, Lucas, Mihret, and Kaitlyn" in all varying orders. When there was a picture of a dog I would continue our "wusha wot" game. I would point and ask, "wusha wot?" (dog stew?) She would give me a mischievous smile and say "yesssssss!"
My time with Yosef was incredible too. He was reading sentences in English and saying whether they were true or false. One sentence said, "My mom is short and thin." He giggled and said, "false." False? I am only 5 feet tall and I'm not a skeletal model that you see in magazines, but I think I'm thin enough. I wondered if he didn't understand the sentence. Or maybe he thought i wasn't thin! Or maybe he didn't consider me to be his mom. But after he thought for a moment, he corrected it. He said, "My mom is tall and thin." I said, "Yes?" He replied, "Mom, you are very tall!" Oh gosh. I suppose in Ethiopia, where many grown men are shorter than me, I am rather tall! I don't think that has ever happened to me in my life! I'm usually mistaken for a little kid from a distance here in America! Funny. And how incredible to realize that yes, he really does consider me to be his mom. What an undeserved gift.
Yesterday I had told him that I would bring chocolate for all the kids. He was very happy when I told him I had brought it. The orphanage director had already approved the chocolate, so I passed it out to all the kids. Yosef really really really likes chocolate! What kid wouldn't?! :)
It was obvious that he really liked having me sit there next to him. As he continued to read the true/false statements about family, he would give answers about his family, us, where he was able. One sentence said, "My brother is good and healthy." He looked at me with a questioning expression and asked me if it was true. I assured him that yes, his brother is very good and very healthy. He was most pleased to learn that this was true. I think that only a very good God could have put the hope of a family in their little hearts...only a very good God could enable their little hearts to identify themselves as a part of our family on such a real level as this. Certainly, their fantasy is full of unrealistic ideas, but I'm so thankful that their little hearts can even engage in the fantasy of being in our family. They seem to intuitively know that we belong together.
As homework time ended and the kids were taking their backpacks to their rooms, Yosef turned back and said to me, "wait." So I stayed put in the chair I was sitting in. He came back was quite affectionate. We held hands. Both kids liked it when we hugged them, but didn't reciprocate the hug. This day, I instructed, "I hug you. Then you hug me." Simple enough. I thought that maybe they just needed "permission" to hug back. Evidently that was the case. As we hugged the kids, they returned with huge squeezy hugs. I love these kids so much. We took some pictures which I treasure so much. I wish they each had a copy of the photos we took that day. My prayer is that we will return to bring them home before I have the opportunity to send them the photos though.
They were sad when we left. They understood that tomorrow would be our last day. We promised them that the next time we come to Ethiopia that they will stay in our hotel with us and that they will go to America with us. I pray that this is a promise we can keep. This prospect made their sad little faces happy again. We said goodbye and stopped by the director's office on the way out to discuss a baby that we were supposed to escort for a family in the US. He had cleared the courts before they closed last fall and his family was anxiously waiting for his homecoming. When we left her office and headed for the gate, Yosef saw us and came running out to us again. He looked so sad. We hugged each other again and I promised we'd come tomorrow. I told him, "Aiy Zo, eshi?" (Basically, Be strong, okay? or Chin up, okay?). He smiled a sad smile and said, "eshi." Then he ran back with the other kids. We walked out the gate and the tears came down my cheeks yet again. I love him so much. My heart was breaking because my son was so sad and I was powerless to ease his pain. He just wants to be with his family and I cannot make that happen for him. There is no feeling as helpless as the one that overtakes a parent who is incapable of easing the hurt inside their child's heart.
For all who are praying for our kids to come home soon, our agency was not given their license on Monday as we had hoped. As usual, the answer was to come back another day. Wednesday is that day, so perhaps we'll hear good news today. Our prayer is that regardless of what happens with the agency that the government will do what is best for these children by uniting them with their families. Believe me, the moment we have good news, everybody will know about it! We are forever grateful for your prayers.