Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just a sip of water...

Her little face has haunted me.   Maybe 8 years old?  Maybe 12?   Her image has now been replaced with the image of so many of the little girls I have now seen.   Dressed in clothing hand washed too many times.   Mended as best as possible.   Hair matted.   Combed as best as possible in anticipation of our visit.

But her face haunts me.   As it was one of the most shameful moments in my life that haunts me.   
Her hollow eyes looked to my sports cup sitting at my feet, and back to my eyes, begging.  Pointing at my water, then signing the universal sign “drink?”  “water?”   Back to the cup, and back to my eyes, begging.   

And then I did what I have done so many times before – I turned my head and ignored.    And I will forever feel the shame from that moment.

In my defense, it was only a few hours off the plane from our comfortable country that I had stepped foot on this dirty soil.    I had never traveled before but had been told – ‘drink as much water as possible or you will get sick.  And you don’t want to get sick.’    This was our first visit, our first project, my first real encounter with the third world.    If I handed her my only cup, full of clean water, would I get any more today?   Would she give my cup back?  What if she had a disease?   What if she gave me that disease?   All those thoughts went through my head in the span of those precious minutes when I choose myself over a thirsty little one.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”  Matthew 10:42.

CHRIST’S words.   And I lost my reward that day.    I chose self over sacrifice.   

How often does that experience play over and over today?   In all of our lives?   No – you may not be faced face to face with a third world child begging for a sip of your water…

But are we choosing our own comfort (bigger house, newer car, nice vacation) over a child begging you for only a sip of what you could offer?

Are we choosing to protect our bodies from harm by not reaching out to the little one asking for help?   What about the orphans with diseases asking to be adopted?   Are we scared of the harm they may do to our families?  Are we scared of what the world might say if we bring a child of another color into our family?   Are we scared of the emotional problems a foster child might bring upon our family if we were to reach out?

Are we choosing to protect ourselves, as we don’t know when we will get resources again – from this here and now loss of what we see as valuable?   Do we not give to the child in need because what if we commit to sponsor, but then loose our job?  Or need that money for other things later?
Do we choose not to help because of the distrust?   What if I don’t get back something from that which I have given?   What if others are just trying to take what is mine?

So you see – you have your moments where you deny those searching eyes as well.   We all do.   I still do.   But I know that God gave me that experience so that the next time those eyes come looking to me for aid – I hope I will not turn my eyes downward and ignore.   Lesson learned.

Everything I have has been given to me by my Father in Heaven.    All they are asking for is just a sip of that bounty I have been given.    So who am I to refuse to share?  Don’t we tell our kids they have to share?  Doesn’t God tell us the same?    

Are you obeying?  Or ignoring?   What is God asking you to share that you instead are grasping tightly to?  

Recent research has statistically shown the dramatic effect Compassion International and their sponsorship program has made on the lives of these children as they have grown up. 
Christianity Today news on Compassion

Right now some little ones have been waiting close to a year for that little bit of help you can offer - can you at least research these children and see if God is calling you to give them a sip from the huge pitcher he has given you??
Compassion International

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Meetcha Day Revisited

We've been a bit busy with wrestling and ball schedules, SOOO back to the story - I figure if I write one blog post every few months, I will have our 10 day trip journaled in what - a few years or so?? )

After landing in Addis Ababa, early Monday morning, we went back to the guest house to unpack and rest a bit before going to lunch and then to meet Olivia, for the FIRST time ever.  

Why not go straight there you say?   Because this mama was not in charge of the schedule, obviously...

This would also be the time to mention how hilarious it must have looked to have the 6 of us, and all 18 of our bags, loaded up on trolleys to tie to the roof of our van.    Even funnier, our guide was no longer allowed to come and meet us inside the airport so we were standing around - all 6 of us, and our 18 bags, in a foreign country - really looking like fools.  Kind of like Eddie Murphy on 'Coming to America'.   How much luggage do these Americans need???  Seriously?   (A reminder that 85% of that luggage was donations for the orphanages but the Ethiopians didn't know that!  And we were able to call our guide and found out that he was outside in the parking lot waiting for us.)

Once at our gorgeous guest house, a few of our crew fell asleep, a few showered or changed after our 2 days traveling.    After 2 days, I felt like stank with a capital S.  

After a quick (1.5 hr) meal at Island Breeze, (my least favorite of the restaurants we visited), we finally boarded back up to go and meet Livvie.   And FYI, liking tuna and liking pizza - together does not a harmony make.    We then started our habit of boxing up our left-overs to give to the street kids.  I think they got a whole Tuna Pizza minus one bite.   I'll just chalk my menu choice up to exhaustion.

After loading up we made our way to the big blue AWAA sign outside the gates of the America World transition home.   It is the pentacle moment of your Meetcha Day as it announces that you.have.arrived.

From there you wait at the bottom of the steps while they go to get your child ready.    In our case, our friend Mindy snuck in to try to find her while we waited outside.   She was able to snap some now-dear-to-my-heart photos of the nannies preparing our little one like a bride on her wedding day.  Minus the white dress and plus some mismatched clothing.   You can see the little cow outfit beside them that I had sent 3 months prior.    A size 3 mos outfit for my (then unknown) 9 mos baby girl.   The nanny must have taken one look at that outfit and then said, "yeah, that ain't gonna happen."

As we waited, our hearts going a million miles an hour, Mindy comes running out the door saying, "here she comes!" and there she is.   In the flesh, scared to death.

And thus Livvie fulfills her Daddy's prophecy of months earlier saying, "you know we will get the screaming baby, right??"   We later did find out that a screaming baby is actually a GOOD sign.   As it means the baby is able to attach to her caretakers (the nannies) so will have an easier time transferring that attachment to her new caretakers (us).  

Many have asked me if I cried when I saw her.  No.   She was my baby.  And she was scared, and upset, and I just had to comfort her and let her know it would be alright.   Crying wasn't on my schedule for that day.  (now the day we left, that is another story). 

Within a couple of minutes, she had stopped screaming and was only giving us little sniffles.   She would stick her little bottom lip out when she was feeling anxious and it was a good thermometer to know to back (the kids) off of her.
We emptied out her baby bag - trying puffs, rattles, squeaky toys.   She would look at each one but really had no interest in playing with anything at all.

I was able to get a few quick little half smiles.   Progress for only an hour in.   And she easily fell asleep on Daddy after he fed her some kind of gruel they brought her.    Their food usually looked like some kind of porridge, or smashed pasta bits with carrots, tomatoes, and onions.   And usually didn't smell so hot...   SO tired (him, not her).

The necklace I am wearing, I wore everyday.   She would hold onto the beads as she drifted off to sleep and smell the perfume I had brought to wear everyday.   I brought both back in May for her Gotcha Day, hoping she would remember them somehow and remember how much I had loved her, and how even though only 10 days later, I had left her (just like everyone else had), that I had come back. 

Hopefully my next post will be quicker than 6 months.   As her transformation over the next several days was amazing...  from orphan to daughter almost over-night.   Adoption is amazing, and painful, and tiring.   But so, so beautiful. 

Original meetcha day post posted on March 5th, 2012.