It is Sunday afternoon and we have just returned from lunch after visiting the Beza International Church for morning worship. Between the altitude of the city (about a mile high) and the time change, we finally got a good night’s rest last night and are getting over jet lag.
We met the kids yesterday morning and spent about 3 hours with them. They are very affectionate, enjoyed playing with us and loved to take pictures and play with our video camera. Yoftahe (the Ethiopian name for Jephthah, from the book of Judges) enjoyed a wrestling match with Luke and me. Sammy and I got beat by Luke and Yoftahe at a game of two on two courtyard soccer (we would have come back but I got tired). Beimnet (the Amharic word for “by faith”) was happy to get into whatever anyone else was into. She loved blowing bubbles and became quite possessive of everyone else’s bubbles when she ran out of her own. We were delighted to learn that she is far along in the potty training process, but covet your prayers as we begin to introduce discipline – she doesn’t appear to be accustomed to much of this.
An interesting twist was introduced to us, though as we learned some about the kids birth mother. She is indeed still living and works at one of the orphanages associated with our agency. She doesn’t appear to have changed her mind about giving up the kids, but she did want to come visit with them one final time today, Sunday. We initially struggled with the invitation to come meet with her, and about the time we decided that we would indeed meet her, the invitation was revoked by our agency as there are concerns at the U.S. Embassy of adoptive parent-birth parent meetings creating the impression of child-racketeering. A friend from our travel group did go to the home this morning and has taken pictures and video that we will be able to have as a keepsake of their final visit. We did learn that the mother was very glad to hear that we were a Christian family. It continues to be difficult for us to comprehend what it must be like for her to say good-bye to her children for a final time, especially knowing that the reason for giving them up is simply one of personal finances. Please pray for this woman who loves her children so much that she is willing to see another woman raise them and love them as her own in a distant country, knowing that this decision will give them a much better life than they would have with her here in Ethiopia. We are not sure if she is a true believer or simply “Christian” by name and tradition. Please pray that she may some day be reunited with her children, if not on this earth, in heaven.
It is interesting, as I am reading about the life of Moses here in this land so close to the Nile, to think of his mother who also surrendered the right to raise her own son in order for God to use that son to make such amazing impact on history and on God’s people. We pray that for Yoftahe, Samuel and Beimnet a similarly great role in the building of His kingdom might be made possible because of the loving sacrifice of this poor, loving Ethiopian mother.