Monday, November 22, 2010

Busy with Business

Yesterday, we visited the Artisan Bazaar/Market, which was scheduled for the following weekend and one of the primary reasons for our travel.  This is the best place for us to network with local artisans.  I am so grateful for God’s provision in placing the correct vendors in our paths and coordinating our times.  We were able to network and establish the relationships needed with a variety of local artisans.  The Ethiopian artisans are very gifted.  One artist in particular, Yami, has extraordinary handmade leather products.  Unmatched to say the least.

Today, we visited a Rasta Free Art Village.  The art was interesting.  The people were more interesting.  Kind.  Gentle. Soft spoken.  The majority of the sculptures boast up-cycled items.  Literally, the artists collect trash and construct sculptures from toilets to trains and on to animals.  It is very eclectic.  The Rasta artists are peaceful community, and they nurture their land.  In the midst of the busy, bustling Addis, the Rasta Free Art Village is an oasis.  Two of the artists, who paint in the village, produced paintings worth the flight to Ethiopia.

Next, we met with Aklilu, one of our favored artists.  His paintings bedeck my kitchen and family room.  His colors and shapes captivate the eye.  This young man’s working conditions are nicer than many, but Americans would be offended if asked to work in his studio.  But Aklilu.  Ahhh.  What creative genius.  We accrued many pieces from Aklilu.  You won’t want to miss these pieces.

After visiting a gamut of artists, our day’s highlight was visiting our friend/brother/driver’s home.  Modest, but appreciated, Solomon rents a two room space.  His bedroom and sitting boost his confidence in hosting us.  He is most proud of his outdoor cooking space and private toilet.  Being allowed into Soli’s home felt like an initiation of sorts and left me feeling more connected to him than ever.  The car ride back to BeJoe hosted my first real cry in Ethiopia this trip (first of many, I am sure).  Rectifying my love for Ethiopia, its people, my son’s culture, my habesha family, the joy it holds, and my love for my family and friends in the states is impossible.  In the meantime, I am trying to simply embrace each moment of each day.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bet Negn

The flight to Addis felt shorter than before.  Maybe it was my preoccupation with a darling 14 month old.  Maybe it was because I knew my Habesha Betasub (Ethiopian Family) waited in anticipation to embrace after a six month interlude. Whatever the case, Genet, Marta, Aster, Blein, Mimi, and, of course, our darling Solomon welcomed us at the airport with open arms.  Post arrival and Visas, we could see our betasub past baggage claims, through Customs, and behind the gates.  We could NOT get to them quickly enough.  Customs did not appreciate our expectancy to reach our friends. With an extra tip, the bag porter proved persuadable to push our bags to the front of the line; and before we knew it, we were united.  I cannot express how full and complete my heart felt finally, minus Josh, Hunter, and Tiger.

On our first trip to Addis, the unfamiliar smells and sounds shook my base.  Everything seemed unfamiliar.  The smokey haze of Addis welcomed us with familiarity this time around.  Every site, every road marker, every acquaintance added another level of comfort.  And then, BeJoe, the guesthouse where we stay…ahhh, BeJoe.  Three dozen roses from Solomon added a bit of glitz to our lovely rooms.  The BeJoe girls stayed and visited with us into the wee hours of the morning.  Gift delivery ensued.  We passed out pictures and cards from all of our BeJoe friends in America.  The girls LOVED the updates.  At 3:30, we finally headed to bed.  Peaceful sleep restored the tired eyes, and we have been running hard since.  Jet lagg and all my heart and mouth can finally say, "Bet Negn" or "I am home."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Almost There

Only three days and my hiney will be stuck in an undersized, stiff seat next to two children for 8400 miles.  Yep, we are ready to return to Ethiopia.  As much as I HATE flying, you must know I love Ethiopia even more.  Otherwise, I wouldn't endure this stretch.  Our bags are close to packed and my mind is racing with what still remains to be accomplished.  This trip will prove much harder for me as Josh and our two older sons will not trek back with us.

We return for many reasons.  Some I'm open to share, some I'm holding closer until the right time.  What I do know is that I covet your prayers.  Pray for our safety, Mez's sleeping, my anxiety during the flight and our stay, my husband and children I will leave behind, our health, my extended family, who will celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time in 36 years without my father present (thank you suck), our opportunity to be the light and share the love of Christ, our birth mom, whom we will see again, and my ability to share the love and hope of Christ with her as well as rejoice in the son we share.  Pray for our luggage, our words, our time to be used well, and our overall witness during major jet lag.  Pray for those we love, whom I am already grieving leaving AGAIN (and I haven't even arrived).  Pray that God's plan for our time, both present and future, would be clear.  Mostly, pray that in all things HE will receive the glory He is due.

I will update my blog and keep you abreast of all we are doing.  Can't wait to see you on the other side...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I stole, err, umm, borrowed this post from a friend.   He did such a great job expressing my sentiments on the gospel in adoption/foster care, why not re-post his words.  Reading through the Old Testament, I am reminded of the importance of a  knowledge of history, knowing our history, writing down/memorializing His hand in our lives as not to forget His power, our legacy that He provides, and His redemption.  My friend's post hits well.  ENJOY!
Almost four months ago now, we received our first foster child.  That night, we were awakened by a phone call around midnight and were asked if we’d be willing to accept her into our family for a time.
After some quick prayer and even quicker conversation, we agreed to do it.  Less than an hour later, this tired little girl was escorted to our house by 3 people from Child Protective Services.
This past week, we got the news our time with this little girl will be coming to a close come December.  They have found a new home for her and her siblings to be adopted together.
All this talk of her leaving, though, has made me do some thinking about her time here with us.  Crazy enough, after thinking through much, I’ve come up with one regret that I have about this whole process with her:
We should not have washed the clothes she came to us in.
The night we got her, she arrived dirty.  Her clothes were too small, stained with old food, and reeked of smoke.  It was a beautiful picture of what we ALL offer in and of ourselves.  We bring nothing good to the table.
With our next child, I’d love to keep clothes like that, put them in a Ziploc bag, and use them for a huge lesson later in life.
Now with our current foster daughter, she is leaving far too early for her to understand the significance.  But for future kids that we might foster, or even adopt, I’d love to keep this in mind.
This is yet another reason why I love fostering and adopting.  The gospel becomes clearer and clearer:
We have nothing good to offer God.  This is all of us.  Our clothes are dirty, torn, ugly, and smelly.  God opens the door and invites us in.  He comes to each of us, takes our nasty clothes, and offers us clean ones in their place.  We come to him worthless, and we leave unworthy.
In a time when many try to work hard to be accepted by Him, it is a visual picture of His grace, mercy, and love.  We bring nothing.  He gives everything.
This is one lesson I hope to not easily forget.