Ethiopian Gratitude

IMG_0358What a week…to fly to and from Ethiopia in less than 5 days was intense, exhausting and exhilarating. The only other time I’d been overseas was last year on a cruise with my husband’s parents. Grand Cayman did nothing to prepare me for this…The noise, the crowds, the filth, the utter poverty of the people, the traffic, the chaos, or the orphans…Nothing could prepare me either for the kindness of our drivers and the ladies at the guesthouse or the love for the orphans that the nannies, nurses, and all those involved in the organization shared. And to meet strangers on the plane, in the guest house and the Embassy, who you immediately had a strong bond with, simply because we were all there to bring orphans back to their forever home. My list this week is pretty simple–it even sounds silly if you’ve never been to a place like Addis Ababa before, but it makes you grateful for things that we take for granted every single day. My list for the week:

  • Seatbelts and car seatsIMG_0304
  • roads and sidewalks in good working order
  • lines on roads and traffic lawsIMG_0367
  • turning on the tap and being able to DRINK the water
  • being able to eat fresh fruits or vegetables without concern of dysentery or traveler’s diarrheaIMG_0357
  • not having to wonder with every bite of food if the non-English speaking cooks understood the word “gluten”
  • not having to wonder if the generator will work when the power goes out
  • new friends who are almost as excited for you getting to bring home an orphan as you are
  • seeing parents meet their new children–babies, or 5-year olds or 9-year olds for the first time. Unbelievably touching.
  • children looking with wonder and disbelief that they were finally chosen to be part of a family
  • older orphans running over to hug and kiss babies and young children, then comforting one another when they get bad news
  • rainy season stormsIMG_0394
  • fathers who take weeks off work, to stay in Ethiopia with their soon-to-be home children, simply because “This child here needs me as much as my child at home needs me. They are both my children.”
  • shopping in the marketplace with new friends
  • getting the bassinet seat on the plane–SO worth arriving 4 hours before the flight to secure a place for Miller to sleep!IMG_0399
  • my only glimpse of Europe–the Maritime Alps in France from the airplane windowIMG_0400
  • flying with a new friend and his daughterIMG_0403
  • the surprising lump in my throat when we landed back in Washington DC
  • four excited big brothers at the airport in Memphis
  • my own four children racing down the driveway to meet me
  • going to church with friends who love me and love Jesus

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Filed under Gratitude, Joy Dare

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