Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Don’t Have a Family

Today we went back to the orphanage where Anna lived for a farewell party with some other adoptive families.  I had an errand to run so I went separately and got there a half hour or so before the main group.  Sister L. showed me to the official waiting room but I asked if I could roam the courtyard with the children instead.  "As you wish," she said and she disappeared to take care of other demands.  I had a crowd around me but I eventually made it to some stone steps leading into a building.  I sat down in the bright sunshine. The kids closest to me sat down as well pressing against my side and back as well as sitting at my feet. The younger kids would hold my hands or gently rub their hands on my arms to see what white skin felt like.  The outer group of kids had to stand and was generally comprised of older kids.  I passed the time trying to learn names and my pronunciations were often atrocious.  When I would finally get a name right, the child would quickly raise and lower their eyebrows in a sign of approval. The kids with better English skills played the role of translators.  They would ask me a question, I would respond, and then they would tell the others in Amharic what I had said. 


A little later I was walking again with the perpetual but ever changing crowd around me.  I felt a child's hand come into mine as had happened a hundred times already, but I did not look down until I had finished trying to learn another name.  When I looked down there was a young girl about five looking back up at me.  Her face was sad and her large brown eyes were soft and a little moist.  I bent over to ask her what her name was, but she spoke first.  "I don't have a family," she said softly not averting her eyes from mine.


I was taken aback.  In all the fun I was having with the children I had forgotten that Sister L. had told me that all of the kids know who has a family and who does not.  There are the "haves" and the "have nots".  Here I was looking into the eyes of a have not.  I put my other hand on her shoulder and said, "Soon.  Soon." 


But will it be soon for her?  How do I know?  Of the 170 children at K.M. not all will get a family soon and some will not get a family at all.  I witnessed today a bright handsome older boy saying goodbye to two good friends – something that he has done too many times before and now he is again left behind.  I also spent time with a beautiful girl who had strong English skills.  She is now a forever have not.  She was passed over too many times during her last eight to nine years at K.M. and now she is 16 and no longer adoptable.  Since she had nowhere to go, Sister L. transitioned her from being a child at K.M. to being a worker at K.M. 


And so it is at K.M., and at other orphanages in Addis Ababa, and in other cities in Ethiopia, and in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.  Millions of children will go to bed tonight in a crowded room in an orphanage.  When they lay their heads down they will be acutely aware of the haves and the have nots in the room with them.  And the have nots will say softly to themselves, "I don't have a family."


Kris Long said...

And people wonder "why" we adopt. Excellent post.

Diane Guiett said...

Candid comments such as this will pull on the hearts of those that God will be using to provide for the "have nots". And how wonderful to see that we have a Heavenly Father who cares for those "have nots".

sally said...

Great post!!

Exactly the reason I always say "just one more..."


Melinda said...

This makes me so sad to read! I wonder how they get placed. Do other agencies use KM? We are updating our homestudy this week to adopt a girl between 5-6. Wish we could tell her we would be her family! Thanks for posting.

Scarlett_333 said...

That is heartbreaking. I just found your blog linked on someone else's and am glad I got a chance to read this post. I hope to go to Ethiopia next year, and am researching now how to get there/who to go with!


Anonymous said...

I greatly appreciated your touching story. I came to your blog through the "Steppin Heavenward" blog and was greatly blessed by you post.Thank you for giving one who was once a "have not" a loving home.

Laura said...

Hey there,

I LOVE reading your blog. This post is heartwrenching. Makes me wish I could scoop up all of them and bring them home with me.

My hubby and I are adopting from Ethiopia right now as well. We're turning in our dossier really soon.

We're good friends with Doug and Brandi Russell. We go to church together.

Be blessed!

Tanya said...

Amazing post.
'Lurking' and reading your blog has made me realize that it is older children that my heart is drawn to.


Mrs. L said...

We just brought our boys home from Poland 4 months ago and my heart aches for those left behind - especially the older children.

Thank you for the reminder. These children need constant prayer.

Shawnda said... thanks for sharing that heart wrenching, convicting post! THAT's what we NEED to hear!!!

Joy said...

Thank you so much for sharing that! I had tears in my eyes as I read it! Your children are beautiful and blessed to have a father that takes notice of things such as these! Thank you for all that you have done by giving 2 beautiful children home!

Ps. I came here through: steppin heavenward

Sherry said...

That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it. It's one of the main reasons we decided to adopt older children...tweens and teens. :) Thanks so much for the wonderful post.

Anonymous said...

This is not "why" I adopt, but this is why my heart breaks and I want to do something to help the children and people of my son's homeland in a real tangible way.

I want to thank you for sharing this insight and bringing to light the truth of the lives of children that are impacted by poverty and loss on a daily basis in Ethiopia and around the world.

Anonymous said...

Your blog has encouraged me to keep praying and waiting on God. We have 2 sons from Ethiopia, and we hope to add a sibling group to our family--so far finances aren't working out--please pray for us.We are willing but so far there just isn't enough money to go ahead.

Janet said...

Oh, that just broke my heart. I will pray for that sweet little girl. We are in the process of adopting two little ones from Uganda.

Deborah said...

Thank you for that post. We are praying about adopting a child from the USA. How I wish I could hold that little girl in my arms tonight.

Danielle said...

Powerful. Thank you for reminding me to pray for the others as we joyfully await our little girl from Ethiopia.

Danielle Black