Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children
What could be better than an Ethiopian welcome, FOVC style?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ethiopia, part I: We Meet!

We arrived in Addis Ababa late Saturday night, July 19. Our agency's facilitator, Abebe, was out of town, so his wife picked us up. Her name is Hanna; she directs Sele Enat, which is the orphanage that cared for Amelia.

Hanna picked us up at 9am the next morning and drove us to Sele Enat.

We had read, prayed, pondered and dialogued with other families, but we weren't prepared for the sights of Addis Ababa. There were people and donkeys and goats and cows and mud and mini-buses and cars and PEOPLE everywhere. We drove on a muddy road through throngs of people for about fifteen minutes until we reached the orphanage.

Hanna pulled up to the gate and tooted her little van's horn. A few of the older children opened the gate and welcomed us in. As we all--me, Dave, Allison, Abby and Grammy--piled out of the van, we were surrounded by curious, smiling orphan children. Hanna greeted the kids with much love and many hugs, and they responded with the same for her.

In the U.S., we really don't have a way to perceive the word "orphan." It tears at your heart and boggles your mind to see these sweet, sweet children and to try to comprehend the reality that they are...orphans. No family, nowhere to go save the orphanage. Little humans who God loves very much, but whose lives and futures are fragile and uncertain. When you see them, they are simply beautiful, and joyful, children. There is no way to make sense of the reality that is right there before your eyes.

After spending a few minutes with the children, we all went back to the baby room. Those minutes are a bit of a blur, but somehow, Amelia was in my arms. I knew her, but I didn't know her. She was so little, so beautiful! Such a hope and prayer and dream fulfilled.

I think Dave and I were a bit stunned and shocked that Amelia was finally in our arms. Grammy just cried and cried.

We stayed at the orphanage for a couple of hours that morning. We had brought gifts for the children, and we all alternated between enjoying the children and enjoying Amelia.

I think Amelia was a bit overwhelmed, too. But before we even left the orphanage, she showed us what we now know is her signature self-soothing move: sucking her fingers while telling us, "I rock!"

1 comment:

Derek Weber said...

Thank you for sharing all the pictures and thoughts on your trip. I enjoyed them all!