March 3, 2009

Couldn't find the right words to thank you...

Ethiopia. Ethiopia.

What will I do with you, Ethiopia?

I have to confess, I didn't like you. I know it's not polite to admit it, but I didn't. The minute we got on the plane, I was overcome with doubt. When we landed, I took one look out the plane window and felt I was in another world...not just another country.

Your rifle appointed guards, your barren poverty on every corner, your loud and chaos filled streets...the smell of spices and incense in the air...the bells tolling for the Mosque's at 4am...hard beds, burning trash, I could go on and on...but I already have.

For Part One Click Here
For Part Two Click Here
For Part Three Click Here
For Part Four Click Here
For the Epilogue Click Here

I've been able to put some space between us. Many months have passed since I came and went - not leaving much of an impression there on your land. Really, I just wanted to write and tell you that I'm feeling sad lately. I thought you would understand, since you and I shared something. The exchange of a life gave and I took. The exchange of a multi-cultural life lesson...again, I was the recipient. Most importantly, the gift of a son. Your son. A son of your country, your people, your land. I wish I could tell you how much that gift has meant to share with you all the joy and wonder he has brought to my life and to somehow, some way invite you in to see all the goodness and healing he has given to my heart. I wish I could...but I can't.

This is why I'm so sad...

You gave me something that filled my life so much, and it was because someone else's life was broken. Broken in a way that your tired land couldn't fix. In fact, I tried not to think of that too much when I was there - because I was selfishly so overwhelmed and in my own head - that I didn't let myself dwell on the reasons. I was selfish. And I wanted to say I'm sorry. Because now, I think I'm beginning to understand what you did. You made it possible for me to take care of him and you gave us an intimate bird's eye view into your dilemma - so that just maybe, by some small chance, we might try and make a difference for you and your people. For your children. Maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't come home and complain about our experience. Maybe instead we would see past the cultural differences and feel a tug at our core to make a difference for you. For them...

I've found myself lately wondering how I can make a difference. So I wanted you to know that I'm trying out some ideas. Always telling anyone who will listen about our journey there and back. Trying to come up with some ways to help the many children that were left behind...and that arrive every week to begin their walk as orphans. Trying to decide how many of your children I can fit into this house, so that I can reach out and try to help.

I don't know how to convince people...because too many don't want to leave the comfort of their homes and their safe places. It's too scary for them. I confess, I was one of them. Adoption is daunting and sometimes it can be hard to explain to them what we experienced and that it's just a plane ride. That you leave D.C. and get off a plane in Africa. That's it. That sacrifice can pull a child from one devastating circumstance into a loving home, a family, a future. Still, not everyone can imagine that they could do it. But I won't stop trying...and I wish you could see Quint! I think he does all the work, just by smiling and lighting up a room. Who could picture this little baby growing up in a crowded orphanage with nothing? I wish they knew how many we had to leave behind that are doing just that...

So I wanted you to know that I think about you a lot, Ethiopia. I didn't think I could or would ever go back, but you have a way about you...that's for sure. You kind of grew on me...after the fact. I can't quite get you out of my system, and I can't figure it out. I actually look at pictures now and then of our trip...and well, I miss you. And I wanted you to know that I think we'll be back, Lord willing. If it's ok with you, we'll try and raise a couple more of your sweeties. And we'll do our best to educate them about how they can grow up to impact their birthland as well. I'm not sure what that will look like...but we'll do our best.

Sorry it took me so long to come around...I've been thinking about writing this for a while now, I just couldn't quite find the right words.

I think I've found them...

With Gratitude,



Marilyn Gregory said...

you are an amazing writer -

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear you have had an awakening about Ethiopia. It is a land and country and people that is so forgotten by the rest of the world. I was so sorry to hear you had had a bad experience there. But of course, it is not like going to the Virgin Islands or some wonderful place like that, but we need to know it is there, there are people and children, wonderful children, with no hope, no future, no love, no schooling to speak of, no health care, in many cases, as you know, no parents.
My hope was that you would take Quint back and that he at some point would feel a need to help his mother land, they need it so very badly. Thank you Christie for your words, for your thoughtfulness, for your understanding of a land and people forgotten by the modern world. Quint will be a better person because of you and Anton, he will make a difference, you have already made a difference. Keep up the love and the good work honey! I love you guys so much. I would love to have lots of little nieces and nephews, a rainbow so to speak, a rainbow of love. Thanks for your words, they are beautiful, and I know they are not just words.
Love you

meme said...

You continue to inspire me. I love to read your stories! From your Kentucky Friend Linda

Anonymous said...

Wow! You definitely were given an amazing gift in Quint.

How lovely you express your gratitude.

Your talent is beyond measure.

Love V

redmaryjanes said...

I am touched beyond words by your post. I would love to put it on 'No Place Like Home' and also point people to it on my blog 'Seventh Diamond'.
Let me know if you feel like sharing it publicly. It is amazing.

Briana's Mom said...

Simply Beautiful...