You think you know what to expect but WOW, I wasn't totally prepared for what I saw. There were so many beggars on the streets including a child not even two years old…children thin beyond belief, asking for food from my grocery bag…a
frail mom with hungry babies on her back and front…a very malnourished sweet little baby boy at the orphanage that clung like a monkey and held on so tight with his head tucked tight on my neck…people working and walking everywhere…animals everywhere…
dirt and rocks everywhere.

I never felt unsafe. The only concerning part was the risk of being bombarded if you offered to give out something….understandably. It broke my heart not to help so many times! Hopefully when William
and I go back I'll be able to pass out food or coins more comfortably.

About the people…..

I just loved the people. I'm almost afraid I'll miss them. By culture, everyone is reserved, respectful
and kind.

The men…

The men I encountered were wonderful. They were protectors and gentlemen-like. I kept getting in trouble for trying to lift and do things without allowing them to help. Tips didn't seem
expected either. My favorite: they are all so amazing with the babies and kids. It was the coolest sight to see them snatch up the babies, love on them and be so playful. Side note: It is customary for people to take your baby so you can eat…helllo!….amazing

The women….

It seemed to me it's a cultural trait to love and care deeply for the children. I was floored and thrilled by the care given by the Nannies at the care center. I could not be more
impressed by the love, attention, discipline and care they receive. This makes it a tiny bit easier to leave Haben until I'm able to go back for my Embassy date and bring him home. I can't say enough about how thankful, appreciative and lucky
I am.

The children….

It was an absolute honor to spend time at the care center with the Ethiopian children. They were all so wonderful. They were respectful, loving, fun, appreciative and so poised with self-control.
It was truly one of my biggest highlights of life to get to know them and spend time with them. Many are awaiting adoptive families and I know each family will be some of the luckiest parents on earth. I'll never forget their, "Tank you God
for my food" said so sincerely before any meal. (I believe they eat breakfast and then just one other meal a day.) "Tank you Mommy," several times for each small gift or treat I shared. (All ladies seem to be called mommies.) Their wonderful
hugs, their excitement to see me, the dancing, the hair braiding (lice was worth it! but true apologies to those next to me on the flights home… I guess the shampoo needed more than one treatment!) Oh, and those lovely young ladies are going to be
wonderful mommies some day. They were incredible with my sweet Haben especially when he wasn't so sure about his new mommy. Just my luck, 25 or more babies and kids in a care center and my little guy seems to be the only one not loving me….but
this mommy is patient.

The babies….

Ok so what baby is not dreamy? But my babies were so different than these. Given everything from the start, every need reached immediately, every comfort met, food, warmth
and love a plenty. How is it that these care center babies seem happier? More content, more independent, more appreciative, more quiet, more settled, overall just easier. OK, I'll stop there. But wow, how can lives and upbringings be so different
and effect us all so differently? Please God help me to show my children some of these wonderful gifts in life of contentment and to be appreciate of God's gifts.

Overall, I just can't wait to go back to Ethiopia in 8 weeks
(hopefully). Not only to bring Haben home forever but to be there again, in the culture, with the kids and most importantly for William to see what I've seen and feel what I've felt. I know William's probably worried right now about me
being changed forever by the experience. Wanting to save another life (given), wanting to do more to make a difference, wanting to change a lifestyle that's so comfortable. It's all such a challenge….a mind boggling chore to change, to reach
out, to step out of the box, balance needs and wants, to want to spoil yourself and your children or to fulfill God's call. To hold a homeless child, to look at a starving child in the eyes, to walk next to a desparate mom, how can I not feel different….forgive
me William. I cannot stop here.

Posted on February 6, 2011

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