Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Must Read!

I want to ask everyone to please read the following that was written by some friends that have recently been to Ethiopia and are fellow adoptive parents.  My wife first saw this on facebook and asked if I had read it.  I said no and then she told me about it.  She then said that I needed to read it for myself.  I declined.  I didn't want to read it.  I knew what my reaction would be.  I knew how it would sicken me.  I knew that it would be extremely difficult.  I wanted to do my best to ignore it.  I finally read it because I knew I'd want to share it.  I'm asking you not to ignore this.  Please read.  Please pray.  Please be prepared to do something for these and the millions of children like them.  Here is what Andrea Kidd wrote:

Our first day at our sponsor community called Look Development was amazing. We spent the time handing out care packages from all the families back home who treasure these kids. We, of course could not wait to meet our sponsor children in person. As Isabelle's friend walked through the door, her older sister was holding her hand. This was our introduction to Selam (10) and her sister Abeba (13). As we said hello and began giving Selam her candy and clothes and goodies, we learned what she needed was bigger than anything we could have put in that zip lock bag. They had just lost their only living parent to AIDS, and were living all alone! The 13 year old sister was taking care of them. The look of pain and fear and despair on their faces was indescribable. We knew we would be back in a week, and asked Look Development to help us help them. We left in tears that day hugging the girls and telling them we would see them in 7 days. They asked us to visit their house when we returned.

We learned later in the week that their house was in shambles and was not safe. They had no mattress, no blankets and no food. The window and door to their hut was broken, we agreed to pay for all these things and would deliver them when we returned. Prayers and prayers were lifted up for them and for our hearts to be prepared for what we would see. Nothing could have prepared us, and only Jesus, holding all our hands and holding me up could have gotten us through our next meeting.

At Look, we were shown all the supplies that had been purchased for Selam and Abeba, but there was a problem, anything that had been given to them was stolen. We could not even bring them the basic things they needed, because what they needed was even more basic! PROTECTION.

We left to go see them and where they lived. We drove and drove, down long muddy roads, until we were told we had to start walking. We walked down a thick path that led to their hut. They came running out and I saw smiles from both of them for the first time. You could see they could not believe we had come. Walking up to their house was surreal, part of my mind begged to not have to enter the door, to run away and to never look back. My flesh screamed..... my spirit walked me through their door reassuring me that this was part of our purpose and God was with us.

We stepped into a dark square of a mud hut. All that we could see was an old wire bed frame, covered in clothing.......the clothing of their deceased father and mother. This is what they slept on. Did it bring them comfort? Could they still smell their parents when they slept? On the wall, was a poster of Jesus, and there was a Mesobi (for eating and coking) in the corner. Also a very dirty yellow jug for water.....where did they even get far did they need to walk.....was it even clean? My mind was racing as the sweat began to drip down my forehead, and I watched a huge spider crawling inches from my face. I glanced at my 2 oldest, for a brief moment wandering if they were o.k......they were, but the looks on their faces I will never forget, as a work was being done right in front of my eyes.

Our representatives from Look were talking with Abeba and asking them how they were. I went weak as they described the nightly scene of drunk men coming to their house and banging on the window to get in. I pictured these 2 beautiful girls huddled together fearing that these men would break in and steal the only things they had, or even worse, steal from their innocent bodies. We told them we would pay for them to move into a new place closer to the Look Development office so they could be safe. They did not want to give up their house, it is the only memory and only thing left from their mother and father. They feared the government would take it away from them. We told them we would fix their window and door and gate, so they would be more protected......I could see Abeba's face changing, she was mustering up courage, she was so sweet and so quiet, but her face told me something was coming........I knew in my heart what is was, and I was paralyzed. She looked at us and asked to be adopted.  They want a FAMILY and to be protected and loved. Pete and I barely caught each others eyes, as we had no idea how to respond. Both of us wanted to grab them and run and bring them home and never look back. Pete only said it was a very difficult and long process, and we would do what we could to help them.

We stood outside their house and hugged and prayed over them. I held each of them tight until they cried. They needed a mother's love and protection and the feel of safety, if only for a moment. I kissed them all over their faces and told them I loved them and we would see them again, and help them in the meantime. Isabelle and Johnny begged to give them all the food we had in the van, so we asked them to walk back with us. We walked down that path to the van, praying the whole way. I didn't know until later that night after looking at the pictures that we were all holding hands. Isabelle and Johnny love these girls too, and their hearts were broken and changed that day too.

As we said goodbye and drove away, I prayed to God to show me what to do. It was no accident that we were led here, that we were to see these girls and to learn their story. As I licked my lips I could taste Selam and Abeba. Anyone who has visited orphans knows that salty, dirty smell that the kids have. You look past it, because you care more about giving them love than the dirt or smell they carry. For the first time that taste was so sweet and I didn't want it to go away.

My prayer, is that these girls will be protected, that YOU will be touched by this story, moved to action of some sort, that SOMEONE may see their daughters in these two girls. Last night God told me to write this story and to share it, I pray that I was sent to these two for one of you.

Thank you for reading, looking into the dark and hard places that Jesus sees and begs us to walk with him. I thank you for passing this along to anyone and everyone, and for any step you take to help us help these girls.
I am uploading an album called" Selam and Abeba", please look at their faces and pray for them, and pass this along.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Long Overdue Update

Our last blog post told you that we were waiting for a court date, well, we got one.  Truth be told, we have had our court date.  It's actually been a couple of weeks ago that we had our court date.  We flew to Ethiopia on July 18th.  We met our son on the 20th and on the 21st a very nice judge met with us for all of about one minute and then said, "That's it."  We had to ask to confirm, but apparently "That's it" means, "Congratulations!  You passed court!  You are now the parents of Abel Raymer!" 

So there you have it, we are the parents of a wonderful young 15 year old boy.  He is ever the gentleman who is intelligent, kind, and very compassionate.  We had the privileged of spending most of the week with Abel.  It was a true joy getting to know him.  He like his Father (remember, that's me!) enjoys history and he played our tour guide as he took us to some of Ethiopia's museums.  Although, this was our second trip to Ethiopia, it was amazing to see this beautiful country, with it's rich history (by the way, there is much more to Ethiopia than just the famine of the 80's) through my son's eyes. 

Our time in Ethiopia was wonderful and we left with only one regret - we couldn't bring Abel home.  We have to wait for the US Embassy to finish their paperwork and then we will go back to Ethiopia for just a few days.  This time though Abel will be coming home with us.  Which is a very good thing.  I don't believe Dottie or I want to go through another day like the last one when were in Ethiopia.  At one time or another, knowing that we would have to leave our son for another month or so, we both broke down. 

We are hoping to be back in Ethiopia in just a couple of weeks.  Of course, this does mean one big thing - money.  Yes, we still need money to finish all of this.  I know that it seems that we are asking but it's the only way to bring our son home.  I'd like to take this opportunity to again ask, if you are able to give anything at all to help with the enormous cost of this adoption, to help us bring our son home, please give now.  Again, you can send a donation through the mail using the address to the left or you can give online using the "ChipIn."  Thank you for your help and God bless you.

Outside the church on Entoto Mt.
Abel's first ever bite of pizza!

Outside the Natural History Museum

Our Son!