It was this day in 2010 that Brandy and I were accepted into America World’s Ethiopia program. It seems like it’s been more than a year - maybe because we’ve been in the adoptive mindset for so long. Nevertheless, many things have changed in a year. Here are the main three things adoption has taught me:

1.)  I've learned that there are a lot of people in the world. And of those people, many have it much worse than you and I. Take Ethiopia, for instance. Some people in Ethiopia don't wonder when their next meal will be, but rather if they'll eat again at all.
This wasn’t news to me a year ago. I’ve always known that Ethiopia has had its share of problems. But when you start to think about the fact that there are 4+ million orphans in their country alone, or that AIDS, a disease that’s somewhat treatable here in the States, is an automatic death sentence to most Ethiopians, you begin to realize just how much we take for granted. Imagine the feeling you get when the local news warns of possible water shortages and power outages after a big storm. We run to the grocery store and buy as much as we possible can no matter what the need. We fill up the gas tanks in our vehicles and collect water in buckets and bath tubs. We start to panic a bit - not much, but enough to make us realize what we have. Now, imagine having that same kind of panic (only amplified) every single day and not having the resources for survival readily available.

2.) I’ve learned there are many forms of patience. When Brandy was pregnant with River, we could see progress as time passed. But those nine months still felt like an eternity. After a long labor, River was transferred to a children’s hospital where he stayed for nearly a month. At just one-day-old, he underwent surgery to fix a blockage in his digestive system. He’s fine now and has been ever since the surgery, but it took his body the duration of the hospital stay to learn how to digest properly. I remember sitting at his bedside wondering when we were ever going to get to go home as a family. So far, the adoption process has been completely opposite from what we experienced with River. For one, progress hasn’t been measured in trimesters or belly size, but rather by the amount of paperwork we’ve completed. And we still don’t even know if our daughter’s been born considering our age request of 0 to 9 months. I thought sitting by River’s side in a hospital room was the ultimate test in patience, but at least we were by his side, holding and loving him, getting to know him better with each new day. For me, knowing that our daughter is halfway around the globe, either in her biological mother’s belly or in an orphanage, has brought about a new kind of patience and faith that I didn’t have a year ago.

3.) I’ve learned that one person CAN make a difference. I used to be a bit skeptical of that phrase. Not that I didn’t believe it somewhat, but I just never fully realized how true it can be. This year, I’ve seen so many people come out of the woodwork willing to help us with whatever they can. Our families and friends have been so extremely supportive - everyone has used their talents and come together all for the sake of helping us get our little girl home. They’ve helped us with fundraising efforts as well as sewing diaper covers for Ethiopian orphanages. If all of those people had talked themselves out of helping for whatever reason, Brandy and I would have gone crazy by now. So, to all of you who have given your time, money, talent, and love, we thank you and are forever grateful. It might be an overstatement to say that our daughter will make the biggest difference of all, but, looking around, it’s apparent that she already has.

2/19/2011 10:58:50 pm

Wow.....great post.

2/21/2011 01:58:31 am

Congratulations on one year in :) The things we learn on the journey make the wait worth it.


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