Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

It’s always wild to step into places so different from the one you know, places that make you uncomfortable and places that make you re-imagine what this world of ours has to offer.  I love seeing things through different eyes, turing what I think is sure, essential and beautiful on it’s head.  There was no shortage of things to look at in Addis, things were happening on every corner, my eyes were glued to the windows of our van every time we would head out.   4 million people crowding the streets, donkeys, herds of goats, wild dogs, houses constructed of corrugated metal and mud, everyone selling something out of their tiny pop-up shops, the air was overwhelmingly thick with smells, meat, sweat, spices, dirt, exhaust.

I’ll be blunt in saying that I was struck by the utter poverty of this city.  I played out the stereotypical responses to such meager surroundings: sadness, pity, overwhelming feelings of being too small to really “help”.  I dug further, why am I so shocked by all of this?  What is it about this place that immediately think that I should step in and stop the injustice of poverty but when I drive around my own town I have no such compulsive feelings to intervene in the lives of the people surrounding me?  Is my heart for others really motivated by such surface-level care?  Yes, you can’t deny your feelings for a person who is suffering from sickness with no medicine or hungry with no food – these are basic human needs that our hands immediately feel the compulsion to give out of our abundance to aid in need.  But I dug deeper still, what if daily life here just goes on as it does in my small town of Roseville – lived to the standard we saw set around us?  What if these people were perfectly content to live in houses made of mud, walk 5 miles to visit a friend down the road and live out their days uncontaminated by the demands of cars, cell phones, internet, deadlines, success and wealth beyond our needs.  What if I had the eyes of an Ethiopian visiting California – would I be shocked by the poverty of our souls, our greed, our constant distractions, our misplaced priorities and lack of care for others?  Thinking this way, I can’t see why the life we live out is any less shocking, or in need of care.

My time in Ethiopia gave me an appreciation for taking things slow and treasuring the life we have set out to live – full of love and excitement for the everyday, the small things, and the blessings God gives us when we least expect it.

Below is a coffee house we went to while visiting (one of three coffee places!) .  I LOVE their coffee!!

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Here are more photos of Tegan throughout the week that we were there.  He is such a content little boy!!  We held him practically everyday for the whole time we were with him, he loved to snuggle up on our shoulder and fell asleep on Ed in the morning quite a few times : )  His little personality came out more and more as each day went by and he began to recognize us and feel comfortable in our arms.  He would sing little songs (no real words, just sounds), clap, play games with us, laugh when Ed gave him neck rasberries : ) , and he even copied us a few times on the last day and said “dada”!!  He is the sweetest thing and we both are missing him like crazy!  I can’t wait to finally have him here with us at home!  (We love you Tegan!)


So…… yeah, you can see why are hearts are broken and we can’t wait to get back over there!!  It has officially been 2 weeks since we passed court in Ethiopia and they say the average turn around time to go back is between 4-7 weeks!!  We’re hoping we’ll get an e-mail soon notifying us of our paperwork going through to the US Embassy so they can start getting his passport and visa in order. We’re praying this time goes by purposefully but quickly – WE CAN’T WAIT!!!!!  We’re coming Tegan!!

bandofbrothers - May 28, 2013 - 8:38 pm

this was a beautiful post! beautiful pictures, words and people. and YOU.

i’m in love with the donkey.

and these pics of ya’ll with Teagan are so precious and priceless…i hope you are framing them!

you are so very right that we live in a country just as shocking. i’m daily horrified by our obsession with social media, yet here i sit, typing away:) seriously though, lately i’ve been feeling such a burden for our people here as well as far away in Africa.

Tasha - May 28, 2013 - 9:42 pm

You could have been a write my friend. What am I saying? You ARE a writer!!! Please keep writing! I am often in conflict with the poverty here and the poverty in places I’ve been around the world. Where we live many are so spiritually poor it is heart breaking. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own bubble that we miss the opportunity to love on other as Christ would have us do. Thank you for sharing my friend. I look forward to reading more of your reflections.

Kristen whitmore - May 30, 2013 - 8:35 pm

What a beautiful son you have! Vali sent me a link to your blog… We are also in the process of adopting from Ethiopia….. So I LOVED seeing the pictures u took!

Erin B. - June 5, 2013 - 1:36 pm

love it. just love it.
He’s sooooo close to being home & in your arms…I can barely stand it!!!

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