Just a Few Things from Addis Ababa

This isn’t really a post, just a collection of observations and thoughts from the past few days.

Aidan really likes the shower—I think he had his first shower ever here at the guest house. He squeals with delight in the falling water.

Aidan also had his first hamburger and ice cream here. When he first tasted the ice cream, he was surprised that it was cold but then discovered the taste. Brilliant. Today, after a huge bite of ice cream, he had his first “brain freeze.”

Eva is bonding well with Suzanne. It’s amazing that after just a few days, Eva has identified her as mommy—the one woman in her world who will love and care for her like no other. (And yet my heart breaks for the woman who gave her life and is unable to be Eva’s mommy.)

We’re recognizing that the transition home children are accustomed to being independent. That said, Aidan is adapting well to the new routines he’s learning as a member of our family. Although we need to correct him occasionally, we spend the days playing games, running around Addis, eating together, hanging out with the other families at the guest house. He’s learning, I hope, that we love him and that he can trust us.

Erin is a huge help here. She plays with Aidan and enjoys holding Eva. She and Aidan got into a giggling fit over dinner in our room today—it’s fun to watch them growing together. She’s also seeing and experiencing life the way most of the rest of the world lives, and I know this will have a deep impact on her.

The Coca-Cola here is made with sugar instead of HFCS. It’s the real thing.

We worshiped at an international church here in Addis today—young and old, Ethiopians, Germans, Britons, Americans, South Koreans, Australians, and all manner of other Africans, Europeans, and Asians. Beautiful to be gathered among brothers and sisters of every nation and generation.

As we were just about to leave our room at the guest house to get in the van for church, Aidan grabbed his backpack, looked at me expectantly and said, “Amereeka?” No, I said, but soon. Very soon.

Being here with the other AWAA families—Scott and Rachel Miller, James Smith, Eric and Billie Grant, and Courtney Hammons—and their kids has been a fantastic experience. The kids have had time to play together at the guest house, easing their transition from their life here to their new lives with our families. When we left Addis yesterday for a day trip and I forgot Eva’s diaper bag (with diapers, clothes, and bottles of formula), James shared an extra bottle he’d packed and the Millers gave us a diaper. What could have been a disaster (there’s no Wal-Mart in rural Ethiopia) turned into an opportunity for us to bless one another. Saying goodbye as they return to their homes in the US has been hard; good, but hard. James and his son Phin blew us kisses from the van tonight as they left for the airport.

I read Proverbs 3.27 this morning: Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. We walked through the neighborhood around the guest house today and bought a couple pounds of fresh oranges at a small grocery store (for about 90 cents, no less). We then passed an old woman shuffling along the sidewalk, begging for money from passersby. Erin handed her one of the oranges we’d just bought. Your hand is God’s hand for that person. A couple blocks down, just as we were about to cross the street to return to the guest house, two young urchins in dirty clothes walked up with smiles and outstretched hands. Erin gave them each an orange; as they turned to walk away, we noticed that the older of the two, a girl of no more than 10, had a baby strapped to her back. Your hand is God’s hand for that person. We entered the gate at the guest house and a cheerful little boy who lives in the neighborhood waved to us. I sent Erin back out with an orange for him, which he received with gratitude. Your hand is God’s hand for that person.

We can’t fix every problem in the world or even in this small corner of Addis Ababa we’re in right now. But God calls us to make life better for those who deserve help, so we do what we can. Maybe it’s a few dollars (or a lot of dollars) here or there, maybe an orange for a hungry person on the street, sponsoring a child, or caring for an orphan.

Your hand is God’s hand for that person.

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