I think I have PTSD...

When we first went to Ethiopia we were told to get vaccinated against some of the different diseases that we may bring back to the U.S with us. The one thing that no one warns you about when you travel to a 3rd world country is heart disease. Some people are born with a physiologic hole in their hearts and others, like myself, have one dug out and left bleeding by the visions of the sick, abandoned, and neglected.
I can not think about what I witnessed in Ethiopia with out feeling like I'm suffocating. My throat closes up and I have to remember to breath. I try to hide my tears and pray for God's Grace. I can not see videos about the orphan crisis without crying. I can not read stories about the children who innocently suffer from crazy warlords and greedy governments. I can only picture my son, sneaking out of his bed at night to crawl in with his mom and dad to cuddle and feel safe, and wonder what his life would have been like had he not been adopted. I look at him and I see God's plan and His blessings poured out so graciously in our lives.

So when I read this post by a fellow adoptive mother I felt like I was there in the market with her and I just had to share her experience with you as well. My sister and I will be traveling to Ethiopia in November with Children's Hopechest. I can not express to you how important it is to go to these places and walk in these kids footsteps and see what daily life is like for them. If you are interested in coming along please let me know. Your heart will break every day but you will also leave assured that you truly know God.

From a facebook post by Tiffany Fuller Darling who's in Ethiopia right now.

I almost wish God had not answered my prayer. The one I prayed asking Him to shatter my heart. I guess I foolishly thought there was not much left to shatter. I thought that I was already pretty broken over orphans and poverty.
But I was wrong.
God answered my prayers today, and I didn’t expect the pain. I was so looking forward to today. We anticipated our morning out with the other families shopping for gifts and memories to give and tuck into our home – our lives. I had read about shopping. I had planned our list. I knew about the beggars, and the street children surrounding the shopping strip. I was informed of all of the opinions, from not looking the people in the eye, not giving out treats or money, to just ignoring them.
How can one ignore pain when it stands before you wrapped in human flesh? I thought I had already gotten it. I had read the statistics, and cried thousands of tears, but I did not truly get it until I met him. In Ethiopia, the orphanages are overflowing. (This is not what Jamesy is in. He is in a transitional home, getting loving care. He did come from an orphanage prior, however.) Because the orphanages are filled to the brim, children get kicked out onto the streets at age fourteen. At this time they officially become “unadoptable”, and are destined to a life of living hell.
Sister, Sister. His tender voice called. I tried to ignore the first few times, and then my eyes met his. Brown eyes swallowing his face in pain. You from America? He asked in in his beautiful accent, rolling his r’s off of his tongue.
Yes, I answered timidly.
I so hungry. His eyes pierced my heart.
My bags were stuffed with snacks just for this, but I knew it would not be safe to hand it out at that moment less we be mobbed with people. I didn’t know what to say, so I averted my eyes.
Will you be my Mama? Will you bring me to America? He asked so gently, so softly, so earnestly.
My throat closed as I, for the first time truly witnessed, an orphan. A beautiful child with no hope of a family, a life of misery laid before him. He followed me the entire time we shopped. Once crossing the street with some other boys, but never taking his eyes from me.
Eventually we returned to the van, and I beckoned to him from across the street through my gaping window. I handed him fistfuls of goodies – granola bars, trail mix, fruit snacks. He took them eagerly, looked deep inside of me and whispered Thank you Sister. God Bless.
Then reaching into his worn, dirty pocket, he came out clutching a beaded bracelet. This is for you Sister. He grinned from ear to ear, as if he were giving me his most cherished possession. And I fear he might have been.
My heart broke in two at that moment as we pulled away from this boy, this child, destined for a life of misery on the cruel streets of Addis. As I run my fingers over the beads, our worlds collide, and the incomprehensible numbers, the statistics that I have read over and over, melt into a boy, with a soft voice that rolls his r’s, and ruined this woman.


Annie said…
I believe I've met that exact boy at the market too. It's hard. And we never stop thinking about these children on the street. Even if we have tried, we can't.
Paula said…
I think God placed Ethiopia in our hearts for a reason, and I intend to do all I can for the mothers and children there. I had such a wonderful experience when I went in November. It was sometimes heartbreaking, but incredibly rewarding. I think you and your sister will experience the same thing. I can't wait to go back.

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