Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The day they said YES. {Ethiopia Day 3- Easter Sunday}

It has now been 5 weeks since this very special day. 5 weeks since we were in Ethiopia celebrating Fasika (Easter) with 3 of our 6 children and 54 other amazing kiddos. 5 weeks since we told N and M how much we loved them and asked them if they wanted to join our family.

And 5 weeks since they said YES. 

I have been wanting to post this for a few weeks now. This day was definitely the highlight of our time in Ethiopia and I can hardly believe that it has taken me so long to share some of the details.

Well, I take that back. I can believe it’s taken me this long.

I so wanted to be able to share this post with you and then end it with some great and wonderful update about the adoption. SOMETHING. ANYTHING. But no. There is no wonderful news.

5 long weeks and NOTHING to share. And yes, can you tell it’s got me down just a little? So instead of focusing on the negative, how about I just go ahead and share about Easter 2011 and reflect on one of the best days of our lives. Ok then- here I go!

We woke up to a gorgeous day in Ethiopia after hardly sleeping the night before yet again-  it was definitely the nerves and excitement getting to us, knowing that this was such a big day. We had gotten a call late the night before from the orphanage director telling us that we were free to go ahead and talk to N and M about the adoption on Easter. We took our time getting ready and getting all of our gifts, crafts and eggs together for the day.

View from our guest house window at sunrise. There was actually a car wash business across the street. Right there in the mud in front of that shack. Go figure. 

Glimpse of the big orthodox church on our way to Sululta.

Our first stop was the local church in Sululta where the children worship each Sunday. It was in a small compound which included a modest main sanctuary, some Sunday school classes and an office. We walked into the main building and quickly spotted the backs of our two. We snuck in while they were singing and got to sit right behind them. We were surprised as we looked around to see that most of the church was the children from the orphanage- there were only a few adults! Several of the children sang and prayed and then the Pastor came up and preached the sermon.

Although we only understood maybe 3 or 4 words the whole time, it didn’t matter. The Holy Spirit was there and He united all of us as believers. This is the orphanage director giving a message as well.

While we were in church we kept watching N and M in front of us and although it could have been a bit distracting to some- I must confess that it was wonderful for us. Just watching them interact with each other, passing her necklace back and forth, whispering, and hearing them sing was just so sweet. I had butterflies as I thought and wondered when we would be able to talk with them alone. There had hardly been a moment in the two days prior when we didn’t have a dozen or more kids around us, so it seemed like a pretty impossible task.

Soon church was over and we were hugging all of the children and making them laugh as we told them Melkam Fasika! (Happy Easter!) They all started to walk back to the orphanage and we asked N and M to stay behind at the church with us and the director. Soon all the others were gone and it was just us sitting on the steps of the building getting ready to tell them the big news.

I could tell that they knew something was up. Jensen was standing there with the video camera on and we were just looking at them smiling and wondering how to start. Finally Randy started talking and telling them the story of how we have loved them since the moment we met them last September and how we had started sponsoring and writing letters to them right away. He told them that we have thought of them and prayed for them every day since. Randy paused as the orphanage director translated. We so wished we could talk with them directly, but we were very thankful for such a wonderful Christian man who loves the children very much and was able to translate for us. Randy went on to tell them that the reason we came to Ethiopia was to not only celebrate Easter with them and their friends, but to ask them if they would like to join our family.
Did they want to become our son and daughter?

I wish I could share the video with you from this moment. As the director translates Randy’s words, you can see their faces go from confused to big grins. J Really, they were so amazingly calm about the whole thing that I thought maybe they didn’t understand or they weren’t sure what they should say. But even after making double sure that they understood what we were saying- that we wanted to ADOPT them into our family and we would be their mom and dad- they were just so cool about it and hardly missed a beat.

Their answer?

Simply… YES.
I asked them do you want to be my daughter and my son? YES. What about having Jensen over there as your brother? YES. And Austin and Nathan and Elliana? YES. You know you will have to leave Ethiopia? YES. To come live with our family in America? YES.  

We talked a little more about the process and what it would mean for them. As Randy told them how hard it might get, the tears started coming. My heart was already breaking for them and for what they would have to endure in the next several months and I was starting to lose it. I pushed the thoughts that were lurking about how we were ever going to say goodbye into the back of my mind and I wiped away my tears. I couldn’t go there yet. Not on such a special day like today.

We asked them if they had any questions. They shook their heads no.

They said they loved us very much and were very happy.

As simple as that.

And then we hugged and kissed them and told them how much we loved them again. It was a beautiful moment.

We gave them each a backpack that we had filled with special gifts just for them. They were so cute as they carefully took each item out and inspected it and then put it carefully back in the bag.

Again, I wish I could show more pictures. The best pictures we have of our trip are from this time when we were with them. It was truly a defining moment for our family. We were so thankful to have had that special time with just our two, as we never were able to be with just them again until it was time to leave a few days later.


Soon it was time to head to the orphanage to play and get ready for lunch. We were smiling the entire way there. The kids had hung some of their Easter crafts and watercolor paintings from the previous day around the cafeteria for decorations and they were waiting for us so that the fun could begin.

Everyone was excited for about the big holiday!

Thanks to the generosity of many of YOU, our friends and family, we were able to help provide the holiday meal of ox, vegetables, injera, special holy day bread and bottles of soda and it was all delicious! We thank you and all of the children and staff thank you too!!!

After lunch, with the help of a translator we were able to use the Resurrection Eggs and different scriptures to share the story of Easter in a tangible way. The children already knew that the death and resurrection of Christ is the real meaning of Easter, but they really liked the little plastic eggs that each held a part of the story inside them. It captured their attention the entire time and we were so blessed when they would answer each question immediately. We finished the story with a prayer and a song and then it was time for a surprise!

After explaining about a fun tradition that we do here in America that involves plastic eggs and lots of candy, we passed out bags for each of the children to collect eggs in and let them decorate them with markers and stickers. Meanwhile, all of the adults and caregivers that were around had snuck out and started hiding the almost 500 plastic Easter eggs that we had brought with us. This picture shows you a little glimpse of how big the area around the compound is and so the eggs were spread out all over the place!
Pretty soon it was time for the children to come out of the building and begin the hunt. At first they were very cautious and just walked slowly outside- but after they took a good look around, we saw their eyes light up and they began running in every direction!

It was so much fun and every single child was able to participate. The older kids had a blast too!


After all the eggs were found, many of them came running up to us to show us what was inside each one and even offer us some of the candy.

Some of the older children would share their abundance with the younger ones and there was more than enough to go around. That is one of the things we love so much about the kids here- they are the most loving, giving, amazing children that we have ever known.


We ate some special holy day bread and drank some more coffee and just soaked in the wonderful day.

Once again we did not want it to ever end. I know that if our other 3 children had been with us in Ethiopia right then, we probably would have never left. I am not joking.


But unfortunately the day was over and it was time to go. So we said goodbye until the next day. I know we hugged on N and M extra long that evening and they definitely held on to us. We promised that we would be back the next day for our last time at the orphanage and it was a consolation for all of us.
Easter Day. The day we celebrate Christ’s victory over death and His power to make all things new. We are new creations in Christ. We have hope and joy and love and peace and power and strength through Christ. We have redemption and forgiveness because of Christ.

We are ADOPTED into God’s eternal family through Christ.

We were chosen to be His SONS and DAUGHTERS through Christ!

Could it have been more fitting of a day for all of this to take place?

I don’t think so!

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."

Ephesians 1:3-10

1 comment:

i'm abby said...

So, so beautiful! Candace and Randy- I can hardly believe how amazing this story it...but then again, I can-because of God's great love! I have lots of tears seeing those photos of some of the beautiful kids I met back in September. I love that - and I miss them when I see these photos...they are all so special. God's peace and wisdom and strength as you continue this journey!! Love, Abby

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