Tuesday, June 30, 2009
We also got to take Malachi to the beach for the first time. He was absolutely fearless, walking straight towards the ocean as soon as we set him down on the beach. There have been so many moments since we returned that I am struck with the contrast of what he is experiencing and what the orphans we met in Ethiopia experience every day. They'll likely never see the ocean or anything like it. I wrestle with what to do with that other than to encourage anyone and everyone to pray and consider whether God might be calling you to bring one of these sweet kiddos home and give them a life they can't imagine today. Enjoy Mally enjoying the beach.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
While on the trip, I had the chance to read Dr. Russell Moore's book "Adopted for Life" which is an absolute must read. In it he describes his experience of taking his boys from the orphanage in Russia by saying, "They'd never seen the sun, and they'd never felt the wind. They had never heard the sound of a car door slamming or felt like they were being carried along a road at 100 miles an hour. I noticed that they were shaking and reaching back to the orphanage in the distance . . . I whispered to Sergei, now Timothy, 'That place is a pit! If only you knew what's waiting for you -- a home with a mommy and a daddy who loves you, grandparents and great-grandparents and cousins and playmates and McDonald's Happy Meals!' But all they knew was the orphanage. It was squalid, but they had no other reference point. It was home." He goes on to say, "My whispering to my boys, 'You won't miss that orphanage' is only a shadow of something I should have known already. Our Father tells us that we too are unable to grasp what's waiting for us -- and how glorious it really is. It's hard for us to long for an inheritance to come, a harmonious Christ-ruled universe, when we've never seen anything like it . . . We must learn to be children, not orphans . . . [but] we don't fully believe that our new Father will feed us, so we hang on to our scraps and long for the regimented schedules of the orphanage from which we've come. And when our Father pushes us along to new tastes, we pout that he's not good to us. But he's readying us for glory, preparing us to take our place on thrones as heirs."
I read this with the image of Malachi with the workers fresh in my mind, how he latched on to them, how he playfully ran from us to the safety of their arms, and how in that moment, he chose the care of orphanage workers over the care of his mommy and daddy. It was so much fun to watch the slow transition that week we were in Ethiopia when he stopped reaching for African women, any African woman, rather than staying in Brandy's arms, and to think of where he is now, where those same faces you see in the video that he made with those workers are the faces we see every morning when we walk in to get him out of his crib.
My prayer is that I will increasingly grow in my love for my true Father, rejecting the old ways of the orphanage of my sin and flesh, that my life will delight in walking in His ways even when they don't make sense to me, and that I will grow in my longing for the day when my adoption is complete.
Enjoy the video!
Monday, June 15, 2009
It was such a surreal moment for sure . . . this was less than an hour from the time we got out of the airport in Addis, and we were shocked that this moment happened so soon, but obviously overjoyed. Enjoy the moment.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
PawPaw and Malachi, plus Vanna with the sign in the back.
MawMaw and Mally . . . what a great couple!
Enjoying his first bath at home
Now that's a smile!
Daddy and Mally in the pool.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Well after 28 hours of security, airplanes, buses to the next terminal, more airplanes, immigration, customs and two claims for lost bags (got one back this morning and another on the way this afternoon), we made it home last night. The remainder of our time in Ethiopia was full of adventure that I'll catch you up on in posts to come. We enjoyed great time with the families from Gladney, took in another orphanage where we threw another party for them and the workers, returned to Kichene to drop off a delivery (post to follow this one and likely the coolest story of our trip), and took one day (Sunday) just to do nothing but love on Malachi and try to relax before what we knew would be a long trip home.
Our flight yesterday left Addis Ababa at 4:05 a.m. local time, which meant our driver picked us up at 1:30 a.m. so we could make it to the airport by 2:00 and get checked in. Fortunately, both the BMI flight and the American Airlines flights we took coming home were much better than the ones we endured on the way there, so although we spent about 20 hours of the day yesterday in a plane, it wasn't too bad. Once we arrived in Dallas, everything went about as smooth as it could through immigration and customs, and though they lost two of our bags, it wasn't that big a deal and we finally got to step through the international doors and onto U.S. soil with little Malachi for the first time.
We were greeted by a great cheer from family and friends who came out and stayed long last night to welcome us home, which was so sweet. We especially loved Josiah and Selah's reaction to Malachi as well as all the other kids who were there to welcome us home. The video below captures the moments where Josiah and Selah got to meet Mally for the first time. The quality of the filming is awful as I had my hands full and was sleep deprived, but you get the best moments in between the other stuff.
All of that to say, we're home and we're now officially a family of 5. I am certain that Brandy and I have no clue what is ahead of us, but we couldn't be more excited to find out. Malachi is doing great, and responded really well to both Josiah and Selah. No hesitation in this boy as he continues to get more and more comfortable. We can't wait to introduce him to so many of you who have played such a huge role in this process.
We also pray that our continued pursuit of adoption (this won't be our last) will compel others to consider the same and to take on this most joyfully holy task of bringing orphans into families. It was only fitting that this morning in my time alone with the Lord and as we continue on The Journey, that our reading was from Psalm 68, quoted on the front page of this blog. He does in fact place the lonely in families. The question is, will He call you to be the family for a lonely person and if He does, will you respond by saying, "Not my will, but Yours be done?" I cannot begin to tell you the joy of responding that way to His call.