My daughter is in the front row with Ethiopian orphans.
We leave in a week for a two-week medical trip to Ethiopia. I certainly have mixed feelings about this trip. In fact, every trip has been hard for me this year. I think a decade plus of mega international traveling has caught up with me. Even as I write this, I realize how bratty my attitude is.
The thing is that once I get there and begin interacting, I will forget my temporary discomfort. And it is true the rewards do far outweigh the minuscule effort put into the trip.
Today my husband and I spoke with my daughter on the phone. She is in Cyprus now and getting ready to participate in an outreach to Israel. Hearing her voice reminded me of her trip last year to Ethiopia.
We adopted our daughter from Guatemala twenty years ago. She never thought of herself as an orphan, but before we brought her into our home, she was. During her trip last year to Ethiopia, she spent some quality time in an orphanage. One little Ethiopian orphan girl clung onto her and would not let go. It was so hard to separate from her that my daughter was in tears as she left.
Then it suddenly dawned on her that once she was an orphan just like the clinging little girl, and that she could have lived her whole life in an orphanage, except the fact that God opened a door for her to be adopted and raised in our family. This revelation impacted her greatly and caused gratitude to grow in her heart for God’s perfect plan for her life.
She came home full of thanksgiving, also asking our forgiveness for previous attitudes of ungratefulness and entitlement. That experience was life changing for her and for us.
Of course, each of us that has entered into the family of God through faith in Jesus knows what it is to become adopted by the heavenly Father and given things we did not earn or deserve. We know that it is a privilege to be adopted.
Every intersection I have had with extreme poverty has deepened my gratitude, strengthened my faith, and caused me to want to give me to others. I am so happy for these experiences and am expecting nothing less in my next Ethiopian adventure next week.
Who knows? Maybe I will come home with one of those cute kids myself.