The days on the long road of one families Ethiopian Adoption

This blog started out as a way to record the twists, turns, highs and lows in my families journey to adopt siblings from Ethiopia. Now our children are home and we have just finished celebrating our first year as a family.

I'm Kimberly (or Fendesha), an adventurous person who aspires to be a vagabond- but for now- I spend all of my free time travelling and my down time thinking of travelling. I'm a mom of 3 (the oldest being my gorgeous canine companion), a IT project manager, and on occasion I find myself the primary writer of this blog.

Happy Reading and thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A simple twist of fate

Natnael is a 3rd grade boy that I had the privilege of meeting while teaching in Ethiopia. His mother and father have both passed way and he lives with his grandmother, his brother and a couple of other cousins. Natnael's family is experiencing serious financial difficulties that includes food shortages- his ability to stay in school was in jeopardy. While I was there I asked Denis to consider having us sponsor his education- he gladly said yes.

We then had the school call his grandmother and ask her to come to the school -but learned that she was already coming that morning because Natnael was in disciplinary trouble that previous day (laugh- a boy hit him and he hit him back).

We were called into the office when she arrived. The grandmother was very nervous- first the school talked with her about Natnael's disciplinary issues and she apologized profusely for her grandsons bad behaviour. You could see clearly in her body language that she was very upset with her grandson and greatly discouraged by this news. (At school -when a student is disciplined the parent is required to come in the next day- the students hate this).

After the school addressed his disciplinary issue-we told her that Denis and I had decided to sponsor her grandson's education provided he could keep in good behaviour and study hard.

Natnael's grandmother practically fell to her knees. We hugged, laughed and smiled greatly with her joy and helped her take a set. Between her sobbing-she repeatedly said "god bless us, god bless the school, god bless her grandson along with a million thank yous and blessings that I could barely understand with my limited Amharic". It was the most amazing moment. This woman came into a room with her shoulders down apologizing incredibly for her grandson- and left in tears of joy-standing straight. Her hugs were powerful and you could immediately sense that she was a woman of amazing strength and ability. You instantly admired this old woman-and as another woman-I understood with out words that her burden has been great.

She invited my husband, myself and a translator to her home for tea. We walked on a rainy afternoon down a dirt and rocky footpath past many homes- saying hello to his neighbors asking where their residence is. We passed a shared public toilet along the way and entered a small home with little or no electricity (perhaps the lights were out that day - one can never be sure).

We took a seat in the sparse but adequately furnished home and learned about Natnael. His father was a soldier like his Grandfather and both perished fighting for his country. Photo's of these two very handsome uniformed men were predominately displayed along side two other photos, one a man and another a woman. Natnael's mother later became very sick and passed away- along with his aunt (his grandmother's daughter) and his uncle (his grandmother's son).

I was teary eyed and speechless upon learning that his grandmother had lost all 3 of her children, she was now responsible for raising her grandchildren. The pictures of these smiling faces are hanging above where we were sitting and as she tells us the tragedies that her family has seen - she looks up and smiles at her children's photos. She goes on to explain the worries she has about her age, about how well the children were doing in their schooling, about keeping them in school with the cost of feeding them and the sparse ability they had as a family to make money given that all of the children were under 16. They did not have any servants and the grandmother made a very nice cup of tea for us.

Later in the visit we talked about how Natnael was in his schooling and we presented him with some school supplies and asked him personally if we could sponsor him. Asking if he would work hard and make us proud- telling him that of 800 children we were very happy to have selected him and that he should be proud. His grandmother was so very happy-she kept crying and blessing us over and over.

It was a delightful moment in time. To be able to witness one good woman's burden to be lifted slightly. To watch her light up as her grandson was offered this great opportunity. To share in the tradition of a simple cup of tea with another person- and a simple visit that has the opportunity to have such an impact for this family that has already experienced so much.

Life has this amazing way of throwing "simple twists of fate into our lives". A simple moment in time- a simple gesture leads to possibly- a whole new future for a young man and his family. Isn't it remarkable that this woman and I found each other. She being a strong woman who needed a break and I having the need after spending time in Ethiopia, to help somebody.

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