Friday, August 10, 2012

An Adoption of the Heart

"A little child enters your life and fills a special place in your heart.  A place you never even knew was empty." Author Unknown

This blog is normally reserved for thoughts and facts regarding our adoption but tonight, something else is on my mind.

God used my trip to Ethiopia to reveal so much to me and many blessings have come from that trip of a lifetime; not the least of which is a relationship that I now have with a young boy named Teraku.  I once shared Teraku's story on my "old" blog but I think it bears repeating.

In preparing for my trip, one of the people groups that I most longed to meet were the people of Korah.  Korah is adjacent to the trash dump in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia's capital city) and the people who live there are the poorest of the poor.  Many years ago, lepers were taken to live in Korah as they were believed to be cursed.  Generations later, the people of Korah still struggle; many spend their days digging through the trash heaps to find food to eat and items to sell to sustain themselves and their families.  

All throughout Ethiopia, the children excitedly approached our vans; mostly to see what we might have to give them (and sometimes just to get a glimpse of the white people).  We would hear a lot of "give me" or "cahndee" (candy, obviously) and were happy to oblige.  Korah was different.  The children there almost immediately began to ask, "sponsor?", "sponsor?".  

It is clear that they know what a difference sponsorship can/will make in their lives.  And, through Project 61, that is happening and many of the children who previously were destined for a life lived in Korah (with no education) are now attending school and flourishing.  

I met Teraku on our first day in Korah.  His sad face said more to me than words ever could and his friend was lovingly pulling him along, advocating for him to have a sponsor.  "He's a clever student", his friend told me and I couldn't help but to oblige.  

Teraku, on that day, became part of my family.  I had a Teraku-shaped hole in my heart....and I didn't even know it.

When I returned to Korah on that Friday, he was waiting for me.  He had written me a letter in green marker which said, among other things, that "I was his gift from God".  But what he didn't (and likely still doesn't) know is that HE is my gift from God.  That boy makes me want to be a better person and has taught me to love in new ways.

As Teraku and I were visiting on that day, I noticed that he had that same green marker on his arm that was in my letter.  I asked him if I could see what he had written there.  He agreed and I slid the sleeve of his ragged, dirty jacket up to find the sweetest expression of love I might have ever seen.  My name and his, encircled by a heart.   

I long to wrap my arms around him and tell him again how much he is loved.  I want so badly for the rest of my family to meet him and let him fill their Teraku-shaped hole as well.
I give thanks for him and for the fact that, today, most of the pictures that I am sent of him look more like this....

(This pic of Teraku was taken in July, as some friends were in Ethiopia and graciously allowed me to send him some goodies.....after all, every good Ethiopian boy needs a Tennessee t-shirt)

There are many credible child sponsorship programs out there and what I want you to know is that child sponsorship truly makes a difference.  And the child you sponsor might get a little something out of it too.  

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