I often ponder on what words I would bestow to future parents on way to Ethiopia, weather your in the process of waiting for travel or process of waiting for a referral or process of thinking about it. I believe you should know how the country can change the you that you have known. If any of you have been on a mission trip you know you return and say you will never be the same but a few weeks go on and you go back to your normal daily musings of life and then by the time you know it the ripples of what you saw has no affect on you any longer. Perhaps this in my own experience on my time in Ethiopia but I am changed from the inside out from what my eyes have seen. I lay in bed and I think about the streets filled with children. The children calling out to me "Mamma, Food!" the kids getting beat by the stick when they beg too close to the restaurants. The babies with no diapers, no blankets, no mom, no dad. The mothers begging for a meal to feed their child strapped to their boney bodies. I think about this as my 4 year old begs for another snack, as I clean off the plates of the tables and see the leftovers. It is a constant in my mind, and I wonder is this just me?
I want to let you know future parents of Ethiopian children, that what you are doing will change you, more than you changing the life of a child it will change YOU! It will remind you of those hurting beyond the borders, it will teach you that you really don't need that much. For some it may burn images in your mind forever for others it may just be a mission to go be united and get back to living. I believe that the ones that have been affected have been touched for a Divine reason. Perhaps to return, perhaps for future mission trips, or perhaps to pray for those families in need.
I was not prepared for the things I did see in Ethiopia even though I have been oversees and to third world countries. Ethiopia is much different. It is close to my heart.
You will be overwhelmed when you step off the plane, you will be surrounded by the unknown language and some for the first time may witness what a foreigner feels when he gets off the plane in America. You will be awestruck by the poverty. You will be overcome with emotion as you wait to be united especially if you have to wait one night. Embrace it! Embrace the people, get out of the hotel. Learn a few phrases in Amharic. Learn to say Yes with no words (you raise your eyebrow and make a small grunt sound and you push your chin out). Take pictures of the kids and let them see themselves in the camera. Let go of your American expectation of order. Taste injera (once is enough :) Don't eat the cheese that looks like feta! Don't hold your head up high, and humble yourself. Remember always that this country is apart of you now.