In July of 2011, we set out to take on the role of "CarePoint Sponsorship Coordinator's" for Warancha CarePoint. We believed in the ministry behind Children's HopeChest and believed it would be an awesome way to knit us back into the fabric of the country we longingly awaited our own son's arrival from. We had a dream - but little did we know, he had a PLAN!
Just one month after our big launch, we received the long awaited call we had waited for. We had a 3.5 year old son! Upon receiving his paperwork, we began to see the first bread crumbs of a confirmation that Awassa, Ethiopia (Warancha's home) wasn't just 'our choice" but His. Birth place of Zebene Martine - Awassa, Ethiopia.
We went through the process of Court travel, Court and Embassy Clearance and on February 5, 2012, we became Forever "ours"! During that embassy trip we were blessed with the greatest gift we would ever receive - the opportunity of meeting the beautiful woman who was giving us the gift of Zebene.
How do you prepare for such an event? I had for years dreamt of that moment for our daughter from China. For 5 years we prayed nightly for a woman we'd never know. We had only dreamed what it would be like to understand the "Why's" and to say "thank you" for her great sacrifice. I dreamed of telling her how brave she was, wondered what she looked like, and of learning a story I'd never really know. I envisioned what it would be like to look in her eyes and let her know that she was loved. And now, 5 years later - I was having that chance with Zebene's mother.
Our day came and I was a nervous wreck. I had prepared a photo album and a letter - such small tokens in exchange for her unimaginable sacrifice. Without sharing Zebene's story and the heart wrenching cards that had been dealt to the hand of his mother, it would be suffice to say that I had one goal from our meeting - MiMi would know she was adored, beautiful and the daughter of the King of Kings. As we sat across the table, I watched her as her adoring eyes took her beautiful son in. She greeted him with an affectionate embrace and as we talked, her gaze seldom left his face. It was very clear that she loved her son dearly, affectionately sharing sweet memories and stories of his personality and tender moments as a baby and young toddler. She shared her last moments with Z, as she left him in the orphanage at 2.5 years old, sharing with us the last thing she told him "Please never forget me, Please never forget me". As she conveyed her dreams, her story and her great loss to us, I was overcome in emotion.
Life was not fair. My son was simply an orphan because of poverty. A young mother, against all odds and the desires of her family, had chosen life for him. She had chosen with the whole world against her to keep her son and do whatever it took to raise him. She had given him every chance she could and yet - life. had. failed. her. As we sat at that table and as we shared in those moments - my grief and one reality overwhelmed me. Zebene, our gift, was ours only because we had "much" and his mother had "too little".
As MiMi walked away from that meeting, I held OUR beautiful boy on my hips. Turning to Job, our guide, I began to sob. Nothing about that moment felt right. This - this card that life had dealt this beautiful woman, was not right. Her loss would never be my "gain". A truth that would forever be etched on my heart.
But, as we know, the Lord always is the perfect author of our stories. Our relationship with Zebene's mother has continued. On Doug's most recent trip into visit our kids at the Warancha CarePoint in Awassa, Ethiopia, he had the awesome and beautiful opportunity to see MiMi again. Meeting up at the orphanage that she had left Zebene in, he learned one more amazing piece to our story he was penning. Shilom Children's Hope is only miles from Warancha CarePoint! The reality sinking in further - Warancha could have been her answer!
For over 300 plus children that are a part of the Warancha community, the same fate is only a meal - a day away. The truth is, our sponsorships and that CarePoint is the lifeline and the breaking point between one more young mother, one more desperate family having to gut wrenchingly choose the same sacrifice for their child. Warancha is orphan care at it's best - allowing those with "much" to keep those with "too little" together as a family!
Those moments, at that table, in a small guest house propel me forward to continue to Share Their Stories. My prayer is that their stories collision into your life would result in not a loss of a family - but the HOPE of a future! Perhaps this Christmas, we really can "Change Their Story".
Here's How you can get involved and become a Story CHANGER!
Sponsor a child today (34$/month)! www.hopechest.org/community/warancha
Give the Gift of Nutrition this Christmas! www.donate.hopechest.org/goto/warancha
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