Wednesday, December 05, 2007


We went off to Missions of Charity, Mother Theresa’s orphanage...It was a scary place….there were dead bodies in body bags near the medical clinic and an area for children that housed hundreds of kids, many of whom were mentally retarded and ill with complicated childhood illnesses and deformities. It was a very hard place to visit and almost impossible to imagine that Des was there for even a month.

My two little boys lived there. For several months. I just recently came across this quote in an excellent article by an amazing woman who has transformed the way HIV-positive orphans are cared for in Ethiopia. We didn't visit this particular facility when we picked up our sons; it's hard to get an appointment and it's overflowing with orphans dying of untreated-AIDS, very sick with all sorts of secondary, opportunistic infections. I knew very little about it, and was thrilled when I saw that Dr. Aronson had visited, and I read on, anxious to know more. And then my stomach dropped.

I can't wrap my mind around the fact that this was my kids' reality for many months. My crazy, happy, healthy little boys who love Sunday School, pancakes, big trucks, and the movie "Sleeping Beauty". I'll probably never be able to fully process this part of their lives, and maybe that's for the best. Thousands of miles away, it all seems like a dream, like maybe they weren't actually really there. But I know otherwise.

I feel unbelievably grateful to Adoption Advocates International for the amazing, unparalleled work they do at Layla House. Because in a place like Ethiopia, two orphaned babies like Yosef and Biniam have no future. That's not me being dramatic, or exaggerating the truth to make a point. Our boys just happened to be in the (extremely) small minority of orphans who end up in the right place at the right time and therefore avoid starving to death or living an abbreviated life of begging or prostitution on the streets. God provided for them and I love to think of the amazing plans He has for their lives.

I recognize and am grateful that Missionaries of Charity was there for my little boys when they had nowhere else to go. I strongly believe they're doing an amazing work in a third-world country caring for multitudes of children dying of an incurable disease, and that these nuns are devoting their lives to this end, with not nearly enough resources. But I'm glad my boys eventually tested negative for HIV, were moved to Layla House and that they joined our family. It's what their birthmom had wished for, and every day I pray that I might live up to this calling, especially when I read words like the ones above. They make me thank God for His provision...and hug my sons a little tighter.


darci said...

my dear mom-in-law volunteered at the Mother theresa in addis, but much more at one in northern ethiopia, where unbelievably conditions were even sadder..she and my father in law had the privilege of bringing two babies on the plane from the north down to addis to be adopted. they said they fell in love with those sweet babies. i think alot, as i look at my 7 yr old, my 5 yr old, my 3 month old..who comforts them when they have a nightmare, wet the bed, have teething pains, have gas?? it breaks my heart every day. i'm so glad for you to hug your babies close.

Jeannett Gibson said...

Oh Brianna! It's so true that we forget where the boys came from...they're so happy and goofy and healthy...I even have a hard time realizing that they aren't your biological children (even beyond the obvious!). They just seem to BELONG in your family and like their lives have always been what they are. I try to remember the trials of children throughout the world...but to be honest, it is so hard to really come to terms with the fact that many of their realities don't include baking christmas cookies, playing in the sprinklers, and cuddling in front of the fireplace. Thanks for the reminder.

Lisa Leonard said...

It's overwhelming to think of the pain in that situation and yet I know God is still present in that place and I bet there is still joy, too. I am so glad your sweet boys are with and I long for Christ's return and an end to the suffering so many expereince day in and day out.

Kristen Borland said...

it truly is unfathomable. it's hard to conceive that there are so many children living such desperate and unfair lives. makes me want to hug my children harder too.

Emily said...

I stumbled across your blog somehow recently, in my search to learn more about international adoption. The words speak directly to my heart and soul. We have three little girls, Hope is 4, Matilyn can't wait to turn 3 in February, and our baby Miller Grace spent five precious days with us in this world before going Home on angel's wings nearly six months ago. In so many more ways than I could begin to describe, the Lord has been working on the hearts of my husband and me. We feel led to adopt, silly as it sounds, a little brown boy... or two. ;) That's all we know. We don't know then whens or the wheres and certainly not the hows. We just know. So, to end my rambling, I just want to thank you for willingness to share the story of your family in an arena where folks like me can be blessed by it... and inspired. I think of seeing my fair skinned little girls with "brown" brothers and my broken heart just smiles. (Brown is a term my little ones came up with and just seems to fit, as we do not yet know where our son(s) might come from!) I covet your prayers as we continue to put one foot in front of the other, as we process the grief of the baby girl we so completely believed would be celebrating her first Christmas with us now... and try our best to be open and obedient to follow the Lord's lead.

Jeremiah 1:5



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