Reflecting on Adoption and Ethiopia

Diaper-Changing MiloI said it before, but it’s still hard to believe that last week I was in Africa (especially since I woke up to snow on the ground today). It’s even harder to believe that after something like 19 long months, my son is finally lying on the floor of my office, sucking his thumb. Our long, expensive, wearying, sometimes overwhelming process to adopt is finally over. And now we’ve slipped into the practical urgency of life with a 5-month-old: Eat, poop, sleep. Life has been reduced to bodily functions.

I haven’t had much time to process all of this. Whether or not that’s surprising, I don’t know. But with my wife home from work for a few weeks and me doing minimal work, I should be busting with spare time. But, you know, that whole eat-poop-sleep thing.

I have a lot to process about both adoption and Ethiopia. I imagine I’ll be writing a lot of little posts as I try to process little moments here and there. Writing about the whole experience is just too overwhelming. I don’t know where to begin (nor do I have that much time to sit down and do it).

I will say this much for now: It’s amazing getting to know the little guy. Milo is suddenly and irreversibly a part of our family, and that is so cool. Sometimes the wonder of adoption just makes me want to cry, that an orphaned child could be picked up and held in the arms of another and welcomed home.

On the flight to Ethiopia one of the movies they showed was Madagascar 2. At one point the main character, a lion named Alex, meets his parents. Dumbfounded, he repeats these words, as if trying to convince himself: “I have a mom and dad? I have a mom and dad!” It struck me as a bit of foreshadowing for what we were about to do.

I’m also finding myself loving Ethiopia and her people. As bewildering as it was, I’d love to go back. Like most rich Americans who witness incredible poverty (and we really didn’t get too close of a look), I’m having a bit of culture shock adjusting to my abundant life here in the states (sometimes more than others: today I went out to pick up brownie mix to satisfy a craving). I know reconciling these two spheres is always difficult, but this experience has given me a new reality and urgency for doing so. It’s no longer just head knowledge, it’s something I’ve seen and experienced.

Many more thoughts to come, but that’s at least a little bit of what’s bouncing around in my head. And it can’t be said often enough, but thank you. We didn’t make this trip on our own.

One thought on “Reflecting on Adoption and Ethiopia”

  1. We are sorry we missed you over here in Africa but I guess actually connecting would kind of be like when we are asked here: “Oh, America! I have a friend who lives in California. Do you think you know him?”

    It is a big and intimidating world…. yet beautiful in diversity.

    Eat some brownies for us!

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