originally written in October 2010…
written in Ethiopia by Joy Casey, Adoption Ministry Director

Because I have walked alongside birth families in the U.S. for so many years and because I have such a heart for my own children’s birth families, it is natural that I would identify with the struggling families here in Ethiopia who have selflessly chosen adoption for their children knowing they cannot provide a future for them. I have met with eight birth parents this past week, and the joy on their faces when they see pictures of their children brings me great satisfaction. I want the adopted parents to know what relief and happiness a few pictures bring to the mother or father or grandmother of their child.

Several of the children are school age and they draw pictures for their “first mommy” or for their “Ethiopian family”. Many send school reports and samples of the work they are doing in school. One little 9-year-old boy sent a list of questions to ask his father. Most of the questions were like, “What is your favorite color?” or “What do you like to eat?” One question, though, was “Do you miss me?” As I asked this father the question, I wondered just how he would answer. His answer was profound: “Yes, I miss you and love you very much. But I have no tears or sadness for your adoption. You are right where you should be and I know it is God’s will for you to be with your wonderful American family.” This man affirmed his son and at the same time he gave emotional permission for this boy to look forward and embrace the life he chose for him.

Today Abebe and I drove to an extremely impoverished neighborhood and as we walked down the rocky alleyway, the smell of sewer accosted my nostrils and there were heaps of garbage everywhere. We stepped into a very tiny room where Grandmother sat in bed eagerly anticipating pictures and news of her grandsons. The joy reflected in the bedridden grandmother’s face as she turned the pages of the photo album said everything. The boys’ mother (sick with HIV), uncle and aunt joined us in the cramped room. The sole source of light was from the open door, but everyone managed to peer at the pictures and they listened intently to the letter written by the adoptive mom.

How grateful I am to these families in America who take the time to get pictures printed and to write a note to their child’s family of birth! They are inextricably joined to these families and the tender care taken to express thankfulness and love as well as assurance of their delight in their son or daughter blesses my heart to the core and I know it brings much joy to God’s heart, too.