Recently, three families who have adopted children from YWAM orphanages in Ethiopia gathered in southern California for a little mini-reunion. Their children all came to us as babies and spent their first several years together in the orphanage we had in Gimbie. Monica Barlow was serving as a missionary in Gimbie and knew each of these children well so it was a special bonus that she could be a part of this get-together. To know the stories behind each of these children is to know the miracle-working power of our God!
Two of our YWAM adoptive moms sent their thoughts on the reunion…
|Chala, Samuel, Ella and Kayla
It was such a very blessed time that it is difficult to capture the memories into words. It is amazing to me how quickly the kids seemed to connect. Chala was able to reconnect with his best buddy and he spent the entire day hanging out, playing with, and enjoying just being with her again. Samuel also enjoyed playing with all of the kids – those born in Ethiopia and those who weren’t. There seems to be an instant bond with all members of the families as we all have somewhat of a shared experience. That is not to say that everyone’s story is the same, but we can identify with just feeling tremendously blessed to have our children home. There is also something very special about retelling the stories with friends who just know. They know the heartache of the wait. They know “injera”. They know that the child screaming through the house for Mommy doesn’t just have to “get over it”. They know so much from having walked a similar journey. The reunion day ended with a dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant. Sweet. Perfect ending to a wonderful day.
~Julie Steimer, mom to Chala (5) and Samuel (4)
|Samuel, Ella, Kayla, Chala, Sam and Hwii
A sweet YWAM mama told me that our girls are not just friends they’re “cousins” and she’s right. When they are together it’s more than seeing playmates… you are watching family forged many miles away in our precious children’s hearts. They relax around each other and let their guards down in a way that is so comforting. It was nice for the parents to have a chance to catch up, share and ask questions that many times only other adoptive parents will “get”. It was such a joy to see the kids reconnect too. They ran, played, laughed and loved every minute together. It was so special to have the Barlows here with us. They were able to share stories about the kids and answer questions some of us had about Ethiopian culture and our kids. What a gift to have time together, we are already looking forward to the next time we can be together!
~Leasha Taggart, mom to Ella (5)
|Monica Barlow with the Gimbie kids!
The only thing that would have made this weekend any better would be having every YWAM family attend! We absolutely love it that so many of our families are making it a priority to keep their children connected… via reunions, on Skype and Facetime, through pictures and visits.