Saturday, August 23, 2008

Day 15 of 19 ... Addis Ababa ... We Meet Our Sponsored Child

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today we met our sponsored child, Fatuma who is 10 years old. She is with the program Compassion International which through their program allows children the opportunity to go to school, have health care and offer them support through us, their sponsor family. What I like about this program is that the most important thing you do is offer them encouragement as well as consistent communication via letters, pictures and small gifts if you like.

I know it will be difficult to describe the full extent of the day. We were of course with Tigist and went to the lobby of our hotel to wait for Fatuma’s arrival at 11:00am. We had questioned whether or not we should have this precious little girl meet us at this hotel or somewhere out on neutral ground, perhaps a restaurant or another place. But Compassion International said that it would be good for her actually. That the opulence at a place like this might perhaps be inspiring for her. They encouraged it.

It took Fatuma about an hour to warm up to us. When she arrived, we had refreshments in the lobby while we exchanged conversation with each other.

She looked so cute in her new clothes just for the occasion. She is quite slim, but full of energy and beaming with such beauty about her. So young, yet so full of life. So we saw her, hugged her and the moment just came at us all at once. It took everything in me the whole time with her, not to cry tears of overwhelming emotion. David actually had to excuse himself, as he too was so full of emotion. I’ve never seen him do that before. She sang a sweet song to us as we had refreshments. That too brought me to tears that only I was aware of. She arrived with the Compassion International translator and her health representative because females are not to be alone with a male. The translator, Yosef, was just as sweet and thoughtful as they come. Fatuma was with us for 6 hours before she headed back to her hotel nearby for rest before her 12 hour bus ride from where she lives to here. I was taken aback when I found out that her ride here and back was 12 hours each way. I felt bad, but I know that this would have been the best trip of her life time so far…truly!

She was very playful too. I could tell she has a really great sense of humor and fun personality.

Tigist and Fatuma blowing kisses

Tigist's first time on a slide...she loved it right away.

Today, was her first time eating ice-cream, eating in a nice restaurant (or even any restaurant at all). We walked the hotel premises and she and Tigist played in the children’s playground. They had so much fun playing together. When we were eating lunch in the Italian restaurant in the hotel, as I turned to the right where Fatuma sat next to me, I was met with a mouthful of spaghetti. It was especially sweet because Yosef then told us that in the Ethiopian culture, it is an expression of love when someone feeds you a bite like that. That you would NOT feed someone you didn’t like. So it was an honor that all on her own, she just did it. Then I fed her. Then she took her rolled up spaghetti and walked over to David and fed him too. I could have cried. Just because of who she is. She is just sugar-sweet and even now, when I think of her, I tear up. She said in Amharic that she was so thankful for us bringing her here and supporting her.

Without our $32 a month, she would not have this opportunity for schooling and helping her family by getting ahead. It humbles me so to have met her. When we walked down to the playground, it felt so good to grab her hand, swinging it as we walked and talked (very little as she and I speak little of each other’s language.) With her, not much language is needed as she was just so easy to be with. She taught me some phrases and just smiled the whole time. She sang me the alphabet and counted to 57 in English before Yosef said, “That is good.” I could go on, but I must say I will never forget meeting her or how I felt coming into her world.

They played for a long time on the playground with each other. Fatuma was so well mannered and full of energy. She seemed so happy to play while we talked with the adults.

Just the experience for her to come to the big city for the first time involved many new things for her ... that is what I wanted for her. Addis Ababa is the main place in Africa that many things happen. And the Sheraton where we are staying is a place where many businessmen, diplomats, dignitaries, aide-workers and UN workers meet and stay. Yosef said today when we talked about this hotel, that it is probably not a big deal compared to the American hotels, but we had to correct him, admitting that it was by far one of the best around where we live, or where we’ve traveled over the years.

While she played and ate cotton candy, Yosef and I had such sweet exchanges of conversation. We talked much about our Faith, I shared how we came to adoption, which started really when I was faithful one Sunday at church (long, amazing story). We talked about how some people go through life without having given back. And how rich your life becomes when you do give back in some capacity.

Through Compassion International, we were able to have this chance meeting with such a precious child. I know that I will never forget meeting Yosef as well. Some people are just unforgettable. Today I met 2 of them.


Lory Howlett said...

Oh Lisa, your words brought me to tears. Praise God for these amazing, sweet opportunities He gives us. Lory

Lisa and David said...

Yes, this experience was really enlightening. She is a gem. We look forward to the continued writing and encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Just beautiful!
How is Tigist adapting to her new home?? Does she like her room? Can't wait to hear all about it.
Big hug to you.

Amber said...

What an amazing story and very inspiring!

Lisa and David said...

Thank you ladies for your comments. I hope my words described well the beauty of the day.

Leah Reeves said...

That is amazing!

Leah Reeves said...

That is and amaxing story!

Tracy said...

I did a quick search for adopting an Ethiopian girl (my husband and I are in the initial 'praying about it' stages) and found your blog. So sweet! Then I stumbled upon this entry - I went to Addis this February with Compassion and met my little boy. And also met Yosef!! Such a small world! And you are right, he, and ALL the Compassion staff, are truly amazing and beautiful people. It is unbelievable the wonders that Compassion is doing in that country.

Lisa and David said...

That's exciting. Now you have a problem ... you prayed about it and you know how God feels about his little orphaned children?! It's over now...glad you found my site. That is so fantastic that you met Yosef. You just wish you could be closer geographically so there can be more of a relationship. He seemed so touched by our talks. What a sweetheart.

All the best to you. I'll have to check out your blog.