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A Visit to Remember

Chad Dykstra - 2010-12-06
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We had the once in a lifetime opportunity this weekend to sit down with A & Z's sister at the orphanage in Halaba where she first dropped them off.  She is married with two small children of her own.  We were able to meet her husband, her children, and A & Z's two youngest older siblings.  This was an unexpected blessing - we were not expecting any others to be there.  We took lots of pictures of each of their family members that were there.  We plan on hanging those pictures up in A & Z's room and also sending copies back to the family.  They most certainly would not otherwise have any pictures of themselves.  We will not discuss any of this with the boys or show them the pictures for some time until we feel that they are adjusted to their new life.  We're expecting that to probably at least be a month or two.

There were many moments that truly broke our hearts. In general I'm not a very "emotional" kind of guy, and this is one of the first times in my life that my heart was truly broken by something that breaks the heart of God. Watching their oldest sister looking at the picture books we prepared for her and having to run away after looking at each page because the grief was too much to bear, composing herself to come look at another page, and then do it all over again for the next page.  Lora and I just held each other at a distance crying and wondering if we had made the right decision in giving them the books. We know how tightly they hold the books that we did.  They are something that the family will always treasure.

We found out that the oldest sister makes pottery for sale at the market, and that their mother did as well.  We were able to ride to the market after our meeting and the sister went and brought some of her pottery that we were able to purchase.  We were very excited to have something like that to take home.

It is very clear that A & Z were, are, and always will be truly loved by their family.  His sister bestowed upon us the responsibility that she received from her father to care for them and raise them. She was happy to hear that A & Z would receive a quality education and would be raised in a Christian home.  She requested that we send letters and pictures often, and that some time we return with the boys so they can visit.  We're going to start putting money away right away so we can make this happen in 5-7 years, when the boys are old enough to appreciate it.  Flying 6 to Africa is no cheap vacation!

I could write for hours on all we experienced, thought, said, and heard.  For the privacy of the family and A & Z, however, this update is extremely abridged.  We were truly blessed by the experience.  When our flights were delayed/missed and we originally were not set to arrive until Saturday night, we would have had to miss this trip.  We would have paid any cost necessary to arrive in time for it.  It will be invaluable in the future as we try to understand and answer questions that A & Z inevitably will ask, and it was definitely an experience we will never forget.

Ethiopia and their siblings will always be a part of A & Z, and we fully intend to keep it that way. We consider their siblings here not only part of A & Z's family, but our family and we will pray for them often, write letters, and send pictures on a regular basis.  Please join us in praying for them.  They are an amazing Christian family that could sure use our prayers.


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