You turned one in August. When your sister turned one, I wrote her a letter. The truth is, her letter had been written long ago by a little girl who knew she would grow up and adopt a little girl.
But I never expected you.
Every dream I had of adopting a child involved little girls, but somewhere along the line, my childhood dream became you. In Ethiopia.
So, on August 19th, I began praying for your birth mother, and scribbled my prayers for her into my gratitude journal.
I had no idea who or where you were, but your father and I prayed for you that week with intensity, unaware of how old you were or if you were even born yet.
The next day, on August 20th, I woke up and I knew without question that I had a son. Somewhere.
I knew that you were out there, and that I was your mother.
When we received your referral a month later, your birth date was estimated to be August 20th, the day after we began praying for you and your mother. You were found 8 days later, on August 28th...the day after I began writing this blog for you and your sister...
Your story breaks my heart wide open with aching joy. I know you have heard it before by the time you will read this letter, but I want you to keep hearing it.
In the outskirts of Harar, a pregnant woman named Shartu was gathering firewood an hour and a half walk from her remote village.
On this day, she saw a pack of baboons playing roughly with something. She chased them off, and there you were.
Your leg was gashed open, and you were in rough shape from the elements of the Ethiopian wilderness, in an area that was known to be full of hyenas.
Shartu was pregnant. She had every reason to keep walking. Too many mouths to feed in her home, too many orphans on the streets, and not enough of anything. Nevertheless, she wrapped you up next to her swollen belly, scooped up her firewood bundle, and carried you home.
When she reached her village, her people gathered around her as she collapsed to the ground, exhausted from the walk.
As she held you and rocked away the contractions, she petitioned the nursing women in the village to give you milk from their bodies.
After several days, she did not see any improvement in your leg or your health, so she did something incredible.
In a village that knows nothing of giving up children (whose villagers would later heap shame on her before my very eyes for "missing out" on such a strong son) she decided to give you up in the hopes that you would survive.
Shartu returned home without you, delivered her son, and held him for two months before he died of illness. And when I traveled to her village to thank her, she was surprised to see you alive.
She said that she saw her own son's death redeemed in your life. She repeatedly turned her face to the sky to shout blessings to God, and upon you and your father.
This is your story, my son. It reminds me of Another Story, which I will teach you every day over bowed heads and folded hands.
I tell it to you, and I disclose it to the world for one reason:
In a world where people no longer believe the promises of Jeremiah 29:11, God delivered you.
"...God had a plan for Obsa! And what would have happened if that woman would have walked away and let the baboon monkeys keep playing with that baby? That baby would have died!
But she went and scared them off and gathered the baby and had the baby breastfed and now that baby is in your church because God had a plan.
God doesn't do anything accidentally, coincidentally, incidentally; God does everything providentially, and it is no accident that some things are happening in your life that you can't explain, but God stepped in just when you needed Him most."
Your story brings glory to the Lord, my sweet boy! As a Christian, that is the goal of the physical and spiritual life as a whole: "The chief end of man is to glorify the Lord."
And YOU have truly had a miraculous first year, and the glory has been shining.
And after the daring rescue, the glorious homecoming, and everything in between...you are home. And you are simply my son.
I worried about bringing you into this town, into this country, where people still believe that there are different races of people. (THERE ARE NOT. Race is purely cultural. We are all of one race and descended from one man and created by one God. Period.)
And in educating myself about how to be the best mother to you, I learned of a stigma and a code that is still alive and breathing in America. How can this be? How can wearing a HOODIE put you in danger in this country in this day and age?!
You will wear your hoodie if you so choose to and you will walk PROUD and UNAFRAID, be it this life or the one Eternal.
And your father and I will stand beside you, always.
And you are So. Very. Handsome.
You make your mother blush.
I could go on and on about the many special gifts you have, but I must tell you, my son, none of this matters.
What matters is your heart, and yours is so very sweet. I pray that it will belong to the Lord.
In all of your cool, confident, man-like behavior, you have a streak of intense passion that I heard about from parents who met you before I did at the orphanage. I see it every day, and I also pray that that passion will be for the Lord.
We all heap imaginary talents and gifts upon you, so proud to have you in our family.
So when you get lost in all of the questions that you will someday ask yourself, please know that your place in this world has already been determined, that He knit you together, that He has already planned every one of your days, and He has revealed His glory in such an obvious and undeniable way in your life.
I want you to know that He was there, Moses. You may not have seen Him, because you were tucked into the cleft of His solid protection, and you were only a baby, but He was with you in that desert, and He passed over you with His cover for a reason, and it is the same reason that so many of us doubt for ourselves every single day while we try to bring the Promise down to the dirt of this Earth and apply it to our own prosperity or success or an earned salvation or the question of starving children, instead of leaving it to Eternity where it is so beautifully answered and echoed:
God is good. He IS the Promise. Holy, Holy, Holy.
You are Loved, and He keeps His promises in different ways that we can't yet understand. And He is good all the time.
Mommy loves you, Daddy, Lilly, Daisy, Mimi, and an extended family that spans the globe and includes an entire village who count your life as a blessing upon their people.