Friday, June 22, 2012

Week 2: Helping and Healing

First order of business:  Fun stuff.  Then comes the hard stuff…………..

This week we were able to work with Smile Ethiopia (started by Dr. Moody, and orthodontist from Texas), a dental mission team that came to a church facility and set up to see 250 patients a day.  People were bussed in from surrounding areas to have their teeth looked at and they also had a dermatologist and eye doctor there to see patients as part of the team as well.

Alan, Jayde, Natalie, and I worked.

Alan took some pictures and he was the “bouncer”, getting people to where they needed to be and finding translators when we needed them. 

This is the dental team setting up.  The pressure cookers were used to sterilize instruments. 

There was a check in table, where girls wrote each patient’s name on a sticker along with what they were being seen for.  Then the patients waited. 

When it was their turn, they were escorted by a patient buddy. Jayde and Natalie were both patient buddies. The patient buddy made sure they were in the right place and held their hand and comforted them if they needed it. 

The patients laid on stacked plastic chairs put together to make a dental chair or table. 
When they were finished, each patient was brought to the table I manned where we gave them a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and Ibuprofen and antibiotics if they needed it (because they had an extraction).  The translator told them how to brush their teeth and when to take the medication. 

It has begun to rain pretty much every day at some point.  The roads have become muddy and I can see how as we move into rainy season many roads will be impassable.  This is a picture of one of the roads leading to our guest house. 

We are very thankful we purchased rain boots for the kids. They are already getting a lot of use out of them. Yesterday we stopped for ice cream on the way to the Transition Home and the kids had on their boots.

Easton had a surprise in his boot- a toad!

“P” put stickers on Daddy this week …..

…….and “Y” took pictures with Mommy’s camera.

We had the privilege of meeting and spending time with Eric and Anna Miller this past week as they were here for court.  It is such a joy to meet other families going through the adoption process.

Natalie and I have been going out on the roof every morning at 6:30 to exercise before the day begins.  Alan made us weights this week!  He used oatmeal cans and filled them with concrete for the smaller ones and old paint buckets for the larger ones.  Jeff Foxworthy would be proud!  You might be a redneck if........use your imagination.  Our floor mats are blankets.  Everything gets reused here, things that would be considered “trash” back home.

Now onto the hard stuff.
Yesterday we were able to meet “Y” and “P”’s birth mother.  As soon as we walked into the office where the interview took place, she hugged me, and we both cried.  She is my age.  If it weren’t for different circumstances, I could be in her position.  She loves the boys .  She gave us her blessing over and over and thanked us for taking care of them repeatedly.  Her heart was hurting, but at the same time, she was telling us how glad she was that the boys will be together in a family again and told us she was transferring her boys from her heart to ours. It was very emotional. We asked her a lot of questions about her life, the boys’ father, and things we thought the boys would want to know when they are older.  She was given a chance to ask us questions and we told her about our home, where we live, our desires for the boys, and that we are raising them in a Christian home to know Jesus.  I will not share most of the details about her.  That is the boys’ job as they get older. 

After the interview, she was allowed to see “Y” and “P” for a few minutes and take a picture with them so we have pictures for the boys.  That was the hardest part of the day.  The boys were heartbroken.  They cried.  We’ve seen them cry before but this was different.  It was grieving.  Raw and painful.

I came home and looked up the verse I kept singing in my head about being brokenhearted, and what-do-you-know?  It’s in Psalm 34 again!  The Lord is using that Psalm to speak to my heart in a special way while we are here in Ethiopia.  Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  Our boys and their mother are definitely brokenhearted.  Healing will be a long, hard road, and there’s nothing I can do to mend them.  I can’t put the pieces back together of the puzzle of their emotions.  Only God can do that.  He can make them see how He is going to weave the tapestry of their life with beautiful thread.  They can love their birth mom, and they can love us.  It does not have to be one or the other. 

Please pray with us over coming months for this healing to take place.  Pray for bonding that will be tight between us and the boys.  Pray that they will know the love of Jesus most of all.  That Alan and I will be able to be His hands and feet and know how to minister to them. 

When we come home, please be patient with us.  Be patient with our boys.  “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Trauma does not go away overnight, if ever.  Years of painful memories will never fully recede.  But we’d like them to remember the good stuff about their family and homeland and we’ll keep reminding them of all the goodness of God.

So join us in praying for peace, that the boys will “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7)

Thankful for:  my toothbrush and toothpaste, rubber boots, a husband willing to make what his wife can't find in a foreign country, God's Word that never changes. 


  1. amazing. truly. I'm praying. Lifting you up to the Creator of the Universe. Going to the throne on your behalf.

    He is able.

    Praying for grace and lots of peace to fill you all up!


  2. Wow. I cannot imagine what that must have been like. How conflicted you all must be.

    God is the God of restoration. He will redeem every single moment of grief. He makes all things new. Your boys will know of all the ways God orchestrated the events for you and Alan to be their parents. They will know of the great sacrifice their birth mother made by doing what is best for them.

    I love what Jesus is doing in the life of your family.

  3. Dawn, you guys are awe inspiring. Thank you for the updates. Jesus and love conquer all!!!

  4. I can't help but cry as I read your blog. We never had the opportunity to meet TyLynn's birth mother or father, but would have loved to have the chance to give them hugs. I can't even imagine how that must feel. As you say, hurts won't go away overnight, if ever. But, there is nothing stronger than the love of our God and Savior. Hopefully, in time the pain won't be quite as raw. I'm praying big-time that the boys will bond tightly to you and your whole family as they feel that love from our Father extended to them through you.

    I know TyLynn often wishes that she had more medical history about her birth parents and family. Hopefully you already have that covered. But, if not, push for anything and everything you can find out. It will make your lives easier in the years to come as family medical history is so important. Cultures vary, so I'm not sure how they view those type of questions there. I know those stoic Koreans don't like to list anything-lol!

    As always, we continue to lift you up in our prayers.
    Hugs all around,

  5. Crying and praying and laughing as I picture your Zumba episode. My heart goes out to all of you and the mother. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.