Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Story - Part I

Each Christmas brings with it a story that is often told yet rarely truly heard - a story of an adopted baby (adopted by his father Joseph) who came into the earth in the most humble of circumstances, yet ultimately proved Himself to be the Light of the world.

This Christmas I'd like to share a story about another adopted baby who came into this world in the most humble of circumstances, yet ultimately has proven herself to be the light of her father's eyes. This story represents merely a fraction of my own life experience, but has evolved into such a prominent part of my life story. My purpose for writing this Christmas story is the hope that in some small way it will bless your Christmas season as much as it has blessed mine.

This story explores the life of a child, just like yours, except for the fact that she was born into poverty. There are two main components to the tale - what is, and what might have been. Clearly any discussion about 'what might have been' is by definition speculative and therefore fiction. So let me call out the fact that while this story is fiction - it is based on facts. Much like a CSI detective must put the pieces of a crime together based on both hard facts and circumstantial evidence, I assembled this story based on a combination of my own first hand facts, personal investigation and research while in Africa, as well as the experience and stories of other adoptive parents who have encountered similar circumstances. The result is story that is fiction yet very real at the same time.

Who Is To Blame?

Like THE Christmas story, this story starts with the birth of a baby. Just over two years ago, in September 2007, a beautiful young mother gives her first birth to an equally beautiful baby girl. Born into the cold clenches of poverty - on a dusty old bed in the one and only room of a tin can shack in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - the baby girl rests her almond shaped eyes, as her bundled body lays unaware of her meager surroundings and her odds of surviving until her fifth birthday. In spite of their brutal circumstances, the baby's mother radiates with joy and relief at the sight of her new baby, the spitting image of her mother. The joy of her baby's birth overshadows the fact that the 'relations' which led to this very moment were never welcomed - now she is sick, she is poor, but at least for the time being she is not alone....

Several weeks go by and the reality of her situation settles in. Her joy has melted away faster than an April snowfall, though little hope of spring blossoms exist on her horizon. She is unable to provide for her child's basic needs, she is hungry and her child's primary source of nutrition is drying up as a result. Her government has little support to offer her and the countless others like her. As a woman with limited education, her choices to earn enough Birr (Ethiopian currency) for her new family to survive are extremely limited and for a brief moment she considers selling her only personal asset, but even her daughter's hunger is not enough to convince her to cross through the dark threshold of prostitution.

The days pass by and though her situation deteriorates, she still struggles to reach a seemingly inevitable decision. One morning at the break of dawn she is finally brought to her knees by the weight of her anguish and emotional burden - she is broken, her hands and knees are firmly planted in the dirt floor of her home and she looks up through the tin roof into the morning sky and prays to a God that she hardly even knew - until now. She feels His compassionate response and listens intently to His direction. Comforted by His wisdom and counseling she finds herself at peace - for she now knows that she is not to blame and she knows what she must do.


Later that night at the outer gates of the Addis Ababa Sheraton she begins her final good bye. She's chosen one of the finest hotels in all of Africa to offer her daughter a chance at a better life. She spent a number of months as a maid at the hotel and is keenly aware of the regular security details around the perimeter of the grounds. She also knows about their significant experience working with local authorities while dealing with 'abandoned' children on their property. But make no mistake about this 'abandonment - hers is an act of devotion, heroism and Love.

Her dark brown eyes, swollen from the steady stream of afternoon tears, possess a look of focus and purpose as she goes about the most challenging event any mother could ever face - giving her baby UP in the hope of a better life. Her falling tears spread across her baby's face creating an almost angelic appearance as the distant flood lights shimmer on her little girl's brown cheeks. "I will always love you sweet girl - and I promise that I will see you again some day".

As she walks away from her now orphaned baby, her grief is consoled by a welling up of peace, hope and faith within her aching heart. She is at peace with her decision, she has hope that her daughter will have a better life, and she has faith that her new found God will find someone who loves her little girl as much as she does.....

End Part I


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