Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Photos and Words.


Words don't really do it justice.

Photos don't convey the precise emotion.

A child on the street wearing rags, tugging on your shirt and asking for food... 
how do you write about that and do it justice? What photo could put your heart into that moment?

A man, dying of AIDS, desperate for someone to take his twin 8-year-old daughters so that he can die knowing they are going to be okay. There aren't photos for that. There aren't words to describe the injustice of finding out, sorry - in this area, nothing can be done for children with one living parent - no matter how broad of a definition you use for "living". 

My 33 pound 8-year-old son who is still in the "critical" range for his weight....
his big brown eyes looking at me and asking to go to America. Tomorrow.
Unexplained scars,
unexplained fears,
unexplained behaviors.
I can't write about it and allow you to "be there" like I was.
There just aren't the right words.

Three "big" boys who act like parents 
to two little girls who have their own guarded hearts and fears.
And oh, I love them.
I love their scars,
their big brown eyes,
their quirks,
their tests of my allegiance,
their smiles,
and their temper tantrums too.

I can't write about fears I had
that were relieved. Fears and "what-if's" that turned to dust.
I can't show you a photo of my heart when I thought we didn't pass court, then we did!
There aren't pictures  of the praises in my heart for a great big God who loves me and loves my kids WAY more than I can ever know.

There aren't words to describe leaving Ethiopia without my children.
Leaving a malnourished little boy who desperately wanted to come home with me...
saying goodbye- for now, 
peeling a 3-year-old little girl's tiny arms from around my neck, 
sobbing in the back seat of the van and announcing "It just isn't FAIR."
You could never truly understand those moments,
the pain and the helplessness, unless you've done it.

There aren't pictures that convey the sadness of sitting in the terminal in the airport 
surrounded by happy people,
laughing and smiling and looking forward to getting on a plane,
and wanting to slap their silly, goofy smiles
 right off their faces
because each one feels like a punch in the stomach you didn't see coming. 

I wish I could describe the happiness of being home again,
seeing 8 faces who you've missed incredibly,
being glad to sleep in your bed and drink water from the tap,
 but feeling like only part of your body came home with you. 

Half of my heart stayed in Ethiopia and that passes,
while it brings us closer to having them home,
 it also causes a greater line between the dots on the timeline of meeting them and seeing them again. 
The space between the dots...
 that's the line where the prayers abound and the pain endures.


  1. Beautifully written, Chris! I love you!

  2. So much truth here Chrissy, and beautifully written. You are so very right, there are a million aspects of the things that come into our lives that just cannot be easily or accurately shared apart from experiencing it hand in hand. Praying this dotted portion doesn't linger long; knowing He is in full control.

  3. Beautiful. Words can't do it justice, but yours came close. We are in the beginning stages of adopting from Ethiopia and I'm dreading the thought of getting to see our child, then leaving him behind. Praying that your time away from them will be quick and that God will provide them the comfort they need while they wait.

  4. I will be forever greatful to Gpd that I was able to lift shirts with you and ask about the scars, to be able to hold you up when you felt like you were going to collapse during that long walk down the court hall, to be able to physically pick you up in my arms out of sheer joy when you passed, to be able to hold your hand when we walked out of the courthouse "delivery room", to be able to go up to your room in my pajamas to complain, to be able to ask you to watch my new daughter for 5 minutes to take a hot shower and instead take a 15 minute steamer, to be able to walk the streets of Addis with you, to be able to have our own secret code language within days of meeting....

    to be your Sister.

    I love you. You are family. Your kids are my family. Even if they may or may not kill me in my sleep. ;)


  5. I need to stop reading your blog...I keep crying :-) beautiful, thoughtful, heart-wrenching. Praying for you all in this connecting of the dots season

  6. The words are oh so true, but they are just words.....and there is no way anyone can really see.....what's inside your head and heart! PRAYING for a quick return. And for more hearts to be OPEN TO HIM!

  7. I never had to leave our kids so I know that I can't imagine or understand, but the depth to which I understand every other part of the picture you created with your works... well, it's just too much for me to think about right now, it's still too raw.

  8. Beautiful post! Your kids are darling and I can't wait to read about your trip to bring them home. I would love to go back to Ethiopia- amazing place.


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