Ezekiel's Story

Ezekiel has been home with us just about 7 months now. I can barely remember what our family was like without him, isn't that funny? He fits so perfectly in with the rest of us, God certainly knows what He's doing. I'm not going to sugar coat it and pretend like everything is easy and peaches 'n cream all the time, we're all learning and growing together...but even if he were biologically ours, it wouldn't be perfect. After all, we're human. He screws up, and sometimes Ben and I screw up. But we love each other, we're family.

Would you like to know Temesgen {Ezekiel's} story?

He grew up the first 5 or so years of his life in a little town in Ethiopia called Asosa, on the border of Sudan. His dad was a merchant, selling "small goods". Sadly, while out of town he was in a fatal car crash, leaving behind little Temesgen {Ezekiel}, a 13 year old daughter, and a pregnant wife.

{ben had the blessing of meeting ezekiel's mom & talk with her for awhile. she's breathtakingly beautiful.}

Ezekiel's mom and sister became maids to try and support the family, but even with their dual-incomes they were unable to feed Ezekiel and his mother decided to place him in an orphanage right there in their little town.

Now that his English is better, we're learning more about the story such as how dangerous it was where he lived. They lived in a little hut with dirt floors. When it rained, their sleeping mats would get wet. And at night, it was easily broken into & burglarized. But his mother loved him and he has wonderful things to say about his sister too, so though I'm sure he misses them even at 6 years old, he recognizes that his mother was trying to keep him safe & taken care of since she was unable to do so.

We first learned of Temesgen {Ezekiel} two Augusts ago. Adoption agencies often have an area on their websites {that requires a password to enter} with photos, medical info, etc on the "Waiting Children" or older kids, that are not as quickly adopted as an infant is. Ben and I were feeling led to look at boys ages 5-7 in addition to being on the waiting list for a baby girl {Imani!!}. While prayerfully looking through the pages of beautiful, precious faces, for some reason Ben and I were both intrigued by Temesgen {Ezekiel}. I don't know what it was {other than he's obviously darling} that drew us specifically to him. But we were and decided to go the next step and request more info about him.

{about 5 mins after meeting - he was very affectionate toward me even before he knew i was his mom!}

Meanwhile realizing this was HUGE, Ben and I began seeking wisdom and advice from both people we loved and trusted, and those who had already adopted an older child. The response we received shocked us. Not one single person encouraged us. Every single one told us it was going to be a disaster and straight out, not to do it. It wasn't necessarily that he was older and not a baby...it was more because he was older than our oldest biological child.

Well goodness, we prayed for advice and wisdom...and we got it! I sadly mailed back the DVD and info we had received from our agency, writing to them "I'm so sorry to have wasted your time. I just don't think we're the right family for him." And that was that.

That was August.

The end of November came and we received 3 days notice that we were cleared to meet with the American Embassy and bring home Imani! The day before we left, we received an email from the Director of our agency {celebrate children international} asking if we were still interested Temesgen because he had been moved to an orphanage in Addis Ababa {Ethiopia's Capital} about 15 minutes away from where we were staying. She said we were welcome to come act as if we were taking a tour of the orphanage and he would have no idea we were actually there to see him.

Wow. Ben and I talked about it and found out that each of us had been silently praying for him all these months and still thought of him constantly. So we decided we'd go meet him and see what would happen.

After dropping our bags off at the Addis Flower Guest House, we went straight to Resurrection Orphanage. Temesgen was the first child we saw as everyone ran out to see the van, curious who was coming to visit. We hugged all the kids and handed out the toys and goodies we had brought for them.

{a few minutes after meeting each other}

As I watched him interacting with Ben, I heard the Lord whisper in my ear "This is your son".

Wait. What? What, Lord? Ya right. I'm just excited to be here and the concept of adopting him is fun, but seriously...everyone we asked said it's a bad idea. I don't think that's right.

"This is your son" came again. Chills ran up my spine and tears pricked my eyes as I realized truly, I was hearing from God. This is our son. This little boy who was wearing hot pink stretch pants and broken aqua colored Crocs, would be part of our family for the rest of our lives. This was huge.

So huge in fact, that Ben and I didn't speak of it the entire week we were in Addis. We were obviously preoccupied with Imani, who was very sick and malnourished, and nervous about the appointment with the Embassy {that they would grant us permission to bring her to the US}. But more than that, I think we couldn't quite wrap our minds around such an incredible decision.

Finally it was the night before flying out, and we still had not even mentioned our precious hours at Resurrection with Temesgen and the other kids. Ben brought it up, "We need to talk about this. What do you think?" I responded that I knew 100% what I thought, that I just wanted to hear it from him first. He said essentially the same thing as I knew in my heart. He hadn't heard the Lord's voice in his ear as I had, but he certainly felt the answer in his entire being. "He is our son", Ben said. "We have to do this."

We both agreed that we were being called to do this and God doesn't always call us to do things that are easy. We knew we would be stretched, we may go through a refiners fire. But we needed to obey.

Early the next morning, we called our lawyer there in Addis and began the process of adopting him. As soon as we were able to get a car, we rushed back to Resurrection to spend precious hours with him before flying out that evening.

{ezekiel realizing we're his mom & dad}

{the director of ezekiel's orphanage explaining to him in more detail that we were his parents}

{...his reaction to finding out!!}
Someone must have told him that we were actually his parents though because as our car stopped, the front door flung open, Ezekiel flew down the stairs and literally jumped into Ben's arms saying "Daddy! Daddy!" Ben and I were a complete mess.

As I held his hand, I felt how freezing he was. Through the translator, we learned that he did not own long pants or even a sweatshirt or socks. Ethiopia is not as hot as I expected it to be. It certainly gets cold at times, and this sweet little boy was only wearing shorts and a cut off t-shirt.  We decided to take him shopping to a few items of clothing and new shoes. It cracked us up how opinionated he was.

{the black satin suit that he wanted SO badly!}
One of the shopkeepers gave him a foil-covered chocolate in the shape of a ladybug. He saved it in his hand for hours, saving it for who knows what. Ben finally had our driver tell him that it was melting and making a mess, and he reluctantly placed it gently in one of his bags.

{with all his bags of treasures - new pants, shoes, sweatshirt, a few long sleeved shirts, socks}

Before taking him back to the orphanage, we took him to Kaldi's {which used to be a knock-off of Starbucks, but I see they've changed their logo} for coffee, french fries, and ice cream {I know, random combination...but that's what they're known for}. We learned that it was the first time he'd had ice cream and he was confused at the idea of eating the cone - he didn't. I did ; )

{first time eating ice cream}

We tearfully said goodbye, promising we'd be back for him.

Ben placed his favorite Red Sox hat on his head, telling him to take good care of it while we were gone.

Four months later, he stepped onto the first plane he'd ever seen...and stepped permanently into our family. We couldn't be more blessed.

{passport in hand, ready for his big flight!}

{anton & laith could barely contain their excitement - anton wearing his bday crown - ezekiel came home on anton's birthday!}

{when meeting laith, he picked him up for a big hug}

{anton was next!}

{i was a COMPLETE sobbing disaster.  shhhh, didn't have time to get my nails done.}

{taking the escalator - he was freaked out to get on!}

{our amazing friends & family gave him the most incredible welcome ever}

{our sweet pastor and good friend michael, prayed over ezekiel and our family}

{big prayer circle right there in the terminal. we obviously could have cared less where we were!}

{in the airport parking lot. about to drive home & start our lives together. my favorite photo ever.}


Anonymous said...

OH MY GOSH this is a gift straight from our FATHER im crying like crazy over this! What a story friend i want to share it with the world...You and your hubby and blessings to this world your love your hearts...thank you!!!
blair gurick!

Jill and Doug said...

I just wept that entire time I read Ezekiel's story. God bless you guys!!!!!!

Andrea said...

Wow! An amazing story.