Today started out with a buffet breakfast here at the Hilton. While waiting in line to pay our bill, two families walked in with adopted children. While standing there we looked at each other and smiled and then this lady says "ARE YOU ELLIE?" Again, we were shocked as she told us she reads her blog and loves it. Then the ladies with her said, "OH, is this the young lady that writes that blog we read?" One was from Georgia and the other from West Virginia. We talked for a while and were blessed to see a total of four more orphans rescued! Praise the LORD!!
Then it was off to the Gladney office to meet Tigist! Our babies birth mother. I started to shake as we walked into the meeting room. We got all the chairs in a circle, got the cameras ready and rolling and took a deep breath. The social worker Yibra walked in with a beautiful young lady wearing a beautiful red scarf around her shoulders. She had her head down and a very somber look on her face. She immediately began crying when she greeted and kissed Josiah and the girls. She sat down and I sat right next to her. I gave the translator a letter I wrote to her and asked her to read it to her. As the translator read it in English to prepare to translate, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said WOW, this is beautiful. She proceeded to read the entire letter to my sweet Tigist. She sat with her head down and on several occasions broke down into tears. She wiped them with her scarf as I sat next to her with my hands on her arm, stroking her back and face gently. I too was crying tears of sorrow as I watched her face the entire time.. She did not look at me, just at the floor. I wiped tears from her face with a tissue and I just felt my heart melting as I was falling in love with her. She is beautiful! She is humble and precious! Ryan worked the video camera and Joanna took pictures the entire time. (With her permission of course) I explained that this video and photos were going to be for the children when they get older. I want them to see her, to hear her, and to know for themselves that this is about having "TWO GOD-GIVEN MOTHERS THAT LOVE THEM VERY MUCH". After the letter, Yibra said to me in English, look at her, her countenance has changed. Tigist then stood up and kissed me and said "Thank you so very much, I am so happy now because I see that you love GOD and that my children are in the hands of God." We then began to go over the questions I had written from the perspective of what the children will ask me when they are older. I really tried to put myself in their shoes and get as much information as possible. Tigist was very happy and cooperative to answer every one of them. (4 pages) What a glorious and miraculous occasion. This was such an answer to my prayer. It went better than my wildest expectation or dream. We also gave her our personal history, stories and told her about our children, family etc. We talked about many things like her dream for each of them, her childhood, her advice to them when they are older and her story. We told her the story of how God called us and brought us to Ethiopia. We asked about why she chose their names and their meanings to her and we explained the names that will be added to those and how GOD himself chose them. She was amazed and overjoyed. We spent 3 hours together. After the questions the entire room was full of love, joy, and even laughter! We then presented her with these special gifts. Warm Flannel PJ's and slippers with a matching very soft and warm robe. All matching shades of pink and white. This is to represent that we want her to be wrapped in our love, and to be warm on the cold nights here. (There is no heat at all in Addis) Then a sterling silver necklace with a cross in a circle that says "Faith". This is to remind her that God has a plan for her, he cares for her and he will take care of her and her children. To never lose "Faith", Then there was a purse with some lotion, lip gloss, toiletries and an umbrella to shelter her in the rainy season. The purse has a special pocket for the umbrella. And then finally I told her the story of the "Prayer Quilt" that was made with so much love and prayers. When I held it up for eyes to see, she melted in tears again. One of the questions I asked earlier was what her favorite color was. How our God cares so much and intentionally works on details. Her favorite is "Pink", everything we gave her was themed in pink!
We started this meeting as strangers, scared and nervous. Yibra, the social worker that has been with Tigist from day one was absolutely wonderful. She said this was the absolute best "meeting" she had ever seen and she wants to use this as a tool for future use. She said she felt like she had just gone to school and learned something amazing. She was amazed at how much Tigist was filled with peace, joy, love and happiness. It was an amazing transformation. She has never seen her so happy. This is what Tigist said, "Because of meeting you today, hearing all of this and seeing how much God has been involved, I will never worry again about my children. I have more faith in God than I have ever had in my life. I see him so clearly and now I know he will take care of my children and me. I thank you with all of my heart. This has turned out even better than I could have ever dreamed or hoped for. I thank God my children have such a good mother, father and family who love God and will love my children. You are more than I dreamed for them.I never expected this!" She was now looking me right in the eyes, we kissed each other on the lips, hugged, and cried in each others arms. There was such a feeling of the Agape Love and the spirit of the LORD was with us all. IT WAS GLORIOUS AND AMAZING. I really feel like she is another daughter to me. She asked if we could keep in touch, if she could write letters to the children and get pictures regularly. We made arrangements to meet again on Monday to receive pictures of their birth father and to give her copies of the pictures from today. Josiah, Keziah and Keren are DOUBLY blessed to have TWO mothers that love them with all of their hearts. As we celebrate THANKSGIVING today, my heart is full of abundant gratitude for having been blessed again with my new daughter Tigist!
We ended this glorious day with an elegant Thanksgiving Dinner at the Sheraton Hotel with the families of Ryan & Abby, Travis & Joanna, and Bill and Michelle McConomy. (They are our new friends that we met at DC airport coming here. They have adopted a precious little girl and I hope to get permission to share their miracle adoption story on a future blog). We had a wonderful time of fellowship and even met some more Americans who work with orphans in Ethiopia.
May the King of Kings and lover of our souls be glorified today as we thank him for His abundant blessings in our lives!!!