Cris in Ethiopia

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Goodbye Twice

Posted by Cris on April 13, 2007

“I guess you can only celebrate where you can, change what is possible and then honor what must be.” – Diana Banning

Ive been volunteering at one orphanage, Ahope Orphanage (, for about 3 weeks now, and started volunteering at another this week (, Yesterday while at Ahope I had what was easily the most eye-opening day so far. First off, I arrived and there was a group of women sitting under the porch of one of the buildings. I asked about them and this was the story: one woman, who looked pretty sick on second glance, was there trying to convince the orphangae to take her infant child. She is positive, her child is positive, and the child’s father had died. She had been staying with her sister, but when the sister’s husband found out she was positive and not just sick, he kicked her, her child, and his wife (the sister) out of the house. So they had no place to go, and the mother was there doing what I suspect may be the hardest thing she had ever done (I dont have children, and I feel a tighness in my chest when I think about what that must feel like). The woman at the orphanage told me they didnt know what to do, because they normally dont take children that still have a parent living, but in this case… it looked pretty dire. The mom probably, without medication, wont live too too much longer; what will happen to the baby in the meantime or afterwards if they wait? (I dont know yet what has been or will be decided, by the way)

So then I went to play with the children, like normal. After a while one of the caretakers started making coffee, the typical coffee ceremony. I didnt know why, figuring maybe they were just cold (it was chilly and rainy yesterday). Then a white woman, an American from new Jersey, came in- digital camera blazing- and sat down. Then I was told that she was adopting one of the children, and had come to pick him up. He was leaving that night to go to the States! Straight from the orphanage to the plane, and into a new world. So this was a happy moment- its awesome that he is being adopted and its even awesomer that she is adopting an HIV positive child.

Holy two-sides-of-the-coin, batman! I saw both sides of the orphan crisis, in the span of an hour. Both were serious emotional moments, not so much for me but for others involved. What struck me the most though was the fact that the adoptive mother was recieved with such ceremony and happiness, while the other mother was sitting with a few people under the porch, holding her baby, nobody paying much attention to her. Shouldnt she be celebrated as well? Is it the simple law of supply and demand- there are oh-so-many HIV stricken mothers, and not enough adoptive parents swooping in to help?


3 Responses to “Goodbye Twice”

  1. mom said

    i am sitting here crying for all of them. i love you, stay safe xxxooo

  2. AD said

    Very powerful, Cris. I guess you can only celebrate where you can, change what is possible and then honor what must be. This last is the most difficult in my opinion.

  3. Shalene said

    Wow Cris, I am speachless.

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