December 19, 2009 - My brother in law, Aaron, and his wife, Whitney, came home from a journey to Ethiopia, Africa with their new son, Aaron Gebre Mekele Pratt. Mekele (this is what we are calling him) turned 7 months old on Sunday, December 20th! I would have never imagined how life changing this experience for them would be for me.
They began their adoption process at the end of December 2008. The adoption agency they went through is called All God's Children and this process has changed their lives forever.
I fell in love with their baby this past September when they received pictures of their beautiful baby boy that they had been matched with. It was at this point that the realization of God's miraculous hands were at work in the lives of these 3 individuals. The months following this initial phone call, Brian and I were fortunate enough to see the amazing growth and development in Aaron and Whitney as they prepared themselves, their home and their lives for their precious new addition.
Even though at that time I was aware of the significance of this experience, it was not until we were at the airport greeting Aaron, Whitney, and Mekele home that I realized that as I was watching and listening to everything they were going through in the past year, what was happening in me...God was constantly planting seeds in my heart. I will never forget the EXACT moment that I grasped what God was doing in me through watching them.
Now, Aaron has always been a caring individual, and I know he has passion for various things in his life, but I have NEVER known Aaron in this capacity. A father with unconditional love for his new son. The amazing work that God has done in Aaron's heart has moved me more than I could have ever thought! As I was witnessing this moment, I realized that there are so many more things in this world that are so much bigger than anything I had allowed myself to see or think about. I thought about the fact that I want so badly to reach out to the children in this world, God's children and to do whatever I can to make a difference in their lives. I have such a strong desire to share God's word! I know this is a bit confusing, but I truly believe that after having seen everything that it took for Aaron and Whitney to expand their family and the exhausting journey they travelled, and then to see this moment and to try and grasp the entire magnitude of everything combined from the last year, everything about this was God's work and it has effected many people.
Aaron and Whitney were also extremely generous in sharing their video footage that they took in Ethiopia! On Saturday afternoon, I was only able to watch a little bit of the video, enough to see all the many children at the orhpanage who were not being taken home to their permanent homes that day. There was more video to see, including the conversation that Aaron and Whitney were able to have with Mekele's birth mother. But, before that part of the video came on, I had to leave to go get Mason from the children's church singing practice and Christmas party.
Aaron, Gebre, and Me (THE VERY PROUD NEW AUNT!!)
The entire welcoming committee!!! Everyone is so very proud and extremely excited for Gebre's long-awaited arrival!
Aaron, Whitney, Gebre, Brian, Mason, and ME!!
So I went back to church and as Mason was playing with his friends from church during the children's Christmas party, I found myself in a very thoughtful, enlightening, emotional, and eye-opening conversation with an amazing woman. She is someone whom I admire a great deal and who lives her life for Christ each and every day. Laura and her family have adopted two beautiful boys from here in the United States and they have been called to serve God by working with orphanages internationally. Through our conversation, various thoughts and emotions that I had been experiencing the past couple of months, and throughout this past weekend starting falling into place. I feel that I have finally opened my heart and my mind to listen to what God is telling me, and to accept what possibilities there are to serve Christ and to share Him with others, especially children. There are still many ideas and thoughts swarming through my head. There are many more aspects to consider, to learn about, to study, and to pray about.
However, one thing that I am absolutely positive about...God is calling me to do bigger and go farther in His name. I can't wait to follow this path that he is leading me down and to see what He has in store for our future.
Me and my SWEET SWEET SWEET new nephew!! Aaron and Whitney are great parents and this precious boy is so amazing! The Lord is AMAZING!
4 weeks ago