I had the best conversation with our maid and our cook tonight. As they were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and I was making a pot of coffee (yes, I need coffee at 6:00 pm just so that I can make it until bedtime), our maid asked me, “You have two servants or only one servant at home, Mama?”
(By the way, I love it that they call me Mama. It is because I have 6 children!)
I answered and told them that no, actually I had no servants.
“Just one servant, Mama?”
No. The language barrier must have gotten the best of you. I said I have NO servants.
“Ay! NO SERVANTS! Mama, you do all cooking AND cleaning AND washing clothes? You have someone helping you take care of children?”
Nope. Really. No servants. It is just me.
This set off a lot of chattering in Amharic in the kitchen between the two ladies. They couldn’t seem to understand what was happening. You see, in Ethiopia, if you have any money at all, you hire house help. First of all, living here takes so much more work you need other people to help you. Secondly, it is considered selfish to not provide a job for someone if you can afford to. And third, paying for help here is so much less expensive without having to worry about minimum wage and health insurance and such silly things.
As we continued our conversation the ladies made it clear that they were very worried about me. How was I going to manage doing all of the housework and taking care of the children without any help?
I wonder the same thing myself sometimes.
Actually, I wonder the same thing myself pretty much all the time.
But I realized something tonight as I talked to these wonderful ladies. I may not have any servants, but what I do have is so much greater than that.
I have a God who gives me what I need every day. ~ The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23
I have a family who has been involved with this adoption from the very beginning. Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles, Sisters and Brothers…they are all anxiously waiting back home to love on my kids (and I am pretty sure they are waiting to love on me too)!
And I have an amazing network of friends…all of you. You have cried with me, encouraged me, prayed for me and rejoiced with me every step of the way. I know that is not going to end just because we are home. In fact, I am counting on this! I need you.
And so I come to you with my request. Will you help me? I know I cannot do this alone. So many of you have already told me, “Let us know how we can help!” And so I am. This is how you can help.
1) Continue with ALL of your prayers. Our family is going through some major adjustments right now. Yes, we have a lot of joy! Every day is filled with blessings. But we also have a lot of tears and a lot of emotions to deal with. Every day also has its trials. Please lift our family up in prayer.
2) If you have any questions at all – about adoption, about our family, about my children – please do not hesitate to ask me….IF MY CHILDREN ARE NOT WITH ME. If my children are standing right next to me, please be sensitive to the fact that many of your questions will bring up a lot of emotions for them. It would probably be best not to ask about their birth parents if they are within hearing distance. Thank you.
3) Give me grace. My children are scarred. They are imperfect. They are disobedient. As are we all. It will take some time to unlearn some of the behaviors that have helped them to survive in life up until this point. And my parenting might not look exactly as you think it should. Part of the reason for this is that children from orphanages are parented in a little different way, especially at the beginning. And part of the reason for this is that I just have no idea what I am doing. I make mistakes. A lot of them. All I know for sure is that I am doing my best.
4) Bring me food. Yep. I would love to not have to worry about making dinner every night. If you would like to bless my family with a meal sometime, then I would love to accept it! My dear friend Christy set up a meal schedule for us here. Just click on the link www.takethemameal.com. Search by last name Putnam and password great 8.
5) Invite Joel and Hannah over for play dates. When we first arrive home, my schedule will be filled. All four of my new children need to see doctors, dentists, dermatologists, counselors, orthodontists….you get the idea. It would be wonderful if Joel and Hannah did not have to tag along to every one of these appointments. And, it would be wonderful for Joel and Hannah to get a little break from all of the emotional upheaval that is a part of our life right now. If you want to invite them over, please do! They would love it. I would love it.
I know that I have no right to ask all of this of you. You have already supported us in so many ways. Financially. Spiritually. Emotionally. I have even had friends and family at my house painting and moving furniture to get bedrooms ready for me. In fact, I debated with myself many times over whether or not I should write this blog to ask for more help. I feel slightly guilty asking for MORE. But the truth is, we need you.
And we thank you.
And we love you.