Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful for Doro Wat

Doro what? Nope Doro Wat. It's this incredible Ethiopian spicy chicken dish. There's a faint similarity to the Mexican dish Mole. Doro Wat is kind of soupy, but really a main course! You eat it not with utensils but with injera - kind of a sour pancake that perfectly harmonizes with the tear producing entree. How clear was that description?

Anyway, it's easy to title any blog "thankful" this week for obvious reasons. It's extra special for us. 365 days ago (and just before first trying Doro Wat) we met our favorite Ethiopian: Elias. He's been with us a whole year. How quickly time has passed. Three short moves ago (Ethiopia to CA to TX to WA) we picked him up for the first time: chubby, googley eyes, bald, and beautiful brown skin. He was heavy then to pick up and even harder to lift now, already eating us out of house and home. His smile is unmatched - except for his sisters' smiles. His laugh and screech unequaled. His temper at times uncontrollable. His hugs unfathomable to a parent not fully his.

"Uh oh" you may say. Don't get me wrong: he's mine, all mine (okay his mom's too). But as an adopted child I know that some day he will have to wrestle with loss. Though his birth-mom couldn't care for him, Elias may someday be saddened at her decision. It breaks my heart already, especially since this is a special child. But he has to know that we're all adopted. He belongs not to us, but to God. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, there is a concept that conveys the fact that He wants to adopt all of us. Adopted - we are chosen. The God of the universe chooses us for relationship. This is love.

How amazed we were last night to celebrate Gotcha Day - his one year anniversary with us, the ones who chose him. We went to an Ethiopian restaurant in Seattle called Lalibela. The smells of injera, doro wat, and beef tibs was intoxicating. A flood of memories of that wonderful day resurfaced. In conversing with an Ethiopian man, Jana found out the full meaning of his given name, Abinet, which means "example" as in "a Godly example to others." Wow! Is that incredible? To me it is. I do truly hope and pray daily that his name will be prophetic. That his imperfect, doting father will do just enough to translate God's love for Elias in my words and actions. That though he was adopted, he is just as loved as my parents love me.
But "an example" he has already been. Though we hear the occasional "good for you" approval for our politically correct 2009 international adoption (though not covered in People Magazine), we realize more and more each day that it's never been about that. We have been blessed more than we have given. "An Example" of God's love for us he is. "An Example" of the simplicity of life he is. "An Example" of unconditional love he is. My hope is to return the example to him.

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