Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Mother's Broken Heart

It happened again...George decided he wanted to go back to Ethiopia. This time, he grabbed one pair of pants and walked out the door and stood in the front yard. He said he was waiting for a car to take him to the airport where he would get on a plane and go back.

What triggered this moment? We had just had fun watching the snow fall. Our neighbor boys had run over to celebrate the moment with George and he was all smiles. We enjoyed a really delicious lunch together that warmed us all. I decided to watch the OSU/WI football game and George happily took his place next to me on the couch.

I got really sick of all the commercials so I decided to play a music video. We have On Demand and The Gospel Chanel has some music videos. One of George's favorite songs is "Two Hands" by Jars of Clay, and I had noticed earlier that video was now on. So, I thought, "Hey - George will love this!" The entire video takes place somewhere in Africa. The band is spotlighting their work of digging wells in impoverished tribes. It is wonderful work and a very beautiful video. Hundreds of African faces...some carrying water containers, some kids splashing in the clean water, shots of kids in school uniforms. Near the end of the video, the African people are celebrating and dancing. George sighed. "I love Africa."

He then goes to his room, picks out a pair of pants and says he wants to go back to Africa. He doesn't even put shoes on or a coat and just walks out the front door to "find a car that will take me to the airport." I watch, a bit shocked, as he stands in the front lawn.

I could not believe it. Within a matter of 5 minutes George went from happy American child watching football, to sad African boy wanting to go home. I can't blame him. He had just seen beautiful pictures of his homeland. Ethiopia is the place he grew up and he did not think it was "3rd world", dirty, poor...he thought it was home. He was there for six year! He has been here for 6 months. I just think if Isabel was suddenly living in the bush of Ethiopia with a new family...after 6 months she might start settling in. But, she sees a video of America. Oh, how her heart would break remembering all the wonderful things about HOME. It is no different for a boy from Ethiopia. That was his HOME, that is where he grew up, played, ate...granted we in our very comfortable American world can't imagine why anyone would chose THAT over THIS. But, I am here to say my son did.

My heart broke. I went upstairs into my girls' room so I could look out the window and see George. Within a few minutes, he obviously became very cold and came slowly back inside. I met him in the kitchen and just started crying. He asked me why. I knelt down and said, "Mommy does not want you to leave. I love you...I really love you. I want you to stay with me."

I have talked about pivotal moments in George's life in the past...this was a pivotal moment in MY life. I realized that my heart broke when George said he would rather chose Ethiopia, with everything that goes with that life (sleeping in the bush, not having a family, eating twice a day) than to be with us. My love for him had been rejected yet again....but I realized in that moment that for the first time, it was a real love. I realized that I would be devastated if George was no longer my son.

I know some of you may think I am cold-hearted, finally coming to this after six months. I can only say you have not walked in my shoes...and I am trying to be as open and honest as possible about this journey. God chose for Joe and I to adopt a boy who completely rejected us initially. I don't believe all adopted older children are like George was. But this is the child God wanted me to learn how to love; to chose to love. I have begged God to fill my heart with love for George, and God is faithful. I did not want to see my son go....

After I cried to George and expressed my love for him, he was quiet for a minute and then asked, "Momma no want Georgie to go?"

"No, son. I want you to stay with me forever."

We hugged, for a long time....and then he put his pants back in his drawer.

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