My name is Addisyn and I am about to turn 15 years old. This is my moms blog but she asked me to share part of my story with you.
When I was 9 years old we adopted my sister, Aleigha, from Guatemala. My parents had asked my brothers and I how we felt about adopting a baby and we were all on board. What I didn't know though at the time was how adopting a child would change my entire family- and my entire life.
When you are 9 years old it's pretty important to you that you are like every one else. It's pretty important to you that you fit in. I remember wanting to dress like my friends, talk like my friends and do the same thing as my friends. Adopting my baby sister changed my being like everyone else. When she entered our family we no long 'looked' like everyone else. When we went out in public people stared at us or asked questions. We were no longer just an ordinary family- we were now a multi racial, adoptive family with five children (who many people considered a large family). It was sort of hard for me to pretend I was just like everyone else anymore- because God had called our family to be different.
What I didn't know then was how God would use this experience to mold me into becoming who I am today. What I didn't know was that God would use our experience to create a passion for the least of these. What I didn't know then was how glad I would be that He did.
Going against the norm isn't always an easy thing to do. Actually sometimes it's downright hard. While God has blessed me with many supportive friends- we still do things differently than a lot of other families. Different isn't bad- it's just different and most kids my age just want to fit in. I'm okay with not fitting in. I'm okay with just being who I am. I may not win any popularity contests- but at least I definitley don't struggle with trying to figure out who I am .
Because of our adoptions, I have had the opportunity to go to Guatemala and work at Eagles Nest Orphanage and also travel to Ethiopia this past March to bring home my baby sister, Havyn. I loved Ethiopia before I even set foot there and that love only doubled when I did. My favorite part of being in Ethiopia was getting to spend the day with missionaries Gary and Peggy Ifft. Gary took us to Adami Tulu Preschool in Ziway, Ethiopia and I am pretty sure I left a piece of my heart there. I have a quote hanging on my bedroom wall that reads "When you walk with God, you always reach your destination."
I had reached mine.
Being at the preschool that day also made me realize how much I had been taking for granted. I no longer wanted to just claim to be a Christian- I wanted to LIVE as a Christian. Instead of just memorizing the verses in the bible- I wanted to put them into action. I knew that I couldn't return home and go on with my life the way it had been. I couldn't open my closet door and see 12 pairs of shoes in there without thinking about those left behind with none. I couldn't go into the mall with friends and spent $15 on yet another t-shirt knowing that $15 would have fed 5 children at the preschool for a month. I couldn't just be a regular American teenage girl anymore- I was different.
And different, I am realizing, is a good thing.
Last Tuesday families in Ziway, Ethiopia lined up to sign their children up for preschool. Over 50 children came- and there were only 30 openings. Such a huge need! Each child enrolled will need a school uniform. The cost for boys is $6.20- which includes pants, shirt, a vest, their book bag and supplies. The cost for girls is $5.83 which includes a skirt, shirt, vest, their book bag and supplies. The monthly fee for a child to attend is 25 Birr ($1.84). Yes, you read that right- $1.84 A MONTH is all it cost. You and I probably spend more than that on chewing gum and yet some children are too poor to even pay that.
Soon, children all over America will go 'school shopping' with their parents. Shoes, clothes, socks, and supplies will be thrown into their carts without much thought. And one thing I can guarantee you is that it will cost you far more than $6.20.
My challenge for you is to talk to your child. Tell them. Teach them. They won't know unless you do- I didn't. Teach them something far more important than what they will learn the entire year at school. Challenge them to go without one of those items thrown into your cart and instead send that money to Lifesong for Orphans and for Adami Tulu preschool. Show them how to think of others. Help them develop a heart for giving. Show them how to think outside of their own wants. Teach them to make their lives count. Develop in them an awareness for others. Teach them how to care.
More than anything in this world I would love to sit in my desk at school this year, love for your child to sit at their desk this year, knowing across the world, in Ethiopia, another child is getting the same privilege as we are because you and I chose to care enough to do something about it.
Will you please help me? Will you please help your child help another? Even if you can just give enough for one child to have a uniform and a book bag, that is huge to that one child.
Today, you can choose to live a life that is bigger than you. Today you can reach far beyond your ordinary existence. Help educate a child. Give them a chance. Change their life.
They changed mine, now it's time for me to do the same for them.
Please feel free to post this on your blogs, facebook, or yell it from the rooftop of your child's school. ;0) Thank you so much for spreading the word.