In the spring of 2008, a woman emailed me about sponsoring a child in Ethiopia. Forty dollars a month would cover his food, schooling and basic medical care. To say I was skeptical was an understatement.
My husband and I had never signed up for a sponsorship program before and we were both unsure. I had a lot of questions about whether our money would be going for the right causes. We checked into the organization more and I had a few phone calls with some of their leaders stateside. In the end, a nine year old boy’s picture arrived at our house a few days later, where we placed him on the refrigerator and promised ourselves to pray for him.
We were desperately trying to become parents during this time as well. Biology was not in our favor and after years of trying, we were labeled as “infertile” by summer of 2008. I was devastated. Our first letter from our sponsored child in Ethiopia arrived a few weeks later.
While adoption had been on our radar for years, we planned out life as pregnancy first, adoption later. With only the promise of more failed fertility remedies before us, adoption was moved to the front of the line. As the letters continued to pass between Oklahoma City and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, so did my husband and I’s research into alternative ways to become a family.
A traveling friend brought back more pictures of our sponsorship child and stories about how our small contribution to his life was astounding. Once starving and malnourished, months of vitamins and a consistent food schedule was making over his body and mind. We were thrilled.
After months of researching and asking domestic and international adoption agencies questions and interviews, we settled on an agency and a country. A small portion of our money had been in Ethiopia for months; now, so were our hearts.
It would take almost a year to complete the process and bring our sibling set of two home. At 2 and 5 years old, we were an instant family of four. This month, we’ve been together six years. Motherhood changes everyone I’m told, but it did a particular number on me. While we were in country, we met our sponsorship child. An orphan himself and the sole provider for his grandfather and grandmother, his resolve to change his own family’s station in life is incredible.
Today, he is working, going to school and has the ability to continue in his education past the primary level if he chooses. I can’t believe it’s been seven years of sponsorship. That forty dollars a month, we’ve never missed it from our budget.
I use to fret over it in the beginning. But about the time I’d begin to wonder how we were going to afford it, a letter would show up from the other side of the world. Along with drawings and a translated words into English about what he was learning in school, there would be a list of prayers our sponsorship child was praying for that month. At the top of that list for the last seven years, has been my husband and I’s names. An orphaned boy with “nothing” by our American standards is praying for us. The beautiful tragic irony of that is not lost on me.