My brother sent an e-mail update from Ethiopia this morning, with news of their visit to their Compassion child yesterday.  I'm re-printing an excerpt below (emphasis mine):

On Tuesday we got to meet our Compassion child (Birhane).  She is a wonderful young girl and it was a pleasure to meet her.  All of her information told us that she was six years old so we came with loaded with clothes, toys, etc.  Well, apparently, in the rural parts of Ethiopia age is not something they cling to very much because come to find out she is eleven!!!!  Needless to say, not a stitch of clothing fit, but I think her little sister will be well dressed for some time. Compassion was nice enough to let us arrange to send her bigger clothes when we get back to the states.

Birhane is incredibly shy and, of course, doesn’t speak English – so the conversation was pretty short.  She was SO sweet.  She spoke so gently and quietly that we probably could not have understood her even if we spoke her language.  One gift that was a hit was a little baby; I don’t think she put it down for the entirety of our visit.  Being so quiet and shy, it was hard to see if we really sparked her attention or curiosity, but one member of our family certainly did.  She LOVED Tarik.  She lit up when she would look at her and even did a great job holding her. 

She lives in a village where they don’t have electricity and they have to pump all their water from a well.  She is in her first year of schooling (even though she is older than most of her classmates).  The reason this is her first year is because this is our first year to sponsor her – as if we needed any evidence of our direct involvement.  It is amazing to see Compassion reach out, educate, clothe, and nurture these children.  We got proof of that when Birhane surprised us and burst into the English alphabet!  The Amharic alphabet has something like 260 characters, so to be working on a second version is pretty impressive.

Want to find out how your direct involvement can change a child's world?  Click here or here, and then go sponsor a child!

17 thoughts on “Birhane

  1. Carrissa @ Natural Abundance says:

    Awe! God is truly amazing. And for the record, your blog has made me cry three times today! (I had to do a lot of backreading hehe and not bad crying, just overwhelmed with a)how amazing and faithful God truly is, and b) how sweet your family is and it’s really truly amazing that they have chosen to adopt that little girl! I’m so excited for everyone. We also sponsor two children through Compassion, and I wish very much to meet them one day.
    God bless you and our prayers are with you!

  2. shaun groves says:

    I never get tired of stories like these. I love my job. Thanks for using for voice to speak for kids, Shannon. And we’re about due for another third world adventure together aren’t we?

  3. Grateful for Grace says:

    Wow! What a trip. Adopting a baby daughter AND visiting their Compassion child. I had to go back to your earlier post to see if I had misunderstood.
    We are thrilled to be awaiting papers for a Compassion child. We were blessed by Pioneer Woman to be the ‘sponsor’, but she and MM will be paying the financial side. It really was an answer to prayer. My kids have been asking to sponsor since ‘the trip’, but finances kept us from doing it right now. They even wanted an ‘older’ child. That’s what PW and MM asked for ‘help’ with. Anyway, sorry to ramble… we’re very excited.
    Glad for your brother.

  4. Kari says:

    We have not been able to meet our Compassion child, but we feel such a love for her. She’s the same age, maybe (after reading his account, we don’t know now hehehe), as our older son (the reason we chose her) and she’s now in school. She is just gorgeous, has such a sweet and shy smile, and just warms our heart to see her pictures. That is so awesome that they got to meet their compassion child. I hope we are able to do that one day.

  5. Marian says:

    It’s true. Age and birthdays are just not the specific and hallowed marker that they are here. Many people do not know their birthdate. (It’s also true that adults trying to gain services for their kids may sometimes give an underestimate if they think it is more advantageous for them to be younger.)
    What a great experience for them.

  6. Christine says:

    Although I don’t know if it’s in the cards for us to get involved with CI the way you and your family have, it is so inspiring to read these updates! (not to mention the story of your trip last year…)

  7. Tammy says:

    Oh how heart warming. That is so neat. Thank you for sharing such a great experience. What a wonderful thing to be doing. I can’t wait until we can become sponsors. We’ll be praying about this and everyone involved. God Bless all who are sponsoring a child.

  8. JD says:

    Oooh wow…. I got goosebumps reading that!! Thank you SO much for sharing. What a surprise about the age, but it makes sense now. I’m so glad they had a visit with her, and that she also got to meet Tarik. I can’t imagine the range of emotions they’re experiencing in this trip.
    We sponsor two little girls through Compassion Canada, they live in Honduras, and we’re planning to meet them in 2010. I can’t even imagine what that will be like, but I loved having a glimpse through this post. Thank you for sharing!

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