We don't very much about our little brother's life. We know he had a dazzling smile. All of the children have the same heart catching, wide open smile, just like Daniel and Lily's. We know he had a blue soccer ball. He probably played with his brothers and sisters - perhaps he is the one who taught the baby girl to kick so well. We know he had started his first year of school.
We don't know very much about our little brother M's life. He was named after a great leader of Ethiopia. And at the age of 5, he died.
We don't know very much about our little brother's life. We can imagine it. We can imagine him playing with his blue soccer ball under the banana trees on his family's tiny farm. We can imagine him running and skipping and jumping in the red dust of Southern Ethiopia.
We know that the rains did not come to his village last year. We know that his father's crops failed. We know that the red dust was everywhere, and that there was no food. We saw him grow thinner in each photo we received. We could no longer imagine him running or jumping or walking to school.
Our little brother died of hunger. I am choosing to try and imagine his short life, because trying to imagine his death is too horrible. A child dying of malnutrition before finishing his first year at school? It is too terrible. My heart shatters. Why? Why?
We remember his smile. We remember him running and playing with a blue soccer ball. We pray for his baby brothers and sisters.
It is very hard to explain to anyone who does not have a relationship with their adopted children's first family what it is like. Or why you have a bond with them in the first place. Or how you love these people in the most surprising, unlikely way. I certainly did not imagine a cross continental, cross cultural, open adoption relationship when we embarked on this amazing adoption journey.
To adopt is to have your heart stretched as wide as the world.
I have been asked, Why? Why not just move on from this challenging, difficult relationship?
Because that would be impossible, I answer. The brother of my child is also my child. I love them the way I love my nieces and nephews. To turn our backs on this most precious family would be to stop breathing.
The brother of my children died this month. He died of the most treatable, preventable, infuriating problem: he was hungry, and he had nothing to eat.
We are blessed to have been able to help our family, although our help came too late for M. We cling to the thin hope that no more tragedies will befall this precious group of people we love.
There are many villages in Ethiopia. There are many tiny farms. There are many little boys and girls who are hungry. I pray that the leaders of Ethiopia make wise decisions. I pray that more people have hearts wide enough to stop this famine.
In memoriam, little M.
May you run in the green fields of our imagination forever.
and May the rains come.
May the rains come.
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