Last night I spoke at a church youth group in Ellensburg, Washington. During my message I talked a little bit about my family (my wife, 2 kids and the 2 kids on the way) and afterward a girl walked up to me and introduced herself as Nareet. She is a high school girl who was adopted from Ethiopia when she was a baby. She was so excited to hear about our adoption and wanted to let me know.
She also had a story to tell me. She was at DYC (our high school conference that we run in February) and went through the Firestarters room. (pause for explanation) This is a room we set up to allow people to go through and gain some world perspectives on issues that affect us at home and around the world. As you walk into the room you pick up a card that explains the journey through the "hallways" of the room. The room is filled with piles of rice. Each pile has a card explaining what it represents. (ie. The amount of people who eat at McDonald's around the world every day with 1 grain of rice representing 10 people, then there would be a pile that said The amount of people who go without food everyday.) As she walked through the room she was struck with all the different social issues that were represented, but most struck with the amount of people who die from AIDS every day. To the best of her knowledge, her birth parents died of AIDS. Then she walked over to the giant 20 foot x 30 foot map of the world where she took a sticker of a flame and placed in on Ethiopia as her reminder to pray for the people there. As she was praying she realized her need for Jesus in her life and she confessed sin in her life and invited Jesus to be part of her life. (if you are not a church going person I know this may sound weird, but I would love for you to read more about it...check out this site BillyGraham.org I would also be happy to talk to you about it if you like. I love to have that conversation.
Anyhow, I was super thrilled to hear her story. One of my struggles in originally being open to a conversation with Jeanne-Ann about adoption is having seen so many teenagers who have been adopted go through real identity issues in their teen years. (lots of anger and rebellion). It is good to see an adopted girl who is excited about life, Jesus and her family as a teenager!