Sunday, January 4, 2015

People Don't Want to Hear

I haven't blogged since before Nat came home.

I haven't written, because I've been busy. I've been sick. But mostly, because people don't want to listen to what I have to say. And I've never written a post like what you're about to read.  

When people ask me about my time in Ethiopia, they won't want to hear the truth. They want me to tell them it was wonderful and that I'm so glad I got to go. They want me to lie and say that everything was great. 

They don't want to hear about what I saw.
Please understand, this is NOT a generalization of all of Ethiopia. This is not me trying to portray Ethiopia as some horrible, evil place. These are facts from things I have seen in the places I have been. There are plenty of horrible, unthinkable things happening in America too. I am simply showing you with words what my eyes have seen in the areas I am involved in. What my children have experienced. 


When people ask me how Ethiopia was, the question is sincere. But they want to hear about marshmallows and rainbows. About the WONDERFUL time I spent there. The magical experience of bringing my daughter home forever. 

They don't want to hear about the babies that aren't at the orphanages anymore, because they died. 

Of a room full of toddlers, soaking in urine and crawling with lice, desperately scrambling to grab your legs and crying to be held, even for a second. 

Of a twelve-year old girl who hung onto my shirt for days, calling me "beautiful mom". When I looked for her this last trip, I learned she died of pneumonia. 

Of the children being raped and then silenced with threats, within the "safety" of Christian orphanage walls. 

Of the babies with thrush, lying on a dirty, threadbare mattress that you wouldn't touch with a stick. Of the bottles shoved in their mouths with the nipple cut open, to hurry the feeding process, because there are so many babies and so few bottles. Of the milk that splashes over these babies' mouths and to the ground, leaving them still hungry and choking. 

Of the deaf children, sitting in silence, being beaten and abused, because they cannot call for help. 

Of a little boy who is twisted into a mass of limbs, trapped in a dark and dirty room. When I walked in, he SMILED at me and began babbling, then rolled off the bed, slamming into the floor before I could stop him. Then he began writhing and sliding towards me across the dirt. And as I gathered him in my arms, I started sobbing. He just wanted me to hold him. And I just wanted to scoop him up and run far away. 

People don't want to listen to me tell them of the rows of babies, whose organs you can see pulsing beneath their tissue-paper skin, lying in wooden boxes. Wooden boxes like coffins, in windowless rooms, with no blankets or toys. 

Of the nannies, exhausted and underpaid, who work endlessly just trying to provide for basic needs.  


When I briefly mention some of these things, people gasp in offense. "How DARE they?!?! That's not right!!!" 

You're damn straight it's not. But how dare YOU??? You hear what I say but it doesn't touch you. You go about your life, blissfully ignorant of what I saw. You hear my words, but because you didn't see five-year olds fending for themselves and sleeping on the side of the road, you forget. Because you didn't see these tiny children begging for scraps of food, my words are only uncomfortable to you. You donate a few $$$ to ease your conscience or make me be quiet, or maybe just an "I'll be praying for you," (dearjesushelpthemamen) and feel like you have done your part, your share. 

Well you haven't. People are dying EVERY. DAY., and it's partially your fault. Can we save everyone? I don't care. Because the answer is, you can save one. Or two, or three, or four. YOU CAN HELP. You don't have to move to a foreign country. You don't have to adopt. You don't have to sell everything you have. You don't have to live on bread and water and spend every minute of your life praying. But you CAN sponsor a child, or a family. You can give to missionaries. You can give to adopting families. You can buy supplies to give as orphanage donations or send money for formula. You can get your church, or other friends and family involved. 

Giving from your excess is not hard, people.You think you have it tough; that money is tight, and you're struggling, but you probably really aren't. Your daily coffee run, eating out, buying extra Halloween candy, a new eyeshadow, a magazine, a toy. That's all $$$ that could be used to actually make a DIFFERENCE. I see people who tell me they can't sponsor a child, or give $10 to an adopting family, go to the store and buy a $55 bag of dog food (30lb) for their pet.....and while they are cashing out, a child is dying somewhere of starvation. They aren't statistics, people.They are humans, and their cries tear at me from oceans away. 

People tell me, "Well, I just can't help. I can't do it right now." CHRISTIANS!!!! Hello?!?!?! Did Jesus ever once say, "Excuse me, come back another time, I can't help you,"????? And please don't get this wrong; I'm not saying that I am perfect or that there isn't more I could do. But I'm TRYING. I understand money (or lack thereof). Trust me. We don't have any. Literally. And I'm sure you're thinking, "Well, Marissa, what ARE you doing to help?" Okay, we have three kids home from Ethiopia. We have three more in process. We sponsor a child in Ethiopia. We also sponsor an Ethiopian family. We send donations every chance we can. We donate to hunger programs and food drives here. We help other families get through adoption processes and paperwork. We are involved in the domestic adoption scene. We give to organizations in Uganda. We give to organizations helping sex trafficking victims in the U.S. I'm not just preaching at you. I'm not bragging about what we do. I'm just trying to say, YOU CAN HELP. 

Do you really want to stand before Jesus and when He asks what you did with your life, you look and see thousands, no, MILLIONS of beautiful people in front of you, and  then Jesus asks, "Why didn't you help them???"

Just HELP. It doesn't even have to be adoption related, or in a foreign country. What about helping with sex trafficking victims here in the U.S.? Abuse cases in America? Whatever. Just HELP. I'm not telling you to go all crazy in debt. To do something you may not be called to (packing up and moving to Africa, adopting, whatever). But people, we are called to help other people. To love them. To care for children. So I don't want to hear any of your excuses. Sign up and sponsor a kid, or start giving. $30 a month will not make you go broke. I don't care what Dave Ramsey says. You sit in your comfortable, safe world, and another child's body lies ravaged in the dirt, and that's on YOU. 


  1. Amen Marissa. Thank you for sharing your heart. I know I am far too often a part of the guilty ones who turn her eyes away. I am heartbroken that you felt you couldn't be heard. I am sorry for that. But thank you for sharing your heart and convicting mine.

    P.s. can't wait to hear about your other 3 kiddos as you go through the process again.

  2. your post elicited a lot of emotion in me.
    It's awesome you guys adopt. I hope to do the same someday.