The Gift of Oranges From a Sister I Will Never Meet

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I felt a connection to a woman who had lived across the continent in Ethiopia. We had never met and will never meet in person. She was the birth mother of my three Ethiopian kids. I know it is strange to admit this connection but I can honestly say that I felt a call from her heart to “mother” her children via adoption. Bayoush was around 32 years old and had passed away due to AIDS a few years prior in 2005.

 

While in the process of adopting in 2007, I had a vivid daydream. I had nodded slightly off in one of those not quite awake/not quite asleep naps in my van while my two-year-old slept in her car seat. My call to adopt kept me awake at night and I was often tired during the day as a result. In my vivid dream, brown hands handed me oranges. I woke up thinking this was quite odd. But immediately, I believed this was the mother of my future children making some kind of other worldly offering of her children to me–their future mother in America. At that time, I had no idea we were adopting three kids and just knew there were a handful of oranges in her dreamlike hands. After this dream, I scrambled for its meaning and asked others about the significance of oranges. I even spoke to some of my new Ethiopian friends who told me there was a story about “The Perfect Orange” that was famous in Ethiopia. So I figured it had some kind of connection to that.

 

When we first adopted our children, they spoke very little English so we were often working hard to make sure we understood them correctly. The children also took new American names at their request while keeping their African middle names at our request. After about two years when their English had become much better, I remember asking my daughter Grace if she had any nicknames in Ethiopia. I was putting some milk back in the refrigerator and remember her laughing, “Yes Mom, my Ethiopian mother called me, you know, like fruit.” And then she pointed to the fruit basket.

 

“Like fruit? What do you mean?” I asked.

 

She laughed again, “Mommy, my mother liked to call me bustacon which means orange!” Then my other kids came in and said, “Yes Mom, my Mom called me ‘orange’ too!”

 

I just about dropped the milk as I felt a significant chill go up my spine that wasn’t from the open fridge door.

 

I had never told the kids the story of my vision and was brought to tears as I received a true confirmation and glimpse at the miraculous move of God to bring my children into my home. Two continents, two women from different races and backgrounds connected in an inexplicable way to guarantee care for her children in her desire to have them “unorphaned.” As a Christian, I believe that we most definitely are called to take care of the “least of these” and practice pure religion in taking care of orphans and widows. I can’t really explain why and how God gave me this opportunity to connect with the mother of my children but I will say knowing that she has “handed” over her sweet treasures to me means so much. We will always cherish who she is in their lives.

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