So I’m not very good good at this type of thing. My wife is the writer of the family, but I felt compelled to share some things so this is the best I can do.
Steph and I both have similar rituals when putting Emara down to sleep for the night. We both do the diaper change thing. Next is the task of pajama application (yes application. I find that dressing a child is tremendously difficult so I label it a “task”). Bottle time is next, followed by the burping and a book reading, and then we both sing to her. Yes, even I sing to her.
Steph sings a song she wrote just for Emara. It is unbelievably wonderful and touching, especially since my wife has a tremendous gift at singing. If you could be a fly on the wall you would undoubtedly cry. I on the other hand have the curse of being extremely monotone. No fluctuation in pitch or melody. I can only harmonize (or at least I think I can) with 80’s ballads sung exclusively in falsetto. But I don’t care and I doubt that Emara does either so I sing on.
I sing Ray Lamontagne songs to her. Not from memory though. I can’t remember the songs so I usually just play the songs off my phone and sing along. It probably just makes me feel better since I can drown out the sound of my own voice. Most of the time I just play one of his live performance’s off of YouTube and lay it there on my lap as I rock and sing to her. She usually just stares at me blankly while this happens, but I don’t care. I love it.
I always sing her the song “Shelter” off of this live recording. I’m pretty sure the song isn’t about his daughter. I’m not even sure if he has one. From the sounds of the words it’s probably about some woman, but the melody is beautiful and it sounds really sweet. Ultimately, I think I just like the idea of the chorus:
“Listen when, all of this around us will fall over, I tell you what we’re gonna do, you will shelter me my love and I, I will shelter you, I will shelter you”
My God I love the sound of the word shelter. Everything it implies and stands for is incredible and beautiful. I love the biblical idea of God as this shelter we can run to in times of trouble. I cherish the opportunity I have to be a shelter for my daughter as she grows. I even love the opportunity I have to shelter and protect my wife from whatever troubles or problems she is going through. But the idea of shelter for our little one in Ethiopia is such a tremendous thought.
God led us to adopt from Ethiopia, there is no question about that. But a big factor in our decision were the staggering statistics from there. 4.3 million orphans, one of the largest orphan populations in the world, with 1 in 6 dying before their 5th birthday. 1 IN 6. When I read this I thought of my 10 nieces and nephews. I couldn’t imagine having just ONE of them taken away. It tears me up just thinking about it. To say I felt compelled would be too much of an understatement. I honestly cannot think of a way to describe how I feel now. To say that it is my mission in life would seem overly dramatic, but I don’t care. That about sums it up perfectly.
Steph and I will stop at nothing to get this little one here. I’ll quit going out to eat. I’ll get rid of cable and internet. We will sell our damn cars and house if that is what it comes down to. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my daughter. And there is probably nothing in the world you wouldn’t do for your kids or nieces or nephews. I feel the same love for a child I have never met as I do for my own daughter. This kind of love is only from God. I know this because I have felt it from Him. He feels it for you and He feels it for me and you better believe He feels it for orphans everywhere.
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27
Little one, we are coming for you. Hang on. We will be your shelter.