Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beauty from Ashes

In January 2001 I was a college Junior right here in the great city of Chicago. I attended Bible college and certainly spent more time socializing and exploring this fascinating city then studying the Bible. I paid for college with a part time gig at Banana Republic and by being a Resident Assistant to a dorm floor. In my job as an RA (remember: Bible college), I spent my time encouraging people to follow the strict dress code, go to chapel, not kiss those of the opposite gender (or same for that matter) and absolutely no dancing!!! The RA cohort would have weekly meetings to discuss pressing RA things (like, really important things that you would most likely not understand). I have fond memories of the relationships that I made during that time and thoroughly enjoyed that phase of my life. As I type this, it genuinely feels like a different lifetime ago. And it many ways it was. I have gained nine years, some pounds and a lot more life experiences.

Since 2001 I've graduated college, lived in Ethiopia x2, gotten married, gotten a job, several apartments, one MSW degree, ran some races, traveled to Ethiopia (x5), Ivory Coast, Romania, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Mexico, Canada (x infinity), been to countless weddings and a few funerals and adopted a child.

Today I'm thinking back to those RA meeting in 01. I'm remembering how our Resident Director and his wife hosted a game night for the RA's and announcing to us that they were adopting from Haiti. They showed us pictures, the rooms that they had created for their children and talked excitedly about building their family through adoption. I was happy for them. I lost track of them over the years and in the meantime did all of those other things like get married. But I would occasionally think of them and was shocked to get back in touch with them several years ago (thanks, Facebook) only to find out that their adoptions were still not finalized. (The children have been living with them for many years now as the family serves as missionaries in Haiti).

You know what happened today? Today the children were finally given visas to enter the US and the adoptions will be finalized! NINE YEARS LATER!!!! And I thought that we had some painful days of waiting.

The tragedy in Haiti is unspeakable and has brought devastation to so many both in Haiti and around the world. This news brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart and I was reminded that beauty can be born of tragedy.


Tanya said...

love this post. it's neat to see some of your history and how you got to where you are today. so cool. also, thank you for sharing this wonderful good news that came out of this time of calamity!

Evelyn said...

I loved this post for so many reasons ... celebrating another family's finalization of adoption and hearing a bit of your story. What an interesting life you have had! I hope to meet you one day. Until then, peace to you and yours!

MMG said...

Your nerdy friend with a degree in theology and who thinks about this very topic (suffering and tragedy) alot is going to give her two cents here. Forgive me for sounding like a smartass.

Beauty (and hope!) is not born OF tragedy, but IN SPITE OF it.

Rahel said...

MMG----funny that you mention that...i actually really debated on the wording of that and ultimatly thought that in spite of was what I wanted to go for. I had already posted it and though no one would notice! :)))))

how could i be so naive! i totally agree with you and will make the appropriate changes!

Jen said...

What a beautiful story! It does make me look at the wait we experienced and realize how little I know. Thank you for sharing.

Ryane said...


Can you email me when you get a second. My parents are headed to Ethiopia later this year and want to go to the Mother Theresa home. I have some questions for you about things the sisters might need, etc.

Here's my email:
ryanemurnane at

(adopted Joseph through Gladney 9/09)

Firelance said...

Oh Meesh, I remember those RA meetings so well! Me and you would write notes to each other and roll our eyes, hide our yawns, and watch the clock tick.

My how we've grown/matured.

Didn't know that you had a blog. Found it via FB. Fun reading about you and your life.

Miss you. And love you too much!

Firelance said...

Ok, now this is Rob. Love your story and love you and your husband. It pleases me to no end that you have maintained and nurtured a friendship with my 4 favorite Bosnians in the world. Thank you. I left Chicago in a bittersweet way, part of which left me thinking, "who's going to be there for them?" You and Nathan are pure greatness and I'm so happy you are now parents. And by the way, I think I know the couple that you are talking about who finally got their adoptions finalized. Thanks for "welcoming the stranger" and "caring for the least of these."