Wednesday, April 08, 2009


This morning as I was doing Selah's hair, she told me that in Ethiopia she had some sort of infection or parasite on her scalp. She described her mother grinding up green leaves and putting them all over her head. And then she told me about how her mother would cry because they couldn't afford the doctor.....or school.....or food.

Next, she asked if we could send her mother some money.

How do you explain that you signed documents promising to not do that very thing? What do you say when it's so unfair that we have everything and she has nothing? How do we teach generosity, when we can't share with one of the most important women in our family's life?

Suddenly, buying edible Easter grass doesn't seem so important today.


Misty said...

Oh my goodness Gretchen. Did you just sit there and cry? What a beautiful little girl God has given you.

Stephanie said...

Gretchen that is so heartbreaking. I pray that Selah will someday understand why you couldn't send money.

Jenna said...


Who says you can't send money and why? My friends son had an article published in the SJR - . Do you find it accurate?

Praying for your family,

Gretchen Magruder said...

I believe that Ethiopia is a less-corrupt country than many of the other African nations the article discusses. I agree that one of the best ways we can help countries like Ethiopia is by helping the local economy. We tried to buy lots of things while we were there, but I wish we would have intentionally done more of that.

The problem our agency attempts to address with the "no gifts" rule is that of baby-selling. Even if our intention isn't to give the family something in exchange for their child, it might mean that to them....or it may look that way to other people who are backed into a corner, and suddenly they decide to relinquish parental rights in hopes of having an on-going relationship with a wealthy American family. It's a slippery slope, and there don't seem to be any easy answers.

Sandi said...

Gretchen your daughter is such a caring and wonderful person. I am so glad that I got a chance to meet her.

It is heartbreaking that we cannot support those who gave us so much.

I pray that one day she will understand this situation.

losiloni said...

So much of what you write really touches my heart.
I'm not sure Meron completely gets the whole money thing yet, but recently as we were getting ready for her 12 month report, she said she was happy we were sending pictures of her to her Ethiopian Mother.
I just smiled. I didn't/couldn't explain that she would not see the pictures. I cried that night.

Missy said...

What an absolute wonderful little girl!!!

Jill said...

I think if maybe you explained to Selah about how, even if you tried to send money, it would probably "disappear" before it got to her...she might understand that. Maybe you could ask her what her biggest concerns for her mom were (clean water, medical care, etc) and maybe find a cause related to those to support. A way to give back that really could help her mother and others around her.

It's so hard...that sent a piercing shot right to my heart. We will all have to answer these questions one day, I'm glad I've been given time to think them through. Lots of hugs!