Beletu (far right) is a rock star mom, the kind that can make any child melt into her arms, the kind that never has to raise her voice and yet all her children know exactly what she wants, and are happy to do it for her. I know because I have watched her for many years, and seen the way she takes on a child who the rest of us have no idea what to do with, and she gives her everything to loving that kid until what comes out the other end is a completely different person. Like I said, Beletu is a rock star mom.
For those of you who are new here, Bring Love In is a organization (although we cringe every time we call ourselves that, we feel like more of a family) of people from all over the world who are coming together to give the simplest of solutions to orphans in Ethiopia. What we do is pair them with widows from the local community, and together they make a new forever family. So far we have placed 57 children from the government orphanages in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 9 new families that we fully care for. We provide everything from private schooling, some funds for the moms, food, rent, all the way to resident counselors who are on our staff that meet with the kids to help them process the tough things they have had to deal with in their lives. As you can imagine many of the children who come to us have seen the worst of circumstances, and healing is not just an overnight thing. We are committed to walk with them on this tough road, and to help envision a bright future. After a few years of doing this we beam with joy when we hear our kids talking about how they want to be doctors, or pastors, or how they want to help change their country for the better because of the chance they have been given. All this to say, God is good, and we are thankful to be here watching all of this good unfold because of the support of hundreds of people around the world who have stepped up to help.
Anyhow, back to Beletu the rock star mom. Beletu was the first mom in our first home, she is the mom of moms, the wise woman who has been around the block so many times that she can walk it with her eyes closed. The reason why we are talking about Beletu today is because she and her family of seven children need sponsors to help with the bills. The way we do things is we create a family and then look for sponsors who will give towards supporting that family financially. The total cost for everything to take care of one family here in Ethiopia is $1200 per month. For Beletu we are in need today of $650 more to meet the financial costs of this family each month.
Will you help out a rock star mama today? Click here to set up a monthly donation, you will be paired with Beletu and every few months we will send you updates on your new forever family so you can stay in touch with the lives that you are helping to shape.
I wanted to share this with you, a few years back when we first brought Beletu on with Bring Love In I had a chance to sit down with her to ask her about her life story. Here is what she had to say.
“Thank you so much for coming!” I say as I am released from Beletu’s warm hug.
“Thank you!” She replies in english, but quickly moves on to Amharic and Yabi starts to translate our conversation.
“I am so blessed to be able to come and be a part of this ministry, and to be able to work with the children.” She says with a smile.
“We are blessed to have you.” I reply, feeling genuinely honored to have her here with us today.
“We are excited about being finally able to start opening the homes, this time of getting the license and preparing on our end has taken longer than we had hoped but we are glad that it has all been done the right way.” I pause in the middle of my sentence and jump from my seat, Everly is heading out the front door and I dash off to grab her and find out what is happening.
“I need to go potty” Everly my three year old daughter says as I scoop her up into my arms. “Well the potty is back here” I say to her as we walk back towards the bathroom.
A few minutes later we are seated at the table again and I start up once more.
“I wanted to ask you a bit about your story, so that I can share it with the people who are supporting Bring Love In. Would you be okay sharing with me about your life?”
“Yes” She says, her eyes turn towards the ground, almost as if she is ashamed of her story. I pause and give her a moment before I start in.
“How long have you lived away from your son?” I ask, gently trying to encourage her to speak, but not wanting to make her feel like I am pushing her.
“Eight years ago, when my son was three years old I became very sick. I tried to go to the doctor in my village which is about 11 hours bus-ride from the city, but no none could figure out what was wrong with me. Finally I found a way to get to the city and saw a doctor who could help me. He told me that I had TB and that I needed several months of treatment or else I would die. I stayed with a friend and started the treatment. But I was not able to tell anyone in my family why I was gone for so long because no one had a phone in my village. It was almost six months before I was able to go back home.”
“Was it hard for you to be away from your son and husband?” I ask.
“Yes, I loved both of them very much and was sad that I had to be gone for so long. I wanted to go see them and tell them that I was going to be ok, but I had to stay for my treatment”
“I am sorry” I say as I see the desperate pain in her eyes.
“Once I finally came home, my husband had already married another woman.” She says, a tear forming in the corner of her eye.
“He said that he thought I was dead, and that he did not want to wait for me if I was never coming home.” I cried and tried to tell him that I still wanted to be his wife, but he said it was too late, and that it was my fault that I did not come back sooner. My son had been moved in with my family and I was no longer accepted in my village any more. I was outcast by everyone, and I did not know what I could do.”
She scoots her chair away from the table and leans her head into her hands for a moment, then quickly regains her composure, leans back against the seat and continues on.
“My son stayed living with my family, and I came back to the city by myself. I thought that if I could not be with my people any more, at least I could make money and send some back to my son so he could get a good education. I found a job making a little money and started attending a good church here in Addis. It was not the life that I wanted for myself, but I was learning about God, and reading my bible. I found strength in my new friends from church.”
“Are you excited that your son will be able to come and live with you now?”
“Yes! I have prayed for a way that I can be his mother once again, and now, finally after more than 8 years, God has provided. He will come live with me in the house with the other children, and he can go to a better school here in the city. We are blessed to be able to be together again.”
“Do you have a job now?” I ask. It has been nearly a year since she last worked with us at Drawn From Water, and we never had intended for it to take this long for us to call her and offer her employment once again.
“Yes, I am a waitress at a local restaurant. I make about 600 Birr ($34.50) each month with tips and the salary.
“Have you been living in a house?”
“Yes, my sister and I split the rent on a very small metal shack. We are happy to have somewhere to live.”
Beletu’s story is just a tiny glimpse into the struggle of a widow that is all too common in Ethiopia, when ones husband leaves or dies it is nearly impossible for a woman to make it, jobs are scarce and even those who do find work the pay is so small its very hard to make ends meet. Life is tough, but the help you give through Bring Love In is making a difference, we have 156 families who we support through our Keep One Home sponsorship program, then there are the 57 kids who we have given family to, and also there are the 40 staff at our office who are well taken care of. We know we will never change everything, but we are doing what we can, and seeing wonderful things come of it. We would love it if you would join us by helping to sponsor Beletu and her family of 7 former orphans.