You remember the old game that used to be played called, ‘Simon Says’ don’t you? One person stood in front of a group of other people and told them or showed them to do certain things. The key to the game was that you only said or did the thing if it was preceded by the leader saying the words, “Simon says …” You had to pay very close attention to whether ‘Simon’ said to do something. If he did say it, then you did it.
Hold that thought …
People have asked me why, after so many years in the field of child welfare, do I want to get into the field of international adoptions? They say that I should be thinking about retiring rather than thinking about finding families for children that are true orphans. It all relates to events in my life that I have experienced over the past few years; with books that I have read; my relationship with God; with people that He has brought into my life; and with taking a look at how He is orchestrating my life at present. I happen to believe that there are no coincidences in life and that the good Lord has a plan and purposefully goes about implementing it.
Solomon was truly a young man. He was polite, respectful of adults, friendly, had a huge, winning smile and answered my questions with insight and frankness. He had a good command of the English language and was not shy about asking me something if he didn’t understand what I was getting at. He was mature enough to have plans and ideas about his future. Solomon was also spiritually mature for someone so young
as well as being humble; probably his most salient quality.
I had just finished up my last interview with Solomon. I was now done talking to him … my ‘work’ with the family was finished. I was packing up my papers and notes and getting ready to leave the house and walk to my car. I remember thinking about how well he had made the transition to life here; that he had plans and dreams for himself; and I was encouraged by how his family was supporting him so well in his adjustment to the others in the home. He was truly loved by his dad, mom and brothers.
As I shook hands with him, said goodbye and turned to walk away I heard him say, “Mr. Rush, thank you for adopting me.”
I will never forget those words. The look of gratitude and appreciation on his face was worth all the family interviews, document gathering, evening sessions during the week and sessions on Saturday mornings. It had dawned on him that there was a lot of effort that went into bringing him halfway across the world. That it wasn’t just his family’s commitment to love him, guide him and care for him, but I was also a part (a small part) in making it happen.
I almost replied, “But Solomon, I didn’t adopt you.” I stopped myself, however. I didn’t want to discount what he had perceived; part of me selfishly felt sooo awesome to be thanked by someone; and I realized what he really meant by saying it. Hearing it issue forth from the mouth of a teenager was amazing!
I was so taken aback that I can’t remember exactly what I said. It was something like, “Solomon, you’re the one that did all the work and made all the adjustments to your new family and to the U.S.” (or it was something ‘snappy’ like that).
I can honestly say that the moment on that particular day inspired me. There must be other young people just like him (there was a fellow Ethiopian teen that had already been adopted by the same family); wanting to take advantage of an opportunity to not grow up in an orphanage.
To this day, I think about what ‘Solomon said’ and like Simon says, I paid very close attention. Even if I never hear another ‘thank you’ … what Solomon said was enough.