Saturday, October 1, 2011

Taking it personally

This is the first picture we ever saw of our son, Feyissa Thomas. It was taken in May of 2010 when he was relinquished to the orphanage. What do you see here? I see a sad and scared little boy, and also a child that we would call malnourished here in the United States.

His intake paperwork, however, doesn't mention a thing about malnourishment. Is that because they were trying to be deceptive? No, I don't think so. I believe it's all a matter of degrees. In the third world, malnourishment can and often does look more like this:

Obviously, this is a picture of a severely malnourished child. Malnutrition has many levels of severity. The pictures of malnourished famine victims coming out of the Horn of Africa strike my heart very painfully these days. Thomas comes from an area of Ethiopia considered endangered by the extreme drought that is affecting Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. My son could be one of these children, if circumstances were just a tiny bit different. His own blood relatives, as subsistence farmers, are endangered.

For us, it is good to know that after just a few months at the orphanage, with good nutrition and medical care, Feyissa Thomas looked like this:

It's hard to tell in these baggy clothes, but he gained weight quickly. His face is rounder; his skin looks brighter; he is healthier. He continues to grow very rapidly, as you can see from his photo in my previous post.

My fervent prayer is that all of the children in the drought area get a chance to live a healthy life. I once again encourage you to consider an emergency donation to the aid organization of your choice. Just Google "Horn of Africa Famine Relief"... you should find several worthy groups.