I have struggled off and on with Christmas guilt ever since we started our adoption journey to bring Grace home in October 2004. The more I learned of the realities of so many people around the world, the more guilty I felt for that silly CD I just HAD to have; and the book, and the sweater. After we returned from Ethiopia, I regularly looked around the house we are blessed with, and felt a certain sense of disdain for our spoiled nature. How could I have peace in this house after seeing so many people living on the streets; begging and starving. We even saw a dead, naked man that everyone was simply walking around. Why wasn't I hearing about these things as the lead story on the news every night? How could human life be so worthless.
Eventually, I came to the understanding that it is OK to be blessed. God didn't do that by accident. However, I can NEVER live a life of complacency again. Even if these stories aren't plastered on the front page of every newspaper, I know. I've seen children sing and dance in thanks for the gift of 1 Birr (worth about 8 cents when we were there). I learned that it is important to have left-overs boxed up at the end of a meal because there will always be a beggar that needs them before I can get back to my hotel room. The world may turn a blind eye to these tragedies, but I can't. My daughter is one of millions of children in the world that deserve to have a family to love them; and I need to do whatever I can to make that happen.
My efforts are often rather small. We don't have extra money in our bank account to send cash off to all the worthy organizations that could do good with it; but we do have family and friends that have been inspired by our adoption story, and have made their own contributions. I am awfully busy with six kids living in my house, but the kids' grandparents have put in time and effort to make sure that some great things to bring awareness and cold hard cash to the adoption cause happen. So, now as we walk through another Holiday season, I don't feel the guilt. I am doing the part that is mine for now. I am advocating, and lovingly raising children with the knowledge that there is a great big world out there, and they are going to need to give back for all that they have been blessed with.
My old friend, Eileen, left me a link for this video in my "We are the World" comments. It is a good reminder to all of us that this isn't a new issue (the 80's hair-dos kind of give it away). The world still needs us, and that means in whatever capacity we can muster up. If everyone did a little bit, we would live on a very different planet.