Temesgen’s entire life has become a story of thankfulness after a difficult time passed. His journey to America after losing his parents, being stolen from his grandparents, a year of being passed back and forth between uncles and more than a decade in an orphanage has left him very thankful.

By Kent Bush (Shawnee News-Star) |

His name means “thanks.”

Temesgen Lakew Chemeso received the name after his mother had a lot of pain in childbirth.

“Where I was born, women didn’t go to a hospital,” he said. “Women helped each other.”

There is an Amharic phrase in Ethiopia “temesgen gétayé” that is a way of saying “Thank God” after a difficult situation has passed.

His entire life has become a story of thankfulness after a difficult time passed. His journey to America after losing his parents, being stolen from his grandparents, a year of being passed back and forth between uncles and more than a decade in an orphanage has left him very thankful indeed.

“In the orphanage, I had been praying for a family for a long time,” Temesgen said. “I would ask God, “Why not me?'”

He learned people usually wanted to adopt younger children and he had almost given up all hope.

That’s when Dr. Krista Hands, a mathematics professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, came to his orphanage for a third time on a mission trip. On this trip, Dr. Hands and her husband Jeff and their two children Abi and Eli were also working on official paperwork to bring home a teenage girl from his orphanage.

The paperwork issues were working out one by one, but the catch was that Dr. Hands would have to remain in Ethiopia for 30 days while Jeff took care of the kids at home.

During the 30-day stay, Dr. Hands began reading through the Book of Esther in the Bible with a group of four older children in the orphanage.

ALSO READ: Roseburg (Oregon) Teen Left Ethiopia to Join Adoptive Family 9 Years Ago

Temesgen was one of those four children. She fell in love with him and felt like God was telling her that he was also supposed to be part of their family.

“After all the angst and frustration with Lelise’s process and the shear terror at how this would cause upheaval in our home, I was expecting Jeff to be the voice of reason he always is and tell me how nuts I was,” Dr. Hands said. “Instead he simply said ‘okay.'”

“I wasn’t on board before,” Jeff said. “I worried about what it would do to our family. It took a lot of prayer for me to get comfortable with the first adoption. But it was different when she called me about Temesgen. It was obviously part of what we were called to do.”

The following day, Dr. Hands asked Temsegen if he would like to come to America and be a part of her family.

Continue reading this story on Shawnee News-Star
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