Two weeks ago, Kennewick football coach Bill Templeton was grateful for the gift of technology as he watched via internet from a hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as his Lions recorded their third shutout of the year against the Pasco Bulldogs 35-0.
What brought him to that faraway place was the gift of love.
A trip that long is never easy, but the Templetons are looking forward to a profoundly adventurous journey of adding to their already rich family of four (they had two children before the adoption: Hannah and Atticus). Templeton and his wife Kelli Jo were there to put the final touches on their adoption of two Ethiopian boys.
"Ten or fifteen years ago, I was listening to a sermon on the radio. It talked about King David and his best friend Jonathan's son. When Jonathan passed away, David adopted his son," Templeton said.
"The sermon was about how adoption is a beautiful metaphor for how God adopts us into His family."
The process began almost two years ago in February at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Portland, where Templeton and his wife met the two boys — seven-year-old Gezahegne and four-year-old Endale — for the first time. They spent some time with each other and decided to push ahead with the adoption.
It's an expensive process — Templeton had heard it could be as much as $50,000 to adopt both boys — and it takes a lot of patience ("It's been a long journey," he said). However, he credited the generosity of friends, the church and the local community for their many levels of support.
"Most of it is plane tickets," Templeton said. "It ended up being closer to about $35,000."
Two years later, Bill and Kelli Jo couldn't be happier with their decision.
"We've been blessed," Tempoleton said.
It sounds like the boys are starting to adapt to their new home and city. For starters, they've both taken 'American' names. Gezahegne, now 9, is now called Silas. His brother Endale, now 6, is known as Jonathan.
"They probably know about 40 or 50 English words each," Bill said. "Their first experience with American football was our playoff win over Mt. Spokane."
Templeton loves telling his Kennewick players that it's not where you start, it's where you finish. A win Saturday against Kamiakin puts the Lions in the state semifinals for the first time since 1992.
But by graciously allowing Silas and Jonathan into their lives, the Templetons have shown others the true meaning of family and how, sometimes, long journeys are worth every single step.