One Year Ago Today …
We walked through the rain into IAN’s care center.
I was met by a woman who shouted “Meske!” and thrust this little one in front of me. Not quite the formal introduction I’d expected. We had decided that I would first take Caleb and Nate, Eden. I didn’t have time to think and nervously handed Eden what was intended to be Caleb’s gift. Our peace offerings weren’t necessary. It was clear they knew we were coming for them.
I’m not sure how long we’d stayed, but things like naptime, potty and snacks weren’t yet imposed on my priority list. We didn’t let go of them as we also held and cuddled the other children that lingered in and out of the room. We wanted them to know we were different than others who’d passed through. We participated in the traditional coffee ceremony, frequently interrupting conversation and play to whisper in their ears in Amharic “I am your mommy”, “I am your daddy.”
After what felt like minutes, but was probably hours, we said our goodbyes to the nannies that loved them so well. I wondered if they knew these goodbyes were forever.
We came to our temporary “home” and, after baths, dressed them in the pajamas that had been folded in a stack for months.
He slept like a rock. She spent her first night fighting sleep just so she could peer her head out from the covers every hour or so to make sure we were still there. I’ll never forget the sound of her little body jolting up in bed followed by a pause to allow for her eyes to adjust to the dark and search out our silhouettes under the sheets in the bed across from her.
In one year they’ve grown well more than over a foot taller (collectively). We’ve gone from 9 month dresses to 4T summer sweaters. The 18 month pajamas he wore in Ethiopia fit him for about a month.
Size and subsequent wardrobe changes pale in comparison to the heart changes I’ve seen in these children who rarely are anything but delightful. As I type, Eden is dancing in the family room singing “He is Yahweh”, a song with an African twist whose lyrics include the chorus “He turns the bitter into sweet.”
We celebrated in advance of their “Gotcha Day” over dinner and chocolate cake (a rarity around here) with friends, who also have recently adopted from Ethiopia. Our morning-of celebration will include “ooey-gooey” bread (a Hagerty favorite), and the unveiling of their first annual anniversary picture books. Twenty-something pages of month-by-month pictures and quoted sayings heard around these parts from the little brown people who have turned our world upside down.
I’m all filled-up with joy.
How can we not do this again?