I actually felt organized this morning while we got ready to head to the orphanage, my diaper bag all packed. Donations packed. Today was the day! The big day. The reason one whole suitcase was filled with 2T clothes, diapers, baby wash…
Fekadu picked us up, and we drove down the road. When we pulled into the heavy metal gate, we saw some women there hanging onto the porch railing and when they saw us, they lit up and started waving, leaning down to see our faces in the car window.
It is such a different experience from our last adoption. We are welcomed, there is life and warmth here, happiness for the children. Sister Letti kisses us on the cheeks three times, and told us, “Just a moment, she’s just getting ready.”
I walk outside. There are two girls, maybe ages 7 and 5, pacing up and down the cement walk, each holding a hand made book in their hands, inches from their face as they walk slowly up and down. I look closer and they are filled with pictures with smiling faces, handwritten, “Mommy,” under a kind looking woman, a picutre of a family dog, other children, smiling back at the girls holding their books like their most precious treasure. These must have been given to them by families soon to be adopting them, these two chosen girls. Older, yet chosen by these families. The girls touch the pages gently with their fingers, turning them softly over and over while they walk in their tattered dresses. The older girl is showing some of the adults, pointing to her book as they drink tea and share bread, they smile and she runs off to be alone, walking with her book just inches from her face.
They bring Poppy down and it seems like she just woke up. She walks into our arms and sits.
The staff, men and women sweetly call her name, blowing her kisses. Ethiopians know how to love. We see our friend’s son, he is 11 and they are waiting on extended medicals for he and his sister. “Your parents are coming soon,” I tell him. He smiles. The men and women all have their arms around him, he is well loved, gentle and kind. So much goodness for everyone involved.
Sister Letti gives us her medication, and invites us to a coffee ceremony, “So we can celebrate, say goodbye and cry together with joy.”
And…we’re off. With our Russian adoption, there seemed to be fear and escape involved as disapproving people watched us go in a hurry. This was just calm, and a kind goodbye, people waved us off.
We tell Fekadu we want to go to Lucy, even though it’s early, we’d been up since 3am and we were ready to eat. It is empty except for some staff, and tortoises. People here love children, Ethiopians will hold her hand, and say sweet things to her.
When our food came, Fekadu offered to hold her so we could eat, but she held onto me.
“Mommy’s girl,” he smiled.
“It’s ok, Fekadu, I have 4 kids, multitasking is the one thing I’m good at.” She sat quietly on my lap as we ate. It’s so different, little girls, from little boys. Our boys would have completed a 5k around this place causing minor (major) destruction in the time she sat sweetly, smiling at us.
We walked around the garden, the sounds of a city filled with people walking, eating, sharing bread on the street in the air.
When we got home, we played with some toys. She sat, peacefully and loved the rings and bag they came in. We played for a long time, just sitting. Girls are so different than boys, that was my theme for the day… I may mention it again.
I got her ready for a bath. Our room comes with a huge, luxury tub that I filled with warm water and baby soap, it smelled so good. I picked up her cute self, about to put her in the ankle deep water, but she picked her feet up and held onto me. She didn’t want her toes to touch the water, maybe this was her first ever bath in a tub. We poured out the toys, and she reached down, touching the water, and retracting her hands. And again. She splashed it a little bit, and squealed. Then she stood in the water, and I had her sit. She splashed and smiled up at me, a look of wonder on her face.
We washed her with a wash cloth, and then she held it herself and rubbed her tummy with bubbles, looking at us, “Like this?” Such a sweet helper. I took out her braids so we could wash her hair, and she looked like a sweet elf. She would have stayed in the bath all day once she knew it was cozy, warm and fun.
The more attention we give her, the more alive she becomes. She loves reaching for us, being held, having us rub her back or feet. Cutest little toes.
She put on her, (WHAT!?) so cute jammies and we brushed teeth. I don’t think having her teeth brushed was easy for her, but she was a sport, and we let her try herself afterwards.
“Mama, I’m pro. I like personal hygenie, I promise I will try to teach my brothers about it…” -direct quote, lookout boys.
She didn’t want to eat lunch, she just wanted her sippy cup of water. Once she learned to drink from it, she was hooked and drank and drank, never letting it go. I remember when picking up the kids from Russia, we had this sense of mild panic, they were so skinny, so neglected. We felt a huge need to immediatly give them vital care.
With Poppy, that fear is not present. I started to rock her, and she melted into me, gazing up into my eyes, and put her chubby little hand on mine, as if saying, “My mama.” She blinked deeply as I sang over her, and fell right asleep. This was a first for me in motherhood, immediate sleep with one song? Heavens be praised. We tucked her into her crib with her huge, pink comfort silkie and she slept for a couple hours, warm, clean, cozy, loved.
When she woke up, she wanted mama and we sat together for a long time. Fekadu invited us to dinner with friends, but we had to decline so we could stay in. We got her dressed, played toys and marveled at her sweetness. There are no words to describe it.
At dinner, we were super popular. It may have just been Poppy. The staff loved her, stroking her arms. She would look away, or look to us, but knew she was cool
Everything made her happy, she loved feeding herself. She ate cauliflower, steamed spinach and noodles. Bread and babyfood squeezies are unacceptable and will be thrown on the ground.
She didn’t want anything until she tried cauliflower roasted in butter. If she gets crumbs in her hands, she holds them out to us to have them wiped. Andrew gave her the yolk of a hard boiled egg, which was also unacceptable, and she held out her tongue to us in panic to have it wiped. Andrew and I literally can’t handle it, we catch each other’s eye all the time, she’s making us soft.
//You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. Matt.5.5-9
We got our medicals the day we arrived. Submitted to Embassy yesterday. We emailed the American Embassy right away with a total casual, minor begging for an appointment. We are hoping to get one before Friday, two days as options. Please pray that we do since our flight is that afternoon…
Thank you! And thank you to each person who supported us along this road. Adoption can be hard work, and close to impossible without support of good people. So thank you, we share this amazing day with you.
Tonight, Andrew and I were so tired, we got ourselves and her ready, and just before I was going to rock her, I laid down with her in my arms. We both feel asleep immediately. I’ve always said I am not a cosleeper, kids are too crazy, but when I woke up an hour later, seeing all of us asleep in the bed because she had never fussed once and loves being held…I may be a convert. Well, we’ll see. I moved her to her crib so that she wouldn’t be disturbed.
Right now it’s 5:30am in Ethiopia. We are headed to the country when everyone wakes up and we’ll be hoping on an Embassy appoinment. Things have gone well so far, we just need that final meeting.
Anyways…..God is good. Bye! Salem!
“Forever my love”
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”