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When Ethiopians Met Us

The other morning at Legoland, we heard some Russians, “привет” we said. They nodded and did a “Russian smile” which is mostly kind eyes and a head nod, but totally nice. THEN some Ethiopians met US.

The father saw Poppy and ran over to us, and in the same manner of humility we saw while in Ethiopia, he laid down on his stomach at the edge of the pool at her feet to greet her, “Beautiful girl, hello beautiful girl!!!! Oh hello sweet girl!!!” His warmth and humility reminding us of our friends, and every stranger back in Ethiopia. He waved his family over, overflowing with joy of his land, of Poppy’s land, and his smiling children and gorgeous (of course) wife came over, grinning, eager to meet us.
His smile was electric and he kissed Poppy on both hands while she looked away in her Princess way she did with the people in Ethiopia, but grinning, knowing she’s loved. “Salam!” we told them, we were so happy to see them and talked for a long, long time. We told them we were in Addis (pronounced ‘add-ees’) and how much we love Ethiopia. He put his hands together and bowed a little bit, “God bless you for what you have done for this little girl, she is so beautiful, so happy. She is a princess, you will see. When you come to Las Vegas (Where they live), come find us, we will welcome you!!” he said with his stadium light teeth and smile, his outstretched arms to us and our children, our boys grinning back and watching him in awe. As we all waved and walked away, I told Maria, “Maria, that’s how everyone is in Ethiopia.”
“NO WAY!!!!” she looked at me smiling.
“We should go there!!”
“We should,” I agreed.
My kids looked at Poppy smiling her smile, as if they see why her spirit glows as it does, like it all clicked into place.

That just made my whole day. What a blessing, what an inspiration.

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“Come back when you can…”

I am thankful for the community within this little blog. I learn so much from the people who read and comment and share.  The last time I wrote about visiting the home for older people, I received so many kind and encouraging comments, some from people who work at places like this sharing the message, “Go back!”

While reading the responses, I made a point that we would, and the we would soon, and hopefully often.

Today was our day to return, we even had our friends come meet us, they dressed in their best dress up clothes, Rapunzel and Minnie mouse.

Elijah met Doria who’s face lit up when he touched her arm.  She spoke kindly to him in German, staring at his sweet face like he was her own child before giving him a hug and kiss.  He couldn’t understand the words she whispered out to him, but that didn’t stop them from a connection, from bringing a smile of joy to a face that had been blank.

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We visited with the guests and then we asked, “Where is Virginia?”

“Which Virginia, we have 3.”

We described her and they pointed us to her room down a long hall lined with rooms.

We walked down the hall with shiny floors towards her room, we couldn’t see much inside, it was very dark, a little light glowing from behind a crooked curtain.

We walked in slowly, the boys in front, peeking around the hanging sheet separating people where the nurse was beckoning us.  Would she remember us?

When she saw them, she blinked a few times and squinted, “Hi Virginia!” Elijah said.

She squinted again, straightening up in her chair.  She looked at their smiling faces, and a kind smile filled the entirety of her face,


“You came back!”

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Maria asked if she would like to hear Harry Potter.

“Oh, I would love that, I used to be an English teacher back in Pennsylvania.”

Maria read her a few pages, “Maria, you are such a great reader,” Virginia told her.  Maria beamed.



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We had read Proverbs 16:24 before we went in, Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.//

Each kiddos told her something sweet, “You are BEAUTIFUL!” Elijah shouted.

“Thank you for letting me read to you….” Maria smiled.

“You are the best old person….ever,”  Finley said with a serious face.

She smiled, so comfortable with the noise and commotion that come with my crew.

“Thank you for coming, what do you guys have going on today.  I just love visitors, come back when you can.”

“We will,” we waved!




Sometimes I still can’t believe I’m the mother of four kids, I live in this illusion that I’m still so young, but the proof is is the pudding, I suppose, and this pudding has 4 kids, one of whom is a teenager. When we had the three, Maria would be in school, so I would just have the boys most of the day, it felt still so ‘typical,’ look, were still supa’ normal! But now when I look in the back of the car, at 4 smiling faces I’m like, dang, yep, all mine. No denying it. 4 kids. But it’s the best.

They all play, and care about each other, I swear it was more mentally draining just having one, and worrying about him all the time. I still feel like just me, the regular me, but now with more people who I get to spend my life with. I feel genuinely like my kids are lucky to have each other, they are blessed. I guess I go back and forth between feeling like I hit the jackpot and tripping out–it honestly isn’t any harder than three, and in every way better, richer, and what’s meant to be   #AdoptionIsFun   #fourkidsissurreal   #tooooootallynormal 

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