Monday marks 7 months since our family of six first came together... at Logan Airport in Boston.
In 7 months we’ve all had our shining moments. We’ve all had our dark moments. We’ve had lots of moments that just feel normal. Those are the moments I live for. I long for. The older kids not trying too hard. Not pushing too hard. The little one not resisting.
Sitota on the floor playing with her letter cards. The boys playing the circle game. Lucy singing/drawing/reading.
Or all 4 out in the yard, neighbor kids joining in the fray. Little sister yelling “STOP!” Or just the sounds of summer as they play and play, coming in time and again for water and snacks and mom watching out the window.
Or all 4 sprawled on the furniture each with their head buried in one screen or another.
But all 4. Together. Squeeee. Even when I’ve lost my patience again. Even when they are all over each other. Even when.
I put her to bed tonight, taking all of the time she needed. Not feeling rushed or tired. Loving when she grabbed my face, “I love yoooou 5 times.”
Have I told you how smart she is? I like to brag like that. She knows a lot. Letters, numbers, and she expresses herself clearly. She finds ways to tell us even when she doesn’t know the words. Like in Florida when she gestured to her eyes and said “Mom, can I have... can I have my... Can I have my pool face?” When she wanted her goggles.
She loves to dance and sing. Sometimes she says, “Don’t look at me!” And when we go to one of Lucy’s performances she asks, “Mom, can I sing up there? When I am bigger?”
She’s finally trying new food, and often insists that we close our eyes and cheer for her when she does.
Today was her first trip to Mama’s happy place. (Ok, I have several happy places, but this is a big one.) We all went to Sebago lake. She wanted nothing to do with the water at first, but soon let Aidan slowly bring her into the lake. It does something to me when I see her lanky little arms wrapped around his neck.
We’ve come so far, and with our court date anniversary coming up in August, I can’t help but replay where we were 7 months ago, but also where we were a year ago.
This time last year I wrote:
No update. Just waiting. "We're working on it." And the days pass and we get closer and closer to the day the courts close.
Feeling melancholy and frustrated and tired.
Tired body tired spirit.
I don’t remember that day, but I remember how it felt. It wasn’t long after we’d gotten word that the orphanage Sitota was at was in dire straits. No money. No food. No director.
That was fun.
A year ago I leaned so heavily on my friends to hold me up. Lucky to have had so many hands and hearts reaching out to me. To us. Thank you.
A year ago my adoption network was largely comprised of people I did not know. Many we met in August, and cried each other out of Ethiopia after passing court, but long before being submitted for Embassy. These women knew in a way others couldn’t. We held each other up.
A year ago we still called her Sadie. We hadn’t yet seen how every single stranger we met in Ethiopia would light up when we told them her name. “Do you know what that means?” they all asked. “She is a gift.” Yes, yes, we know.
So we decided she’d spend the rest of her life spelling her name. Just like her mom does.