Tuesday, December 27, 2011

1st Christmas Through the Eyes of a 5 Year Old

One year ago today, we saw Meskie's face for the first time. We had known about her being in an orphanage for a couple months but had anxiously awaited the news that her paperwork was complete so we could officially begin the process to adopt her. It's hard to believe it's been a year. She's been home 5 months now and we really are in awe at how well she's adjusted. She is happy, loving, kind, smart, spirited. She takes life by the horns...seemingly not intimidated by anything. So it was no surprise she loved every second when it came to the holidays.

It's been pretty awesome to experience so many firsts with a child who is older. Christmas was pretty magical this year. Did Meskie celebrate Christmas in Ethiopia? She very likely celebrated Genna, Ethiopian Christmas which is celebrated in early January. Genna does not have Santa, nor Christmas trees, nor Christmas stories, nor gifts. So there were a lot of firsts this Christmas. And she loved every last one of them. Including Santa.

The other kids helped her understand what to expect. They filled in the gaps by telling her what's coming. And the build up was crazy this year. For some reason we got everything kicked off early, including the tree, seeing Santa, Christmas movies/shows, making cookies, and various festivities. She was excited about it all. So when we were finally down to single digits for our count down to Christmas, she could hardly contain herself...literally, she would jump into our arms and squeal saying Santa, Santa, Santa!

So what was it really like Christmas morning? Pure joy. By all.

The cool thing is that the kids were genuinely appreciative of what they got. Much to be thankful for this Christmas. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Special Bond

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. ~Marion C. Garretty

I am so thankful for the bond these two share. It's that type of bond difficult to put into words...they are happy to just be together. It is such a rarity to hear any dissension between them. They laugh. They share. They hold each other up. They dance. They smile. They hug. They understand each other...even when they didn't speak the same language. They are playmates. They never tire of each other. 

They love their brothers dearly and they are all close with each other. But there is a special bond between these two which I believe is a result of their shared background, culture, experiences, trauma, looks, memories. I know there may be times when they don't always get along this well, but I believe they will always share a special bond. And I will never underestimate the power of that bond as they grow through life together.

I can't tell you how lucky I feel as Meskie has begun to share her childhood stories with us. To see Etta's face light up to hear of how Meskie would carry her on her back (at the ripe old age of 3). It was clear she looked after her little sister until she last saw her and has now resumed that role. She's helping complete Etta's story. I am so grateful.

I sometimes find myself in disbelief at what has transpired this past year. It was only one year ago that we thought our family of five was complete. But little did we know, there was a little girl just waiting for us to come bring her home too. Waiting to see her sister again. They have found each other and through that, have reclaimed some of their childhood....building more memories each day. Happiness.