Adopting from Ethiopia : One Family’s ‘Imperfect but Perfect’ Story
You may know this about me already; I’m kinda into adoption. You may also know I am somewhat private about my family’s personal story – I have shared as much of our International Adoption story, our Failed adoption story, and our Private Domestic Adoption story as I care to at this point. If you haven’t read them yet – they are kinda cool. But our story is just one tiny window into the world of adoption. While this is not necessarily an Adoption Blog, I do love having a platform where we can share resources as well as other people’s adoption stories! I know Adopting from Ethiopia is on so many people’s hearts nowadays and I am so excited one of my friends who adopted from Ethiopia is willing to share her story! Below is my friend’s adoption story, in her own words……
We received our two precious girls in the middle of a road outside the US Embassy in Addis Ababa on Valentine’s Day 2011. This was the beginning of an emotional day. Our older daughter proceeded to vomit on me in that first car ride, refused to come with us after her goodbye ceremony that afternoon, and threw socks at us while she was standing naked in the corner of the guest house. Our younger daughter was in shock and just sat there for the ride. Their lives were changing quickly.
I will never forget my daughter’s first breath on American soil. We stepped off the airplane; she stood still, looked around, and took a very deep breath and started screaming. At 3 years old, she knew her life was changed forever. She knew she would no longer hear the singing voices of her native language, she would no longer smell the city mixed with the nature, she would no longer share a room with 20 other girls. Her life was changed and she was terrified. There was nothing I could do to help her. I just kept repeated “I love you.” and “I am sorry.” in my broken Amharic.
We grew together as a family. We had many rough moments those first few months as we learned about each other. I felt a loss of our previous life, no screaming, tantrumming, fighting, and defiant children. I used my blog as “therapy” and I documented many of our difficulties there for that first year we were home. As we entered into our second year home, my blog slowed and eventually stopped because I couldn’t find a voice for it. That is when I realized that our craziness had turned into a normal life with busy kids. We had found our new normal.
My baby, who is now 5, has just started the grieving process. She will cry uncontrollably and says she misses her momma. Again, I repeat “I love you.” and “I am sorry.” Thankfully, we no longer have a language barrier so we are able to communicate our shared love for her Ethiopian mommy and our wish that she was still alive or that we had a picture of her. Four years later, our bond and our love is strong. My baby cannot start her day without several goodbyes to her dad and a cuddle session with me, her momma. My strong-willed older daughter loves to cuddle in the chair and watch her favorite show or read a book with me.I cannot imagine our life without them. They are the most amazing, creative, strong, beautiful, and perfectly imperfect children.As I lay here in the early morning hours with a girl flanked on either side of me, I am grateful for the opportunity to be their mother. I am thankful that they have found a way to love both of their sets of parents. I am also very aware and very sad for the losses their little hearts have endured at such a young age. We do our best to keep Ethiopia alive in our home and in their hearts as we will continue to honor their first parents. At the same time, we are raising cheerleaders, dancers, and girl scouts. We have blended a family of Ethiopian and American customs and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We are blessed.
Thank you to my friend for sharing your adoption story! I am so thankful for people who are willing to share a story that proves that life does not have to be perfect to be absolutely wonderful. So many people ask me how to adopt from Ethiopia and I know they will love reading your family’s adoption journey! If you have ever considered adoption – here is a little diddy I wrote chocked full of Adoption Resources.