Makeda's newest trick, or accomplishment, or whatever you'd like to term it is to stand alone and emanate - share - the most incredible of facial expressions. (She has become quite expressive, you know. I predict some serious, yet irresistible attitude come...oh, perhaps around her second birthday and likely lasting until what, her sixteenth?) Her expression, it's a cross between absolute shock and awe, pride and genuine joy. And, it's the most incredible thing to witness.
And it is completely put on. She has us eating out of her sweet, dark, perfectly chubby little hands. Our little drama queen in the making.
Two days ago she could hold her "free stand" stance for a second or two. Yesterday, it was more like three or four seconds. This afternoon she was standing for likely near to ten seconds. She's making remarkable progress...leaps and bounds. She gets attention each time she attempts her new milestone...and she knows it. She is a very bright little girl. I think of and give thanks for her birth mother every time I look at her and more so every time she hits a new (tangible or not) milestone...and they are frequent in occurrence. I think of her birth mother often. And it's all I can do not to hop on a plane to Harar, seek her, and share in the marvels of her daughter's accomplishment(s).
Her facial expression never changes, once she climaxes to her standing, very poised biped position.
And I can't help but wonder, what if.
What if we'd thrown in the towel nearly three years ago.
What if before that, we had never tried.
What if we were too calloused to allow the burden of the orphan to ache our hearts.
What if we had turned the other way and ignored or overlooked that inkling, the nudge, the whisper, to chose this very winding path.
I read articles such as the one just released and I recall with chills how we first felt when that horrific nightmare-of-an-email entered my inbox. I reflect upon play dates, conversations, friendships I would consider one-of-a-kind, all formed and taking place in their entirety due to this path and the way it wove into the most horrific then joyful experience we could have (never ever) fathomed. The connection we feel to a country about which we would have only read, had we not pursued the tap on our heart muscles. The ache, the relentless twinge inside, felt each and every single time a friend goes to meet or bring home her child. (I still scheme ways to fit inside a suitcase undetected by an airport scanner.) The passion planted inside, which took years to grow, and which catalyzed a move to a new province, a new home. These are all results, side effects, gifts, rewards.
They are unique.
This is rare.
We are living a privilege.
And I can't help but rejoice in Our Now. And in the strength, the raw and pure ache observed and fought and carried on the shoulders of those families today in the thick of our life a mere two and a half years ago - the determination you don't know exists. A(nother) agency will now survive because families have and continue to rise up and fight for the faces they have yet to know. I believe the instinct to fight for our children (the ones we know and equally the ones we do not) is intrinsic. There is no other explanation.
This place has been a joy. It has been a therapy. It has been a place of refuge and a place of witness and a place of elation and a place of pure despair. It has been a space in which we, as a family and I as a Mama and one very flawed human have shared and shed light into moments of our little life and our journey. Here, I have met friends. Here, we have been blessed and graced by the most incredible, faithful, strong, real people.
As the saying(s) go(es): There is strength in numbers and There is safety in numbers.
Here we have found both. You have graced us with this.
But this part of our journey is over.
Truthfully, our family is here due mainly (largely?!) because those whispers turn taps turn nudges turn scratches on our hearts experienced - rejoiced in - fruition.
And she is home.
Makeda is home.
Our family - our five - is complete. We are whole. Our house is a home and the walls shriek joy-filled screams (well, most of the time...). And so this space, this blessed space is also. It is complete and it is done.
As we grow, we do so in all parts of our life. We avoid stagnation when desiring such a path as this. And I chose growth. And change. Our five is the new norm and so while there will always be moments to share, this chapter of our lives must close and complete the book to be placed on the shelf. It just feels time. It feels right.
Truthfully, I started this place with the intention (among many) to one day print and bind it and place it on the shelf for our daughter to keep. A Life Book of sorts. The time is here. She can look back and see how we longed for our call, our first meeting, our life with her. And she will never doubt - through your comments and the monologue here, filling the space on the screen and soon to be pages in the book - how much she has always been wanted, needed, sought, intended for this family.
Never, will she doubt.
The saying, "It takes a village to raise a child" I believe it. More though, I believe that it takes a village to wait on a child. I believe it takes a village to remain the course, to stay focused, to risk what some days feels like every shred of emotion...It takes a village to wait on a child.
And our village has never let us down. And she is home.
So thank you.
For sharing in our life over nearly four years - less only a month - thank you.
Our story is not done. Our life will continually evolve. Our life together - adoption will always be an integral part. The journey continues. We will change. (And, we will embrace it.) We are wanting to be healthier and better and live longer and share more and grow. We want to grow. And so I am now sharing here...please come follow. I would be honoured. Truly.
While this new space won't be solely adoption focused, it will be family focused, growth focused, health, and food, and budget focused. Learning how to live better with less has always been a passion and so we will share some insight over here. And yes, photos of the wee one(s) will always prevail! Stories of our growing children, of adoption, of this multi-racial family...they will interweave with other stories, glimpses, tidbits I pick up and wish to share. Truly, this is just the beginning...we are merely at the starting line of Five. (I sometimes share here, specifically on adoption.)
Please join me...join us...share your thoughts and we can grow there.
Closing this book it's harder than I anticipated. But it's time.
New adventures await...