Friday, May 6, 2011

Dreaming of Ethio-topia

We were in the middle of a full-on, injera-and-shiro-craving, Ethiopia-is-full-of-rainbows-and-unicorns-dipped-in-chocolate-and-covered-in-sprinkles kind of day week.

It was NOT fun for this Mommy.

It had been a looooong 3 days of:
"We want to go to Ethiopia"
"We go see Sister and she will give us cookies"
and on and on and on.

It gets hard to take.
Hard to hear and hard to respond in a therapeutic-parenting kind of way.

I may have at one point offered to allow them to drink from a puddle instead of from the sink...
you know, just like in Ethiopia.

I'm not proud of it...
but day 4 of Ethiopia-is-awesome-like-disney-minus-the-crowds-long-lines-and-overpriced-soda...
and I couldn't take it anymore.

They wanted to watch their Ethiopia video we received while we were there.
It's short... a quick video of the farewell ceremony at the care center.
So, FINE. We watched their video.

That's when it happened.

I saw it.

#5 was asked to sing a song for the group and as we watched the video sitting in my 
not-nearly-as-awesome-as-Ethiopia-was living room,
I looked at that screen and I saw a VERY scared, 
VERY freaked out little girl
singing the wrong song.

The song she sang?
It's her comfort song.
It's the song the girls still sing.
It's a song her first family taught her and it's about Jesus.

And seeing that face...
seeing her so scared...
hearing the nannies trying to get her to sing the song they wanted her to sing...
watching her glance from person to person...
clearly wanting to escape...
Well, yeah. It made me cry.

I knew it at the time...
We all knew the kids were falling apart at returning to the care center for one last hurrah after being gone for several days.
We couldn't get out of there fast enough.
We were ALL uncomfortable.
But her calm, content expression...
I didn't read the extreme level of fear that day.

And now?
I took one look at that video and saw right past the facial expression into the heart of my baby girl.

Her whole world was being ripped apart and they wanted her to sing.

It makes me sick to think about it now.

And, it brought me right back to the place where my heart needs to live on days like that...
the place where I choose to put on my big-girl-panties ...
the place where I remember I am parenting children who have great fears of abandonment and change...
the place where I drop a large portion of my sarcasm at the door and hug my babies, 
point to their video and tell them:
"Do you remember this day? 
Sister Martha said 'you take your babies 
and go to America and stay there together.' 
You are my baby. 
You will ALWAYS be my baby. 
We live in America. 
Everyone in Ethiopia knows where you are and they know 
Mommy and Daddy are taking care of you now. 
Mommy loves you very, VERY much 
and I will always take care of you."

And, suddenly...
No more Ethio-topia talk.

MY babies were back.

And the battle was won for today.


  1. I liked this. You're such a good mama.

  2. I have tears after this inspirational....thank you.

  3. You ARE a great mom! And God is a wonderful father to give you that insight and the perfect words to say.

  4. Thanks for the reminder, Chrissy. I try to fight it, but sometimes find myself considering the timelines or norms of non-adoptive families. We've only watched our daughter's video once, and we as her parents were traumatized...from the crazy fast feedings, to the terrified look in her eyes, to the constant self-soothing rocking. I really don't want to watch it again, but some days I probably need to.

  5. Good grief! You and Jamie are bringing it all back this week. I cannot imagine having an older child at the farewell ceremony. Kayla had a strong enough reaction as a baby and I wanted to jump out the window. We watched our video once and I started to get that panicky feeling all over again. I think I'll just save it for Kayla for when she's older if she wants to watch it. I love what you said to your kiddos. I'm sure it's exactly what they needed to hear!

  6. Oh my, Chrissy. This post gave me chills. I really don't have the right words. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Oh the going away ceremony is a special kind of hell. We have never watched Little Dudes's video. Maybe the point of the going away ceremony and video is so we can watch it later and see how far they have come. Maybe... otherwise I have no idea what the point is.


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