I cannot believe I am writing this. How is it possible that Mari has been home SIX months?
I remember wondering what it would be like at this point. Would she like us? Would be communicating easily? Would we be spending countless hours in a doctor's office, trying to get her healthy? Would she accept our love and affection?
So here we are at six months home. And it is nothing like I expected. It is just normal life. She acts (and acts up) just like her siblings. She is growing like a cute little weed, going from 2T at her homecoming to solidly 4T. Her language continues to develop and she understands most of what we say to her. The only difficulty comes when trying to explain abstract things, like time, emotions, and the "Why's" of life. But what four year old doesn't have difficulty, at least on some level, with those concepts?
We have had precious, hard conversations...about her birthmother, about what she was thinking and feeling when we brought her home, about how she cried during the 5 weeks she waited for us between court and embassy, and of her memories of the Transition Home and the wonderful nannies who loved her.
She will often say "Mommy, you mumember when...." and then launches into a sweet discussion of her homecoming. She even brought up the "biting" incident...and explained her sweet self.
She was afraid of her new big sister, and I can understand why when I think back to how roughly some of the older kids treated her. But she now smiles and says "biting bad, mommy. Mari no bite."
She loves stalking Facebook with me and seeing her friends come to America. She remembers Ethiopia with love, as do I, and together we long for the day when our entire family can go back to visit. She laughs with abandon, trusts with joy, gives affection to her daddy and me freely, and easily says "I love you" to us all.
Her African accent is slowly fading, which breaks my heart. But she still rolls those "r's", to my delight! The only Amharic word she still uses is "conjo" which means beautiful, but I will never let her forget "Eh weh de shal lo"...I love you. I often whisper it to her as I tuck her in.
There are frustrating days and easy days and days when I am overwhelmed with love for her as I watch her, unbeknownst to her. I see her sitting quietly with a book, flipping it's pages and softly chattering to herself, and my heart swells as I think about how radically her life has changed since this time last year. She has gone from a bald, malnourished, scared little girl to a beautiful, curly-headed, growing preschooler who skips around the backyard and yells happily from the treehouse.
Six months home. But it truly feels like forever.
And that, my friends, is of the Lord.