Then I looked at the calendar today...and it hit me like a ton of bricks! It has been exactly ONE YEAR today since my DH and I boarded that plane to meet our baby girl face to face.
A year has passed since that tiny little girl sauntered into the room and rocked my world.
I keep thinking "This time last year" thought such as...
This time last year I was scared out of my mind of flying across the ocean and leaving four babies at home.
This time last year I had no idea I would spend three extra days in Africa...alone.
This time last year I was a packing MACHINE.
This time last year I had no idea of the challenges we would face with Little Sister, nor of the joy small victories with her would bring to my heart.
I did not know the love that would wash over me when she lets me paint her toenails electric blue.
And I did not know how sad I would feel when she forgot her native language.
I took her for a haircut a couple of weeks ago and let the hairdresser cut off quite a bit so that we could keep her in my fave 'do of all time, the short afro with a headband and giant bow/flower/whatever gaudy accessory I can find. As the stylist cut off a good three inches I looked at the pile of curls on the floor and tears filled my eyes.
Africa. That hair on the floor is the hair she came home with from Africa. I had to restrain myself from scooping it up into a bag so that I could
The little girl that stands before me is more American each day. Her accent is only slight now...still beautiful but fading. Her grammar is still hilarious, and it looks like it may be for a while, but she says things that shake me sometimes...things that remind me of the redemption that has taken place in her life.
"Mommy, you 'member in Etiopia when I did not know your words?"
While watching me look at children on the Waiting Child List...heart heavy with the need to pray for them...she asked me who they are. "These are kids who are waiting for a Mommy and Daddy, just like you did." She smiles with bright eyes and says "I have a Mommy and Daddy!" Yes you do, sweet girl.
"Mommy, I need to hold you."
"Mommy, I love you."
"Mommy, you're conjo." (The Amharic word for beautiful....one of only three she still uses!)
The remaining Amharic words, besides conjo, are bunna (coffee), and when she really needs to go pee BAD...shint.
That one will forever crack me up.
And above all these things is the realization that she LOVES. She loves her parents, and she loves her siblings. She wants to be at home. She feels safe here.
And though she may still do some unsettling things, like giving a blank stare to strangers or forgetting boundaries with visitors, she is not the same child she was this time last year. She is healing. Thank you, Jesus.