Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Second live report

Christmas eve, 2006. We arrived home after a wonderful evening of visiting families and friends. All the way home we talked about how Christmas would be different next year, and how we would concentrate on pacing ourselves. How we would focus on teaching our girls to cherish the spirit of Christmas, while de-emphasizing gift competition and gift envy.

Waiting for us was an emailed photo from R in Maryland who had just returned home with her 4 month old boy. This photo is amazing. The girls are backlit, M's hair is beautifully braided, E actually has hair growing in, M has her arm draped over E like a loving big sister, and E's eyelashes are so long they touch her eyebrows. We can't wait to meet them.

First live Report

DC and family of New Hampshire just returned from the orphanage where M and E are staying. They sent us dozens of photos. Our girls look perfect - loving, happy, engaged - just perfect. We are dying to speak with DC so we call her.

She described our girls as very loving and charismatic, with charming little personalities. M greets new guests with a cheek hug. DC said she wished she could have smuggled our girls home in a suitcase, and she is thrilled to know that they are already placed with us. We are thrilled, too.

Medical Records and Family History

As a pre-condition to accepting adopted children, parents are given several days to review medical records and ask questions. M and E are described as perfectly healthy, but undernourished, children. E, although she is 24 months old, has no hair. M, over 4 years old, weighs only 28 pounds. We are told the Mother died from complications of giving birth to E. The father cared for the girls for about a year, but then he died from Tuberculosis. Then the Aunts banded together to care for the girls, and carried on bravely for about a year, until they determined there was just not enough food to go around, and the girls might lead better lives with families that can afford to care for them.

It is so sad. We are truly torn between utter sadness for the plight of this poor family and utter joy that we are fortunate enough to care for M and E. It is with a profound sense of stewardship and deep gratitude to their birth parents that we accept responsibility for loving M and E. We will honor the memory of their parents and teach them to do the same.

We learn the origins of their names. M's name is the Amharic word for the holy water in which new Christians are baptized and E's name is the Amharic word for the ashes that Christians use on Ash Wednesday. Apparently the birth family has a strong Christian faith. We will do out best to continue that tradition.

First Notice

On November 25 we returned returned from Tanzania, where we support an orphanage. See our work at On November 27, we received a voicemail from our social worker that we have been referred two little sisters, named M and E, ages 2 and 4. We saw one photo of them, standing together, M with her arm draped over E's shoulder, both smiling and with sparkling eyes. We swore we would not fall in love with our adopted children until we had them safely on US soil. Too late. In about 5 seconds we were totally smitten.