We met Honeybee for the second time on July 28th. I’ve written before about the impression she made on us a little over a year earlier when we were getting Dimples. But still, this was a new experience and although there was a tiny bit of familiarity, we were nearly strangers. Yet at the same time, we were family. It all happened in a rush of hugs, photos, and a few tears from me. Then she was leading me by the hand into her room where she showed me her bed and gathered all that she was taking with her into a small, blue plastic bag; the momentos of eight years in her orphanage.
We took some pictures, met a a few of her friends and the nannies, then we were saying goodbyes and promising to be back in a few days. Once we were back at the Addis Kidan Guest House she eagerly went through her backpack and all of her new clothes. The clothes were greeted with an intake of breath and a whispered, “beautiful”. Russ and I glanced over Honeybee’s head, our eyes meeting, smiles on our faces, knowing what we were feeling without saying a word. She was our precious daughter and we had traveled around the world to get her. This was a “longing fulfilled” in our lives.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
Thank you to everyone who emailed or commented about Honeybee’s tears. The last two days have been much better. She seems to be moving along with the flow of the family better and I’m not hearing, “Mom, nooooo!” as much. Two of her friends who speak very good English have also been home for two weeks and I asked their mom what the evening routine was at the orphanage. The girls said that the children were sent to their room in the evening, but they were not put to bed. They were allowed to play, talk, braid each other’s hair, or do what they liked. This helped me to understand why Honeybee was having such a hard time settling down each night, talking loudly, turning on the light, and basically keeping the other children awake. She is beginning to figure out that it doesn’t work that way here.
I’ve been trying to have a very defined bedtime to give her lots of clues that it is coming and to help her settle down. Last night each of the younger children chose a picture book to read, then I put them all in bed and each got to choose a song to sing. Honeybee chose Jesus Loves Me. All of that was followed by hugs, kisses, and prayers, and lo and behold, she stayed in bed and went to sleep with no tears.
There have been many interesting and humorous incidents that I keep intending to write down before I forget them. One happened the other night at bedtime. Over the weekend we had purchased a new mattress for Mimi, so hers went onto Ladybug’s bed, Ladybug’s went onto Dimples’ bed, and Dimples’ mattress was put on Eby’s bed. All of the beds were remade and I added a quilt to Honeybee’s bed which already had sheets and a fleece blanket. I noticed that she slept on top of her quilt with her fuzzy blanket over her for a couple of nights and I thought that, like some of my other kids, she figured it was easier than making her bed in the morning. Last night she pulled her fuzzy blanket over her and then said, “Mom, cold”. I said, “Well, get in your covers” and she looked quizzically at me. So I went to the top of her bed and pulled down the covers, she looked up in surprise, her eyes wide, then she smiled and said, “Thank you Mom” as she crawled in. I realized that she didn’t know there were sheets and a blanket under her new quilt! Fortunately it had been warm, but still it was one of those moments when I was struck by how much there is to learn.
Another interesting thing happened when she was cuddling on the sofa with me. I was reading something that had a photo of a white man on the page. She pointed at it and said, “ferenge” which is what Ethiopians sometimes call a white foreigner. I touched her arm and said, “Habesha” which is how many Ethiopians refer to themselves (rather than say Ethiopian). She then touched my arm and said, “Habesha”. I said, “Mommy Habesha?” and she replied, “Yes”. She then went on to describe her white siblings as ferenge and her Ethiopian siblings as habesha, but she continued to insist that Russ and I were habesha. I’m not quite sure what that meant, or if she was teasing me a little, but I’ll take it as a compliment.
This Thursday we will drive to Seattle for medical appointments at Children’s Hospital. From there we’ll drive a little further to a special family camp where we will see many friends from our girls’ orphanage as well as friends we met last year. We are all looking forward to a special weekend!
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