So in adoption there are many celebrations and I love it. You all know by now I'm a celebration type of person. Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of landing on US soil with our Tariku. The first time he walked into our house, met his brother and sister, met his extended family. It was a rather big day one year ago so I think it warrants a mention every year. It is, in essence, the day we became a family. This is what we looked like then.
Tariku did awesome the entire way home from Ethiopia. When he wasn't sleeping he was checking out all of the new buttons throughout the airplane. He didn't have an accident, didn't cry with frustration at our incompetence; overall it was a great experience. Then we got to Minnesota. Our last leg. One 45 minute flight. I was so anxious to see Trysten and Dailah. To stop traveling and just hunker down for awhile. So, so excited. We got on the plane and saw the pilot tinker with things. Then he tells us something is broken and we would have to unboard until another flight landed so we could get on that. It wasn't a big deal, he thought maybe an hour. But it was heartbreaking to me. I just sat and cried. I was just done with it all. Poor Tariku saw me crying and thought it said exactly what he wanted to say and started doing the same.
I realized then that there are a few universal things; in our short time together we had experienced laughing, hugs, kisses, dancing and now crying. In that moment I knew we understood each other. It was kind of one of those things where we had been holding onto a few things. Sure, I think you're a cool person but are you going to be able to handle me? We had mutual conversations happening in our heads and then we cried together. And I thought, "Regardless of those thoughts, I am so ready for you."
And boy was I! We've come a long way in a year. This is mostly due to his irresistable cuteness, his capacity for love and forgiveness and our mutual tenacity for getting to the bottom of issues. I told Leslie about one of the recent nights he talked about his life in Ethiopia. It was a tough night. I'll never be able to explain why things are the way they are in Ethiopia and it's heartbreaking. But Leslie made the comment that it was so great he has always (the last 6 months for sure) told me about his time there. He's held nothing back. If I start to feel like something is going on, I just ask him if he's thinking about Ethiopia and he tells me exactly what's on his mind. It's a blessing, it really is. I hope he feels he can always be open and honest with me.
So to one year with this boy who landed in America as a somewhat stranger and has now become a son.
Here he was a year ago eating a cookie cake.
And here he is eating at the Ethiopian restaurant in Iowa City (David's Place...if you live in Iowa/Illinois you need to go here, it's fantastic!) where we celebrated family day. P.S. In his referral it said his favorite foods were Doro Wot and Injera. That still holds true. We tried to give him some tamed down tibs last night and he didn't want that. "The spicy food, Daddy!" Love him.
The group who celebrated what it means to be in our family.
Dailah and my mom.
Dailah after the cake attack.
And one of my favorite pictures of all time. Tariku and his daddy.