Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 13

Today is bittersweet. In some ways, I had such a great time and in others, I am ill. The happiness wars with the sickening pain inside my chest. 

Today was a last of "lasts". My last time to drive to the juice shop and have a smoothie. My last time to hug my dear friends. The last time to snuggle the little kids and kiss their foreheads. The last time to hold my son close and promise him everything will be okay. 

Today, Micah was clingy, at least for him. He kept his elbow on my leg or his chair touching mine. We managed to enjoy our four hours together, playing card games, drawing, telling stories, reading books, and playing with his kitten. We watched an over dramatic film and we did gymnastics. I took countless pictures and videos. 

I gave Micah his sign name. His Ethiopian name means "lion" and a lion is strong. Just like us. So with the help of my dear friends from the U.S., I gave him a sign representing a lion, his intelligence, and God. Micah was so proud. 

In the last half hour, Micah said, "You're going to fly." 

"Yes, baby. But I promise I will come again. I promise I will never let go of you. I promise. I love you with ALL my heart."

"When are you coming back? How many days."

I started crying. "I don't know, baby. But I promise I WILL come back. You be Jegna! You are a lion. I will come back."

His eyes filled with tears. He smiled bravely, and nodded. And then he buried his head in my chest and I squeezed him. 

I can't go into much more detail because I am in the airport terminal, about to break down and sob and everyone is staring. The little kids clung to me, kissing me and telling me they loved me. I was blinded by tears, stumbling around hugging the babies, the nannies, the guards. We left the orphanage, and I was silently sobbing, inconsolable. My driver was distraught. He encouraged me, he tried to comfort me. He asked me if I wanted a caramel macchiato. I just shook my head and cried harder. He took me anyway but I couldn't order because I couldn't speak. The waiter stood there at a loss. People from all over the street came up asking why I was crying. Everyone begged me to stop. But breaking hearts do not mend in a moment, and the pain continued to spill out. 

We went back to the guesthouse and the girls there tried to comfort me. My driver did too. In the end I went to my room and just laid there looking at pictures and watching videos of Micah. And I cried. 

I only had two hours to pack and be ready. I showered and tried to fix my face, red and blotchy, my eyes swollen into glassy orbs. I gave up. What did it matter? 

Downstairs, people had gathered to say goodbye. My friends gave me gifts. Micah had given me a beautiful picture of himself. I gave him a sweatshirt and an Ethiopian cross necklace. One of Micah's roommates gave me a bracelet that I know he loves. "Jesus loves me." I tried to not take it but he begged me. It's proudly fastened to my wrist now. My driver and one of my best friends in the world gave me a beautiful necklace and earring set. My girlfriend gave me a scarf, a purse, and another item. My other girlfriend gave me a bracelet and a traditional Ethiopian shift. And everywhere, left and right, people gave me berbere, shiro, mesir (lentils), cookies, kollo, etc. I have enough food to feed an army. 

My friend drove me to the airport where he told me not to cry, to remember that God is in control and loves Micah, and that everything will be okay. He promised me to check in on Micah. 

We said goodbye (so difficult; his family is my family) and he waited until I was out of sight. I saw him and his van, tiny miniature figures against the black sky and streetlights, him waving as big as he could. My brother. 

Now I'm alone in the airport. I know the routine like the back of my hand, and with no kids in tow, I get through security quickly. Then I sit, alone and quiet, waiting to board. I am fighting tears and there is a heaviness in my eyes, a choking lump in my throat. Tears well up, but I told my brother I would not cry anymore. He told me to be Jegna. Tenkara. I told him that being Jegna doesn't mean you don't cry. It means you might cry, but you keep on fighting. He hates it though, it stresses him out, so I won't cry. I will be strong. 

I want to sleep. I want to numb the pain and then the tears to memories. I want to check out and go where my mind is blank, where my hurting heart can have respite. 

There was a small boy near me who resembles Micah and has his hair cut. He turned and looked at me and I started. Took a step forward. Realized it wasn't my child. 

JEGNA. Tenkara. JEGNA. Tenkara. 



It's 9pm my time, which is 3pm ET time and is 2pm EST. I tried to look through my pictures but it only hurt worse. 

I am lucky. I got all my food through security. Now if I can just get it home......

I am lonely but if someone were here, I wouldn't be able to talk. The lump in my throat is too big; my hands are silent at my sides. I want someone but I don't want to talk. I just want to survive. 

JEGNA. Tenkara. JEGNA. Tenkara. 




I've been in the air for 18+ hours now. It's the end of my first flight and we are descending to D.C. I've slept almost the whole time.....a restless and uncomfortable sleep, but I am still thankful for it. When I'm asleep, I can't think about my pain. And now that I am awake, I am numb. I can function without tears, though my eyes are heavy and dry. I feel nothing right now, except the desperate need to hug my other babies who will be waiting for me after my second flight. 

I take it back. As soon as I typed the word "babies" I remembered my tiny son, all alone across the world. And now I'm fighting tears again. 


JEGNA. Tenkara. JEGNA. Tenkara. 

Days 11 + 12

I have been visiting people, having countless cups of buna (coffee) with friends, and bonding with Micah. My bedtime has only gotten worse since coming here.....2-3am is my lights out. Usually I get back to the guesthouse around 10:30pm and then the girls at the desk and I have a dance party. With sing-a-long. Mainly to Taylor Swift. Let me tell you, the night guards have been getting QUITE the show. I'm pretty sure they think we are drunk every night. ;)


I've been soooooo busy the past two weeks, but I've also had so many relaxing experiences. 


My driver is always fasting (he is the most devout person I have ever met), and he can't drink coffee so we have a special little juice shop that we go to every day. He buys me the equivalent of a fruit smoothie, just warm instead of iced. It is avacado, mango, papaya, pineapple, and lime juice, fresh squeezed from the fruit stands outside, and mixed to a creamy thickness. It tastes amazing. 

I have had a thousand cups of buna (coffee). Most of the time there is sugar (yummmmm). I don't even like hot coffee, much less black, but here in Ethiopia, it's different. I love the coffee ceremony. The friendship and laughter, the incense (which makes me break out in a rash haha), the roasting of the beans, the age-old ceremony of the coffee served with grace. 

I love the friends and family I have here. Some are old, some are new. All are beloved.  People who put everything they have on the line for me. I can't give examples, but these people have blown me away with their kindness, and their love for me and my family. I am forever indebted to them and I love them with my life. 


Ethiopia, and my habesha family, I love you. 







Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pictures


Our first official hangout.....my lovely heart-sister, Tiffany. :)




Micah......reunited ❤️






Jamberry's for Muna and me!





Rooftop tanning.....Addis Ababa. 





Habab (watermelon).....my dear friend bought it for me. 



Ethiopian countryside. 




Me and Hiyab.....the most perfect 4-month old alive!!!!!




Me and Gabriel.....the most perfect 6-month old alive. 



Me and "Tommy". #heisperfect




Me and my pen-tattoo. Soon to be permanent. #JEGNA #warrior #brave




I love you too, Micah. eh.wu.d.ha.he.lu




My sleeping angel. 

Day 9

One of my friends once tagged me in a quote once, and I came across it today. 



she was fierce, she was strong, she wasn't simple. she was crazy and sometimes she barely slept. she always had something to say. she had flaws and that was ok. and when she was down, she got right back up. she was a beast in her own way, but one idea described her best. she was unstoppable and she took anything she wanted with a smile. 





I woke up at 6am. And started making international calls. I used every connection I had, and I fought. I have nothing left to lose. 


Then I went to the orphanage again. 


Micah didn't go to school today. He was at the orphanage when I arrived and he ran and pulled a piece of paper out from a spot where he hides his things. My letter to him. He waved it at me and grinned. I just kissed his forehead and hugged him. He knows and I know. I believe in him and he believes in me. I grabbed a pen (he has JEGNA on his wrist too) and wrote "I love you" on the back of his hand. He took the pen and wrote it across the palm of my hand. Then he looked up at me, eyes big. "Are you leaving today???" he asked. I told him no. I told him in three days. His eyes got watery. I knelt in front of him. "Baby," I signed. "Listen to me. I have to leave on Saturday, but I WIll COME BACK. I promise you. We are a family. You are my son. I will never let go of you. I will never stop fighting for you. I will never stop. You are MINE. I love you."


He looked at me, and he nodded. He knows. He believes me. And I love him so much my heart might burst from it. 




I can't write about today's miracle. Maybe, when my baby is home and safe, I can regale the miracle that was today. Maybe someday I can share the unbelievable events that took place. Maybe someday. So for now, this little paragraph is a cryptic teaser.....just know that there is a miracle story here, buried deep between the lines. A story so fantastic that only God could have orchestrated and completed it. I got to be a spy, a warrior, a politician. Impossible things happened. Is Micah cleared? No. But I have no doubts. A few people here who know what I'm trying to do smile at my pityingly when they ask how today went. I grin and say awesome. They press their lips together and give me a sympathy nod. They don't believe me. They don't believe Micah will clear. And they give me a tight-lipped, condescending smile, while their eyes tell me, "Poor girl, she's delusional."


But I don't care. Are they responsible for this story? No. Are they even IN this story, as a extra, or even an actual cast member? No. Do they understand the crazy love I have for my son, or the incredible stubbornness I possess? No. So I smile back at them, without another word. Just a grin. Because I'm not fighting alone. I have a million people here rooting for me, helping me, praying alongside me. And I have God, who has power over everything. And He's the one who called me to this fight. So somehow, someway, this will work. 


Yesterday I was Esther. I had to go, uninvited to some officials and ask for the impossible. Today I was Deborah. (For those of you who don't know this story, there was a military captain in the Bible. He needed to go into a fight but he was afraid. He wouldn't go. Instead, he asked a woman, Deborah, to lead his army into battle. And she did. And won.)


Today I went to battle. I scoped out the battlefield. I approached it with stealth and a plan of attack. I bided my time and fired at the right moment. And I struck my mark. I returned victorious. But I did not do this alone. I am not the one who won. God is. I can't tell you what transpired, but it's impossible. And because of that, I stand in awe, excitement, and hope of what God holds for the future. 


Today was a JEGNA day. 








Day 8

I'm curled up in my bed at the guesthouse, choking on my sobs. I feel like I'm dying, like my pain can split the very cement of these walls. I can't control the tears; they are consuming me, making a river and drowning me in my sorrow. 

Today I went to some people whose help I need. I asked why something simple was taking so long. On Thursday (last week), they had told me that someone was traveling. On Friday, they said person was "trying". Saturday and Sunday everyone was off. On Monday they were "sick". 


Today was Tuesday. 


On Tuesday I was pissed. 


I respectfully demanded an answer. And what I was told shocked me. Cut me. Enraged me. There was "no news" because the offices were closed for two months due to the election (which will be in May). 


I stopped dead in my tracks and started pretty much yelling. "You mean to tell me you have been LYING to me?!?!?! I fight for this child for FOUR YEARS and you see me here, with him, for the SIXTH trip, and you are LYING to me?!?!?! You told me LAST WEEK that someone was at least working on it and now you're telling that office has been empty this WHOLE TIME?!?!?! WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE PERSON WE NEED???? I AM GOING TO ______________ AND I WILL GET WHAT IS NEEDED MYSELF!!!!!"


The person took a step backwards picked up the phone. They were nervous. I was FURIOUS. I started crying, hot angry tears. I GLARED at them with a look that my siblings know means danger and leaned forward, anger radiating from my body. They started dialing. "Yes, yes, maybe it's better, yes, you should be the one to go to ______________."


And then I lost it. "YOU'VE BEEN NEEDING *this* FROM ___________________ SINCE LAST AUGUST AND LAST AUGUST I WAS HERE AND TOLD YOU I WOULD GO MYSELF AND YOU TOLD ME NO! *insert various reasons they had given me* I TOLD YOU I WOULD GO EIGHT DAYS AGO WHEN I GOT HERE AND YOU SAID NO, IT WOULD NOT HELP IF I WENT AND YOU WOULD HELP ME AND SEND SOMEONE TO DO IT!!! (In said _______________ a different language is spoken.) YOU WOULDN'T LET ME GO (saying I would hurt the case and lose my child) AND NOW, AFTER I HAVE BEEN HERE EIGHT DAYS AND CHANGED MY FLIGHTS, YOU ARE TELLING ME IT'S BETTER IF I GO?!?! YOU LIED TO ME!!!!!!!! I AM AT THE END OF MY TRIP!!!! I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME NOW!!!! HOW CAN YOU STAND THERE BEFORE GOD AND LIE TO ME!!!! YOU ARE HURTING MY SON!!!! HE IS AN INNOCENT CHILD AND YOU ARE DESTROYING HIM!!!! I'M GOING TO ___________________ (seven hours away by car......no flights) MYSELF AND I WILL FIND THEM IF I HAVE TO STOP EVERY PERSON IN THE CITY AND ASK THEM WHAT THEIR NAME IS!!!!!!"


They stared at me, disbelief and more than a little fear written across their face. "Hold on," they said, "Let me talk to _________ (someone high up)." 


They got up and ran to another office. I sat for about one-millionth of a second and then I flipped. I totally lost control and didn't think at all. I jumped to my feet, grabbed my purse (a big, heavy bag specifically for here) and THREW IT across the room. They heard the sickening thud it made as it hit a desk and fell to the floor. Then I stomped out of the room and stormed into the neighboring office, right past the person who had been "helping" me and marched straight up to the person who COULD help me. They both stared at me silently, open-mouthed in shock. 


"Take me to the government!!!" I said firmly. "Take me. I HAVE to go. I am coming to you directly, and without fear. TAKE ME. I am not going to stop."


The person stared up at me for a long moment. I stared back, unflinching. Unapologetic. Unmoving. I didn't even blink. And then they laughed. "I like you, Mary," they said. "You are a Jegna (warrior, the Amharic word that I draw on my wrist every day) for sure. Let me text someone and see if they will see us." They gave me the dismissal nod. I just stood straighter and refused to break eye contact. 


I got a nod. Then they sent a message and received an affirmative response. The person looked back up at me. "Do you want to go now or later?"


I picked up my purse. 


As we were walking out of the office, I stopped and grabbed some paper. I wrote Micah a letter.


Micah, I love you. You are smart. You are special. I love you so much. Love, Mom


I gave it to the first person. "Please give this to Micah," I said. "He can't read," they answered. "Yes he can," I said. "He can read this. I taught him. I promised him I would come today and he HAS to know I was here. He can read this. Please give it to him."


We left. We drove a long ways, to somewhere I have never been. We went to an official building, and through security. The security guards loved me because I spoke no English to them, only Amharic, and they saw my Jegna pen-tattoo. 


We went up to an important official's office and waited. I had been wanting to come here, to plead my case to the government. I had a letter ready, my speech, an appropriate business attire. But today I was in jeans and a black shirt, my black hair long and straight, hanging down. My face was streaked with tears, and I'm sure my eyes were wild. 


The person spoke with them in Amharic for a long time. The men would stare at me and then listen, stare and listen. I couldn't understand what was said. But I sat straight and tall and when they would look at me, I'd look right back. I wanted to speak for myself but I didn't want to be disrespectful. This was clearly a "man's" world, it was not my country. I didn't know what the rules were. But I didn't care about the eye contact. I wanted them to know I was a fighter. That I wasn't scared. That I was unstoppable. 


So I stared right back. Not menacingly. Not threatening. But firm. Unbending. JEGNA. 


Finally one of them turned to me and asked me in English to tell him why I was here. 


I answered him in Amharic. 


Both officials started. I told them (I am told my Amharic accent is perfect), in their one of their own languages that I wanted to adopt Micah. That he was deaf and had no language of education. That he was alone. That I had three children, two deaf, who were successful and happy, and I showed them pictures and videos. I gave them my letter. 


They were smiling now and when I had finished they slapped me on the shoulder. "This is a strong woman," they said. "She is brave to come here to this office and fight for this child." "A very strong woman," the other agreed. 


I flashed my wrist at them. JEGNA. Warrior/brave in Amharic. They gasped and laughed. "Who did that for you???" they asked. "I did it myself," I answered. They laughed again, "Amazing! We like you."


We gave them a ride and the entire time they would point to objects to see if I knew the Amharic names. I did. They would ask me questions in Amharic. I would answer. They began teaching me phrases in different Ethiopian dialects. 


At the end of the ride, the last man touched my shoulder. "There are things we must discuss with *the person who brought me* and problems to solve, but when this paperwork comes to us, we will sign it for you." He nodded at me, and I saw in his eyes that he was on my side. I touched my heart and told him thank you in Amharic and then I kissed his hand (the greatest symbol of heartfelt thanks here). He pressed my hand between his and said "It's not problem." And then told me he and his wife would love to have coffee or dinner with me. (JESUS, YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!)


The person who had brought me was happy and I was pumped. I asked them to bring me back to the orphanage because I wanted to see Micah and show him that I kept my promise. It was late and then we were stuck in traffic but we made it by 7:30pm. I ran through the building searching for Micah. A little boy (who is hearing) that I play with every day and give gum to, ran up to me. Even though I speak Amharic to him daily, he thinks I am deaf like Micah and he always tries to sign to me. It's adorable. I was headed in one direction and he wagged his finger at me, telling me no. Then he grabbed my hand and pulled me somewhere else. To Micah. I squeezed him in a huge hug. Then the little boy tugged on my shirt and made a sign for gum. (He makes a cigarette type motion and then chews the air as fast as he can. It makes me giggle every time.) "Masticka?" I asked him (the Amharic word for gum. He just made his sign again and I laughed. 


Micah was so happy to see me. I could tell he had been wondering where I was. I told him, "See??? I promised I would come today!!!" and he would giggle and smile at me. I let him and his two friends play Angry Birds on my phone and then Micah took pictures of me while I was being silly. 


I went to dinner and came back to the guesthouse. I was happy. I was feeling positive. And then I got some news that rocked my world. Remember when I did something yesterday and it was good (sorry to be cryptic)? Well, it turned out to be worthless and maybe showing that some bad things had happened. And all of a sudden my son was on the line again and I began to cry. Because my son is alone and without communication and if this *thing* were useless then my time here was worthless in regards to helping Micah. My heart began to break and I started sobbing. I cried for maybe ten minutes and then jumped up and ran to the bathroom to wash my face. 


Now is not the time to cry. It is not over. I am still here. God is on my side. Crying won't help Micah. 


I turned on some music to distract and comfort me:




Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He's on the run and your mommy's here,

Beautiful,
Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful boy,

Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It's getting better and better,

Beautiful,
Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful boy,

Out in the sky, flying away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to home someday,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime.......

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Day 7


So the first thing I did today was to change my flights. I'm not coming back until Sunday now. I cannot leave without this paper, and if I am not here, who will fight? I also can't bear the thought of leaving Micah again; it literally feels like I will die when I think about it. The terrible pain squeezes my heart like an iron fist and tears come uninvited and wash my sunburned face with salt, a torturous but unstoppable torrent. 


Things are moving here, but ever so slowly. Being a Type A, it's hard to wait, but sometimes I have to. There is a different culture here, and while I will push and fight, I will also be respectful. At the same time, I am enjoying the relaxed aspect of life. There is no hurry in the day-to-day life, and I love just LIVING. 


This morning I went to see a little boy at my former agency's transition home. I will call him "Tommy". He is about ten now (he has been there all six of my trips), and so beautiful. He has the biggest, darkest eyes I've ever seen, framed with thick, black lashes that would put a peacocks's plumes to shame. Sometimes his beautiful, vacant eyes will focus on me, and he will stare at me intently, but most of the time he is in another world, staring off into space. He is severely autistic and does not really speak, but he can understand and follow basic Amharic commands. Most of the day he just wanders the courtyard, holding a small object (keys, a paper, a rock) and singing to himself. I don't know if he's actually singing words or if they are just sounds. 

I've always loved him, and I visit him every trip. He knows me. The nannies bring him to me and tell him my name. I kneel down and he will come up and grab my face with his little hands. Then carefully, but not gently, he will feel my face. Over and over he touches my face, checking my features. I know when he recognizes me because he squeezes me as tightly as he can (which now is very tight! :)) and kisses my cheek. Then he climbs into my lap and starts singing to me. 

I fight back tears and pull him close. And then I sing with him. He LOVES music, and I change the lyrics to fit us. The same song, every time, to help him remember.




I've been telling my dreams to the scarecrow
About the places that I'd like to see
I say Tommy do you think I'll ever get there
Oh but he just stands there smiling back at me

So I confess my sins to the preacher
About the love I've been praying to find
Is there a brown-eyed boy in my future
But he says girl you've got nothing but time

But how do you wait for heaven
And who has that much time
And how do you keep your feet on the ground
When you know, you were born to fly
Fly fly fly




I sing it maybe 60 times in a row. He hums and babbles with me. Then I pull out my phone and we sing to some Amharic music. 

When it's time for me to leave, he fights the nannies and lifts his arms, begging to be held. Even though he is almost to my chin, I pick him up. He squeals excitedly and wraps his legs around my waist, refusing to let go. I sign our song again and dance around with him. 

When I put him down, I give him his picture (one of the two of us, me holding him) and an album of my family. I kiss him and tell him I love him. I promise to visit him again. Do I want him? Yes. Can I start his paperwork right now? No. Will I forget him? Never. I will always come for him. 



Later, I got to go see Micah. Micah is so precious. I don't have words to describe this child, but my heart stops when he comes into the room. I watch his eyes light up and his face breaks into a big smile. At the beginning of the week, it was a shy smile, but now it's a huge grin, stretched across his beautiful face. 

We drew pictures and played Subway Surf today. He wrote me a message:


Micah 
Abas
I. Love. You          
Thank. You 
How. are. You 



I fought back tears and wrote him one:

You are MINE!!!! 
I love you!!!!
Micah is smart!!!!
Micah is handsome!
You are special!!!!!


Then I explained it to him and he look at me, eyes shining. I signed, "Micah, I love you with ALL my heart!!!" and he nodded, and then slid over on the seat and put his elbows on my leg, leaning on me like a little kid who wants to be near his mom. I didn't think I could fall more in love with him, but I did. 




The paperwork didn't get done yesterday; an important person to the case was sick and so they didn't go to the office. 

HOWEVER, I did get something else really important done. So that's great. :)

I also wrote a letter today, to the government, listing all the reasons why Micah should be mine. An important person here told me I was "very convincing", and to write a letter. Hopefully I will be able to take it and go present my case in a day or two. 

Today when I was with Micah, I asked him about the first time we met, in 2012. I've always wondered if he remembered me from all the way back then, or only from recent trips. I wasn't sure if he would remember me because during that trip, that first meeting, this is what happened.....

"......he came out, disheveled and clearly terrified and not understanding why he had to come outside. He was tall, thin as a tail, with dirty teeth and he was crying. He wouldn't look at anyone; he just stood in a corner of the wall and cried.  

I fell completely in love with him. 

We never completed our tour; we spent the next hour trying to play with him. Trying to coax out a smile, trying to get his pain-filled eyes to light up for even a second. He finally started making eye contact with us and by the end we were throwing a small ball. He cracked a few grimaces that looked like something only a person who has forgotten how to smile can possibly make. Then finally, we caught a few smiles, so infinitesimal that if you blinked, you would only see his empty face, tears still slipping down his dirty cheeks."


When I asked him about that day--if he remembered--he looked right at me. "I remember you," he signed. "I remember the day I was crying and scared and I met you."

Thank you Jesus. 





Tonight I went to my friend's house for dinner. It is so awesome to have people who are amazing friends here.....I feel like I belong and I love being invited over for dinner. The food was delicious and I got to meet their newest baby! He is PRECIOUS!!!!!! I think I kissed his chubby cheeks a thousand times. And it was so awesome just to talk and laugh with them. They are AMAZING people, some of the best I have ever met, and I love them. 



Pray for us. Please God, set my child free. 



Monday, March 9, 2015

Day 6

On Day 5 I had no internet.


Day 6 

I spent the whole day with Micah. As soon as I got there, we took a soccer ball and one of the older boys and just played out in the sunshine. 

Micah is good, and he loves to be the goalie. Being deaf makes you more visually aware of things, and he is a fantastic keeper. The day I see him and Levi on the same team at home, I will probably die. :) The two most beautiful and talented boys on the field will be MINE. 

Last summer I wrote about visiting Micah, and I mentioned two other special needs children (http://helpabeandmarissaadopt.blogspot.com/2014/06/bet-you-never-saw-this-coming.html?m=1). In my original post, I didn't talk much about them. It was too hard to write about what I saw. But yesterday, I saw them. One is a little boy whose body is deformed and twisted. He can speak a little Amharic but it is very difficult for him, and his voice is garbled. Last year, he was lying on a pallet in a dark room. When he saw me he started babbling and began rolling across the floor to get to me. I burst into tears and scooped him up in my arms. I've thought about him ever since. 

Yesterday, I saw him. He was tied into a wheelchair (he cannot sit by himself) and he was alone. Micah and I grabbed him and wheeled him outside so he could watch us play soccer. Then we took turns pushing him and hitting the soccer ball with his wheelchair so that he could play. This little boy has the most amazing attitude and the greatest smile. He laughed and yelled the whole time. He saw me kiss Micah's head and he made a lonely sound so I kissed the air near his cheek. He screamed "Yes yes YESSSSS!!!" and tried to pump his fist in the air. I laughed with him......he's a regular boy, just wanting a girl to kiss him hahaha!!!

Between Saturday and Sunday, Micah learned FIFTY-TWO new signs!!! He reads me a book now and uses all the signs. I am so proud of him!!!! He's been laughing a lot too, which is the best sound ever! 

The nannies and staff there have been amazing to me. They are SO kind and they always tell me how happy they are that I am Micah's mother. 

Natalie may be my twin, but I swear Micah is Abe's. He is so gentle, careful, thorough, and orderly. He is quiet, kind, and loving. He likes doing everything in order and knowing each part of whatever he is doing. I brought him Legos and he built a plane following the directions. He LOVED it. I think he will be a technician, an engineer, or an artist. (His drawing is fantastic.) I taught him to make a paper crane yesterday and he thought it was the coolest thing. 

While we sit and play and draw, the other kids crowd around too. The big boys sit near me and quiz me on my Amharic and the littles fight over my lap. I love them all. They laugh at me when I try to make a certain Amharic letter sound, like Ka, Ku, Ki, Ka, Kk, Kih, Ko. Or anything with "tse". My new comeback to that is to have them try and say, "She sells seashells by the sea shore." It usually ends up with "She sells she sells she shores!!!!" and all of us in a heap on the ground from laughing so hard. 

I have the Amharic word for "brave" or "warrior" drawn on my wrist (I want to get it tattooed but of course I am dealing with my allergies and have had huge allergic reactions and rashes since arriving in ET). I've been drawing it on almost every day for a year because I love it. Everyone here is crazy about it, and it's become my new name. No one calls me Marissa now. Just "Jegna". I love it. :) 

My driver is teaching me tons of Amharic and it's amazing. I can now order food at a restaurant and have basic convos completely in Amharic. Nothing makes me happier than being able to communicate for myself, and to understand what's happening around me. I think I know maybe 200 words and thirty phrases? It's so fun!!!!

I am also Jamberry-ing everyone in sight. :) I had an errand to run and a girl at the desk called a friend and woke her up to come take me. The girl came right over and then we ran the errand (which took almost 3 hours total) and came back, and she was so sweet about it! She gave up half her day for me, a complete stranger, without a second thought. So I invited her over to get a Jamicure. So she made me dinner. Fir fir and tabu (injera, berbere, and more injera hahaha and loaf bread)! Hahahah I love her. :) And now she's sporting some awesome nails. :)


Waiting on paperwork. The weekend means that's on hold for now. Thank you for your prayers!!!!



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Born For This


Feels like I've been holding my breath, trying to still my restless heart
Everything hangs on my next step, finding my nerve, playing my part
I found shelter underneath His crown, found favor inside His eyes
Rock this boat, and I just might drown, honesty seems to come with a price
There's a time to hold your tongue, time to keep your head down
There's a time but it's not now

Sometimes you gotta go, uninvited
Sometimes you gotta speak when you don't have the floor
Sometimes you gotta move, when everybody else says you should stay
No way, no, not today
You gotta ask, if you want an answer
Sometimes you gotta stand apart from the crowd
Long before your heart could run the risk
You were born for this
You were born for this

I'm leaning on the ones before me, my father's father's dreams
I'm standing on the top of their shoulders calling the One delivering me
There's a time to hold your tongue, time to keep your head down
There's a time but it's not now

Sometimes you gotta go, uninvited
Sometimes you gotta speak when you don't have the floor
Sometimes you gotta move, when everybody else says you should stay
No way, no, not today
You gotta ask, if you want an answer
Sometimes you gotta stand apart from the crowd
Long before your heart could run the risk
You were born for this
You were born for this

One step, one move.
Born to trust You.
Made to lay my
Life before You

Sometimes you gotta go, uninvited
Sometimes you gotta speak when you don't have the floor
Sometimes you gotta move, when everybody else says you should stay
No way, no, not today
You gotta ask, if you want an answer
Sometimes you gotta stand apart from the crowd
Long before your heart could run the risk
You were born for this
You were born for this
You were born for this
You were born for this
You were born for this