"Adoption is born from loss, there is no way around that. But until there are no more orphans left in the world then we can find joy when one less orphan has a mother and one more family gets a child.
There are so many different ways to grow a family, no one way is more or less beautiful than the other. We went to Africa to grow ours.
When I was about 8 week pregnant with Adi, and didn't know it, I was told it would be very difficult for me to conceive. After about a day of mourning the loss of a biological child, Andy and I immediately turned to adoption. Then within the next few weeks when I found out I was in fact almost in my second trimester, adoption never left our minds. And when Adi was less than a year old we began back on our road to Adoption. The decision was easy for us.
Why Africa? We have always held a place for Africa in our hearts. Both Andy and I choose to travel to Africa at different times in our lives and both fell in love with the people and the land. And when we traveled to Ethiopia in May of 2010 as a family of 3, we returned home more than just a family of 4. We returned with Africa in our lives and we celebrate that everyday. Adopting from Africa was always what we were meant to do.
The processes took months of researching different African countries, then months of researching agencies, then once committing to Ethiopia it took 3 months to complete all the paperwork. We were then placed on a wait list to be matched with a child.
After 5 months of waiting we were matched with Belay and saw his face for the first time in a photo. We learned that his birth mom named him Belay, and the meaning behind how she named him. After 4 more months of waiting we were able to travel to Ethiopia and bring him home. The whole process took 11 months and we are grateful at how quickly we brought our baby home.
Last May 2nd we walked into an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and picked up a 14 month old little boy out of the blue bumbo seat he was sitting in. I was filled with the exact same love that filled my heart when I was handed Adi the moment of her birth.
He weighed a mere 14 lbs and worse size 3 month clothes. His main source of food was still formula from a bottle. We spent that first week with him in Ethiopia cradling him in our arms and feeding him like an infant. We occasionally spooned pureed peas into his mouth, and even tried to feed him rice cereal. I immediately noticed his attachment to that bottle and how he snuggled his bottle before bed while I rocked him. It was the only source of comfort he ever knew.
In the first weeks of being home, Belay was off formula and eating everything. We then felt pretty stupid thinking about how we tried to feed him rice cereal. We went from an infant to a full blown toddler in a matter of weeks.
He went from 2 teeth, to all his teeth by summers end.
The same 10 month old who wasn't able to hold his head up on his own when he got to the orphanage was running and climbing with in weeks of being home. It was a challenge to find any shoe small enough to fit our walking toddler who was the size of a 3 month old.
Now, at 2, We only buy him 2T's and size 6 shoe! Grant it the pants still fall off and he tends to trip while walking, but look how far he has come in less than a year. He came home at 14 lbs, and negative 20th percentile on the American growth chart. He is now pushing 21 lbs, and while he is still no where near being on the growth chart for weight, he is in the 10 percentile for height.
Adi and Belay are best friends and fight like crazy, just like any other pair of siblings I have ever met. Adi knows that Belay is Brown. She talks about it all the time. We celebrate our differences and what makes each one of them beautiful. Sometime Adi will feel overshadowed by her brother with beautiful dark skin and almond eyes. Other times Belays skin color will make him feel different from all the family he knows. These are realities and we will take them as they come.
He didn't need us to save him. There are lots of families who would have been overjoyed to bring Belay home. We were chosen to be part of his life, we are the lucky ones. "