Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Post Wherein We See a Picture

In December of 2011, we bought an extra stocking for the mantle. That stocking symbolized a decision to adopt. It hung on our mantle, like a public display of the beginning of our adoption journey.

We had no idea how long the journey would be. We still don’t know.

In December of 2011, we hung that stocking and said, “We are adopting a little boy.”

In December of 2012, we hung that stocking again. It was a bittersweet time. The entire process of adoption from Ethiopia was slowing down, in every agency, in every case. Secretly, in our hearts, we had been hoping that we would be much closer to having that little boy home for Christmas 2012. As the holiday came closer, we knew there was just no way. The monthly conference calls with the adoption agency began to seem like waiting pep-talks, sprinkled with warnings to be ready to wait even more. We still didn’t even know who the little boy was or where he laid his head.

In December of 2012, we hung that stocking and still said, “Maybe we will have him home next Christmas.”

We usually decorate for Christmas right after Jeremiah’s early November birthday. This year, I could barely bring myself to do it.

But, we did.

And, it was fun.

A few weeks ago, we hung the stockings…all seven of them. 

With eyes glassed over and teary, I hung that stocking and said, “Maybe we will know who he is next Christmas.”

We’ve been praying for our little boy, for the documents needed to allow him to be adopted, for his birthparents, living family, caregivers… 

We’ve been praying.

Still, in December of 2013, I sat on the couch in the living room, staring at the seventh stocking. Another Christmas without knowing anything would be tough. Not unbearable, not hopeless…just tough. The Lord worked it out so that my daily devotional would include Habakkuk 2:3 (NET).

"For the message is a witness to what is decreed; it gives reliable testimony about how matters will turn out. Even if the message is not fulfilled right away, wait patiently; for it will certainly come to pass--it will not arrive late."

We prayed and prayed that God would work on our hearts as we waited. We prayed that He would help us wait patiently. And, we thanked Him for the assurance that it would certainly come to pass…and for the reassurance that it wouldn’t be late.

This past week, we received a call from our Family Coordinator at America World, then emails, then calls, then more emails.

This week…

This week of December 2013…

We saw his picture!

We prayed

We read his given name!

We prayed.

We cried over the great losses that he will grieve over the rest of his life.

We prayed.

We know who he is!!

We continue to pray. 

We are praying that we will have him home next Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Post Wherein the Berbere Arrives

Dear Micah,

Today a package arrived, brought by a delivery guy. It was light, bearing just one pound of contents. Within that small package was 16 ounces of berbere spice mix.

Sweet boy, you're going to want something familiar when you finally get here. There won't be any single thing that will be comforting to you. New place, new people, new language, new family, new, new, new.

You will come with so much to deal with. I don't yet know your history. I don't know what tragic events have caused you to be considered an adoptable orphan. We can't fathom the losses that you have endured at such a young age. And, because we will begin our lives together with a significant discrepancy in our communicative languages, I will want to try everything that I know to bring you some form of comfort.

So, after reading Yes, Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson, (a famous chef who was also adopted from Ethiopia) I decided to start using berbere spice in my cooking.

 So, I added the distinctively Ethiopian spice to our meatloaf today. I started introducing it to your new brothers with just a small amount. But, I will gradually add more spice to more dishes. I want to be able to fill the house with a familiar smell for you. I want it to be familiar to your brothers by then, too.

I cannot wait for all of you to run through the door after playing outside together...I cannot wait for your faces to all light up with anticipation of a yummy dinner because of the smell of berbere in the kitchen.

I hope that in some measure, we can bring you a sense of comfort and a feeling of being at home.

We love you, Micah. And, we are cooking with berbere and thinking of you.

Love, Momma

***Note: a recipe for Homemade Berbere Spice Mix and for Crispy Berbere Chicken with Ethiopian Lentils (pictured above) can be found at Feasting At Home.