But this item has great significance for me. This item was one of the small "Happy Meal" type toys that we brought to Ethiopia for our second trip when we brought our Peaches home. It recently came out of the clutter and appeared as an item being played with. My mind was instantly taken back to the days that that toy represents. To the stage that our little girl was in as she played with that toy in a hotel room in Addis Ababa.
When arriving in Ethiopia on your second adoption trip to the country, soon after you arrive back in the country, you go to the transition home and bring your child back to your hotel room. It is a very exciting time, yet filled with strange emotions as this child that you've dreamed of for months is suddenly living with you in a place that neither of you are comfortable with. The city and the hotel are certainly not home to you and living with two ferengis in a completely new environment is certainly not comfortable for the child. As the days roll by, confined in the hotel, waiting for the Visa appointment at the US Embassy, it is somewhat of an awkward time, yet filled with excitement and newness.
Peaches attached to Heather rather quickly. She did not attach to me. She really didn't want to have anything to do with me. How can you blame her? She had been through much pain and separation and how could she possibly understand that we loved her dearly and would never leave her and never wanted her to feel pain again. Yet the pain she caused in my heart was real as she made it very clear that I was an unnecessary feature in the room.
On one of the days of our hotel stays, Heather went to the market with one of the other families we were traveling with. That meant it was Peaches and me in the room alone together for many hours. Thinking this would be a good thing, I was excited that we would bond during these few hours. This turned out to be an expectation not based on reality as the hours turned into a very difficult time, with Peaches crying off and on and making it clear that she did not approve of me as her daddy. However, during that time there was a brief time when we started playing with the little trinket in the picture above. She started laughing, started playing, started to have a twinkle in her eye. She wanted us to take turns. She wanted us to play with the toy together. There were sparkles of the possibilities of a relationship. There were glimpses of a daddy/daughter bond. The toy that was worth only pennies, became a toy of unequaled value.
Though that time lasted only a few minutes, and the cold, shoulder shrugging returned quickly, it was a time that I will never forget. As I was sitting on the couch this morning, my little Peaches who had just woken up came and sat on my lap. She sat there quietly while I read a book and drank a cup of coffee. I was overwhelmed at the changes that have taken place in this little girl. She now joyously calls me daddy. She comes running when I get home for work. She wants to sit in my lap when we watch a movie. She wants to go with me when I run errands. The joy and sparkle in her eye says that she is not just a girl from the other side of the world who lives in our house - no, she is my daughter and I am her daddy. There is nothing like it. To see the healing that has taken place in her little heart is amazing. I'm thankful to God for what He's done in her heart. She really is a remarkable little girl, and we serve a remarkably big God!
Here are some other pics from our days at the Riviera during our second trip to Ethiopia. These are filled with a lot of emotion and filled with a lot of "Wow, we've come a long way."
Leaving Hannah's Hope, headed "home" to the Riviera. She has the wind-up toy in her hand!
Putting on her first headband (tag still on it!)
Playing with mommy in the dining room at the Riviera while we enjoy our first meal together
Balloons were a big hit with her!
Playing with her good friend Lidya. The stroller in the back parking lot was a lot of fun!
Learning to play on a iPad. We were amazed at how quickly she picked things up. She still loves to play on the "i pan"
Leaving Hannah's Hope for the final time!
Working hard at drawing on her Barbie drawing pad in the hotel room.
Having more fun with Lidya in the downstairs meeting room of the Riviera. A great place to run and play!
Lidya, Tizita, and Peaches together at the Addis Airport getting ready to leave on the midnight (yes midnight!) flight to Amsterdam. Three amazing girls!
Peaches showing her bright smile at the Addis Airport
The three girls saying good-bye at the Amsterdam Airport as they each head to different flights. We love those girls!
Trying to figure out what she'll eat! Trying oranges and an Egg McMuffin at the Amsterdam Airport!
Waking up the first morning in our HOME with her big sister Sunshine!
Her first meal in her new HOME.....Injera and wat supplied by our good friends the Henns!
So good to have you HOME with us Peaches. We love you!