Today marks six months home. I have trouble knowing what to write about since we have one day after the next when it comes to monthly anniversaries. But having her in our arms and being home are two experiences that are quite separate, so I want to mark both.
I feel like our real adjustment as a family began the moment we walked off the plane in Kansas City. In Ethiopia, it was a honeymoon period of sorts, except I didn't realize it just then. Oh, I knew we had it good in a lot of ways, but I also longed for a home life. We didn't get that by simply stepping off the plane in our home city, and I'd say that it's really just lately that we've felt settled and at home. There is so much to navigate when bringing a new child home, and when you throw in the part where she has experienced trauma and is experiencing trauma in the form of leaving behind everything she's known, it is incredibly messy. Life is so much more full of everything at home to begin with, before you even throw in those huge issues. In Ethiopia, we had the luxury of dealing with the issues without the extra stresses of day to day life. Living out of suitcases is a challenge, but when you've packed for a month, you have everything you need for that month (mostly) at hand. When someone else cooks your meals for you and does your laundry, you don't have to figure out how to fit that in. There are no dishes to do, either. And there are no people who need or want things from you.
Coming home was a reckoning of sorts, a trial by fire. Could I get the dishes done and make choices that were in the best interest of my daughter? Judging by the pots and pans on my counters right now, the answer to the first part is still no much of the time. But it's getting better, and the second part is better, too. We do have a home life that isn't violated as often. Now that most people have met Zinashi, there's not such a flurry of requests to see her or to have her do things. There are still experiences she hasn't had, which many people feel she should have had already or that we should plan with haste, but now I just let most of those things go, or say that we're pretty much hippies who don't believe in television or early reading or marketing to children. (Which is all true, except that I like cute shoes way too much to be a hippie.) I'm sure a lot of people roll their eyes at our parenting, but that's okay. We like our family life, and we love our Zinashi, and at six months home we are truly at home together. What else matters? Not much, probably.
At six months home, we have worked hard to get where we are. But we've also loved much and laughed much and snuggled up next to a sweet little someone in our very own bed at night. It feels good. To be here. To be now. Six months home, and happy. We'll take it.