Thursday, October 11, 2012


morning play

This is my new favorite photo of Zinashi. So much of who she is glows forth from this little tableau. What you can't tell is that she is singing. In her hands is a little rubber lizard, a character in this morning's drama. Every line of every character is sung, and she moves around our king size bed as the animals travel. The animals are always traveling.

She tells me she will live in houses in many places. In Kansas City and San Francisco and London and France and Ethiopia. I tell her that's a lot of houses, and she says that she knows, but it's what she wants. At her core, what she wants is a home, something unchanging, in each of the places she visits. There has been so much change for her in these two years since she joined our family.

Life is finally stable enough that I am beginning to process our time in Ethiopia this past summer. I wrote a little bit about it on Babble, about how I didn't get the adoption experience I hoped for, and how a major factor in that was that we didn't get the time in Ethiopia that we hoped we'd have. But it's more than that, really. I also didn't give Zinashi the experience in Ethiopia that I feel like she needs. At least it was something, I tell myself, and at least we saw her family, even for a little bit. Given the circumstances, we did all we could. But it's not enough. She is losing her memories of Ethiopia, and I know that one of her deep sadnesses is that she can't remember what it looks like there. What it smells like. How what was home for three years of her life--longer than she's been with us--feels. Her heart is homesick for Ethiopia, and my heart joins hers. I feel that ache, deeply.

We plan to go back in two years. Ethiopia in the autumn of even years and Nice in the autumn of odds. That seems like an interminably long time to me, and I wonder if we might make it back sooner, if our hearts will pull us so strongly that we can't not go back. I am hoping for so many things right now, but always I am hoping for that. To take that long plane ride and wake up to the roosters and prayers. To walk into Zinashi's village to the ululations of people to whom she is so dear. We will get there. Only time will tell just when.


  1. It is hard to have your heart and soul in two places at the same time. Always. It does not stop being hard. But it is wonderful that she can express it and feel confident about traveling and living in different houses.

  2. Your last paragraph left me in tears -- that is how powerfully you conjured up Ethiopia for me with your words. We've been back four times with our daughter and still it does not seem enough. Never enough. We're also planning a trip for 2014. It can't come soon enough.

  3. This is so true for us as well. Living (in our hearts) in two places.

  4. My little man is 3 years old and only 2 weeks home. He wakes up every morning and says, "Mommy, Ethiopia?" in his sweet accent. Like you, I am desperate to bring him back there. I think within 5 years, we will live there with all 3 of our Ethiopian kids.


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