Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The bunny rabbit is asleep. The Papa is off to the drug store to fetch her giardia prescription. The cats are sunning on the back stoop and Tulip is asleep at the foot of Ava's crib. Grandma Dog is making tortellini soup. (And the night before it was chicken cacciatore, and the night before tilapia, and the night before spaghetti and MEATBALLS. And every meal comes with chilled water and wine and a salad and folded napkins. I sit there and shove food in my mouth and drool and fall asleep in my plate and when I wake up the table is clear. I love this woman.)

Well, we're back but the world is different. That's all I have to say for now. We've seen so much. Meeting our daughter was one thing—overwhelming, happy, scary, heartbreaking, heartmaking, easy, hard. But that was all part of our lucky little life. The bigger part of the trip was meeting Ethiopia, and hearing and seeing and holding and saying goodbye to the children in the government orphanages. That was world-cracking. 

Meeting Ava's uncle Honshe. That was a real whammy of beauty and pain. As soon as we pulled up he ran out to her, murmuring her name. He was handsome and elegant and calm. We sat for an hour with the social worker and two translators (from Sidamo to Amharic to English). We found out how her parents met and that she is beautiful like her mother and funny like her Dad. Honshe is a farmer and he spoke a few words about that life. He and his wife have five children, plus Ava's four older siblings. His great wish, if God wills it, is for his niece to be well-educated, to grow up and be a famous doctor. His great wish, if God wills it, is that we will come back to Ethiopia so she can meet her siblings. 

Tim promised him that the next time we all meet he will be proud of the girl she has grown into. I promised him that we will love her always and infinitely, and that we will love and honor her Ethiopian family. I like to think he seemed relieved to have met us. By the end I dare say we were all relaxed a little and having a laugh here and there. Ava fell asleep in his arms and so we moved into the waiting room so she could finish her nap. Honse pulled a side of his blazer over her head so she would not be cold. My chair broke and I splatted to the floor and we all laughed some more, even the beautiful and sad young girl who was waiting to meet her son's new parents. Oh dammit, I'm always crying now.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Me feel goofy-brained.

We leave tomorrow. 

I just cleaned out the refrigerator. I went atomic on that fridge. Motherfuh sparkles. I should probably be doing actual things on my checklist instead. 

We took Tulip to Red Bud this morning and she swam farther than she's ever swum (swum? swammed? swimmied?). She's like a little dinghy in the water, with her slow motor hanging low. How I love this little animal. I told Papa Dog—let's stop with that charade already!—I told Tim that I didn't have it in me to ride with them to the dog camp in the morning. Don't worry Tulip! We'll come get you and there will be special fancy ridiculously expensive organic bacon chews for you to slobber over when we get home and we hereby promise that you will always get to go to Red Bud and take long walks at Turkey Creek and that it is as important to us that this baby be nice to you as it is for you to be nice to the baby. Tulip! You're my best friend!

I'll meet Ava Lende in about 65 hours, by my calculations. Not to sound like Keanu Reeves here, but all I gots to say about that is "Whoaaaa." Be patient with Mommy and Daddy. Forgive us when we end up covered in powdered rice cereal and poo and inside out onesies and you look over and see Mommy rocking in the corner nubbling a too-small diaper. We know not how it will feel to love so hard so fast so we may only speak in monosyllables the first couple days as we stare googly-eyed at you. Ava! You're my daughter! 

Filoli. Rooney. Julie. Mama Sweet Potato. Coffee Mom. Odom! Jaynes in the house. Little Ethiopians, pudgy Ethiopians, baby Ethiopians, adoptive Moms to Ethiopians and beyond. People! You're my community!