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.