Friday, January 7, 2011

Merry Christmas Again!

Today we celebrate the Ethiopian Christmas! All of our kids think this is great! We have not yet established firm traditions for this holiday, but we had a lot of fun preparing and enjoying Ethiopian food today. They were the happiest kiddos in the world. They chose the recipes out of our Ethiopian cookbook called Exotic Ethiopian Cooking by D.J. Mesfin.

Sunshine wanted Potato Stew which is basically fried potatoes with a lot of onions and berbere. It was really good. She said it was even better than the potatoes she had in Ethiopia. I am feeling quite proud about that. We also had a lentil sauce that I have made before. They love it. The last item was cooked beets that we picked from our garden this past summer and froze for just such an occasion. They laughed about how the beets turned the injera purple. They also ate beets in Ethiopia. I feel so blessed that we can drive to Seattle and purchase fresh injera and keep it in the freezer to please these precious little tummies.

They repeated the same meal for dinner and are looking forward to more left overs tomorrow.

During the last part of our day they completed a very special project. Our family has had the privilege to meet weekly with an Adoption Attachment Therapist. We have been meeting with her for about six weeks and we are just starting to see some progress in the hearts of our children.

This past week as Sunshine met with our therapist they began talking about the loss of both of her parents in Ethiopia. She asked Sunshine if she had the chance to say goodbye to them. The answer was "No." I had never thought about this very crucial step in the grieving process. How could my kiddos begin to let go of their grief if they had never said goodbye? They talked through the process of how to begin to do this and drew some pictures to remember her parents and begin to say goodbye.

Part of the drawing included a large rock that was placed at the grave of each of their parents with their name on it. This gave me an idea.

After therapy I asked Sunshine if she would like to find a large rock for each of her parents and put their name on it? We could place the rocks in our yard or in the house. It would be a real symbol of their parents and the lives they lived.

She was thrilled with the idea! We shared the idea with Little Buddy and he wanted to help too.

The next day we went out to our rock pile in our back yard and they each chose a rock. They decided that they wanted to paint the rocks. So we scrubbed the rocks clean and went to the craft store to choose colors that reminded them of each parent.

Sunshine chose two colors of brown that reminded her of a dress that she had that matched one that her mother wore. Little Buddy chose a blue that reminded him of his daddy's policeman uniform that he wore to work everyday.

How do you choose a color to represent a life? That is what we did as we sat on the floor at the craft store. It felt surreal to me. But this is reality to my little ones.

Tonight, on Ethiopian Christmas, we painted the rocks.
When each of them had added all the color it was my turn to paint their names. I was surprised at how emotional this was for me. On this stone I write the name of the woman who carried my children in her womb and gave birth to them. I have known her name for over a year, but this rock makes her real in my house.

So many thoughts flood to my mind. I wish I could tell her that they will be loved and safe and cared for as long as I am alive. Thank you for the gift of these amazing little ones.

The stone for their dad is so amazing. We found out while in Ethiopia that he was sixty years old when he died. That is quite old for Ethiopia. He must have been a strong man with much courage. He obviously loved his family. The silver on his stone is for his silver hair.

Oh, I wish we had a picture. But not as much as my little ones wish we had a picture.

When I put Little Buddy to bed tonight I asked him how he was feeling about the rocks. He said that he felt a little bit happy and a little bit sad. "Now I have to say goodbye," he said. Hopefully some day soon it will feel OK to do that, but we will wait until he and his sister are ready.

In the meantime we will honor the memory of two precious people in the lives of our children and now in our family as well.
Sweet Momma


elisa said... have me crying. Thank you so much for honestly sharing your journey!

Chris said...

WOW! that is the sweetest bestest idea I have ever heard! Sorry for their little much to process.. I do, in a way know how it feels...I never got to say good bye to either of my parents either...yeah, that's a hard one..


Erin said...

Precious. Absolutely precious. Thank you for what you are doing, for having God's heart for HIS kids and for loving your darling Ethiopians babes. You are an inspiration!