Thursday, June 30, 2011

Changed Forever

One year ago today started out just like any other day. I was on summer vacation. So I slept late, probably ate leftover pizza for breakfast, and then caught up on TV shows. Sometime that afternoon, I thought about what I would wear to Nashville. I had to pick up Dana from the airport. She was coming home from her month in Rwanda and I could not wait to hear ALL about it! I figured she might want to go to dinner that night since she would have eaten African food for an entire month. I know that being in Ethiopia, I am glad to be home and to not eat Italian for a while.

On my way to the airport, I got a phone call. Okay, let me set the scene. Dana’s flight landed around 5:00 p.m. So I have to deal with everyone in Nashville trying to get home. And I have to get all the way over to the airport. Nashville traffic doesn’t bother me. I know where I am going (most of the time). But now throw into the mix a phone call from a 770 area code. The area code where America World is located! So, on top of navigating through traffic, I now I to answer the phone.

And who knows what they want when they call. It could be a million different things-something could be wrong with my paperwork once it got to Ethiopia, they are letting me know that I need to prepare to wait another few months, or they could be calling to let me know I have been matched.

Today’s call was the referral call. 5:00 traffic was no match for the adrenaline rush that I felt when the girl on the other end of the phone said that had a match for me. An adorable two-year-old boy who seems shy and reserved, but very smart. He is small for his age, but has shown growth in the past few months since he had been placed in the orphanage. She went on to tell me about his health issues-nothing I couldn’t deal with. And I honestly don’t think anything she would have told me would have deterred me. I was trying to think rationally and process all of the things she was telling me. I was also trying to take notes about what she was saying while I was driving. I know. Not the safest thing I could have done! But I was overwhelmed with emotion. And I am a note-taking kind of person. So this just goes with who I am. I don’t care about safety as much as I care about having info about my potential future child.

While I am taking notes, she tells me that she will email all of this information to me. Great to know now that I have almost taken out a few cars ;) She is also going to include some photos of the boy. And at this point that is all he was- a little boy from Ethiopia who could possibly be my child, if I accept the referral. Once I got off the phone with her, my phone loaded the email that she had sent. I could not wait to open the pictures and see him. But I made a few phone calls first. I called my family and tried to remember all of the details I was given.

Once I got to the airport, and parked to wait for Dana, I allowed myself to open the email and see his face. Well, it was love at first sight. Duh! How could you look at his face and not fall in love! But, I was still trying to be rational. Some of the medical things that she told me were a little frightening. But in my heart, I could already picture this child as my own. Just the two of us against the world. Who cared about low iron or being really tiny for his age? I didn’t. Nothing mattered once I saw his face.

*See nine month blog for the picture I received that day

So Dana was the first one I told face to face. She cried with me as I jumped for joy (literally-embarrassing, I know!). Hey, I was at the airport. I could have been jumping for joy because I had not seen Dana’s smiling face for an entire month. And I will admit that every time I went to Nashville and did not see her, it felt weird, like something was missing. But she was home now, so all was right with the world.

And the world had just gotten a little happier. Baby Z, what Larkin went by until I decided on Larkin, was going to have a family. I just had to jump through a few more hoops until he was officially mine.

My family has not always been so supportive of the idea of me adopting from Ethiopia. “Why not get a baby from Russia so it will look like you?” “Are you sure he is only two? He looks older.” “Do you know how hard your life is going to be with a black baby?” "Are you SURE you want to do this?" "Do you know how expensive raising a child can be?"

None of these questions stopped me from doing what I knew God wanted me to do. My life had been hard enough already. Life-threatening cancer at 19, parents divorce after almost 30 years, how tough could raising a baby really be!?!? Notice I didn't say black baby. When I see pictures of our time in Ethiopia, I do not see black and white. I see people who need God's love just like I do. There is no color there. And when I look at Larkin, I do not see a black baby. I see my baby.

Don’t get me wrong. I knew the stereotypes that small-town America had (still has) about white girls and black babies. But that wasn’t what this was about. This was about me bringing a smart, determined, inquisitive little boy into my family. And this was about the feeling that I had two years before, while I stood in a tiny room with a dirt floor and held a chunk of a baby boy in Ethiopia. My heart was ripped from my chest. And my heart came back to me in the arms of another little boy-a little older, a little more scarred, a little tougher of a life endured. But my heart returned.

And now I allow that same little boy to carry my heart with him wherever he goes. Because let’s face it, I didn’t say no to him on this day in June of 2009, why would I start saying no to him now? Seriously, look at this face. Who can say no to that?

Here are some photos of Larkin with my family. They are much more supportive of my decision now that he is here for them to love!


  1. Aaaahhhhhh!!! Tears come to my eyes every time I read your blogs. I love you and Larkin and I am so thankful God brought this little piece of your heart back from Ethiopia for all of us to love and watch grow. He is such a special boy!!!

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About Me

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I am single, 30 year old teacher in Tennessee. I am anxiously awaiting a child from Ethiopia. I cannot wait to add this adventure to my life!