Monday, November 23, 2009

What We sent,What it Meant. Part I.

When we sent care packages to Ethiopia, we included photo albums for our kids. One of the most enjoyable things to watch has been Meazi meeting our loved ones in the flesh. She had obviously looked through the photos in Ethiopia, and as soon as she was in our care we paged through them together.

We included photos of our relatives, many of our friends, her school, our house and garden, and the pups. She carried that album (and her voice recorder-more on that later) with her everywhere. The album was one of several 'books' she chose to read each night at bedtime once we got home.

Meazi with Pip and Squeak...

There is a picture of our next door neighbor in the album. Her name is Blake. She is thirteen years old. One day after school, I took Meazi over to meet Blake. Meazi was really shy. We only stayed twenty minutes or so. Blake played the piano for Meazi, and showed her how a Jacob's Ladder worked. Blake's father gave Meazi her first Cheez-it cracker. That night, as Meazi lay down to sleep she opened her album to the picture of Blake. She slept with her small hand clutching it the whole night. When she woke up she rolled over and groggily uttered, "Blake" her first word of the day.

In the beginning there was a lot of checking, and cross referencing with the album. She'd meet someone in person, and then later, after they had gone, she'd go to their photo in the book.

"Lori is Abe's mommy?"

With Lori and Abe...

She met Mimi's daddy and developed what I think was her second crush, (her first one being Solomon from the orphanage). After meeting Mimi's daddy she said, "Mommy, Chris konjo." Then she giggled.

Meazi and Mimi...

With Amy and Tunsi, and Tamoco (Tunsi's nanny)...

With Pip and Squeak and Yennie and Demoze...

And Sentayehu...

And Gigi...

And Aliya...

And Noah...

Of course the most moving 'photo to face' moments for me have been when she met my parents.

Meeting my mom at LAX when we landed...

Meazi showing her Papa her album...

Maybe it is too much. Maybe it is too many new people for just over three months. Steven and I have been talking to Meazi lately about who is friend and who is family. This too, is another post. Meazi definitely had some issues with indiscriminate affection giving in the beginning (just ask any stranger who happened to be in the elevator with us and received a hug and kiss from Meazi). Now she will confirm, "Mommy, Uncle Mark family?" "Yes Meazi, Uncle Mark is family.

After a particularly lovely afternoon with Amy and Tunsi, Meazi got into the car and said "Mommy, Amy and Tunsi family?" I hesitated with this one as I feel like so many people we know are indeed our family, but remembering my discussion with my husband I said, " Amy and Tunsi 'friends'.

She said, "No mommy, Amy and Tunsi family." I just nodded my head in agreement.

The album is less of an accoutrement now for Meazi. She is okay with leaving it in her bookcase. She even took the 'M' sticker from the beginning of her name to use on another project.

As the images become flesh, and the flesh becomes familiar, we put the album behind us and move forward...

with our friends and our family.


  1. how precious! thanks. i needed a good, happy cry to start my day.

  2. I wish you had time to write 6 posts a day. I am loving everything I get to read!

  3. It's pretty hard to distinguish between some friends and family! I am so glad she has all of those wonderful kids to know.

  4. Oh, Julie. This one really, really got to me. Beautiful. Simply beautiful is about all I can muster.

  5. This helps me get an idea of what our photo album will be like. Thank you so much!

  6. Oh julie, thank you so very much for this post! it is so beautiful, so sweet. we have the terms family-friend, and friend-family to denote the difference.

    so happy to see her with all of your close ones.

  7. Loved! I am totally projecting into my future life now when I read your blog. It is so grounding to have these references ... photos for Meazi and blogs for me!

  8. This is so sweet in so many ways. THank you for posting it.

  9. I love that she insisted they are family. Her mind must be always working and working. I'm teary.

  10. one thing is for sure, you are one loved family!

  11. meazi will never seize to amaze me. i love her heart. i'm so glad you are together.

  12. Look Julie girl, it's just crazy how nearly every single one of your posts makes me tear up. You stop that.

  13. we are about to send our ziplock in. would love to know more about the voice recorder. we still don't have a court date...i suspect this wait is going to take longer than they are predicting. a voice recorder might be a good idea?

  14. I don't think it is too much. I think it is just right. You are teaching Meazi (and Melese) all the right things and IMHO putting just the right balance in the equation with the other people who matter in your lives.

  15. This post just says it all. So sweet and it reminds me of those first weeks when our photo book was referenced on a day to day basis. Amazing how resilient, accepting and open hearted our little Habeshas are.

  16. After reading your posts for the past few months it's clear you're too humble to accept an award for Mother of the Year. But you deserve it anyway.