Elliott’s first 4th was very low key, but we did get to see fireworks and I had bought her sparklers. She enjoyed them both greatly. (One of the benefits of where we live, you can sit on the patio and watch the fireworks at the small airport near us. The show is nice but the noise is greatly lessoned. Perfect for a baby.) She laughed and thought they were hilarious. She really is a silly baby.
As the saying goes, “I am proud to be an American”, but I’ve never been a big 4th of July person. It is hot, loud and I’d rather just go swimming (or in today’s case, shopping). Though the holiday itself is nice, I’m not one for the big pomp and circumstance around it. But now I am the mother of an immigrant and that changes the meaning of the holiday for me. This child was born in a country that has a long history of war and famine. A country where, if she had stayed, she would have had a very different life. I’m not saying different is bad, but for her specifically, she wouldn’t have had a chance. Odds of her survival were low, odds of her finding a family were non existent, odds of her, at a very young age, being turned out on the street by a system that is overburdened and unable to care for the millions of orphaned children was almost guaranteed. The words on the Statue of Liberty very much apply to her.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door. “
This is the country of her refuge. Here she is free, loved and she can be anything she wants. She has a future. There are those that adopt to “rescue orphans, ” I’m not one of them and I won’t get into why that is a bad idea. I wanted to be a parent and followed the path God choose for me to become one. But I’d be stupid if I didn’t recognize that by immigrating to the United States, Elliott has been given a gift. So today my little immigrant and I celebrated, with sparklers and fireworks, the birthday of a country and the great potential in the future of a child.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” – United States Declaration of Independence
In the coming months, Elliott will officially become a naturalized US citizen and hold all the rights that affords her. She will not understand what is going on but me, I’ll probably cry. Someday when she can understand, I will take her to see the Statue of Liberty and tell her about the long line of immigrants she comes from and the nation that was built by people just like her.
“We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.” ~ Robert J. McCracken
Happy Birthday America! I am proud to call this nation my home.
“Heaven blew every trumpet
and played every horn
on the wonderful, marvelous
night you were born.”
~ Nancy Tillman
One year ago today, in Awassa Ethiopia, a baby was born. She was a healthy, happy baby. Today, half a world away, she turns one and we celebrate that joyous occasion and that milestone.
For what a milestone it is. Born in a country where 1 in 10 children die before their first birthday, her first year of life was filled with more changes and trauma than any child should face; loss of family, loss of caregivers, multiple moves, hospitalization and almost death. But, she survived and today she is a healthy, happy child; outgoing, talkative, silly, opinionated, secure and loved beyond measure.
There are many who see the birthdays of children who were adopted as both a sad and joyous occasion. Sad because the child can’t be with their birth family on this day, sad because the adoptive family wasn’t there to celebrate and witness their birth. But for me, the sadness can wait for tomorrow, today is a day to rejoice. To celebrate the life and the potential of this amazing little girl and I hope somewhere half way around the world, others are rejoicing with me.
My wish for you my darling baby girl:
“Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”
~ Author Unknown
(pictures from her birthday party on Sunday, pictures from today are forthcoming)
With the other birthday girl, her cousin K. (Their birthday’s are 8 days apart.)
Milk free cake, made by Aunt Terry. (It melted on the way to Grandma’s)
Aunt Terry and Elliott.
Presents are better to push around than open.
Unless they have tissue paper.
Of course presents are much more fun to play with than open.
Getting to tired to party, so we took a nap.
But then the cake.
And then a bath.
3 months ago today I held Elliott for the first time. She is the greatest gift I have ever been given and the only Mother’s Day present I want. Like the others, the last few weeks have been a serious of milestones. She had a play date with a baby a bit younger than she and triplets just a few days older. As usually, she was the all over, playing, having fun and trying to climb any kid anywhere near her. She just has this need to hug every kid who comes into her reach. They don’t feel the same way. She got her first injury that evening. She split her lip on an incrediblock. Oh the blood and tears. Especially the blood.
But it is healing nicely and all is well.
She hit it again and cut it on the inside a couple days ago but that sealed up quickly. I guess the injuries are a sign she is more mobile. She can very briefly stand by herself and walk with you only holding one of her hands.
She got her first car, thanks to my sister.
She enjoys riding it around the neighborhood.
And someone is usually willing to accommodate her. Think she is spoiled much?
She is mimicking more. She repeats a lot more including entire phrases. She also will occasionally use words correctly that she doesn’t normally say. For example. She attended her first birthday party yesterday. It was for a little girl who was also in her children’s home. They were playing and several times either her mother or I said play nice to one or the other. At one point in time she looked at me and said “Nice” referring to the fact she was holding the other little girl’s hand. I told her that yes that was playing “Nice.”
She refers to herself as “Baby” and will often jabber long sentences at me with “Baby” in them. She is usually trying to convince me of something or telling me what she wants so I know she is referring to herself.
She also understands a lot. She can follow directions. Like “Where is Chewy? If you want me to rock you to sleep go get Chewy and come back?” Chewy is her comfort object. A cloth diaper, she picked it (we tried fancy little blankets but she prefers the target, cloth diaper, burp clothes.) I made the mistake of naming it while sleep deprived in Ethiopia. I pretend it stand for Chewbacca.
She loves to open and close things. Drawers, doors, whatever. She also has developed an affection for baby dolls or small stuffed animals. She loves her drum and anything (including the air vent) that makes noise.
She is still stubborn and will argue with me when I tell her not to do something. You can see her little mind debating when I say no what to do. She turns to me, turn to whatever she shouldn’t be doing, turns to me, turns to it and so on. If I say no or tell her to come to me she’ll stop but sometimes the temptations is just too great. She actually crawled sideways briefly back towards something I told her to leave alone. It was like it is drawing her in. But usually (after I say no a few times) she resists and does something else.
She is getting 2 possible 3 more teeth. All on the top. Every once in a while she gets cranky because of it but for the most part, other than the drool and the chewing on everything, you wouldn’t know. She is a really happy baby.
She is adjusting okay to me going back to work more. She is staying with family and though she loves them, she has some rough moments. This week I start back into the office 2 days a week. Unfortunately for her, I have to work. Even if both of us wish it was otherwise.
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
~ Khalil Gibran
Happy Mother’s Day!