Yesterday my youngest daughter, Safa, turned 4. It was not the sort of birthday you envision for your child. Yesterday morning Yonas tantrumed three times when I sat down while holding him. His body literally did not shift its position on mine. I just lowered myself to the floor and it was too much for him to bear. Which in turn was too much for Safa to bear. We had an awful morning. We all cried.
The birthday cake I made for her was so ugly I asked Erik to not take pictures of it. I really don't want her to have evidence of it. She tolerated her crap birthday with such grace it broke my heart.
Yonas napped yesterday afternoon. When he woke, he was more pleasant to be around. So different, in fact, that I was able to see a possible future that included me sticking around to be his mama. Because frankly the railroad tracks a few short blocks away were starting to look pretty good a few days ago.
Today was more manageable. I cried a little, took a long walk with Yonas and Safa in the sun, practiced breathing deeply while he tantrumed, ate some chocolate, called my mom. At some point yesterday, I subtitled his screaming in my mind: "I'm so scared I won't get to stay!!", "I'm angry because I've lost so much!!", "Please help me!!" That helped open my heart to him. Today he was goofing for his sisters. That helped too.
I have been blessed with an amazing group of women that are bringing us meals, delivering care packages, sending me emails and texts of love and support, and in general letting me know I am not alone. I have been overwhelmed by the gracious and supportive comments left here, the ones I've received on the Ethiopian Adoptive Families forum, and sent in private messages. I have been moved by their candor and empathy. I'm blown away by the strength shown in these stories of struggle, how hard parents and children have worked to become a family, how much they have endured. I am proud to be a part of this community. I do not feel alone, and right now, that is everything.
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