And I just finished writing our 1-year-post placement report on Tariku. 1 year. I can’t believe it myself. Lots of things to say about that boy. I wonder if they’ll mind that it’s close to 3 pages? Only partially joking, I still have to edit it a bit.

Reminds me of a year ago. April 2nd marked the day that we took off from Moline, IL to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was crazy to think about as I remember every single second from that day. This week has made me long for Ethiopia in a way I haven’t done since we got back. I can’t wait to go back, I really can not wait.

Then today. Today marks the day we first met our sweet Tariku. When I really think about it I cry all over again. How he jumped in our arms, much to our surprise. How he drank Zach’s entire water bottle. His delight at just touching my face, my hair, my, ahem, breasts. He was so much smaller than I thought he’d be. His smile bigger and whiter. His eyes bigger and brighter. I cried when we left him. Nervous energy pouring out of me. He cried as we left as well. We looked at each other and I tried so hard to tell him I’d be back with my eyes but it was lost in translation. Our story, his story resembles that day so very much. The two of us wildly holding onto each other when we didn’t know what else to do. It was the best feeling in the world, and still is, when that little boy threw his arms around my neck.

This is what I wrote that day one year ago.

There is literally no way I can tell you how very awesome it was to have our son run into our arms this morning. There is NO WAY I can tell you how good that felt.

So it began with some awesome pancakes made by the beautiful, talented cooks here at the guest house. Then it was time to go to the office to sign a waver saying it was okay to take pictures of us. Then the words, “You can go meet your children now”. The 4 sets of us adopting older kids loaded into the van. I started getting chocked up, tapping my legs, chewing my lips.

When we got to the school where they were, we were told to go in a room. One at a time they called us to meet our kids. Guess what…we were last. But it was priceless, Tariku’s social worker told us to come meet him.

So we went through the garden, the play yard and into the first school room. We just peaked in and saw him right away. Once he saw us he got the BIGGEST smile and came RUNNING into Zach’s arms (because he was kneeling). I started crying, and Zach stood up so I could get a good look. Tariku took his other arm and brought me into a big family hug. He did not let go the entire 2 hours we were there. He kept touching our faces and our arms. He would have us sit down so he could sit on our lap. When he wanted to move he would get up then put his arms up. Once we said “up” he caught on and ended up telling us “up” by the end of our time. At one point I had taken him to snack area. Zach went to talk with another family. Tariku turned and noticed Zach wasn’t there and started yelling, “Daddy, daddy”. So we quick went to find him and Tariku was much better.

Then a few minutes later I had to go to the bathroom (turns out my bladder must be smaller in Ethiopia). So I went in to do that, Zach comes soon after saying Tariku was yelling for me.

In our short time together he had learned mommy, daddy, up, thank you, please. We had learned machinet (car), Tariku (pronounced tar-ee-koo but roll the r, memorize that, because that is how we will be calling him now). J So we’re already learning from each other.

He was such a joy. Always loving, gave us lots of hugs, lots of kisses and we got quite a few belly laughs out of him. He’s a Klipsch, loves when daddy throws him in the air. He also loves to play with mom’s hair and chest (for some reason he enjoys rubbing it, but that’s cool). When it was time for us to go, he started to cry until his social worker translated that we are coming back today. After that he gave us LOTS of hugs, kisses, waves and blowing kisses.

So we’re very hopeful today. He is very possessive of the car we brought him and he quickly took over our water bottle and proceeded to down the entire thing and then keep refilling it. Though he was quite nice and shared the water with his friends.

I’m not going to lie to you, the first meeting exceeded my expectations. The pictures do not do him justice, he is far too adorable. He has HUGE dimples, beautiful white teeth, a beautiful smile. The curliest, light hair. His eyelashes are looong and curly and his lips are perfect for smooches!

So we just had lunch which was AMAZING and are now waiting to head to the office again so we can do some paperwork business. After that, we’ll get to spend some more time with Tariku which obviously I’m so excited for.

I probably won’t be able to post this until tonight as there’s just one internet connection for all of the centers at CHS and it turns out 3:30 in the morning is best time to get on.

Ok, so we’re back. It’s now 5:30 our time. We just got done seeing Tariku for the second time. He got excited when we came again and came running into my arms (that will doubtfully ever get old). It seems attaching is going well as he would leave us for a bit more knowing we were still going to be there when he turned around. Still wouldn’t go too far, but it was good seeing he understood we’re here for him.

The kid loves THINGS. He hoardes them like it’s his business and let’s out a little squeal if someone tries to take things from him. Another cute thing he does is, instead of answering yes, he just nods (kind of like people do when they’re saying something akin to “what’s up?”). It’s soooo precious.

We went through the photo album with him. He had obviously seen it many times. He can say “TT” and “Dailah” and knows who they were as he would point at them in every picture. Zach and I are attempting many Amharic words to help ease the transition. So far the only one we’re real good at is “Shinte” which is basically asking him if he has to go to the bathroom. (Can you tell what we consider important in this family? J

We’re in the guest house for the rest of the night. We were able to take a bit of a walk to the office today. The city is amazing in the dichotomy of it all. Big buildings with squatters outside. Gold brushed buildings with cows and goats randomly walking by. It really is amazing.

One of my favorite parts of the day was when the kids were getting ready for a snack. One of the couples here are adopting a 6 and 7 year old and the 7-year-old led the group in a prayer. All the kids folded their hands to pray. I swear, I could literally see God smile.

And go here for one of the best responses to the whole Madonna adoption saga. Melissa Faye Greene says it better than I ever could.

Oh, and here is one our first pictures together.

9 thoughts on “Oh

  1. When I read this last year, it brought me to tears, and it did it again just now. I’ll always remember your “anniversary” with Tariku because April 11 is my daddy’s birthday. So, I know I’m a week early, but happy Family-versary! (hey, I like my new made-up word!)

  2. Thanks for sharing. Yesterday, 4/3, was our 6 month day of meeting LT. I have also been thinking a lot about ET. I look forward to taking my son there and sharing his heritage with him. You made me smile when you wrote about the “hey what’s up” head nod. LT used to do that all the time. It is actually something he does a lot less now but I miss it. Anyway, congrats on a wonderful year!

  3. It just seems like yesterday that I was reading your original post and crying all over the place. We finalized on Monday and I absolutely understand the longing for the country of your child’s birth. Today as I was washing dishes, thinking about getting our application in, my chest hurt because I long for Korea, the smells, the food, the people, the language I cannot understand. I guess we are going to journey this one together again, though your children will probably come home sooner than ours.

  4. Missing Ethiopia and the wonderful members of our travel group. Thank you for posting so often and making it feel like we aren’t that far apart. I didn’t follow your blog until we got home, so to read your original post from last April 4 brought such happy memories. Yet another great post about toddler/older child adoption. Happy Forever Family Day!!

  5. After finally meeting Tariku in person I’d have to say he is everything you say about him and more. His smile is the most beautiful thing. Seeing him as a part of your family reminds me that God really does have a plan for all of us.

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