Today

Today he argued with me about mustard. The conversation went a little something like this:

Tariku: “Mom, you’re putting mustard on that?!? You don’t like mustard!”

Me: “Yes I do, honey, I’ve always liked mustard.”

Tariku: “No you don’t, you didn’t before, I remember that you didn’t like mustard.”

Me: “Tariku, I promise, I have liked mustard since before you were born.”

Tariku: “No, I’m positive, you didn’t like it before.”

and on and on for MINUTES. Minutes, people.

It’s been like this for about 2 weeks, which is to say the length of time in which the kids have been released into the wild on summer break. And most days I can let it roll off my back but some days he argues with me about my never liking mustard and on those days I want to call for a do over.

Because I get it. All of his disrespect, all of his angst, all of his constant arguing is always with me. Moms. They are an integral part in my Tariku’s story. Not just me, of course, but of his first mama who he reportedly looks and acts just like. When I think of her, I always think of him. Smile for days, bright eyes, playful and funny but mostly serious and determined.

And I have to believe there are times when he is interacting with me but thinking about her. I’m sure our upturned eyes when he says something funny or wise and our creased forehead when he’s on our every last nerve is vaguely similar. I can’t imagine the pain it causes him sometimes to see her in me or to look at me and be scared not because of what I’m saying or doing but because I remind him of her-of loss and heartbreak.

So on other days, days when it’s not about mustard-obviously, I’m sympathetic. I get it. Changing schedules means anything can happen. It’s why since the time he learned English he asks me what we are doing for the day and then if the car goes off course asks a million follow up questions to make sure we are doing exactly what I had said we were doing. Because of the day when he was told they were going one place and then instead went to an orphanage. That’s why he gets effed up when his scheduled gets effed up.

And I. Get. It.

But it’s fekkin exhausting some days. Some days I look at him and I can see in him the battered and tattered soul that must be looking back from my eyes too. Like two people hanging on to a tree in the middle of a windstorm. We want the same things: to be loved by each other, by other people and for God’s sake we want to love ourselves. Maybe one of those happens first, maybe they happen together-who the hell knows. But here we are, on the damn tree again. Clutching hands and searching for eye contact. A nod that we’re in it together but come hell or high water we will end up together too. Perhaps a little worse for wear but together just the same.

Some days, not days in which we argue about mustard-obviously, we do end up quite literally together. He’ll let me snuggle up to him on his bed. He’s never super relaxed, my Tariku, when I’m snuggling him but ever so closely I creep until he lets me throw an arm around him, sometimes even a leg. “I love you, you know that?” He smiles, nods his head. “No, I mean I seriously love you. Like sometimes I clench my jaw so tightly because if I don’t then I’ll squeeze you to death with all of the love I have for you. It’s too big for my body. My whole body can’t take it, so my big jaw takes it for me.” Laughs, nods. “Ok, just so you know, no matter what-it’s true.” And then as I get up to leave and my back is turned.

“I love you mommy, so much.”

Redemption.

So bloody, sweat and tear strained we retreat to our corners. Me thinking about how mind numbingly frustrating loving another human can be sometimes and him thinking about how I stayed. I freaking stayed.

On Teacher Appreciation

When Trysten first went to Kindergarten I didn’t think a whole lot about his teacher or school. I know, I know, shocking. But he was a smart kid with 2 parents who weren’t going to let him fall behind on anything so there wasn’t a huge concern.

Then we brought Tariku home and we started to think more about education. We moved Trysten from his school that, year after year, gets the highest test scores in the district and some of the highest test scores in the state. We moved him because most of his school looked like him, which is fine, but the school didn’t look like us. Our new family now contained a little precious boy of color so an almost all white school wasn’t going to do.

We moved Trysten to quite possibly the most underperforming school in the district. Worried grandparents and community members chided us for the bold move but we knew it was right because Trysten would be fine. Regardless of how the school overall did on standardized tests, Trysten positively excelled.

And then we brought home Tomas and Binyam. There was only one school in our district with full time ESL people on staff and we knew bringing home a first grader we would rely heavily on ESL the first few years, so we switched again. This time to a school that usually ranked towards the bottom on standardized tests. We knew it would be a perfect fit, however, when we first saw there was a large minority population at the school and then that a really great family friend-Mrs.Meinert- would be Tariku’s Kindergarten teacher.

Pretty soon after bringing Tomas and Binyam home we could tell they might need a little more attention in school. Tomas’s phenomenal teacher proactively worked with Mrs. Meinert to have Tomas come down with her class during reading and math. At the end of the first year Tomas’s teacher, Mrs. Dunlap, showed me his first words he had written and I cried during the whole conference. Watching how much he had grown from August-May was nothing short of a miracle and I knew, though Zach and I encouraged him at home, it had everything to do with the two teachers who loved and nurtured him in his first year.

Binyam started out in preschool with Dailah but we could tell he too needed a little more work. His YMCA preschool teacher arranged a meeting for us at our local AEA. They tested Binyam and agreed he needed an all day preschool the following year at-you guessed it-one of the worst performing schools in the district (but which boasted Binyam’s Uncle Jake as the principal) πŸ™‚ . When Binyam began his (second) year of preschool he had no idea how to spell his name, his speech was very poor and he had 0 fine motor skills. At his first conference his teacher showed us little scraps of paper that Binyam had written, “Binyam” and “Mom”. With tears running down my face I grabbed her hand, “Thank you, thank you so much.”

The last few years for Tomas and Binyam have carried on much the same. A tribe of advocates have surrounded them and fought for them, working alongside us. And though my other 3 don’t need the same degree of help, their teachers have kept them challenged and loved just the same. Watching these teachers (my kids usually have the same teachers as the sibling who went before them) love, nurture and cherish my babes finding their footing as well as my higher level learners has been an enormous blessing.

I have gotten emails from these teachers at 10:00 pm, “Hey what do you think about trying this for x?” I’ve gotten more phone calls during the day than you can possibly imagine (I quite literally just got off of one) from teachers and administrators, “Hey wanted to let you know x is having a great day today! Make sure you praise him/her for doing their best during reading!” Notes in planners talking about the progress on a letter or a sound or a journal entry. I’ve seen these teachers have to switch from this kind of technique to another, back to the first and then-no wait, let’s do it this way-within just a few months.

And always, when I’ve cried asking, “Are they going to be ok? What more can I do?” They’ve looked at me, usually with tears in their eyes and said, “Of course they’ll be ok, your kid is amazing and we’re going to do everything we can because they are worth it.” And I believed them.

One of my best girl friends was talking about one of her babes that struggles in her class. As Ashley talked about the little girl I just started crying. I can’t get over how much our kids are loved by their teachers. These teachers who work so much, get paid so little love. our. kids. Incredible.

I know not all teachers are like this, I know that. But we’ve been so incredibly grateful for the teachers we’ve had.

I think on days like today when I get a completely unprompted call from the kids’s school, “Hey, Binyam’s teacher was thinking about him…” I am humbled beyond anything else that there is so much love surrounding my kids. I am so thankful I never have to go through this parenting thing alone. So thankful for our community who has trained and support teachers, imperfectly I’m sure, that are as amazing as they are.

So to all the teachers. The ones I’m related to, the ones I am friends with and the ones who have prayed and thought about my kids every day for a year-thank you so much. My words fail me at a time like this but I am forever indebted to you!

It’s Going to Hurt

Having little A has been mostly amazing, obviously a little stress and exhaustion are mixed in there too, but mostly amazing.

Today I was changing A when I felt Tariku staring at me. I smiled at him, “What’s up, babe?”

“I like watching you with A, I feel like that’s how you would have been to me if you had me when I was 2.”

“Oh Tariku, I think I would’ve been even better with you. Because you are my son and I knew it from the moment I met you. With A I don’t know how long she’ll be with us so I can feel myself holding back a little bit. Sometimes it’s scary to fall in love with someone if you know they might leave. You ever felt like that before?”

“Yeah, I know exactly what that feels like.”

One of the more remarkable things that has come with us becoming foster parents is just how it’s affecting our adopted kiddos, specifically Tariku. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see they are reassured of their permanency every time another child comes for a bit then leaves.

I’m so thankful for where we’re at. It was a long road to get here but dammit it was worth it.

I really liked this post by one of my favorite bloggers about how we view missions, etc. Please go to that link (and, if you have time, follow the other links she uses). I’ll wait…

So I got a new (to me) computer from a friend of mine. She (the computer) is beautiful and fast and sleek. I love her. I feel a brand new excitement over blogging because things actually happen when I ask them to and that is very new and refreshing. It’s also easier to post pictures. Yay!

In the car Tariku and I fell asleep. When I woke up he was draped over my shoulder with his hands encircling mine. We have come a long way, my friends.

Dailah is in a new dance studio this year. It is SO much better than her last one. I loved this quote from her studio, “Today is your day to DANCE lightly with life, sing WILD songs of adventure, soar your spirit, unfurl your joy.”

Went on a date with the hubs. I don’t love Valentine’s Day. I hate anything that feels forced and unnatural. A day to celebrate love is my kind of day but a day to celebrate love forced on us by mega corporations? Nothankyouverymuch. So every year Zach and I pick a different day to celebrate love. It’s our way of throwing our fist up at the man.

The kids went to their first Iowa Hawkeye wrestling meet. The Hawks are really, really good so it was a lot of fun. The big 3 got front row seats with their grandpa while the rest of us sat a little higher. It was so much fun.

Tomas had his first piano “recital” last night. He has only been playing for a few months so it was mostly just showing us what he had learned. Regardless, I was so proud of him.

Tomas was SO nervous-as evidenced by his chewing his fingernails off. But he killed it. My precious son. A lot of our family came to watch his debut. For our kids from hard places there is something so profound about people they love showing up. When Tomas woke up yesterday he put on the nicest outfit he owns. All black with a red tie. Upon seeing his outfit the rest of his siblings emerged with similar looking outfits in solidarity. It meant so much to him. I just think that is the coolest. I think he is the coolest.

Not to be outdone, Zach and his brother Jake performed a little Heart and Soul as well. They looked like a couple of twins. I loved every second.

I have this weird thing with people who talk about being “busy”. As much as I, for the most part, am pretty good at letting people “do them” I am complete shit at that when people talk about how busy they are. It’s all relative, right? I have Facebook/blog friends who are moms to more than 10 children. 10. At any point when I feel a little overwhelmed by my “busy” I think about what it must feel like to feed/bathe/clothe that many people and I tip my pretend little hat.

I’m not that busy.

And really, I’m not.

My sister got married almost 2 weeks ago. I can’t wait to show you pictures. She was beautiful, my new brother-in-law was handsome. They were so happy. I am crying right now just remembering it all. It was absolutely beautiful. I’m so thankful they found each other. I love them both more than I can possibly put into words (which is why, on a sidenote, I did a flash mob as my matron of honor speech). Good times.

This weekend my hubby and I are heading out for some fun with friends. The thought of being with that guy with no kids makes me a little slap happy.

And the weekend after is Wine to Water. Lots of fun stuff coming up with that.

But this post is really about the fact that a few days ago Tariku asked if he could snuggle with me. Please re-read as many times as necessary.

My Tariku asked to snuggle with me (for the first time in 4 1/2 years).

I was hot and grumpy, talking to Zach about various things.

But I snuggled the shit out of my son, of course I did.

This boy who still shirks a good deal of my physical touch asked to snuggle after so many years.

I wanted you to know because things are really good with us, despite that, they really are. But man I didn’t know I had been missing that so much until his little body draped over mine.

So if you’re in the thick of the cringe-when-touched or any of the other stuff that we gladly (or not so) take on as adoptive mamas I just wanted you to know.

Carry on mama warriors. It’ll be worth it. Promise.

Abe and Aristotle

I know most of you who read this blog (does anyone still read this blog?) are my friends on Facebook as well. So you know about my Abe and my Aristotle. But writing for me has always been therapeutic on some level and after spending the entire day on the couch watching Season 2 of Sons of Anarchy (love/hate that show) and crying at the mere sight of my dogs’ water bowl I decided maybe I’d try to write about them.

About a month and half ago Abe started showing signs of something like a UTI. He peed in our house for the first time since he was a pup and had to go pretty frequently. Took him to the vet multiple times over the next few weeks and nothing was working. He stopped eating, slowly his legs stopped working properly. It wasn’t good. So I sent a little Hail Mary to Facebook and the next day we fed him heated hot dogs. He ate 6 at one time. There was hope! We took him to a new vet who decided to go a different route with treatment and it worked…

Until it didn’t. The last 2 weeks I could tell he was giving up. Finally, last Wednesday I laid on the floor with him and I just knew. I knew it was time. He hadn’t eaten, he looked like this.

I told Zach I thought it was time but he didn’t think so (we all know we humans handle these things differently). He asked me to take him to the vet Thursday morning. A good friend met me there. She had to lift him into her car. As we virtually carried him into the vet, I was swallowing that lump of emotion. Over and over. Until Abe got on the scale and it showed he was 110lbs. I. lost. my. shit. My Abie baby was always around 165 (I know this because Zach had a small obsession with how big he was as he was growing). The vet said if the meds didn’t work, Monday would be the day.

You know where this is going, of course. The weekend was spent with Abe on the couch. Time spun too quickly, as it often does and I felt that pull in my belly. The blanket of sadness, the constant tension in my throat, the tears at the brim. Sunday afternoon I took my nap with my baby knowing it would be our last.

And did I mention that Thursday, when I had my “talk” with Abe, he walked off with Aristotle? I was outside and saw Abe walking okay for the first time in weeks. He and Aristotle were walking towards the horse pasture where they pulled many shenanigans over the years. I thought to myself, “Man, it looks like Abe is breaking the news to Aristotle like he just broke it to me.”

And later that night, our Aristotle didn’t eat. Our Aristotle who would literally eat an entire bag of dog food if we let him. Stopped. eating. I told Zach I thought he was sad, you know, because Abe just told Aristotle he was done fighting.

But then when I was in Chicago Saturday Zach told me Aristotle wasn’t walking right. He still wasn’t eating.

I told myself even if he had whatever the hell Abe had we caught it earlier and would be able to treat it. Or maybe he was just sad.

And then Sunday morning Zach let Aristotle out before church. That afternoon he still hadn’t come home. Hours of us searching camp for him proved unfruitful. It was going to get cold that night.

I knew. I knew he walked off. I could just tell. He was always the dog that looked out for the family, he would never want to be the reason for our sadness. Never.

Sunday night was the. worst. night. The kids said good bye to Abe. It was heart breaking. I can’t even write about that. Maybe some day but not today.

Monday morning I dropped the kids off at the bus stop and then drove around looking for Aristotle. It was a ridiculously beautiful morning. One of those mornings that Aristotle and Abe would’ve spent chasing deer and other woodland creatures.

I told Zach I just needed to get it over with. I couldn’t watch Abe like that anymore. He could no longer walk and he couldn’t/didn’t need to pee. It was time. So we took him to the vet, we kissed and petted him until he was gone. Shit that was hard. But there was closure, you know? Why do we need that so badly? I don’t know but it was done. He was gone. 
A few hours later we were coming home from my sister’s house (what the hell would I do without my family and their terrific distraction and love? I don’t even want to know) when Zach called. Aristotle had been found. “Prepare yourself, honey, he looks like Abe did. It’s not good.”
I was just so thankful he was found. Remember that closure thing? He was hiding under a cabin. The cabin was directly across from our house. 
When I got home Zach had him in our shower to warm him up/wash him off. The kids gave him a kiss. For the next 20 minutes we were on the phone with 3 different vets. I was about to spend a lot of money that we don’t have to save him. Anything, I told Zach, so that I didn’t have to lose another beloved dog that day. 
He sat up, looked at us, laid back down and was gone. 
Best buds. Brothers. As poetic as it was/is it shattered my damn heart.
Abe was hilarious. A gentle giant. Always kind of a mama’s boy. He loved to “dance” with whoever would offer it. He constantly creeped onto couches. He was a lap dog born in the wrong sized body, was all. My mom once spent the night and tried sleeping on Abe’s couch. She said she woke up to him staring at her. What the hell was this mere human doing on his couch? It was not surprising that he spent his last days curled up on the couch with constant attention and love poured out upon him. 
Aristotle was the lover of all, but the fiercest protector. The one time I saw him aggressive was when a guy coming to clean our carpets approached the house. Aristotle bared his teeth and growled, backing the man into his van. As soon as I saw the guy I too got the heebie jeebies. Aristotle knew, and he wasn’t going to let that guy near us. I never once felt scared living out here when Aristotle was around. He was always the dog that came and laid his head on my lap when I was sick or sad. When Zach was gone he would follow me everywhere. To every room, every bathroom break. Watching. Always. If Zach was there he trusted I was safe and relaxed, going off on his trips around camp, in any pool of water he could find. It was no surprise to us that he let Abe have the attention his last few days. It surprised no one who knew him that he walked off to die. And certainly came as no shock to hear he made his hopeful last stop at a place where he could still keep his eye on us. Under a cabin. 50 feet from our doorstep. 
Here’s the deal. If you aren’t a dog lover, this probably sounds a little crazy. But if you’ve ever loved an animal then you know what I’m saying is true. I knew everything about them. All their little ticks and quirks. And I loved them with a fierce mama love. 
And they’re gone. 
It’s a little unreal.
And so today I thought about loss and love. About how right now love is kind of associated with loss. And pain and hurt. So I turned away my best friends and family because sometimes there aren’t any words and sometimes it hurts worse to talk to other people you love when you just lost something you love because you know it’ll all end this way. And normally that’s ok but not today. 
Today nothing is really ok and so you wake up, still groggy, waiting expectantly to hear the sounds of tails wagging and tongues licking and get none of that. It’s too quiet. 
Later you’ll try to wash towels but then you realize they smell like loss and so you throw them in the washer and leave to go lay back on the couch where escaping into the TV is too tempting to ignore. 
And then your kids will come home from school and ask if they can go visit Abe and Aristotle. You say yes. Because you know the two who asked have seen death in an even worse way and have come out the other side and so, of course, yes go talk to our beloved dogs. Especially because their daddy made a beautiful tribute to them at their burial site. 

And then you’ll realize why one of those boys specifically has been so hesitant at times to welcome the love you’ve poured into him. Because love. fucking. hurts sometimes. And if he’s known that since he was 3 then maybe he’s onto something you’re just getting around to realizing. 
Maybe the loss of these two most adored pets is another way God is showing you that even though we haven’t all traveled the same paths to get where we are, we can still relate to each other in our shared struggles. Our shared loss and our shared joy. 
And so when those kids return from their walkabout you will look them in the eye and tell them you love them. Knowing that there will be days that love for them (and theirs for you) will fucking rip. your. heart. out. But you’ll get up and do it again the next day because sometimes love. will. save. you. 
I got a tattoo recently that says “Expecto Patronum”. It’s from Harry Potter. It’s a spell that keeps Death Eaters away. In order to escape the kiss of death you need only think of your happiest thought. Light overcomes dark. Joy overcomes sadness. 
I keep looking at that tattoo today and am left with the image of two big dogs chasing rabbits as 5 kids play a game of baseball around them. A mom and dad drinking coffee on the porch, hands entwined. 
Expecto Patronum

y’all

life is good.

My sister said to me the other day, “So…you just gonna blog once a month now or what?”

It’s never my intention, obviously, I love this little space. Where I get to write about whatever I want and connect in whatever small way I do with all of you.

But life has been good. It’s been busy. Not in the way that we’re 400 places in a day or constantly on the move but in the, “I haven’t taken a hike and caught helpless frogs for a couple hours, let’s go do that” kind of way.

Which is definitely my favorite kind of way to be “busy”.

The 3 bigs are currently playing Monopoly, Dailah and Bean are playing Barbies and cars respectively and I’m watching with a quiet grin. Thinking about how much I wanted to share all this with someone, with you.

I was thinking today on the way back home from Des Moines about all of the growth people see in their lifetime. I was comparing myself 10 years ago, 5 years ago, even 2 years ago to myself now and I couldn’t believe how different I am now. I remembered how I thought I knew everything then, that I had it figured out and how now I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface of all I want to know. I have days where I don’t want to go to bed because I want to stay up learning, and living and loving. Are there enough moments in the day for all of that? Sometimes it feels like there most definitely aren’t.

I was thinking about how I have some amazing friends in my life. I used to be one who just wanted the most amount of friends. Not so I could look around and say, “Wow, look at how awesome I am with all of these friends” but rather so that I could tell each one a little something but never have just 1 that knew everything about me. It felt safer that way. But I do now. I have friends who know everything about me and holy sh*t they still love me, that’s a pretty amazing. I’m sure you all figured this out before me, but life is much fuller when you have these kinds of relationships.

Of all my sweet babies Tariku still struggles the most. More on this later but I think constantly about him and how much I wish things were different for him. That I wish brokenness and poverty and suffering weren’t part of the picture for anyone in the world.

I’m reading a book called, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, How we can learn to fulfill our potential”. Long title, interesting read so far. Now, I don’t care much about “success” or not the general definition we Americans usually refer to it by but this book interests me a lot because it talks about a fixed mindset compared to a growth mindset. It’s got me thinking about what we tell ourselves. The lies and truths about who we are, who we think we are and who we talk ourselves into being. We start young, if my kids are any indication, and various people throughout our lives can affect the way we see all of that. It’s made me even more aware of the power of words, how a subtle difference between “wow, you’re really good at that!” or “my goodness, you worked really hard at that!” can change the way we view success. Good stuff. Still have some unpacking to do with that.

My hair: have some really good thoughts on my hair. It’s all feminist rant right now so I’ll save that for when I have a slightly clearer head. πŸ˜‰

Next weekend we are Mehaber bound. Very excited to see some good friends and sad to hear some aren’t able to make it. Let me know if you’ll be there and we’ll figure out a way to meet!

Exciting news coming. More on that later too. πŸ™‚

On healing

Let me tell you a little something about our Tariku. He is smart, really smart. Top of his class, TAG, reading books past his age level-smart. He is sweet. Let me carry 40 bags so you don’t have to carry any, let me take my sister to the bathroom, let me make life easier for you-sweet. He is gorgeous. Did you see that kid in the catalog? Tariku is way cuter-gorgeous. He is a good friend, a great brother and a terrific son.

And he has the worst self esteem of anyone I have ever known. He has virtually no memories of Ethiopia anymore and yet, deep inside him the only thing that remains is the idea that he’s not loved. That he’s not lovable. That he. wasn’t. wanted.

That’s it. That’s the extent of what he brought with him for the most part.

This shows itself in a myriad of ways. Instead of telling us the truth about a situation he will opt instead for what he thinks we want to hear. When he gets praised he shifts his eyes and changes the subject or gets very anxious. Things like that.

Then there is, of course, the making decisions that don’t really make any sense. Zach and I both know at least part of the time he’s doing them (perhaps subconsciously) to prove that he’s unlovable and unworthy of our love. We know Tariku wants to test how real and true our love is, where our line is. No matter how many times we tell him there is literally nothing on Earth he could do to make us stop loving him or stop us from being his parents he can’t take that in. He can’t allow that to penetrate his heart’s center.

A week ago when we were trying to talk to Tariku about a decision he made at school he was shutting down. He does this virtually any time we try talking to him about reasons for his behavior (truthfully, it’s so rare that it doesn’t come up often). Zach, out of nowhere, asks him if he’d like to write down his feelings instead of talk to us about them.

And friends, the things that came pouring out of him made me weep. 3 pages of things. Things that were buried deep-4 years deep. Things like,

“When you get mad at me I feel like I’m not part of the family.”

“I don’t feel good.” (as in “I don’t feel like I’m a good person”)

Things like that. Things he’s never told us, never even hinted at.

Deep things, powerful things, touching things. Wise and old things. Hurt and trauma. Loss.

It was all there. Of course we knew it was there before but we had never heard him say it, we only saw how he was choosing to act it out.

Loss, hurt, trauma in a 7-year-old? That acting out can alienate you, it can hinder the relationship and can cause resentment and frustration and anger (from all sides), believe me, I know.

This last year, though, it’s been a huge year for us. These last weeks since he started writing in his journal? Life. changing.

He still gets in trouble from time to time. He still makes poor (7-year-old) decisions.

But we know now. We know he knows that we want to hear all of that. That maybe, in fact, we knew all of that before. And that we loved him anyway.

That we knew his worst and we loved him still, perhaps even more.

That’s what we all want, right? People to know our ugly, our worst, our shame and to love us anyway?

Our kids from broken places need that from us. And we will fall, we will fail. We will have days when we yell and when we wish this wasn’t our life right now. That will happen because we are human.

But every day is a new day. Every moment is a new moment. We get new chances constantly.

And even when it feels like they are winning, when they have frustrated us so much we don’t particularly like them in that moment we will still show up. Our love will show up. And it. will. win.

That’s what I learned these last few weeks. Shame and loss and all of that, it doesn’t hold any weight when compared to how much I love Tariku.

One day Tariku is going to see himself the way I see him, the way God sees him. That day is not today and it’s not tomorrow but we are getting there. And today? Today I’m just so thankful for that.