This boy, the one on the left, turned SEVEN last week. This boy who is a part of our family against all odds. I just helped celebrate a seventh year for a son I didn’t know a year ago.
We weren’t going to have a birthday party for him, just a family dinner where he got to choose the food and we would celebrate him, together. But Alex has been to a couple of birthday parties this summer and it doesn’t take long for expectations to be built. He asked if we could have people over, and how could I say no? He asked for Ethiopian food. I wonder if that will ever happen again?
We invited three families who have been with us on this journey from the beginning, and I made Doro Wat and Shiro and Injera. He loved it; the food, the friends, and getting to be the center of attention; to be celebrated just for being him and being here on this earth for another year. It was a wonderful evening!
This boy has been a revelation for me, for us. His birthday here was a milestone of great significance. For eight years of thinking our path to children was not to Africa; for two years of certainty that we would never adopt a child older than three; for three days of head-spinning prayer as we contemplated three children including a six-year-old; for two months waiting to meet he and his siblings; for six months of agonizing as we waited to bring them home, and for the four months he’s been in our family.
As his Grammy said “Alex is like six going on sixty.” He’s bizarrely responsible, aware and thoughtful. Of course this is a result of his experiencing trajedy and loss and far too much responsibility for his age. I’m not celebrating his past, but as a whole package, he’s just an amazing kid. I can’t imagine our threesome without this big brother.
So, thank you God for knowing; for watching over him all those years, and for offering us this opportunity to welcome he and his siblings into our family. I couldn’t have imagined the blessing which of course is how it should be; that by taking a leap of faith, even with great trepidation, we would only then get to experience the fullness of what He has planned for us.
Alex is in first grade at our public elementary which is only a few blocks from our house. He LOVES school, and I think often about how brave he is to have marched right in there on the first day, language challenges and all.
He got a little terrified just before I left him in his classroom. Here he is wide-eyed and listening carefully as he takes it all in.
But after only a few weeks, he is learning to read. To READ! We couldn’t be more proud of him. Math is much easier than language for him, and he seems to really be enjoying making new friends and the structure of his class. He particularly enjoys getting to go to the computer lab and have his own headphones for language games on the computer.
Alex, we are so glad you are in our family, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!