Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finally Home! - by Linz

We are home at last! After a wonderful week in Ethiopia with Lielti, we boarded a plane for what would be the longest.flight.ever! We had a scheduled flight of 17 hours from Addis to DC due to a stopover in Rome.  Add to that a medical emergency which required a 4 hour stop in Cairo, and you have one painfully long flight! When we flew from DC to Addis, it was only 12 hours. Thankfully Lielti loves flying and was so excited to come home that she did an amazing job. I am sure she has never been stuck sitting for 21 hours, but she handled it like a champ!  We had scheduled an extra-long layover in DC knowing that we would have to go through customs and immigration, but not knowing how long it would take. So, with our 6 hour layover cut to less than two, we scrambled through DC and made our connecting flight with about 10 minutes to spare. After a short flight and a layover in what was the worst airport we have ever been in, (Charlotte, NC…avoid it at all costs!) we boarded a plane for Seattle. 5 hours later, which to us at this point felt like a short flight, we were nearly home. We were greeted by the boys, Grandma and Grandpa Posenjak and most of the Smith Family and my sister Julie and her girls. Lielti went right up and gave hugs and smiles. Since we arrived late at night, we stayed the night at the Smith’s house. Lielti chose to sleep in her cousin’s room with her brothers and did just fine. So far, she has been much more adaptable and easy that we expected…except for where food is involved. J

The next morning we drove home. We were welcomed by a sweet banner that my mom and sister and nieces had made. Lielti loved it! She explored the house and her new room and loved it. Shortly after we arrived home Lielti got to meet Grandma and Grandpa Krueger, Aunt Amy, Ella, Maddie and Maisy. She made fast friends with her cousins, playing dolls and jumping on the trampoline. When they came over again yesterday after school she ran up and greeted them with a big hug.

Lielti has been so full of joy at every turn. She is a go-getter if there ever was one. Her first day home she said, “Mom, me tomorrow school”! We have been shocked how easy all of this has been. She seems happy to meet new people, she loves her brothers, she goes to sleep like a champ, wakes up happy and even responds well when we have to tell her no…as in “no, I don’t think we are going to wear a purple striped shirt with pink floral leggings and  red shoes”.  The one thing she is resistant to, and where have seen some anxiety in her, is with food. She pretty much only wants to eat traditional Ethiopian dishes, bananas, granola bars and toast. So that’s pretty much all she’s been eating!  I am sure we are in a “honeymoon” phase and I know that there are complexities buried deep even though there is a smile on her face. So we are storing up the happiness and smiles and trying to be mindful and prepared for a change that will inevitably come.

Several people have asked about how communication is going. It has been surprisingly easy. I have yet to have a moment of frustration with not being able to get my point across. That said, most of what we communicate at this point is very basic. We can’t discuss things on a deeper level yet, but that will come with time. Lielti understands most of what we say, and while she can’t speak much yet, she is able to gesture and throw in enough words to get her point across. I have been trying to learn some Amharic words as well and she is good at figuring out what I am trying to say. We are going to work hard at helping her retain her Amharic. She has had a chance to Facetime with some friends from Ethiopia and absolutely loves it and it's fun for us to hear her jabber away in Amharic!

As I sat with Leilti this morning, sipping coffee and eating toast I had an overwhelming sense of joy that she is finally home! I think even in the mundane moments, the excitement of having her here breaks through. 

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