Here is a photo of the elementary school hallway, with banners that say "welcome to our school" in many languages, including Amharic! I can't wait to show it to Mareshet. I have been putting off writing a new post because I keep thinking I'll hear some news from Ethiopia, to no end. Since the adoption was finalized, I have been given a tentative Embassy date for the end of July, only to hear later that the TB testing had not been started. Now I'll be lucky for the Embassy appointment to happen in August. The testing, a requirement for all immigrants to the US, is done by culturing out sputum samples for eight weeks. We are now in week 2. So, while I'm sure other things happen in that time (from an agency perspective), I am really doing nothing but twiddling my thumbs. That and trying to reconcile my hopes for time to work on attachment and acculturation with Mareshet with the reality that I won't have the summer months for this as planned. She will likely be free to enter the US at the end of August, without even enough time for dentist appointments, physicals, English Language testing, and grade placement before the school year starts. So, I suppose I will shift my leave of absence to the fall and just hope that this kid can adjust quickly. Maybe on an alternative school schedule initially. I'm trying to process my disappointment that Mareshet's introduction to Seattle will be during the rainy season, and that she and Najma and I can't spend some weekends hiking or camping as a way to get to know one another.
For the most part, I'm doing okay with the additional wait, though I have moments of wondering whether Mareshet is ever coming home. In the lowest of these moments, I have a tendency to feel that having a family is something everyone else seems to do with relative ease. I know this is not accurate; everyone puts effort into their life decisions, and they often suffer setbacks or regrets. I do have my regrets, and they tend to foster this illusion that if I do not have a more traditional family, it is because I am somehow "messing it up." I know this isn't true--if there is a happy ending to be had, it is because I will learn to recognize the blessings of the moment and ask for nothing more. What I know in my head usually wins out over what remorse and delusions I feel in my heart. Though truth be told, those regretful feelings never evaporate. I work on myself through the better part of one day to accept my faults, and then start all over again the next!
Since Najma is abroad with her father for two weeks, I have had even more time "in my head." I am missing her, missing my role as a mom. I miss Najma on a very visceral, perhaps cellular level. Molecular, even-- I need the scent of her scalp to lower my cortisol levels, I need to smell her breath in the bed beside me to get my REM sleep. I wish I had not agreed to let her go but at the same time, knowing what it is like to be distanced from a family member (in my case Mareshet) by an artificial border led me to sympathize with her father. He had not traveled home in some fifteen years, and N. has never met her other grandparents. I could not, in the end, deny them this experience even if I knew it meant suffering on my end. I find myself, strangely enough, the mother of two girls, in two different countries, on the other side of the earth. I have lots of time to myself, yet have no motivation to do anything. I have a long project list, but I just sit on the couch in the dark and eat ice cream. I just hope I don't do something stupid to fill the vacuum before they come home, like get a puppy. Erma Bombeck, where are you when I need you?