Despite certain days/hours/minutes going painfully slow, the years have gone so very fast (except the third year, still traumatized). Nine years ago I walked down some steps and met the love of my life.
We arrived in Addis Ababa the night before and quietly made our way through the night. I remember unpacking all of Lucy's clothes, diapers and formula and putting them in a cabinet. I took all the shoes, formula and medicine that I had for donations and put them in the hall. We all kind of stared at each other and sort of fell asleep.
We woke up early on the 24th, dogs barking, the call to prayer sounding and soon after a beautiful sunrise. We heard some babies cry from the care center below us, I wanted to go down there so very bad. We gathered with the other families and had some breakfast, some drinks that were blended with avocado and we waited. Outside we could look down to the parking lot below and see that they were bringing babies and cribs outside for their sunbaths. Melanie zoomed in with her camera and we found Lucy among the other babies, I was screaming inside (she's RIGHT THERE!). Finally the director's wife came up and said it was time to go down and have a short meeting before we met our children. I don't remember much about the meeting.
Finally she looks at me and says "are you ready to meet Eskedar?", I'm like heck yah! The children that the other families were adopting were down the street at the older kids care center. We walk into one of the infant rooms and there were two rows of cribs, I am brought to the last crib on the left and as she pushed the mosquito netting away I saw my baby laying on her tummy, sleeping amongst quilts, so cozy. I picked her up and she opened her eyes for a minute and went back to sleep. She was wearing an outfit with a pink elephant (her theme animal, and the same outfit I had in her dresser at home). I was sitting in a plastic lawn chair surrounded by people and babies, yet I didn't really remember that until I saw video footage.
Lucy was little for 5 1/2 months but she was engaging and talkative. She looked right at me. I was hooked immediately. If anyone tried to tell me I would love her more every year I wouldn't have believed them because it felt pretty full right then. The truth is, somehow I do, somehow every day for the last 9 years my heart has swelled a little more with love for this girl.