Thursday, December 13, 2012


Christmas and Ethiopia are so intertwined up in my mind, I'm having a hard time knowing what to do with myself.

I can't complete a coherent paragraph. Sometimes sentence.

*cue going off track*

I was looking though photos of my Christmas Eve trip to Kechene and remembering how ridiculous Americans looked in the photos they sent these kids. Fluffy tutus, cruise ships, matching sweaters. They were just family pictures. Pictures like I've taken. Pictures my friends have taken. And I think of Mockingjay and the people of the Capital and how utterly frivolous and ridiculous they are. (Google Hunger Games if you don't get the reference and read the books, not for the "bloodlust" but for the moral of the story. If all you get out of those books is bloodlust, you missed the whole point.)
Granted, I'd been in Ethiopia for two weeks by the time I visited Kechene. I'd been all over the country. I'd visited Iris' mother. I'd visited World Vision. I'd handed out more birr to more armless people than I have ever seen in my life. I'd bought more gum from more street children than I could chew in a lifetime. I'd seen boys "polish" tennis shoes. I'd listened to a man beg us to find his daughters a home before he died. And I walked into that school where children with clothes hanging on by a thread sang a welcome song to me that was filled with joy.

(Learn more about Kechene here.)

I was asked recently to write an article about "Our Christmas Miracle" and I had to tell her I'd write something, but it wouldn't fit into that heading. The miracle of Christmas in Ethiopia had nothing to do with us.

I'll post it sometime. Maybe.

I'm having a hard time embracing the Christmas traditions anymore. Or better said, the American Christmas traditions.
I've opted out of cards.
We haven't taken a picture.
I don't feel like shopping.
I have lost weight. Yes, in December.
I wake in the dead of night in a financial panic.
I'm desperately searching for a sponsorship program  that will go find Iris' little brother and closest cousin and get them signed up.
My filter is still gone. In fact, so far gone that I probably won't have a friend left if I'm not careful.

I did realize today that we haven't had a "normal" Christmas in years. There is no reason for me to not miss the December traditions because we don't really have them since the move. And I rather like it. I like the parties we don't go to and I like the programs we don't have and I like the dinners we don't eat and I like not pretending to enjoy myself at some function I'd rather not attend. I like not buying stupid gifts for silly exchanges and I like that there is no stress when I don't know the answer to Christmas movie trivia. None of it matters.

I have a broken little girl who has a very broken mama. And we are healing together. I think she before me. I get impatient and frustrated and then I look at her life and I wonder how she isn't a blubbering idiot. We'll figure this out together.

Not over Christmas. Christmas has brought out a bear. Well, Thanksgiving brought out a bear that Christmas hasn't tamed. (imagine with me a misunderstanding about how much money your parents have with a dash of believing that everything one has ever heard about Christmas in America must be true about this new home. Big. Mistake.) But for January, I'm hopeful.

Today I'm worn.

One of my adoption friends posted this video tonight, and it's just so appropriate.

I'm OK. If you run into me at the grocery store, I'll probably even have a smile for you. We're OK. We're just tired. And very glad to be closing out 2012. Hands down the hardest year so far. Including the years of middle school, infertility, miscarriage and joblessness.

Hands down.

So if you're inclined, shoot up a prayer for us. We always need them. Even on the great days.


K said...

Why aren't we neighbors yet? The holidays are rough around these parts, too. We're opting out of much of the hoopla, and I couldn't be more grateful. And like you, I'm hopeful for January. Thanks for sharing your heart here, Jamie.

The Brew Crew said...

Love you. You're still my sister.