Today we went to a potluck organized by one of the families in our local Ethiopian Adoption group. It took place at a beautiful park. And hey, this time the host didn’t bail at the last minute and leave everyone stranded! That’s always a plus. We had a fantastic time. It was great to see old friends again and meet new families who have adopted or are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.
What a wonderful surprise to arrive home from the potluck to find a letter from Marlie’s uncle in our mailbox! Included with the letter was an updated picture of Marlie’s sisters, aunt, uncle, and their new baby boy. And though it’s a little hard to see, the uncle is holding up our Christmas card that we sent them. They also included a separate picture of their baby boy by himself. They are so proud of new baby Kalab. Marlie’s sisters have gotten so tall since we saw them August 2006. All four girls will have their birthdays this summer. From left, Ayne will turn 7; Kalkidan will turn 8, and the twins, Tsion and Haimanot will turn 10.
In his letter, the uncle thanked us for our support (we sponsor the girls so they can go to school) and for our latest care package, which included school supplies, books, pictures and various other items. And while we pray for Marlie’s Ethiopian family, it is quite humbling to read that they are praying for us every day.
In addition to the uncle’s letter, there was also a letter from Marlie’s sisters. They too thanked us for the most recent items we sent, especially the candy. Funny, they didn’t mention the toothbrushes and toothpaste we included. They sent birthday wishes to Marlie and her brothers, and were happy to get the picture of Marlie in her special birthday dress.
For the last care package, I purchased copies of eight of our kids’ favorite paperback picture books. I included a note about each book and how our kids love them. I made sure to include a copy of Marlie’s all time favorite book, The Little Mermaid. The girls thanked us for the books in their letter, specifically mentioning The Little Mermaid book. They said they read those books every day. They are doing really well in school. They mentioned they are very tired when they get to school, as it takes them an hour to walk from home to school every day. So much we take for granted in our comfortable, pampered lives!
We are so incredibly blessed to have this connection to Marlie’s birth relatives. We are grateful to have adopted through an agency that facilitates a meeting with the birth relatives when you travel to pick up your child, and afterward encourages on-going communication between the birth and adoptive families.
And while I refer to them as “Marlie’s birth relatives”, they are so much more to us. They are family. They are related to our daughter, so they are related to us. I will do everything I can to maintain the connection between us. I envision a future where an adult Marlie can communicate with her sisters on the phone, through the internet or in person, the way I keep up with my sister in Chicago. Heck, if I maintain a friendship with an Ethiopian woman who is married to an American, and living in China (Hi Yemi!)... Marlie can stay in touch with her sisters, wherever they end up.