Sunday, June 22, 2008

Flashback: We meet!

(Readers note: the old #@!#! who writes Euro Like Me is drunk again, so the Blog Drone 2000XdW will be posting a few of his old journal entries for him. Beware! The following post contains moments of unabashed sentimentality and next to no clear thinking: journey back with us now, to the day we met our daughter....)

July 30, 2003

Before we saw her, I was so anxious, I felt breathless. During our time together in that yellow orphanage office, underneath the framed picture of Jesus and the words ‘Confio et Mi’, time fell away, the skies opened up and poured, and I felt like white light—every color of the spectrum, full ablaze at the same time.

Afterwards, as I sat on the floor of the German Mission, furiously scribbling and slightly drunk on Ethiopian red wine—I felt pulled in every direction by a roulette wheel of thoughts that were bigger than my ability to think them. In my journal, I could only scrawl, “Adinah Rosa exists! She is a tiny, pretty, big-eyed, long-lashed dynamo who wants to talk even though she doesn’t have language yet. She looks all around and she looks out the window—she’s wondering, ‘What’s out there? And who are you?’”

They brought her in while I was autographing a vast sheath of adoption papers. Naturally, I was asking what these papers were, and I was requesting English translations of them, and I was otherwise acting on the Good Advice of everyone who ever told me anything about the way the world works. Suddenly, one of the younger sisters from the orphanage brought in a baby and handed her to Anette, and everything went Rosa. Then I was holding her up in the air—an amazing human airplane!!--and her little face and her big eyes cracked just slightly, so barely, into a smile. It was a smile which seemed to say, “Okay.”

My eyes blurred. I handed her back to Anette and signed the rest of the goddamn papers.

Sister Deherika and the other women cleared out of the room. So did the men, except for a guy with a large boom box who just sat in the corner, rewinding and fast-forwarding a cassette tape of Ethio-pop music until it sounded like the Chipmunks doing all your Amharic faves! Then he left too, and Anette and I were all alone with the little jewel who was to be, apparently, our first daughter.

We must have stayed in that office for four hours. Our driver, Zerihun, came back to pick us up twice: we told him we wanted to stay with Adinah Rosa a little longer. Outside, the heavy clouds burst, and the skies hurled big buckets of rain at the concrete playgrounds of the orphanage. The door to the courtyard was wide open, but the nuns left us alone—besides, anyone attempting to cross the grounds and come back inside our room would have been drenched. I thought the storm had exploded right outside our new family just so the world would go away for a minute, if not exactly stop.

Anette held Rosa in her arms. I held her, too. Anette walked with her; I kissed her on the head and cheek. She liked tugging at the gold heart which hung from a chain around Anette’s neck. She liked it when I burrowed my nose into her neck and squealed “Eeegi-eegi buggi-boo!” She liked it when we lifted her up so she could fly and swing and twirl in the air like a freestyle astronaut.

We took a lot of photographs. We even gave Ms. Adinah Rosa a bottle of formula. Then she upchucked all over Anette. We could feel her heart beating fast, so Anette laid little Adinah across her knee. And the baby, despite an interest in Everything, fluttered her eyes, and slowly, slowly, finally fell asleep. When we switched places, Adinah Rosa, now sleeping across my legs, barely stirred. Anette laid her head on my shoulder and in a few minutes, we were all asleep--together again, at last, for the first time.

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