The first step is to penetrate the clouds of deceit and distortion and learn the truth about the world,
then to organize and act to change it. That's never been impossible and never been easy. ~Noam Chomsky

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Enter Guardian Angel

The benefit of having a blog is, if done right, it keeps a person honest!

I can easily go back and visit March 1-3, 2010.
If I didn't have those feelings in writing, it would be very easy for me to say, a year later, that we knew immediately that Ariam was our daughter - that we recognized her.

But the truth is that I didn't write our  referral post until 2 days after we first layed eyes on baby "Derartu." I post-dated it when it was uploaded to the blog on March 3rd.

You see, Derartu looked scared and hollow. Her eyes told a story I wasn't sure I could handle. Her thin little arms floating in that yellow shirt looked so breakable. Neither of us were sure. I felt unspeakable fear that this was not the baby I had prayed for when I asked God every day to give us a joyful child...
(To be honest, I was worried that I had gotten us in over our heads and that J, who had been so reluctant, would not be able to bond with this little traumatized one...)

Enter Guardian Angel.

I wrote about her briefly in this post and how she sent us the words we needed to say yes and the photos that made my heart leap.

I promised that I would post her words someday....


Please don’t think that I am in any way stretching the truth to make you feel good but Derartu has been hands-down my favorite babe for the whole time I have been here. When I read her name this morning, I thought surely things couldn’t be so perfectly aligned but it turns out that they are just that.
Her crib was in the same room with a baby that I have been doing physical therapy with many times daily.(Tariku! For those of you who follow his mom's blog.)

 She is so distinct in both her behavior and her looks, that to my eye, she just glows.

I would catch her watching me closely from in between the bars of her crib. When I would catch her eye, she would be watching me patiently, waiting for me to notice her. Not only would her eyes smile, but her whole face would just open up in pure joy when our eyes would meet. She is so calm in her demeanor and watchful. She has such a patient temperament and quiet bemused way about her. She keeps this little smile on her face as just her way of being at rest, like all is right in her little world.

The first day I was able to pay her one-on-one attention she grabbed my finger with such a grip that I have never felt on any of the other babies. Because she is so calm in her way of being, it had never occurred to me that she would have such a grip. When I have had to leave her, I have actually asked other people to stand in for me to have them take over holding her hand. For me, she is one of the most difficult babies to leave behind.
I don’t want you to think from my description that she doesn’t have gusto and health. This girl can squeal with laughter and will reach her arms up to be picked up and will wave goodbye when I say “ciao.” She is completely aware of her surroundings and tuned in to what is happening to her and around her.
The head nurse was getting her stuff ready to be transported to (another home) when I left her 30 minutes ago.
Please feel free to contact me at any time and I will do my best to respond. I will stop in and see how she is adjusting on my way back tonight. I also took photos of her that I will do my absolute best to upload to you. She is just magical. A picture will never do this child justice.
She sent this picture that night. And I don't know how to explain it but the best I can do is say that the minute I opened it I recognized Ariam. I saw her face and it was the face I had been waiting for. Eyes that reflected a heart open to love.

I am sad when I look at her referral photo. We don't often look at that little baby, laying on her back. When I see it, it strikes me that I don't recognize her because she was still part of another world. Her eyes and heart were still completely with someone else and not ready to let go.



  1. The benefit of having a blog is, if done right, it keeps a person honest!

    ~SO TRUE!!!

    Isn't it amazing, that just when you needed it, you got this incredible encouragement? I can't imagine that you knew you'd be looking back in a year's time, today, after all the changes you've had... knowing all the new things you know... just as grateful as you were, that day, for your friend's email.

    The picture in this post is just beautiful. She just looks so much like her, if that makes any sense. Like the child on your blog - totally recognisable. (And - as always - GORGEOUS!)

  2. That's the email I had hoped to receive. But, alas, mine was so, so different. I need to sort through my old emails to see if I can find the original email Mo sent to me that referenced Ariam. She didn't mention her by name, but gushed about a baby girl who just glowed. Made the connection as soon as I saw your referral post! And here we are.... I love the little hint of a smile on Ariam's face in this pic. And, you know what is odd -- I had to think of what her name was before Ariam. I could not readily come up with Derartu. She is just so Ariam.

  3. You have again made me cry at work! I need to learn to wait until I'm home to check your blog!


  4. Once again, I want to thank you for your honesty. I remember the first person I called after getting my referral asking, "Well, is it him? Do you just look at him and know?" I knew it was because I had been praying God would give me a child if there was a child for me. But I didn't know because of some overwhelming feeling or adoration of his picture. I remember wondering if it was wrong that I didn't look at his picture and "just know" as so many people had said they did. I wish more people would talk about the uncertainty they felt at the beginning. Because now I absolutely know. Last night when I put him to bed he said, "I love you, mommy." I know.

    Unlike you, I have decided to keep his referral picture above my desk at work, so I see it often. He looks so sad and scared but I keep it there because it humbles me to think God would use me in the life of that little boy who is now smiley, giggly, and eager to explore his world.


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