365 Days Ago

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We were in Ethiopia. We were taking custody of Davy. At that point she still answered to Dinku. We had just driven from meeting her birth parent in Durame, came back to the guest house, washed the road off of us. They told us we needed to get formula for the babies. We needed “babylock 2” the only store they took us too had “babylock1” which was for younger babies. There was some debate about going to another store. I didn’t care. I just wanted my baby.

The care center that she had been living in for the last 3 weeks in Addis was a horror show. All the kids were sick. Some REALLY sick. Davy had lost weight between her home in Durame and Addis. She wasn’t thriving. She wasn’t the same Dinku we had met 6 weeks early. I needed her to be in our arms. I needed this journey to both end and truly begin.

Three Hundred and Sixty Five Days ago, Andy and I completed our family. We were so nervous and scarred. We giggled a lot, we both changed her diaper. Heck, it was FUN to change her diaper. She had a bad cold and Andy used one of those snot suckers to clear out her nose, I almost threw up. We laughed at how much we had to learn. I remember being at the guest house and looking up how much formula she needed. Her homecoming came so suddenly, that we didn’t actually have time to think/worry about the mechanics of raising a 7 1/2 month year old.

Here is what we know now. When Davy is scared or nervous, she gets very calm and quiet. We thought she was content, but she was just freaked out. She started to open up pretty quickly. We could see a  glimpse of her personalty. She laughed a funny toothless grin, she was a perfect foil to Andy’s antics. Truthfully it didn’t take us long to fall in love with each other. We are lucky.

Today Davy is no longer Dinku, although she does still answer to Dinkenesh, when our African elders call to her. That makes me happy. Today my daughter is bold, silly, intensely social, active, whip smart and (my favorite) very very brave. Other then her 3 hellish weeks in Addis she has known love her entire life. She has changed our lives, but she has also changed the lives of our family.We are forever connected to Africa.

This week we are on a long road trip, which culminated to meeting our family from North Carolina at Mt. Rushmore. On the way we met a family we saw in Ethiopia. They are cattle ranchers in rural Montana (an hour from the nearest grocery store).Their oldest daughter had given Davy a neck less that she made for her. Davy hasn’t wanted to take it off the whole trip. Davy happily held the big girls hands, she giggled and played with them. She laughed and smiled when I mentioned their names. It struck me that without Davy we wouldn’t have never had the chance to forge a bond with families we would have never had the opportunity to meet. Thank you Davy.

I remember when we had to put our adoption on hold when we first started. I was so devastated. I was my one of my greatest losses. Our social worker told me that it was okay because our baby wasn’t ready for us yet. I tell this to families all the time. Just have faith that your kid is out in the universe waiting for you. I literally thank God every day that Davy Dinkinesh Beach is our kid. Every day. I didn’t even believe in God before we started this process. Davy helped me with that.

I kind of hate the phrase “gotcha day” because we didn’t “get her” we all “got each other”. I prefer famlaversary. It’s harder to say and even harder to spell consistently. It is the day we became whole. Happy Famlaversery Davy Dinkenesh Beach, Happy Famlaversery Andy Beach, Happy Famlaversy Lisa Weisman. I am really really happy we found each other.

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