Traveling Home from St. Augustine, FL. We were driving for 13 or so hours. …
Part 2: Returning Home
This day, May 11, 2013 we came home from Ethiopia after being there for court hearings to become Mihret’s legal parents. We got home around 5. Abe, Eli and Sten were all pretty sick with some kind of stomach virus. I got them settled at home and then went straight to my sister Kristen’s to pick up Jenna and Frehiwot. I remember Freh was playing in Krissy’s toy room and I snuck in and watched her for a minute before she realized I was there. Then she came running to me and snuggled right in to this space in my neck that she filled so perfectly. I inhaled her. I had missed her scent and touch and voice so much! On the way home, Jenna asked all about our trip and Freh kept asking if I’d give her a bath!
I was so tired from the trip, but as soon as we got in the door we were both headed up the steps to the tub. We sat in my room for a good thirty minutes taking out her braids and beads that Miss Hannah had put in the week before. I remember it as such a sweet time. She was giggling and talking to me about playing outside and about how she got a bee in her eye (no doubt a gnat!) after all the braids were out, I took her to the tub and I bathed her and washed her hair and coiled those long curls around my fingers. It took me another thirty minutes or so, little did I know it would be the very last time I got to wash her. Bath time had always been such am intimate time for Freh and I. We sang together, talked, I did her hair in the tub and I always studied every inch of her as she played with her toys, marveling that she was MINE. Sometimes I would get overwhelmed with the enormity of that, other times I was reduced to tears because of the beauty of our bond that had come so easily. My back would ache after leaning over her thick curls, but I always looked forward to that time! When she was all done and rinsed, I wrapped her in a towel and scooped her up. We stopped at the mirror and when she saw herself, she gasped “You put my curls back on! Thank you, Mommy! My hair won’t be noisy now!”
I dressed her in her PJs and we went downstairs with Jenna and snuggled on the couch together. We watched three episodes of Dora together and ate pretzels. I rocked her to sleep that night and I remember thanking God for getting me back safely to her and the rest of the kids. I praised Him for the precious child that laid there in my arms.