Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Tomorrow is Christmas. And although they don't observe Christmas in Ethiopia til January (I love the Ethiopian calendar--in Ethiopia it's also 2001). But it still seemed like as good a time as any to publicly share our love and thoughts and prayers and wishes for Molly Fanaye's Ethiopian family, who we think about every day.

When we brought Molly home last year, the agency gave us DVDs with video of her family, her time in the care center, and her first days with us. Precious precious video. Lately, these DVDs have been in heavy rotation on our TV. Molly is not ever tired of watching "Baby Molly in 'Opia.'" She jams along to the cool Ethiopian jazz soundtrack, and she's especially excited when her friend's grandpa Larry shows up on screen ("Larry! Larry!"). Now all grandpa-aged men are Larry.

Molly watches these DVDs intently and incessantly. I want to know what she's thinking about, what she's taking away. What does she remember about her first 7 months in Opia? What about her first three months and a half months with her birth family? I don't think it's as simple as "she likes to watch herself on TV," although she most definitely does. I wish I knew what kind of imprints and impressions these images are making on her or calling up for her. I wish I knew how these videos are laying themselves down and gelling in her psyche. I wish I had more answers for the questions she will undoubtedly have for us as she grows.

Now, Molly watches the Baby Molly video and then she snuggles up and attaches her mouth to my boob. Through my clothes, on the side, sucking on my sweater. Does she remember nursing? She hasn't nursed since she was 3 months old, but she sees herself nursing on the DVD. What does that image call up for her? Sam and Emma nursed for a year, and when they were done, they were done. No going back. But Molly didn't get her fair share of boob. And she's kind of obsessed with breasts. She likes to stick her hand down my shirt, and just kind of leave it there. For comfort. It's weird but, whatever. I figure if it's what she needs, it's what she needs. Doesn't bother me.

When Molly first started at her old daycare, before she was even a year old, there was a little boy who was about 3 in the preschool class. He was also adopted, from someplace in Southeast Asia. He had black hair and beautiful caramel skin about the same shade as Molly's. And for some reason, he and Molly were instantly bonded. They weren't in the same classroom, but on the playground and wherever he could, he sought her out. Molly, who wasn't especially friendly or attached to strangers, would go and lie down with her head in this little boy's lap for half an hour or more. We have pictures. And the little boy would sit, still and quiet, while Molly just lay there, content and quiet. Was she missing her brother back in Ethiopia? He would have been close to that age. What does she need that she's missed, that she didn't get because she was separated too early from her first family?

Things in Ethiopia are horrible right now. There is widespread drought and people are starving. I'm looking out the window at the snow falling down and Mudula, Ethiopia, seems very far away. Yet also so close. We're bound to a family there, forever, through this smart, silly. sweet, bossy, beautiful little person sitting here on my lap watching "Sesame Street" with her hand down my shirt. So, even though I am not much for praying in general, today, and every day, I pray for our Ethiopian family. I pray that they have enough to eat, that their lives get easier. I think about when we will be able to go back to Ethiopia and see them again. I wish them peace and grace and happiness. And I wish the same for all of you. Merry Christmas, Happy Eid, Happy Chanukah, Merry Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa and all good things for 2009.