4 years ago today (October 10th), my little boy was born. 10 months plus 4 days ago he was brought into my heart with a picture, and 4 months ago less a day he was brought into our family as we drove through the gates of the orphanage in Ethiopia. When I say that: only 4 months ago, I can't believe it. It is like he has always been here. Yes, it saddens me that I don't know what his first word was, or that I wasn't there to see his first smile or his first step, but he has always been with me. Cheesy I know, but it's the truth. I can't imagine my life with out him in it. The thought of that makes me feel empty.
In these 4 months Tegegn has learned..... to ride a big boy bike, speak a language, understand that yes there is running water EVERY TIME you turn on the tap, by flicking a switch the lights do come on, if you press a certain spot on the steering wheel the car honks, Mommy and Daddy WILL come back when they leave, dogs will not always attack you for food, they are nice and friendly, you do get to pick a new shirt, underwear, pants ect. everyday because there is more than one, that you don't need to eat as fast as you can because there will always be more in the fridge, and so much more. AMAZING.... what do we learn in 4 months? Well usually I would say nothing, but these past few months have taught me a lot, and here are a few of the things.
Don't take things for granted.... We all say that but do we really mean it? Well, spending a short time in a third world country will make you appreciate all the little things that you never did before. Things like lights, water, food, stop signs but it will also make you appreciate the life we have. Education for everyone, the ability to become what we want, the opportunity to achieve something in life. Those thoughts don't exist for most people in developing countries because it's unheard of.
Appreciate your journey... We all have sob stories about our past. What our parents did wrong, regrets we have of things never achieved ect.. but most of us don't sit back and appreciate our journey that has lead us to the life that we have. I do now. I look back on all the rights, wrongs and past regrets (even though I don't call them that, they are opportunities never taken or lessons learned from) and appreciate that my life is what it is because of the path I have taken. My son is here with us because of that path.
Respect... I have always been respectful of others and other cultures, but I am more so now. My eyes have been opened that there are completely other ways of living and the way I live is not necessarily the best, but due to where I was born it is the best for my family.
Unconditional love... And I'm not talking about my children's unconditional love. When we were in Ethiopia we had the opportunity to spend a few days in an orphanage because my daughter met a girl that she really got along with, and it was an incredible experience. The people that work at this orphanage did so out of love for these children (most of which were orphans and HIV positive). We don't see that in Canada very often, but it happens all around the world. People give up the little bit that they have to care for others that have less or nothing. It's inspiring.
I can make a difference...Every little bit helps. I can't change the world, but if I can help a few people I can make a difference. That is why myself and a few others have decided and have started a charity to help people in developing countries. This is our Chance for Change (more to come.....)
Patience...I have to be honest. This is one that I am still working on. Adopting a child comes with it's challenges and patience is something you need (more so then I ever did with my daughter). Tegegn understands most things I say, but there is still a language barrier when it comes to explaining concepts of things. There is also getting to know your child that you didn't raise from the start. He is so strong willed, that he likes to test everything I say, and yes the always asking WHY MOMMY WHY????????
These past 4 months have been great. They have been more then I ever imagined and they have changed me in ways that I didn't think would happen.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEGEGN. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!