>And Amat.

>And Amat. One Year.
Aamata Bal. Anniversary.

That’s what today is.
Today is one year since we met our Marta, and she met us, in person, for real.

This is her “family day.”
We usually don’t do “gotcha days” and such, as most of our kids came home so young.
But for Marta, after this year, and since she is a teen, it’s a big deal.
It’s something that IS important to mark.
{As is the day she set foot in America, post on that one next week…}

For Marti, these days were physical real touchable everlasting change.
Change that rocked her world in more ways than any of us can count.
Change that rocked our family’s world too, in more ways than we can count.
Some great, some hard, some beautiful, some funny, some raw, some Divine, some hellishly selfishly not.

This is our Marta Therese, now.

This is our Marta Therese, then.

One year.
Here is what I know, now.

Marta
is Ethiopian
is American
loves to swim
loves to play bananagrams
loves movies and popcorn
loves to go to the store, any store
loves to shop for clothes
does not like shots
or doctor visits
loves pasta
and pizza
and shiro
and shopping
does NOT like flying
loves dogs,
some days big dogs, other days small
loves babies
loves shopping
loves sports
except maybe tennis
loves watching football games
Notre Dame is her favorite team (and mine)
loves to swim
and shop
gets easily bored
does not like mom or dad leaving
loves her big brothers
learning to love her small sibs
loves church
gets homesick for Ethiopia sometimes
thinks english is very hard to learn
and it is.

Struggles with holidays
and grief
and trauma triggers
but tries hard to hang on.
Works hard on understanding the differences here in America
but finds much of it confusing
and sometimes overwhelming
even though she loves so much of it.
We have found she has some special needs and delays.
But are working on this new learning curve together.
She struggles to get used a big family
after being an only child.
Still grieves her parents and losses.
And will for a very long time.
And that’s very hard,
but it’s ok.

Is very very excited about a new school
and hoping for new friends.
Loves to sing
loves music
is learning drums
which makes her grin
but she won’t practice.
Is all about the hair,
just like every girl
anywhere.

Is very very stubborn,
and tidy,
and sweet-natured
and pushy
and devout
and opinionated…
which fits in fine in our opinionated family.

Is torn between trying to be a big kid
and enjoying the safety of being a younger kid.
Loves watching tv
and huffs when told no.
Loves playing cards,
even with Anthony.
Which is a minor miracle.

Is getting healthier
though she will always have asthma and breathing issues
which frustrate her
and scare her sometimes.
But she is learning we will take care of her
but not give her medicine every time she asks,
which is very way too often,
which irritates her.
Is fussy about eating sometimes
which makes me foolishly fuss at her right back,
and makes us each stare and sigh.
Because she is stubborn.
But so am I.
Then she will usually eat.

Loves sun
and the water
and to go boating.
Doesn’t like rain,
it makes her sad.
Likes snow
at first
and then wants it warm again.
Gasped seeing the ocean for the first time
and loves it like we all do
and wants to go there as often as possible.

Has been to California,
Indiana
Washington
Baltimore
Italy
and Lalibela.
Has seen many new things, all over the world,
and is beginning to understand
that the world is a big big place.
Which can be a hard bit of knowledge to digest,
in it’s own way.
But is also cool too,
especially the churches
and the shopping….

Seems to love having a big, extended family,
with many aunts uncles and cousins…
even when her own new big family can feel like a lot
and sometimes too much.
Seems to understand that it’s forever…
and that is why today is a big day for her
and she feels it.
She has been smiling and hugging this morning.
And so, even though we don’t usually mark this day..

Today we do, and it is a big day for us all.
Which also means, of course….cake.