Yesterday was Abreham's birthday!! I'm still laughing at the fact that we have a 15 year old.
How did that even HAPPEN?!
Our sweet boy has been with us for nearly a year and a half and it has been an honor to see the kid that he has become. Not that he wasn't wonderful before...I don't mean that. I only mean now we can understand him since his English gets better and better every day, his guard is down now that he trusts us, and he is thriving in a family who loves him dearly and supports him fully.
Last night we were laughing together as I cleaned up the kitchen. He mentioned that in Ethiopia people don't celebrate birthdays, that most people don't even know when they were born in the first place!
He shook his head with a sparkle in his eye. "America, weird," he said. "America grrreat!" he exclaimed, his deep accent still rolling his r's.
He shared more of his life in Ethiopia. Much of it we'd already learned through his time with us. But this time he gave new insights and depth since he's able to express himself more.
For example, he's always seemed to have a distaste for his older (half) brother because he refused to act as the needed blood-relative to release Abreham for adoption.
Last night though, he said "I understand now that my brother couldn't do that. He was afraid of my grandmother. He needed to stay at her house for another year and she threatened to throw him out if he helped me. I remember him now smiling and giving a quick thumbs up as I drove away. I didn't remember that before. But now I know he was happy for me. He just was too scared to help me himself."
Oh the gift of reflection and maturity. And the blessing of finally being able to communicate.
A month or two ago he needed to write a poem for his English Literature class. I sat with him as he worked, simply prompting him with questions. Asking him to close his eyes to remember his past.
This beautiful piece of poetry streamed out of him that night...
I love to think of him in that green uniform with the standard plastic shoes we see in so many third-world countries. I love to think of him working on his grandparent's farm and using a homemade crossbow to protect the animals from wild monkeys. After looking through pages and pages of photos, Abreham found what he was trying to describe: the Gelada Baboon (see here for photos and here for a quick video).
Can you even imagine?! Talk about a brave kid!!
And then drying the skins on the wall until it's fit for selling...and then knowing it'll be made into leather shoes?! Wow.
I love that his past has made him into such an incredible kid today.
I love setting the table for his Breakfast Party and seeing him lead his friends in prayer before taking a bite of his red-velvet pancake.
I love that he notices all the little details in things. The beauty around him.
That he picks flowers for me and shows his siblings how to cut the stalks with rocks, like he'd have done in Ethiopia.
I love that he loves art and worked tirelessly on stacks of beautiful watercolored paintings to be sold to friends in order to raise enough money to visit my family in Texas.
I love how he hated running in Ethiopia but became impassioned by it here in America.
I love that God gave him identity through it. At school he's not known as "the adopted kid from Africa," but rather, "the fast kid".
I love how hard he works in school and that he's been recognized for it. It does his soul good to know that his teachers notice how far he's come.
I love that he loves our family and truly knows he is cherished and valued. It took us awhile to get here, but he didn't give up and neither did we. And God's grace covered us all.
I love that he's my son and holds my entire heart in his. He's an incredible child...no, incredible young man.
I absolutely cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned for him. Because I know it's gonna be something big.
Happy Birthday, my sweet Abreham.
I'm so proud of you.
We're so proud of you.
Click here for more on Abreham and his story!