Different, Yet the Same

One of the things I have loved about the way the adoption of each of our girls came together is that we have completely different stories to tell each of them about how we found out about them and our first days and weeks together. Bringing Zinashi into our family at age three was wildly different from adopting Elvie as a baby. I love that Zinashi came to us with a beautiful accent and with so much knowledge of her own culture and history. At the same time, I love that we got to watch Elvie’s personality emerge as she got bigger. It has been a gift to have both experiences. We couldn’t have asked for better.

Just like our girls’ adoption stories are completely different, they also have very different personalities, and we feel like they complement each other incredibly well. Zinashi is cautious while Elvie is a daredevil. Elvie can be distracted from something she’s disappointed about while Zinashi will remember and make sure that I do a good job comforting her before she’ll move on. Zinashi loves quiet play while Elvie tries to scream as loudly as possible, just for fun. But with all those differences, I am also discovering that in some ways, and in one way in particular, they are very much alike.

The photo of Zinashi on the left was taken shortly after we completed her adoption, while we were still in Ethiopia, waiting to travel home. This is not a face we taught her. The photo of Elvie on the right is recent, and she has been making this face for months, though Zinashi doesn’t use that particular one anymore, and so she couldn’t have learned it from her big sister.The more I dig back into videos and photos of Zinashi, the more I realize that there’s one huge thing my girls have in common, and it will always bridge any gaps between them. It’s so simple, and I hope they never lose it. It’s silliness.

Zinashi showed us how much she liked to be silly just a few days after we met her, when she started to feel comfortable. The first thing she did once she felt like we were all right was to start pulling faces. Similarly, once Elvie had the strength, the first thing she did was make silly faces. Now, between the two of them, we are up to our ears in silly. And we love it.

I can’t think of a better quality that I’d like my daughters to share. Oh, sure, I want them to learn to be kind and compassionate and treat each other with respect, but when it comes to things that are just naturally a part of them? Silly is absolutely the best. It will smooth over life’s wrinkles and settle arguments. It will bring joy back when there has been sorrow. I am so glad that both of my girls were given the gift of being silly. I hope they hold onto it for life.

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