One year ago today, Jarod, Zinashi, and I boarded a plane in Dubai and landed in Addis Ababa to meet Elvie.
We were required to meet her before appearing in court to affirm that we wanted to be her family, and we couldn’t wait. As soon as we were checked into our room at our hotel, we got ready to go meet her. I don’t think all three of us have ever managed to change clothes faster.
As I look at the photos of that day, I feel so many emotions — joy that we met her finally after months of hoping and wishing and waiting, sadness that she was so small and so sick, relief that everything worked out so well in the end. That day was the beginning of our journey together as a family.
Though we were not allowed to take custody of her that first day, since we had not been legally declared her family, it was the first day we could love her in person.
Here are a few photos from that day, from the precious little time we spent with our tiny girl.
It's been one year since the day we met our Elvie.
I was thrilled to finally pick her up.
Right away, I changed her into a special dress a friend had made for her. I wanted her to be able to wear something that was just for her.
Zinashi held her for the first time.
She couldn’t believe how small she was. She kept asking why her sister was so little.
Zinashi was so proud of her baby sister.
Elvie wasn’t sure what to think of Zinashi yet, but we knew that she’d love her soon enough.
She was fascinated by Jarod.
It was like she just wanted to figure him out. I think he was busy figuring her out, too.
Everything about her was tiny.
That first day, I remember looking at her fingernails and thinking that our baby nail clippers would be too big for such little hands.
Her face was all we'd wanted to see for months.
And there she was. Finally. Looking at us as we looked at her.
And then we were four of us.
It was a bumpy road to get to Elvie, and we had no idea just how much bumpier it was about to get, but at least we knew her in person, finally. It is a day to celebrate for certain.