A few weeks ago Craig and I spent an amazing evening with a friend. (Please don’t let the fact that I’m just telling you about this three weeks after it happened make you think that it wasn’t all that great – I just haven’t found the time to pull my thoughts together until now!) Our friend, M, lived directly across the street from us in our old neighborhood. Our group of neighbors was fantastic, which is key when your houses are 13′ wide and connected to one another because you get to know each other really well in that type of density. One of the things we really miss about our old neighborhood is the group of people we got to know and enjoy.
Anyway, three years ago we moved to our current house in a different part of Baltimore. Shortly thereafter, M moved to Boston. However, it turned out that Boston didn’t quite do it for her, and she hadn’t been able to sell her house here, so she recently moved back to Baltimore. Okay, that’s all fine and good; but what’s the big deal, you may be asking yourself? Here’s the big deal: M is Ethiopian! She was born and raised in Addis Ababa, and moved to the U.S. after college. So, we have a tried-and-true Ethiopian friend right here in town. How cool is that?!
I have to admit that I was a bit nervous to tell M about our adoption plans. I suppose there was a part of me that wondered if she would not approve of white Americans taking little Ethiopians away from their culture. However, when I contacted her a couple of months ago, she was very warm and embracing of our news. She left Ethiopia almost 20 years ago and knows the challenges faced by most in Ethiopia. Most of her family remains in Ethiopia. She knows that millions of Ethiopian children are in need of families and homes.
So, on a Wednesday evening a few weeks ago, Craig and I were treated to a home-cooked Ethiopian meal at M’s house. (I was dying to peek in the windows of our old house, but Craig said that would be nosy. I just wanted to see what the new owners (actually the second owners since us) have done to the place!) Now, when we suggested getting together sometime, we offered to take her out for a meal or to host her at our home, but she insisted on cooking. She asked us to pick up a bag of injera from our local Ethiopian restaurant, and she cooked up beef tibs (cubed beef with onions and peppers), fitfit, and a spinach dish (which I can’t seem to find the name for). The food was all delicious.
We have been wanting to try out some Ethiopian cooking at home, but haven’t yet found a source for the necessary spices (other than online in bulk quantities). We asked M where she gets her spices, and she said that her mother ships it to her from Ethiopia. Maybe next time we’ll ask M’s mom to send some for us, too, but in the meantime I think we might need to take a trip to Little Ethiopia in DC. We’ve been following a great Ethiopian cooking blog that has really inspired us, so we need to get on this.
We talked about all sorts of things, we asked a few questions, and we conversed about whatever came to mind. M wants to connect us with her cousins in Addis when we travel – so that’s a wonderful connection to have! I know we will be busy and our agency will have us under their watch, but we’ll see how something like that might work out. We don’t yet know how the (new) first trip will play out, and maybe we’ll be able to add on a day or two to connect with them and explore a bit.
M also happens to be a physician specializing in infectious diseases. I picked her brain about travel vaccinations, and I will share her thoughts on that in a future post.
The biggest and best news of the evening, however, is that we learned that M is going to adopt a child from Ethiopia herself! And that she’s going to use Wide Horizons for Children, the placement agency we are using. I was elated to hear this news. I have already invited her to join the group that meets every other month at a local Ethiopian restaurant, so we’ll see when she’s ready to try that. What’s really funny is that USCIS is holding up her adoption process, and she hasn’t even started yet. She is waiting for her U.S. citizenship to be finalized, and apparently her process has been delayed time and time again. One time she was actually standing in the room for the swearing-in ceremony and someone came and pulled her out, noting that there was a problem with her paperwork. I noted that she will likely gain even more not-so-great feelings towards USCIS during the adoption process as well.
It was such a great evening, and it was wonderful to reconnect with M, talk about all things Ethiopian, and learn that she, too, will be adopting from Ethiopia in the near future. I can already imagine spending time together with our little Ethiopians in tow. She will be a tremendous resource for us, and we consider ourselves to be very lucky to have her in our lives.