Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mihret Sings Her ABCs

Mihret's learning her ABCs... here she is singing the ABC song.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Daughter's too-small dress still holds memories

Mihret in fall 2008, at about age 18 months

Mihret in fall 2007, at about age nine months

Emaye with her Fandesha (smiley girl!) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, summer 2007

In bottom photo: Kara holds Mihret at a goodbye ceremony at the CHSFS Ethiopia care center, while a pediatrician and a caregiver look on. Summer 2007, about age 6 months

Post-Crescent column: Daughter's too-small dress still holds memories

Jan. 23, 2009

I've gotten used to sorting through my toddler daughter Mihret's closet and parting with clothes, even my favorites. I know they're going to a good home, my goddaughter's.

But during a recent survey of Mihret's dresses, with her upcoming 2-year-old pictures in mind, I paused at one, not wanting to admit it didn't fit anymore.

The white, gauzy cotton dress with a silken underskirt and accents of green at bodice and hem has a matching white cotton headscarf with green trim.

It's the dress Mihret wore in summer 2007 on the bittersweet day her nannies at a care center in Ethiopia, her homeland, placed her in our care.

The home where Mihret lived from age three months to six months in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Ababa supplies children there with a traditional outfit. It's theirs to keep and it's what they wear on the day of the goodbye ceremony that signifies their transition into their adoptive families.

On that day, we saw how lovingly one particular caregiver held our daughter, who looked so small and so scared, her headscarf slipping off of her barely-there curls.

The caregiver assisted my husband Josh and I as we marked Mihret's hand with red paint and pressed it firmly against a wall of the care center's playroom, to the sound of clapping from care center staff, children and other families. Although she was leaving the country with us, that most unique part of her — her handprint — would remain behind.

When I look at that white cotton dress — when I hold it in my hands, bring it up to my face, breathe in deeply and try to imagine its original scent, an almost indescribable mixture of incense and spices — I'm no longer in Wisconsin.

I'm back in that room, that day our daughter first wore the dress and we wet it with our tears of joy mixed with sorrow at her separation from all that was familiar.

We have other Ethiopian garments in a plastic tub in our basement that are waiting for Mihret to grow into them. But nothing can replace her white cotton dress.

-By Kara Patterson, Post-Crescent staff writer,