Adopting an older child from Ethiopia
by Susan Johnson
We are the lucky parents of eight children. Our first adoption journey began in 2006 when we brought home our infant son, Matthew. It is hard to describe my feelings when I traveled that first time to Ethiopia. The parents in my travel group who had adopted toddlers and preschoolers were very inspiring to me. The children were amazing and beautiful.
We were so in love with Matthew that we began the adoption process very soon after he came home. This time we knew that we wanted to adopt an older child. Our agency, however, wouldn’t allow us to adopt a child that didn’t follow the birth order of our family. Lucky for us, we brought home our little 18-month-old son, Samuel! Samuel definitely made us work a little harder for his love, but watching him process everything that had changed in his life was amazing.
Our desire to adopt an older child always remained in our hearts. After some discussion with our children, we started researching older child adoption and contacted Holt International. We definitely wanted to adopt from Ethiopia again and there was one little girl that we were particularly drawn to. She was a little older than we were originally planning on, but after some discussion, prayer, and a little bit of faith, we knew she would be our daughter! We began the process with Holt to bring her home!
Our daughter, Asmerach, is nine years old and has been home with us for almost three months. She has been such a happy girl. She is beautiful, sweet and so much fun! She is learning English rapidly and loves school. We may have missed her first smile, her first steps, and her first word, but we have witnessed so many of her firsts here in America.
Allow me to share, with you, some of our joys: The expression on her face the first time she tasted cold ice cream…priceless! The smile that never left her face the first time she rode on the carousel, her excitement about being in the swimming pool for the first time, her obvious confusion when we gave her presents for her birthday, the excitement she felt to have her own bedroom and her terrified expression when she thought we may be eating our pet dog after I gave her a corn dog for lunch!
Coming into a new family, a new culture, and with everyone speaking a new language, Asmerach has showed us how brave and strong she really is. She is always ready to jump right in and try new things. We are getting so much joy from watching her experience everything we take for granted and have so many more things to look forward to, like her reaction the first time we take her to an amusement park and we can only imagine what her reaction will be on her first Christmas morning. We realize there will probably be some bumps along the way, but we are so thankful that we followed our hearts. We can’t imagine Asmerach anywhere else but with us.
If you are interested in adopting an older child, click here for more information.
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