Saturday, August 6, 2011

Aliya's Florida adventure

How is this possible? This picture was taken just 2 years ago, while Bibi (Anaya's mom) was at Layla house to bring her home. If you've read this blog for a long time, you will remember this girl as Aliya's best friend. You may also remember that she is the girl we first thought we would adopt. She is the one we were pursuing at the time of the fire. It turned out that she was a very important piece of our adoption journey to Aliya, although she was not to be our daughter. She already had a family but seeing her face on a waiting child list led us to adopt the girl who was to be ours!

The same 2 girls just 2 years later! Is this as mind blowing to anyone else as it is to us? The first picture looks like 2 girls who live in an orphanage. The second one looks like 2 girls who are loved and treasured in a family...2 typical American girls.

From this...


Upon finding out that we were adopting best friends, Bibi and I made a commitment to keep these girls together as best friends. We would get them together whenever possible, even though we live many states away.

Best friends reuniting at the airport. Aliya went for a week to visit Anaya in July. They had the time of their lives!

They nearly were eaten by a shark at Universal.

Spent time at the Portifino Resort there. Look at those Ethiopian beauties!

It was a time to talk and remember their time at the orphanage. They shared even more of their stories with each other, which was healthy for them. But mostly they enjoyed themselves in the present and talked about the future. Because they have families who treasure them the sky is the limit for their future. In fact, Aliya came back announcing that she now wants to be a doctor...either an HIV or cancer doctor. She wants to return to Ethiopia to help people. I love this idea and we'll support her in whatever she chooses to do. We all know she is determined enough to do anything she sets her mind to;)

Over the past 2 months, we have seen changes in Aliya. She seems to be understanding what it means to be in our family. She understands how we work and what doesn't work (slamming doors, not giving us eye contact, lying, rudeness) and how to function peacefully in our home. We know high school will bring a whole other bunch of issues but we feel we've gotten her over a huge hump in terms of being a member of our family. She has become a happy and well adjusted 15 year old. It was hard work and sometimes I didn't know if I could do it another day. This is probably not the picture I painted over the last 18 months on this blog but I can now tell you that all that hard work has paid off.

We are thankful that God led us to adopt a teenager.