Four days shy of four months home and I realize that many were eager to hear stories of Amania’s birth into our family and her transition as she becomes one of us. And I realized I’ve shared far more about my struggles and wrestling these past four months than about her and there is a reason for that….she is doing amazingly well. Dark skin and thick accent aside, it’s as though she’s always been here, as though she was born of my body and not just our hearts. She is funny and emotional. She is smart and moody. She says she’s a princess, then she says she’s a ninja, and then she’s a ninja princess. She plays dress up with Ellie and has tickle fights with everyone. She slumps her shoulders and lets out a huge sigh every night at 8:00 when I say it’s time for bed (just like all of her sisters did at that age, and some still do). She’s learning to enjoy reading time and will grab books and sit for an hour like the others, although she’ll spend at least half of that time asking myself or one of her sisters what time it is in hopes that she can be finished. She loves to work and loves to help and will be genuinely sad if the big girls are working and I can’t find something for her to do. (Okay, maybe that’s not like the other girls.) She is finding her place as another mother hen, in spite of being the youngest. She tattles and whines and gives dirty looks when she’s angry. Lately, she has taken to asking for cookies every morning for breakfast. We have never, in our history of parenting and certainly not in the past four months, served cookies for breakfast. And yet, she acts genuinely shocked and dismayed when I say no every morning. She says things like “gubble-u” for the letter “w”. She speaks almost completely in English except for words like “li”, “nou”, and “kouniya” (which she uses both correctly in Creole and as “can you” or “can I” in English”). She wants to be independent just like her sisters and last week told Matt “Dad. No. Stop.” and made him wait in the hall as she walked to her Sunday school class alone. Sometimes she still wears a jacket in the air conditioning or on mornings when it’s in the low 80’s. She loves to sing and dance and ride her bike in the driveway. She swims like a fish and can’t wait to start kindergarten in a few weeks. By all appearances, she’s a very healthy six year old. And in spite of our struggles as a family, as a couple, and mine personally, this has been an amazing adventure. Watching God weave a new member with her own story and background into a family already established, marveling at her choice, her willingness, to simply come along with us and become one of us, seeing the work God is doing in all of our hearts and our family – it’s a remarkable and beautiful thing. We know that, like all of parenting, there will be more struggles, but we are so grateful to be on this journey together.
*family photo credit goes to Meghann Boatright