One year ago, June 20, 2012, we met our sweet Hanissa for the first time.
She was full of smiles but a complete mystery to us. She was methodical, interested in everything, but hesitant to show it. She loved playing with friends. Asked constantly to leave with us. Loved eating jello snacks. Creative play was a struggle. She wasn’t interested in books or dolls, but wanted to write. All the time. Oh, and liked looking at herself in the mirror.
We spent the week together and hated having to say goodbye. We didn’t know until recently that she hated saying goodbye as well.
Recently, Hanissa said to me, “Mommy, you left me!” It was out of the blue and I didn’t have a clue what caused this statement. But she insisted and asked, “Why, you left me?”
“When did Mommy leave you?” I was baffled.
“When I was at Kidane Mirhet (the orphanage), you left me. Why?” A simple explanation was all she wanted, and assurance that we weren’t going to leave her again.
A year after that meeting, 8 months after her arriving home with us, there are still many mysteries, and we are still learning a lot about each other.
She’s grown a lot since that first meeting. (Then and now.)
Still full of smiles and inquisitive. She’s learning to enjoy playing and I even catch her playing by herself sometimes. She has become a great fan of books, still likes to write, and still likes to see herself in the mirror. True to her name, she is full of energy, and copies everything we do.
She loves water play, of all sorts. Her dream is to have a bicycle of her very own and then next year a motorcycle. If asked about her favorite color, she says, “Green.” She wants to wear green everyday. Ask her if she likes any other color and she replies, “I like white, and then blue, and gray a little bit, and then pink, and red, and then…” It goes on and on and on.
When she does something she knows we will be proud of, she says, “Good job, Hanissa!” She also calls herself “a smart cookie” when she thinks of something clever. And it is true, she is one smart cookie.
She loves to sleep with her sister, Alia, as often as possible. Likes snuggles and goodnight kisses. And asks almost everyday when she will get to visit her Kidane Mihret and, now, her China friends again.
I am blessed to be called Mommy by this little sweet pea.