It seems like several times a week I am reminded of how much change Dawit has endured. A year ago, my wife and I were boarding a plane headed back for Kansas after getting to meet our 4-year-old son and completing the court work and getting other sundry details in order in preparation for a return in June to take custody of him.
It seems like several times a week I am reminded of how much change Dawit has endured.
A year ago, my wife and I were boarding a plane headed back for Kansas after getting to meet our 4-year-old son and completing the court work and getting other sundry details in order in preparation for a return in June to take custody of him.
He has been home for seven months now, and every day we see something new that he has accomplished or learned.
Considering everything the little guy has been through, his adjustment has been remarkable. He loves being Blake’s little brother. Anything Blake does it the best thing in the world. If Blake takes his shirt off, Dawit’s shirt comes off. If Blake is wearing shoes in the house, Dawit will have shoes on. If Blake rides his scooter, Dawit is pushing right behind him.
But being the younger brother often means your time hasn’t come yet. Since he got to his new home on July 6 of last year, Dawit has watched Blake play baseball, soccer and now basketball. He always watches. He wants so badly to be on a team.
“Dawit soccer?” is a constant question. “Basketball, Dawit?” he asks pointing at the court where Blake is practicing.
The same would be true if he had been born and raised here in Kansas, but somehow being dropped into our family, I’m sure he feels like the odd man out in many ways.
That’s why we were so excited when our church planned a Monday night activity for kids that focused on being active and staying fit.
Dawit got to get off the sidelines and out of the stands and get in the game alongside Blake.
But the biggest thing Dawit has felt left out of is his birthday. His mom and I both celebrated in November and Blake had his eighth birthday in December.
Poor Dawit doesn’t have a birthday until May.
Not many days go by that he doesn’t ask about it. “Dawit birthday?” he will ask.
But now he knows there is a day in the future that is all about him. He has no idea what it means, but he knows it.
He can say about 60 words that you could understand. Many others people who are around him a lot know. “Dotch” means stop. “Note” is milk.
“Emanemanemanemma” is M&Ms.
But he says “May 26” as clear as a bell.
He has no idea what May is. After all, in Ethiopia they have their own calendar with 13 months – twelve 30-day periods and one called Quaggimi that has five or six days depending on leap year.
For Dawit, May 26, 2012, is actually Genbot 18, 2004. Why would he be confused?
I think birthdays here may be a little more extravagant than what he is accustomed to. That’s why he wants one so bad. All of your buddies come together and eat pizza and cake and play games together. I don’t know that he even cares that much about gifts. He has so much more than he ever did before. He just wants to be the center of the universe for a day.
My wife and I debated on when to have birthday parties for Blake that included kids from outside the family. We decided five was soon enough.
So at least we don’t have to go against precedent there. But if you think for a second we would not let Dawit do whatever he wanted for his first American birthday when he has looked forward to it this much, you don’t know us very well.
There are a lot of good reasons to look forward to the end of May. But no one will be looking forward to May 26 as much as Dawit. He can already taste the cake.
Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.