Since I am awful at keeping up with baby books, I want to devote a post to each of our children for posterity. I am going in reverse age order because their birthdays mostly fall in that order.
Our youngest child just turned two today: Eva Ruth Mebrat Gowin. There is richness in her name and in her personality. All of our kids have Irish names and Bible names, and our Ethiopian children kept their Ethiopian names. “Eva” is the Anglicized version of the Irish name Aoife (“ee-fa”—You can understand why we didn’t used the Irish spelling!) which means “radiant, pleasant, beautiful.” She is all of these things. Her birth mother named her “Mebrat” (“muh-brought”—you know, like hot dogs and brats?) which is Ethiopian for “light.” And Ruth is her Bible name. The summer of 2005 I feel like God hit me hard with that name, knowing it would be the name of one of our adopted children. In the Bible, Ruth and Samuel (which is Aidan’s middle name) were both ordinary people whom God used to serve Him and show His glory while not being raised by their biological families. Ruth, a Moabitess, chose to stay with her widowed mother-in-law Naomi to take care of her and follow her God. In the end, Ruth married Boaz (their kinsman redeemer, which means he was in Naomi’s bloodline and chose to redeem her family’s lineage by taking them into his family), and she became the great-grandmother to King David and ultimately to the Lord Jesus Himself. She was selfless and humble and illustrated beautifully how God has redeemed each of -our lives.
Our Eva is a bright light wherever she goes. We cannot leave a store or a doctor’s office without new friends she has made. People who would otherwise ignore us (or even think bad thoughts about a white mom with her brown baby), can’t help but remark how beautiful she is and talk and laugh with her. She is constantly waving at people and saying “hi,” especially if she has met you once before, and if she sees a baby she is beside herself wanting to get out of the cart to go meet him/her. And though these actions might look as if she is not quite attached, if she is so willing to meet other people, but that is certainly not the case. She may go give a stranger a hug and kiss, but once they pick her up, she immediately wants back to Mom.
Eva is also a joyful light in our home. She loves to talk, sing, and dance—and is very good at them, I might add! I wouldn’t be surprised if she is nicknamed Eva Diva someday! She does the most hilarious things but I often cannot catch them on video because she wants to stop and see herself on the camera. She makes us laugh, but not in a needy way to get attention. She often could care less if we saw her doing whatever she was doing. But she is also very sensitive—offering an empathetic pat to another sibling who might be sad or in trouble, or wanting to kiss me if I got “hurt?” She makes you feel like a King or Queen when you are returning home—you should hear her yell “Daddy!!!” when she gets to see him after work. She loves her daddy.
On a physical note, she was very sick when we brought her home a year ago last January—had to be hospitalized with pneumonia that she probably had for months before we got her. She was in the 1st and 6th percentiles in her height and weight when we brought her home. Now she is in the 65th percentile. It is amazing what love and nutrition will do! She had such a hard time napping when we first brought her home. She fought us so much for those much needed naps. But we were persistent. Now she is the best sleeper. Now that she is two, she fights me a little more about not wanting to nap, but I just hold her snugger when I rock her and she is out in less than ten minutes. If she is late for a nap or misses it altogether, she is such a trooper. The other kids would have melt-downs in those circumstances and had a horrible time sleeping in unknown places. She is by far the easiest baby we have ever had.
Also, now that she is two, I expect her strength of character will challenge us at times. She knows what she wants and is not afraid to ask for it, or just go get it. She has gotten herself drinks of water using her toys to dip into the dog’s bowl. If one of the kids leaves the bathroom door open, she is likely to get deodorant and put it on her face like chapstick. She tells me to put “Bad” on the ipod so she can dance to Michael Jackson, and she knows the right moves. She started potty training herself. I had sat her on the potty a couple random times—one time “something happened”—and then she started telling when she needed to go. I need to work regularly with her so she will choose to only go on the potty, but that’s amazing in my book!
I will be sad when she leaves this funny, sweet age, but I am also excited to see what God has in store for this “little light of mine”! I just today sadly learned that Eva’s birthday, April 4, is the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death. I can only hope that she somehow someday redeems that date on the calendar. Maybe she already has.
Michael has said on more than one occasion, with tears in his eyes, “What would we have missed if she were not part of our family?” We implore you, if you have ever considered adoption but then “let the feeling go away” out of fear of the unknown, please consider praying about it again. God can and will do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine if you are only willing to take the risk and trust Him. He will bring you to a realm of understanding of His grace and redemption that you never even knew existed before, and you will never want to go back.