These were the words ringing through the air as we filled balloons for the upcoming birthday party. As I reflected on what the kids have experienced in their three short weeks with us my heart couldn’t help but be overjoyed by these simple words.
Many parts of the world do not keep birth records like the United States, and Ethiopia is no exception. When you adopt from Ethiopia you probably won’t know your child’s exact age and you definitely won’t know their exact birthday. Kids are usually assigned birthdays somewhat randomly, and the birthday on Diva’s paperwork is just 10 days after Wiggles. With all the changes going on we didn’t really know how- or even if- we would celebrate birthdays this year, but decided about a week ago to have a very low-key family gathering at our house.
This is a time when language is really a barrier. The kids somehow know that birthdays are an exciting thing (maybe because we sung and got ice cream for Wiggles last week). Diva had been walking around all week saying “Diva Happy Birthday!” Smiles had been pouting all week. He would say “Wiggles happy birthday. Diva happy birthday. Smiles no happy birthday.” I tried to show him on the calendar that his birthday was in November, but he lost interest around July. Not knowing what else to do we decided to celebrate his “birthday” too! We had a few presents from Christmas that we still hadn’t give the kids so Smiles got to unwrap those.
The low- keyness turned out to be fantastic. Each kid unwrapped three presents and then we revealed one of the big presents- a kitchen set! This was a big hit with Wiggles and Diva and we all munched on plastic peas and toast for the rest of the night.
After some cake and pizza the kids discovered their other big gift- new(ish) bikes!
Wiggles got a balance bike and he was so cute with it. The seat was too high initially so Grandpa had to lower it. When that was complete Wiggles wasn’t ready to ride it- he wanted to do some work of his own!
Please don’t ask me where my kids picked up throwing thug hands in every picture.
Smiles already had a bike but it was pretty small for him. Still, he taught himself how to ride it in just a couple weeks. A friend gave us a hand-me-down that is the perfect size for Smiles, but he didn’t think so. He ignored it and went on the small bike. As we pretty much forced him on the bigger one, he whined and said “No big! No big!” But he was riding it like a pro in no time. I didn’t get a picture of him on his bike but I did get this cutie with his cousin.
And what birthday party is complete without a photo shoot?
Overall the small party was the perfect way to celebrate. Hopefully by November we’ll have enough language to explain that not everybody gets to open presents on everybody’s birthday!