Thursday, October 29, 2009
Daisy, Daisy, Ava Aday -- We love you!
We picked this cheery flower for you today :).
It is the Aday flower--
the Ethiopian version of the American Daisy.
Aday flowers grow on the high plains of Ethiopia in April--
the month we went to pick up our precious children.
I have shared recently about how we "picked" out--
how God picked out
Ava's name story is just as special.
Often as we prayed for Ava and gazed at her referral photo in the months between our referral and when we traveled, I would talk with God about a name for her.
Over and over my heart was impressed that our family needed the delicacy and tender beauty of this fragile "flower" before me in our little photo.
We desired much out of a name!! For both children, we wanted to have a name that reflected their unique identity--what kind of a gift they were from God, a family name from our heritage, and an Ethiopian name to celebrate their beautiful culture and heritage.
Ava's original Ethiopian name meant "one who cries out loudly" and while that makes me smile now cause she really IS a loud one :)--this name was not going to do for it was given by her nannies at the orphanage and was related to how she was found on the streets of Addis Ababa.
Instead, she was named, Ava, meaning, "Breath of Life", and she would share my middle name, Leigh--NOW for the ET. name,--not just any name would do,--I searched high and low for Ethiopian flower names and found the beautiful flower above--a tiny yellow daisy that blooms only in the month we were to pick her up and bring her into our arms--perfect!
Ava Aday-Leigh... so many international children could use some extra spaces on name forms, right, adoptive parents?
But here's where our story takes on the fingerprints of God...
What a JOY it was to meet our little Aday flower--she was as beautiful and bright and tender as a little wildflower for sure.
As we brought Bruik and Ava onto the plane--into all the newness of a first sight of a plane, first ride on an elevator, first experience in close spaces with so many pale faces :),first tastes, sights, smells...the children did remarkably well. They joyfully bounced up and down in their seats as Bruik sang this specific song we assumed from the orphanage over and over. Over and over he sang to Ava to make her smile and to calm her down. The song worked every time and went something like,
"Aw wah et
Lah Lem" (repeat)
Throughout our first year, whenever the children needed a special connection --they would speak toddler speak in Amharic (their language) and jump up and down Ethiopian-style and sing this happy little song. Its a song that can go on and on but that remains sounding really sweet--especially watching the sweet bond --Bruik protecting and enjoying--and Ava trusting and giggling.
About a year and a half later, on my birthday, we went to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant in town, Abay. We had become friends with the manager and on occasion had tried singing this little song to him to find out what it was. It never registered--we thought it was something cute the children had made up or a toddlerized version of another song.
On this night, however, a new waitress came to our table and after some conversation we asked this young Ethiopian girl if we could sing her our little song. She laughed, we attempted and pretty much embarrassed ourselves in front of a roomful of Ethiopian nationals enjoying their dinners. BUT our new friend's eyes immediately lit up and she began to sing WITH us--she filled in all the gaps of our little song with Amharic words and song. We stopped singing and listened to the completion of what we had only heard in snippets. It was a gorgeous song!
"OOOOOHHHH..." she smiled at us
"That is the song that little Ethiopian girls sing. Each year they sing this song as they go from house to house bringing flowers at our new year. They first go out into the fields and pick ADAY flowers and then they carry them from house to house singing this song about the ADAY flower."
I jumped up and down and clapped my hands in delight--I must have looked like my little children in their joy as they sung this song so often!
The song Bruik had been singing to comfort Ava all those months was HER NAME!!
What confirmation for us that God had chosen that name (and I thought I was being so clever/creative when I first found it :)-ha!)
As we tend to and delight in the Aday flower in the colorful array of our family bouquet we are so humbled to see that it was truly God's hand that reached out and picked her for us.
God's hands are always busy tending to what He loves most. The orphaned, the lost, the wounded, the lonely, those in distress, the widowed, the forgotten... I just am thrilled to hear stories like this one ALL THE TIME from those who are choosing to walk in places alongside of those who particularly touch His heart. We currently are experiencing stories like this one almost every day with our new foster children. Just storing them up--one day perhaps we'll have the permission to share them--until then (keep praying us along please!!) we live so amazed at the power and LOVE of a loving FATHER God who is ALL about transformation -- hope and a future for each of our lives.
American Black-Eyed Susan Flowers
P.S. A Shout out to the REDINGTON family--see their link on the side of my blog to their blog "Journey of Hope". They have JUST brought their little girl, Wylie, home to her forever family!! They have gone through fire to bring her home--this is a day of rejoicing!! We celebrate with you, dear Redingtons!!