*warning. This is where this post is going to become very long, painfully straightforward and intensely frank. I am passionate and wholly unapologetic about it. Brace yourself*
Next week I am the "mother of 6."
*you throw your hands up and shriek 'WHAT!?' Chillax, people. Let me s'plain.
Next week, for 6 days, I will be the "mother" of 6 kids-who happen to actually be my younger siblings- because my mother (and my father) are leaving the country. My parents will be in Ethiopia for 6 days. Monday to Sunday. And I will be here, with--and in charge of-- everyone else.
*go ahead, shriek again. Why would they take a 20 hour plane flight across the world and leave me with their children for a week? What could I have done to possibly deserve that?
Simple answer: Because this is my sister.
*and now you are confused. "She sure don't look like your sister...? What is she doing in Ethiopia...?"
This is my sister, Simenesh Rebekkah.
She is waiting for us in Ethiopia. She has lived there her whole life, and has spent the last 5 years in an orphanage, praying for a Christian family to adopt her. And we (or my parents) have to go get her, because she is ours. She belongs in our family. She didn't know it, we didn't know it, but God did and that is enough to make some people in a tiny state in the USA crazy enough to leave their kids for a week, fly across the globe, and a whoooolllle lot of other complicated stuff, to bring her to where she belongs. With us.
Honestly, this confuses a lot of people.
If you haven't noticed already, I have a big family, and the kids don't look like each other. We are a bunch of good looking people, but we happen to just not look...alike. No, it is not faulty genetics, multiple marriages, or any sort of freak accident. God has called my parents, my family, to adoption. Simenesh is the 7th. 8 kids, all but me have been adopted (Including Simenesh, 3 internationally, and 4 through US Foster Care system).
Honestly, a lot of people are still confused, even if I explain. Actually, I often tend to just leave people wondering in their confusion. I don't like to offer an explanation sometimes. I don't feel obligated to. Because people are rude, narrow minded, hurtful, and just refuse to get it no matter what I explain to them.
I have introduced my sister, "This is my sister, so and so..." , and actually have gotten the response, "Are you sure? No she isn't!" Yes. I am sure. Yes, she is.
Or I'll be holding my littlest sister, also from Ethiopia, and people will go "Whose kid is she?" My sister.
Or "I have __*insert ever growing number* __ adopted siblings." "So you technically are still an only child.?" ARE YOU DEAF!???!?
*I'm sorry, people annoy me. I TRY and be gracious in my responses and put a false smile on my face, but... my quick, kind of sarcastic tongue is something God is still working on in me. I apologize.
There are a few who genuinely are impressed, and want to hear more about my wonderful, kid adopting family, but most are so shallow that they cannot even wrap their minds around something as...insignificant... as a shade of skin. Yup. Our skin is different. Who cares?! It is like...they want me to apologize for saying I am related to someone with skin that is a couple (or a lot) shades darker than mine or the fact one of our features don't match up. Like I might actually introduce one of my siblings by saying "Oh, this is my ADOPTED sister ___, I'm sorry her skin is more brown than mine, please don't hold it against us." or "This is my ADOPTED brother/sister, sorry their eyes are blue/hair is blonde/curly/straight/dark etc, etc and mine is not." and that would be...more acceptable.
THAT, MY DEAR CHILDREN, IS CALLED *RACISM,* AND IT IS IN FACT FROWNED UPON IN MOST SOCIETIES! (okay, yes, I stole that from Willy Wonka, took out cannibalism and inserted my own word. But is is fitting.)
Here are the facts: I am (Isa)Bella. I am Italian/Hungarian (and some other stuff), my skin is medium tan and have never really had sunburn. My hair is thick and dark brown. My eyes are deep green. I am 5'3" and just over 100 pounds. But I don't care. Paint me purple and shave my head; all that stuff is meaningless.
More facts: My 7 siblings are adopted. They, more or less, look nothing like me. And I could care less what they look like, because I LIKE THEM THAT WAY. If you think they are somehow less than my FAMILY because of skin tone, or because of DNA, or...something... then you are pretty much a racist. You should work on that, really. 'Tis an issue.
And just by the way, my family with our shades of brown, and totally "unmatching" everything, is more functional, more FAMILY, than most "normal", DNA, same nose, same haired, families that I know.
*okay, before I keep on venting, let me pull this back in.
Fact: I love Simenesh. She is gorgeous. She is funny (we have been blessed by receiving a letter, in English, from her, and she has a great sense of humor). She has an Afro (I am passionate about Afros. I just adore them and wish by some miracle I had one, despite how ridiculous that would be.). Her smile is phenomenal. She speaks 2 languages fluently and is learning English at a rapid rate. She is from Ethiopia, looks nothing like me, and has never met me before, but she is MY SISTER. And she is coming home on Sunday the 25th, and that will make my week of... torturous child watching... bearable. That will make being the "mother of six" worth it.
Because, for the first time in her life, she is coming HOME.
And as is my philosophy for most of my life; "IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, SHUT YOUR EYES AND IT ALL GOES AWAY."
But I like it. I like it all a lot a lot.