Almost exactly a year ago, I met my Aster for the very first time. For over two weeks, we visited the care center frequently. Knowing Aster a year later, I can't believe she's the same person. She appeared so strong, but many of her behaviors were simply a mixture of coping and surviving. No child should live in institutionalized care. Ever. The shorter the time, the better.
I fell in love with all of the children during those weeks. But, there was one boy that simply melted me. Perhaps I worried about him the most. He had such a gentle spirit. He was by far the oldest/biggest boy at the care center. I loved his eyes, the way he watched the other children play and his very shy smile. One day, when I walked by the children eating, I grabbed his foot and pretended to take a bite. He covered his mouth and let out a good laugh. It was that moment, hearing his sweet laugh, he had my heart completely. While in Ethiopia, I referred to him as, "my little bunny."
Well, my little bunny was still there when we returned in May. Still without a family. I couldn't look at him without filling with tears. I couldn't stand the fact that we were leaving my little bunny.
When Aster started talking about a boy named "Z" in Gambella, I was intrigued. She would laugh a huge laugh and tell silly stories "One time, poor Z caught his hair on fire! Mommy, he was ok. He laughed about it when he told me!" She told me that "Z" was so nice and such a hard worker. Aster worried about Z in Gambella.
A few weeks later I learned that Aster's Z was my little bunny. Z lived with his uncle in Ethiopia. Z's uncle is Aster's uncle. They share an uncle and lived a few steps from one another in Gambella.
My heart hurts that Aster's sweet Z still needs a family. She teases me, "I love Z, but so do you. I heard you. You call him a little bunny!"
Beautiful families are holding an auction to raise funds for the three oldest boys at the care center. Two of the boys have families. Z does not. Yet.
Do some holiday shopping. Go bid on some of the wonderful items. For my Aster's Z, for my little bunny. For all the boys that deserve to be home yesterday.
Go here. Now. Thank you. Please.
UPDATE! Z has a family. It happened today! TODAY! Can you believe it? I know. Good stuff. YAY!