When I showed Elsa the picture collages we are sending to her mother in Ethiopia she grinned ear to ear. But as she smiled I noticed tears welling in her eyes.
It is an emotional thing, to go through what she has gone through, to lose one parent to death and then have the other one voluntarily give you up while keeping your siblings. Elsa has a very healthy understanding of it all. I am careful to explain that her mother loved her so much that she wanted her to have food, and doctors, and an education. But even with the knowledge that it was done out of love, emotions are real, loss is real, heartache is real.
So when she saw the pictures that her mother and siblings would see of her life here in America, she cried.
I hugged her and told her how proud her mom was going to be of her,
"You are doing everything she wants you to do. She is going to be so happy when she see's that you have been going to school, and learning to play the piano, and dancing in a ballet recital, and going on fun vacations. This is exactly what she wanted for you. She wanted you to come to America so you could have all of these opportunities - you are doing everything just right. She is still your mom, she will always be your mom. And I'm your mom, too. You get two moms. That makes you extra special. So keep on doing every you are doing, you are making us both so happy."
And it's truth.
Here are pictures of Elsa at her ballet recital :
Do you see why I'm so proud?