Personal Anniversary Shared With Many
written by Michele, Marta’s mother
Today is the anniversary of Marta’s arrival home in the USA.
Today, seven years ago, is the day she set foot on American soil; immediately a US citizen. It’s a very personal anniversary, of course. One she marks in a big way, anticipating it for months ahead; one of the important reference marks on the calendar in her head. The day is and was a watershed day in many ways. It was the day we finally got home after a long, long trip; made longer by the fear of a first time flying, and crowds, and new things. It was the day she stepped into the fullness of her new family, accompanied by her three new sisters to meet her two new little brothers and her two new big ones. It was the day she first got her own bed and a space of her own …..even as she joined up into a new (strange hard good big) family.
It will take a lifetime for Marta to learn all about being American, and even then she will still be Ethiopian. Her life has changed so. She’s been lots of new places now, both in the US and even abroad. At first it was all so new and different, even the grocery store simply was mind boggling. Now, she is used to much of it here…enough to even be able to complain about a few parts: vaccinations, snow days, eating fish. And that is what we call “blessed progress” and “true luxury.”
After a brief stop in elementary school, and graduating from a great special ed high school program, Marta is now having her own college-like experience, living at an amazing school. We love the Stewart Home School. Even better, so does Marta. It was a Godsend, this school. She is happy, safe, and learning with excellent support from the excellent teachers and staff who work so hard in her program. She is, indeed, thriving! She has friends and classes and activities, year round.
Marta feels independent (and at the same time, supported). She is loved and is able to feel proud of herself. She has experienced so many new things. Indeed, here at Stewart she has experienced things we could not have provided: group trips with friends, and helicopters and horseback riding and dances and the day to day companionship of a supportive engaged community. Marta has a sense of purpose, daily here at Stewart School, a significant quality of life factor for anyone, everyone. She adores movies and country music and her friends and family and teachers. She does not like fireworks or snow or heights. She plays soccer and bowls and dances. She continues to learn, and loves learning and going to classes year round. She is now a young adult, growing into America – and America is slowly seeping into her, bit by bit. She will, however, always retain her Ethiopian-ness. So she gets to embrace both of her cultures, and does.
So this day, this anniversary, is a big deal for Marta. There are layers of people and places and experiences that all build up the importance of this day, for this American-Ethiopian girl. It started with a beginning, a bright burning torch, today, seven years ago. Miss Liberty and our Marta. We are thankful for our American girl and new beginnings!
To watch Marta’s interview about her special anniversary, follow this link: