So, not like real cousins through adoption or biology.  But we're calling them cousins none-the-less.

The very best thing about the process of adoption is that we have met a lot of amazing people along the way.  We have more "adoption friends" than I ever could have imagined.  We've met some amazing people.  

There are a few "adoption friends" who I consider to be among my best friends.    This past Friday, two of those friends, Marissa and Abe, passed court for their two children Levi (his Ethiopian name is Tomu) who is deaf and Zahria (Hanna) who hears.  

Their journey to Levi started a long, long time ago.  It's so long and complicated I'm not actually sure how much of it I can even share here.  But I can tell you that back in April Logan and I found Levi at the Transition Home.  We had no idea that he had a sibling and in fact, Zahria wasn't even at the Transition Home yet.  
Meeting Levi was one of the most magical moments of our court trip.  His smile.  There are no words.  I wish I could bottle up his smile and carry it with me.  

We knew Marissa and Abe were praying for a deaf son.  We knew that Levi would be theirs some day.   But back in April, Levi wasn't even adoptable.  

According to Marissa's instructions I hugged Levi, and with my hug I told him, "Your momma loves you and she is coming for you."

Weeks passed and there was no referral for Marissa and Abe.  It seemed like bad news all around.  Then one day... a deaf boy showed up the America World waiting child list (WCL).  His name was "Tom" (they always make up the names) and he had a sister "Hannah."  But there was no picture.  There is always a picture.  

Marissa called me to talk about it and we talked about how we wished it could just be Levi on that list, but Levi didn't have a sister.  Such bad news.  

Logan and I were working on Willow's bedroom and I was telling him about Tom and Hannah on the list and that he was deaf and for some reason there was no picture and isn't it just crummy that it isn't Levi on the list.  And then I stopped dead in my tracks and looked at Logan, who was I remember clearly was sitting on the floor leaning against the wall, and I said, "Tom...  like Tomu?"  

We took off running back to the computer... and suddenly there was a picture!  It was TOMU!!  LEVI!!  I could hardly dial my phone, but when Marissa picked up she had just seen it too and she was crying and I was crying and we were freaking out!  It's Levi and he has a SISTER!!! 
We saw Levi, and Zharia this time, in July.  Levi ran to us when he saw us.  Which thrilled us beyond words.  We had the honor of introducing them to their family with a video Abe and Marissa made signing for Levi and speaking for Zahria.
We hugged those kids so many times on that trip last month.  When we had to tell them goodbye I hugged and kissed them on the cheek.  And when they were out of sight, in their classroom, I bawled.  
I know we'll see them again.  In fact, I'll be meeting Marissa in person at Created for Care in March.  And I know we'll see their family of four together some day.  Levi and Zahria will always be Willow's Ethiopian cousins in spirit.  We loves those kids.  

You can follow the rest of their amazing journey and read all of their fantastic posts about their court trip on their blog:

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