There were no swollen ankles, strange cravings or painful labor pains to worry about. Instead there were four months of her new son’s life that passed by before his mother would even lay eyes on him.
“You could liken adoption to a first pregnancy,” Geogerian said. “You don’t know what it’s going to be like. There are no physical changes, but there is all this emotion and traveling and the feeling of not knowing what’s next.”
Geogerian and her husband, Dan, brought home son, Abel, now 7 months old, in February from his native Ethiopia.
All nerves were gone once she looked into Abel’s face, said Geogerian, already a mom to four biological children, ages 6, 8, 11 and 13.
“It was a relief to see him after all the waiting, and it was a very overwhelming moment,” she said. “But he just gave me this big smile from his crib and it was a really special moment.”
Abel, known for his constant ear-to-ear grin, won his new siblings over the same way, Geogerian said.
“My 8-year-old did not want another child in the house,” she said. “But as soon as she laid eyes on him she changed her mind. And now she wants to hold him more than anyone.”
Geogerian said it was both a desire for another child and what she and her husband felt was a calling to help children without a home that led to the adoption. They started the process in January 2007, intending to adopt a boy either from Ethiopia or Guatemala.
“There are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone,” she said. “The poverty there is extreme.”
Geogerian said she doesn’t intend to share the story of Abel’s first few months of life, and his biological parents, to anyone but Abel himself.
“He’ll know everything from the start, but it’s his story and he can decide himself who he wants to share it with,” she said. “But he’s been through a lot in his little life.”
The family plans to incorporate as much of Abel’s Ethiopian culture into their lives as they can, said Geogerian, including eating Ethiopian food, learning a little of the language and sharing the photos they took of him there.
“It’s very satisfying to know that he’ll grow up with clean, running water, access to medical care and education, but he’ll also be missing some things—the land, the culture,” Geogerian said. “As much as he’s been given, there’s a lot of loss that will always be part of his life. Hopefully we can outweigh that with the good things.”
Dan Geogerian said he has every confidence in his wife’s ability to mother a fifth child.
While rushing out the door to work this week, he had time to say only one thing.
“This is an incredible mother,” he said. “Really incredible.”
Emily Geogerian said she often has to look at the big picture, past all the making lunches, helping with homework and sibling squabbling, to truly enjoy being a mother.
“There are a lot of things I don’t like about being a mom,” she laughed. “It’s a lot of work. But when you see your children begin to become individuals and growing into the things they’re good at and love, see them being kind to others and feeling good about who they are, it’s amazing to see. I’ve done this a long time and made some mistakes along the way, but it’s wonderful to see them growing into who God made them to be and know your nurturing and hard work was a little part of that.”
Geogerian has the same goals for her adopted child, Abel, and for the children still to come. She and her husband plan to adopt from Ethiopia again in a few years.
The five-time mom even went on a drug and herb regimen so she could breastfeed the newest member of the family, as she did with her other children.
“I just think that’s really important,” she said. “It definitely feels different to adopt, especially when he was already 4 months and had likes and dislikes and signals I had to learn. But it’s the same sort of powerful emotions.”
MITCH CASEY The Marietta Times
Emily Geogerian recently adopted Abel from Ethiopia.
Fact BoxEmily Geogerian
¯ Address: Marietta.
¯ Family: husband, Dan; children ages 13, 11, 8, 6, and 7 months.
¯ Occupation: Stay-at-home mother.