I see Meskerem's long, elegant fingers cradling Tirunesh's pudgy hand as they walk in front of me at the grocery store. They are giggling and laughing, half running with happiness of being let out of the car after a seven hour journey. Their grasp is light and simple. Other times, I have seen one reach for the other in need of reassurance, to help the other not cry or in solidarity after being scolded for pushing the boundaries yet again.
When the girls hold hands, I see so much being conveyed from one to the other. Our adopted daughters have experienced loss and upheaval in their short lives, but have always had each other. They have endured death, loss of country and language, yet have had much joy together.
Their hands are a wonder to me. What have they done, carried, stroked? Their hands came to us fully functional, knowledgeable in the ways of their previous lives. They now use them to pound imaginary coffee, hold baby dolls and hang onto slides and swings. As they pet the dog, their hands sink into his fur and their eyes shine with glee at this other member of the family, and they try to hold his paw like they would reach for the other's.
The one enduring task their hands have is to hold each other's hand in order to deepen their sisterly bond, to jump from the curb, to walk down the stairs they've been told not to play on, and comfort each other through one simple gesture of touch, of love.
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