Iraqi Dance, Kent International Festival

The air-conditioning in my car is broken, and it was so hot when I drove to Kent on Saturday (we're having a heat wave in Seattle: not a cloud in sight) that I couldn't put my seatbelt on right away because it burned my neck.

I showed up a little late and a little dizzy, and I wandered through the crowd, looking for my friends.

They saw me first.


When they spotted me, they came running, all of them, and wrapped their arms around my ribs and squeezed until I couldn't breathe.

They yelled, "You came! You came!"



We stood in the shade while we waited for it to be their turn and passed around water bottles and adjusted ribbons. Some of the girls said they were worried they were going to mess up.



They said, "I'm scared. What if I make a mistake?"



I told them, Don't worry.

I told them they were so beautiful and the dance was so lovely that no one would even notice if they missed a step.



The dance was beautiful.

It was perfect.



Watching them dance, watching their brothers and moms and dads and cousins watch them and cheer and clap, I felt my throat ache and my eyes sting with tears because they were giving all of us a beauitful gift.

Because I was just so glad to be there. 



I turned to the people beside me in the crowd and I said, "Those are my sisters."



They stared at me. They said, "All of them?"



I said, "Yes."

I said, "I'm adopted."