Six waited and waited; now the resolution is here

First steps? Been there, mastered that. Now Dashiell Mosley, 2, zips around on a scooter, his mom Sarah Zwerling watching him at their West Philly home. Now the family waits for Dash to talk in full sentences, listen to his folks.
First steps? Been there, mastered that. Now Dashiell Mosley, 2, zips around on a scooter, his mom Sarah Zwerling watching him at their West Philly home. Now the family waits for Dash to talk in full sentences, listen to his folks. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 06, 2011

Patience is a virtue, we are told, and waiting brings rewards. Sometimes that's true, as when the coo of an anticipated child at long last makes a home sing. Other times, the pursuit ends involuntarily as life overtakes longing.

In June 2010, a Style & Soul article profiled six stories of waiting: an unemployed urbanite; a 1-year-old who was on the verge of walking; a couple who yearned to be parents; a grandmother on a lung-transplant list; an aspiring student trapped in a paperwork problem; and firefighters on call.

At the Cherry Hill Fire Department's Engine 22 Fire Station, waiting is a never-ending part of the job for its firefighters and medics.

Yet the others are done dealing with their anticipation - at least for now. Here are their updates.

Clare Xi-Le Ely toddles through the kitchen like it's her kingdom. The 16-month-old is indeed royalty to her parents, Nina and Andrew Ely, who waited nearly six years to get her.

The wait began in 2005, when they started wrangling with paperwork. In November 2010, the couple got word that they were finally at the front of the line for adopting a baby from China. They also received photos of the daughter waiting for them.

"Oh, dear God, she's cute," Andrew remembers thinking when he saw the pictures.

In January, the Elys traveled to the southern city of Guangzhou to pick up their little girl. Even then, they were forced to wait a few more agonizing minutes - as a worker held the baby a foot or two away - while one last administrative question was answered.

"It was almost the hardest part," said Andrew, 46.

Their house in Norristown is proof that parenthood happily clutters their lives. In almost every room are toys - including Nina's purse, which Clare drags by the handle across the kitchen floor.

Nina, 43, constantly frets about Clare. Andrew watches the Phillies with his daughter on his stomach. They rejoice that their girl recently began sleeping through the night.

So, was the wait worth it? Andrew answers without hesitation.


Sabah Aman was stuck.

The Philadelphia resident wanted to go to school to become a pharmacist. But he needed transcripts from the overseas universities where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees (both in animal science) so the courses he took could be compared to U.S. college standards.

Aman, 36, who works as a store clerk, easily got the transcript from the Dutch university where he earned his master's degree.

But for about seven years, his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Asmara in his East African homeland of Eritrea, balked on sending the paperwork. He wondered if it had to do with his days as a student protester against a war with neighboring Ethiopia.

Aman wonders no more.

In April, the Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross called to say the group's Washington headquarters, which had been helping Aman, finally had received the document. The transcript will be sent to a nonprofit organization that evaluates international school credentials.

Aman still has a long journey to achieve his dream, but now he will know what courses to take before applying to pharmacy schools.

The Red Cross call was unexpected.

"I was kind of surprised and, of course, very happy," says Aman, who recently dropped the last name of Hagos to use his middle name - his father's last name.

"I'm glad this is over."

Cara Hourican giddily, gratefully has left the ranks of the unemployed.

After being laid off from her financial-sector job in January 2009, Hourican looked for work for 20 months - 600 days, to be precise. She networked, checked online job boards, and sent applications. She got calls and interviews that gave her, it turned out, false hope.

Then, last August, Hourican, 35, landed a job in finance working for a Delaware company. The waiting phase after the second interview was especially tense.

"It was almost unreal," she says. "I knew it went well and I knew they liked me. They might have mentioned it was between me and another person, so I knew it wasn't a done deal."

This time, she got a job offer - and her two dogs had to learn to live again without her constant presence in her Queen Village rowhouse.

"It's wonderful," Hourican says of her new workplace and colleagues.

The jobless months changed her. The woman who loved buying clothes and shoes now is "much more conscious about every dollar I'm spending."

The most important lesson, though, was this: "As bad as everything can get, it can get that good."

Oh, how Dash dashes. And dances. And falls purposely to the floor, seemingly so he can get back up on his feet to dash and dance again.

In June 2010, Dashiell Mosley, then 1 year old, was on the precipice of walking by himself. The next month, he left crawling behind.

"His name finally is sinking in," says mother Sarah Zwerling.

On this day, 2-year-old Dash runs to his toys, jumps around, and sways his body to a James Brown tune.

The family awaits different milestones now.

Big brother Jasper, 4, will enter kindergarten in the fall. He has some idea of what he'll be walking into at Germantown Friends School.

"They have little Legos and a bunk bed that all the kids sometimes sleep in," he says.

Zwerling, 38, and husband Joshua Mosley, 37, look forward to the moment - it's almost here - when Dash and Jasper play with each other for a chunk of time.

The West Philadelphia couple are waiting, too, for Dash to talk in full sentences and listen to what they're telling him.

For that, they could be waiting forever.

Evelyn Jones loved bright yellow so much, she wanted to wear it into the hereafter.

Last year, Jones was waiting for a double lung transplant as she battled a number of health conditions, including an inflammatory disease called sarcoidosis.

But when her condition worsened, she was taken off the organ-donation list. Doctors said she was no longer strong enough to survive a lung transplant.

Jones died May 31 at age 65.

In those last days, "she never complained, she never cried. She told me she didn't want any tears," says her son, Carl Roberson, 48.

As she rested in a hospice, she talked with her husband of 38 years, Ernest Jones, with Roberson, her two other sons, and a sister-in-law about her funeral.

She told them to take care of one another and their children, and that she wanted to be dressed in white and yellow when laid to rest.

And so visitors to the viewing that preceded her funeral last month saw Evelyn Jones in a yellow gown trimmed in white.

A long procession of relatives who entered Germantown's New Jerusalem Church wore yellow and black. The pews, folding chairs, and church aisles were filled with her admirers who listened to the Brockington Ensemble, a choir Jones sang with before her illness.

To family and friends, Jones' legacy is one of kindness, love of family, devotion to her Christian faith - and a most virtuous patience.

Watch two of the families enjoy their post-wait lives at


Contact staff writer Carolyn Davis at 215-854-4214,, or @carolyntweets on Twitter.


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