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Monday, April 22, 2013

school, work and family sucking me in

Despite the terror that took over Boston- i am trying to focus on K's adoption and her homecoming. That being said- our adoption agency is in Boston (Waltham)- so theres no separating the two. We are having a post-court/ trip two prep call soon.....i hope our social workers have been safe.
Anyhow, I miss K- i want her brothers to meet her. We are super excited about going back for her. I havent been obsessing about it, unlike the way we were with Sam. I am confident in her care at Horizon House. I have loved showing her pictures to people and seeing their eyes light up with surprise when they see she is 7. We haven't gotten her room close to ready yet. I have been sucked in to work and school and family duties. I have been lining up projects for summer, and have an online course to complete- but we are ready to get our butts on a plane at the drop of a hat!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

We’deshalu. Emet alu.

Shes ours!!! Had to get that out. Anyhow, heres a description of my trip. I havent gotten clearance to post photos even though we passed court- so i may have to wait on that
I made it safe and sound to Ethiopia. I arrived on 4/10 at 7:15 am. Finding my driver was a bit of
a hassle. But i found him and all was great. It has been so super
sunny. I met Kidist for the first time about 9:30 a.m.- she was so
super shy. The kids all know who the new mommy is for when the nanny
singles out a child by name first. So even though Kidist was told
nothing of my coming (she would have been told had Sister Tirhas been there, but she was out for that day due to her sister being in the hospital). Anyhow, the fact her name was called first startled her
a bit. She came, shook my hand with down cast eyes and then went back
to playing. I played with all the kids- 7 older children all together.
I then went back and brought seven or eight new pictures of Kidist and
her sister. She really opened up then and ran and got her secret bag,
hidden form the other kids, and showed me the two small B/W pictures
she had of her sister. She was so happy to have more and I wanted her
to know, that above all else, i valued her relationship with her
sister and wanted her to see that.  We then really began to hit it
off. I got out some crayons and coloring sheets, we did hair, we
played with toy dinosaurs. After her nap she ran up to me with a big
hug. The second day was even better. We watched movies with the other kids and
they did each others hair- we had lunch together, played soccer and i
shared her family book with her. I made her one on Shutterfly. Her
nurse translated and we talked specifically about what adoption is for
her, who her family is and what will happen

It was quite sweet onthe first day-  Kidist and her friend Fantu (the two oldest girls )went to help with the babies and i went with them. I would say shes 7/8. She colors SO WELL- very meticulous about being in the lines. Then Fantu braided my hair for a while- and Kidist tried to join in. I gave Kidist a plastic storage box with all kinds of hair stuff in it. She has put three of the clips in her hair. Fantu has pretty intricate braids. Kidists hair is much more "white/mixed" than you can tell...its pretty. Its not as tight as Sams..
Court was much much better than before. Everyone sits together and one by one goes before the judge all in one very large room. They remodeled the court- opening up the whole waiting room and judges chambers. This just started in Feb. There were many many Italian
families- like 6 of them and half were from Missionaries of Charity. I was one of two American cases. Everyone passed. The questions were very much the same as with Sam and she took the power of attorney but did not even ask for Johns job letter or new addendum for the home study. All early paper work was in order and processed. She is ours!
Kidist took more pictures the last two days with the camera. She got hit in the face with a ball that hit the camera into her nose. No blood but she was crying :( I helped calm er down. It got very busy on Saturday- four more families there plus three doctors for a medical mission. i went out with a HOLT mom who now lives here (Betsy:). We went to Metro Pizza and Kaldisfor  coffee and gelato in celebration of passing court. I met another family- the one thats here for the oldest boy. They are staying at the Hilton. I also
had lunch with the in country director. Oh and by the way- this is the agency Angelina Jolie used. There are pictures of her with the director right here. How crazy! I never knew. The clothes fit- but Kidist isnt too interested in clothes anyway (because here they are all communal- so she doesn’t see it as a gift to her, but as a piece of clothing for all)- so i am going to take
some back home. Her shoe sizes is about 2.5 (the 3’s were too big)
Kidist was just so sweet. Some of the kids were really aggressive to seek out attention. But Kidist didn’t really do that- she very much knew I was there for her and would sit right by me. Instead of being aggressive she would just say “fuc” (yes it sounds bad) It means “Up”- meaning to go upstairs to the guest house.  I am immensely impressed with the care center and have no issues leaving her- unlike Sam where i was just destroyed. Kidist sat with me and we looked through all kinds of family photos on the computer. She knows all about touch screens and loved playing with my camera, phone and computer. We also looked at Sams adoption photos, as well, so she she understands. We also played hide and seek or as they call it "coo-ca-loo" - very cute. We painted nails and she absolutely loved the doll I bought her from the Ethiopian shops.  She didn’t say much when Sister Tirhas translated for her, but she does try and talk a lot to me in Amharic and act out what she wants. She wasn’t sad when I left but did run and give me a big hug and I kissed her on both cheeks. I told her in Amharic “I love you and I will be back”. We’deshalu. Emet alu. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

jitters and insomnia and the fourth option

posted last night on our funding site and Fb :I will be taking off in less than ten hours, a long 16 hour journey to meet our little girl. I am nervous about leaving my boys, i am nervous about meeting this new little human, i am nervous about her being nervous. I have pages and pages of Amharic phrases, I have packed up some clothes for her, girly hair things, nail polish and princess toys. I wonder what she has been told about us. I had a dream that she told me she wasn't ready to leave Ethiopia just yet and i comforted her and told her i was just visiting. Jitters and nerves and a heart that is a flutter

I am waiting at the Washing DC/Dulles airport. We board at 1015. I have been battling a weird sinus headcold since Saturday. I am so over-tired because I could barely sleep last night.

The fonts on this blog are all over the place. I am excited and anxious and tired and hungry all at once!!

Part of me thinks we are crazy. With Sam we were certain he had no family- he had been in an institution for 3 years- watching so many other kids get adopted and also watching many kids, disabled, older and sick never get out. But with our sweet K- she has siblings and memories of what has happened to her family, to her. It overwhelms me to even speculate the harshness that life may have dealt her. However, i want there to be joy as well- i want her to have joyful memories she can seek out when the painful and harsh memories flood her mind. I hope she has had joy in her life, she deserves that. I hope she can understand how she can have a new family but still love her country and know we will value and cherish that culture. I pray she can help Sam appreciate his culture and homeland- and that we can build stronger connections to Ethiopia. 
I hope and pray we can stay in touch with her sisters and brother. That she can understand the decisions that her oldest sister had to make. We are the fourth option- possibly the best option right now. Of course her first and best option was for her parents to have never been stricken with HIV and/or for them to have the access to life-saving ARVs, the second best option was for her to stay with her siblings or extended family, the third best option would have been for her to have been fostered or adopted within Ethiopia. None of those options panned out ... so now we have the honor of being her fourth option. She has lost so much but  at the same time i do not want to only think of her as a victim. Obviously she is a survivor and a warrior . 

Monday, April 1, 2013

K has had some significant visitors

Over the last two week I have learned that K has visited with her sister, with one of our agency's social workers and with an AP who visited Horizon House with her older, adopted Ethiopian daughter as part of a 'heritage trip'. I have gotten wonderful descriptions of K as she has interacted with these women. She can write her name in English and is quite a leader among the children there. 

The first is K*****. I was told she is 7, but she looked more like 8 or 9 to me. She was taller than my 7.5 year old who is 75th  percentile and has been in the US since age one. K was very nice, a truly beautiful girl, who was so helpful and patient with the younger children. She seemed like a leader. I really liked her. 
I emailed this mother and got a bit more details: 
I was really struck by what a nice sense of community I got got from the kids. She is one of the oldest, if not the oldest child there at the moment. It will probably be nice for her to be someone's little girl and be doted on, rather than a leader.
Also, she is truly beautiful. I found her to be strikingly pretty.

From our social worker:
“I met K***** in a group of her peers.  She was one of the oldest children and she took charge of games and expressed her opinion easily.  She also held and cared for the babies and toddlers.  She wrote her name in English, completing the ‘K’ with confidence, looking to me for the ‘I’ then flipped back in my notebook to where her name was written and copied it.  She also elaborately pantomimed taking my blood (she put gloves on, drew the blood, put on a band-aid, took her gloves off and through them away).    When I asked her to repeat this later, she said no.”

I am so excited to be able to meet her. In one week I will start my journey. Of course this has been the "easy" wait. It will be the two or three months between court and embassy that will really be near unbearable