Monday, February 6, 2012

Facebook Journal

For those of you not on my Facebook feed, I have been posting updates and anecdotes daily about our journey home and bringing Abi into our family. I decided to copy and paste them into a post here, in case Facebook doesn't save them. I'd like to remember this time, both the good and the bad, and our experience may help others who are also adopting internationally. I know I have been tremendously encouraged by reading the blogs of other moms who have gone before me.


January 22

Good morning snowy Idaho! It's SO nice to be home. :)

I slept ten hours, and Abi is still sleeping. She fell asleep in the car on the way home from Lewiston. She seems to be doing really well, though. She doesn't act timid or overwhelmed and absolutely loves people. She is also quite healthy, apart from a slight runny nose and a skin thing on her scalp that the doctor says is not contagious (phone conversation), so it looks like we won't need to have a quarantine period after all! God is good. :)

January 22

We tried church this morning. Sunday School was fine, since the orphanage uses similar activities and routines. The fellowship afterward was a bust, though, since the noise and hot room completely overwhelmed her. I'm a little bummed that her sparkly personality and lovely confidence did not appear, but we have plenty of time. :)

The language barrier seems to be a huge deterrent to her, as she loved to talk to people in Ethiopia, whether she knew them or not. I am sure she will be that way here once she understands what people are saying to her.

At this point, she speaks about 5 words of English, and can count to ten. Matt and I speak about 400 words of Amharic, which is enough for the basics and a little fun stuff, but not enough to translate conversations. I am sure she'll pick up English really fast, though.

January 22

So far, the jet lag has not been such a killer this time around. When we came back in October, I was down for two weeks, but apparently it was more the cold and the migraine that did me in last time. Without those, I feel pretty good. :)

January 22

FAQ, so hopefully I won't have to answer the same questions quite as many times!

1. Age: Abi will be 4 in March.

2. She is almost totally blind. She can see a small patch up close off the left side. I think she can see colors and faces if they are close. She is quite functional, though, if she is comfortable in a place and can walk around really well. Also, we understand if you have never met or interacted with a blind person before, so feel free to ask questions. :)

3. The adoption is final, but we need to do a little more legal stuff and change her name. Her American name will be Elizabeth Joy, but we'll still call her Abi (Ah-bee) for short.

4. She is already bonding to us and knows we are her family. I'm impressed how much she knows in such a short time.

5. The trip and flights went well, for the most part. When I get time, I'll blog about them.

6. Yes, we're planning a welcome-home-party/baby-shower but I don't know when it will be. Local friends who are interested, I will post something when I decide when/what I want to do. I also want to have a cultural show-and-tell party, and I don't know if that will be the same or separate, so stay tuned.

‎7. At this point, she speaks about 5 words of English, and can count to ten. Matt and I speak about 400 words of Amharic, which is enough for the basics and a little fun stuff, but not enough to translate conversations. I am sure she'll pick up English really fast, though.

‎8. At this point, we probably will not maintain contact with her birth family. It's possible we'll resume contact in the future sometime, and she is welcome to do so when she is old enough to want to.

‎9. Abi has never seen snow before. So far, she hates it, and hates walking on ice. Go figure. :)

January 22

We finally just figured out that when Abi repeats "tataba" at dinnertime, she wants to wash her hands before she eats, which is super important in Ethiopia. Oops. Thought it was a food. Thank goodness for curiosity and a good dictionary.

January 23

Abi asked to go "shinta-bayt" (toilet) so Cody had to be at least as cool as her. He sat on the potty too, and we had success for the first time! Peer pressure works wonders!

January 23

Roller coaster day. Up at 4:30 with a screaming child. But then watched her eat three scrambled eggs and some calcium-fortified OJ and rejoiced that she is getting nutritious food at last. We are SO blessed in this country. All morning Taz-Boy alternated between playing with Abi and tearing the house apart in an effort to keep the family's attention away from her and on himself. And my heart melted when she threw her little arms around me and said "Mommy, ewedeshalehu" (I love you). Soon after, my heart broke when she asked for "tata" and we had no idea what it was, so she burst into tears, and so did I. She pathetically begged us for it and we were so clueless. But all was well again when we finally scoured the dictionary and determined that she wanted a bottle of warm milk like Cody gets before bed. We gave her some, and she snuggled down into her bed, so safe and happy and warm. I really need a long nap.

January 24

This conversation happened last night.

Setting: Daddy puts his shoes on to take the garbage out. Time: midnight.

Abi: "somethingsomethingsomethingsomethingshoessomethingsomethingcarsomethingsomething"

Me (attempting to translate) She wants to put on her shoes and go for a ride in the car?

Matt: uh... No.

Abi: repeat request 467 times.

Me (frantically flipping through the dictionary, and in stumbling Amharic) "Tomorrow... Car... You go."

Abi: "Ok!" (happily resumes playing)

Me: "Whew, that was a lot of work!"

Very representative of how most of our interactions go. She is learning English words rapidly, though, so hopefully we meet in the middle pretty soon.

January 24

First Ped visit this afternoon. Dr. Mike was quite impressed with Abi's health and development. She is such a charmer; he and the nurses were enchanted with her. :)

January 25

Oh my gosh, my brain feels like it is going to fall out. I keep thinking the jet lag is going to get better but I am still going to bed at 1am and waking up about 4:30 am. Oi!

January 26

Jedi-Mommy has once again restored order to the galaxy.

January 26

I love doing laundry, because I am so grateful to have the people in my life that wear each of these clothes. :)

January 26

Just overheard (in Amharic): "I love you Daddy, for giving me water. Yum, yum, yum." Then she sang a little song she made up about how Daddy gives her Cheerios and bananas (Biscuti inna mooz, Daaaaaddy...) Then, "More water, Daddy?"

His reply (in English): "Okay, here's your water, Princess Nut-job."

January 27

At Homeschool Co-op. Abi's doing fantastic! ♥

January 29

Since day 1, these two always hold hands in the car. Is that cute or what?

January 29

Whoa, this was really, really good. Written by an adoptive mom to friends and family who want to be a support, but are not always sure what to say or how to help. I just have to add that all of you have been a tremendous support and encouragement to us, and we are grateful for every single one of you!

Thanks Michelle for the link. :)

January 29

I'm so tired I can't even nap. :( Having a really rough day today. Abi is clingy, Cody is crazy, and we all got just a few hours of sleep last night. Right now the little folks are napping, so I should be able to rest, but I am too wound up. Prayers appreciated.

January 29

Receiving the blessing of friends. Holly Mathews and Lori Jewett, thank you! Cleaning and blessing my kids may seem small to you, but they are making me feel not so alone and I really needed that today. :)

January 30

Oi, Cody is awake! Good thing I love that kid so much, because his reaction to a new sibling is to be over-the-top naughty/annoying. #sigh

January 30

Just introduced Abi to the dimet (cat). She was afraid of his quiet, slinky self until we touched him and talked about his sleepy purr and discovered that he stays on his comfy chair and won't chase her... Well, she is much less frightened of him now. :)

January 31

Using "tools" to "fix" the toy baskets.

January 31

Really struggling emotionally today. It's a normal part of this process, but knowing that doesn't make any easier. Glad that Abi is adjusting better than I am...

January 31

Thanks for all the sweet words of encouragement earlier. Feeling a bit better tonight, thanks to the support of friends and especially Matt. He's the best and I don't know what I'd ever do without him!

January 31

At the Ped this afternoon, Abi had to get blood drawn (not a finger stick; I'm talking about the full needle in the arm) and she totally flipped out. Shrieking and almost vomiting, she was so upset. We were so miserable trying to comfort her. But afterwards, she got a cookie at Bucer's, which cheered her right back up, and she has had a great time showing everyone her WOUND (with Band-Aid) so it's almost worth the pain, I think. ;)

Februrary 2

Going to try walking downtown with all four... first time. Wish me luck...I have no idea how this is going to go. #fingerscrossed

Februrary 2

Took the kids downtown with the big, blue stroller (about 7 blocks).

Went to Bucer's and got a coffee for me and a cookie for them, then to Hodgins "mecha wecha bayt" (toy store). As soon as we got there, Abi had to go "Shintabayt" (toilet) but they don't have one. So we loaded everyone back up and went down the street to Wells Fargo. Then back to Hodgins, where we ran into Natalie Rose and Raven. The Goombas each bought a little toy, then Natta and Seth wanted to ride the escalators at the bank next door. I agreed but should not have, because Natta pushed Cody onto the escalator while I was helping Abi, and the poor little guy was terrified. :(

Then my second piece of insanity: we went out for pizza. At the Pie Hole. Cody spilled water everywhere three times and Natta forgot her toy when we left. Some college age girls apparently were raised in a barn because they stared at us the entire time we were eating. Well, I guess we are pretty cute. :)

Then home again and Mommy needs a nap more than the littles! But overall, I had a lot of fun, and it was so nice to get out of the house.

Added: Discovered that we attract a LOT of attention. Wonder if it's FOUR small children, or the different skin colors, or the Amharic being sung REALLY LOUDLY or the white cane? Maybe is just the abundance of cuteness. ;)

I feel like we might as well bring along a brass band, an elephant and some balloons. Maybe a fire engine.

February 2

Listening to WOW Worship: Yellow disc. Hello 90's worship music! You are wonderful! :)

February 2

Reading "Maximum Ride" Book 3. Hooray for YA fiction brain candy!

February 3

This kid amazes me. She has learned how to do the entire bathroom routine herself: step stool, kid seat, pants, wipe, flush, put everything away, and wash her hands. She only needs me to turn the faucet on, partly because she can't reach, and partly because I decided the wise move was not to teach her how to turn the water on. Anyway, I'm tres impressed... Better than I could do if I was only three, in a foreign country, and couldn't see what I was doing. She is sure a smart lil cookie. :)

Februrary 4

We have entered the needy/demanding phase. Approximately every 30 seconds, she asks for something. Juice. Snacks. Potty. Take the lid off my toy. Kiss. iPod. Shoes on. Shoes off. Color a picture. Rescue me from Cody. Hug. Movie. Potty. Juice. Snacks...

According to our training, I'm supposed to say yes as often as possible, which I would anyway. The times when I say no have no effect and she just continues to ask like a broken record.

Add into the mix that the rest of the family cannot even talk to each other over the Abi-requests, and that Cody is equally needy all the time.

Does anyone know where I can purchase some Sanity-In-A-Bottle??

February 4

We had a wonderful evening as a family. Matt, Natta, Seth and I put together a puzzle that Seth picked out this afternoon. (Note: a 500 piece puzzle is NOT a kid puzzle, it's an adult puzzle, according to Seth, so he felt so tickled to be working on one that big.) Abi sat nearby, popping bubble wrap and singing along with the UI Jazz Choir CD. Cody was trapped in his booster chair with some blocks that he mostly threw on the floor. But the best part was that we were all together. ♥

Februrary 5

It happened again: the overwhelmingly loud noise of everyone talking after church in that echoing room sends Abi into meltdown mode instantly. We know it's not the people as she loves talking to people. We are pretty sure it's the acoustic of the room, which to a blind person probably sounds like surf.

We're brainstorming solutions: noise-blocking earmuffs, which may not work as they would function like a blindfold to her. Maybe just go right outside to play and avoid the problem.

February 5

Happy little girl this morning. She's putting her babies to bed and shouting "heed tenya" (go to sleep) at them at the top of her voice. #effectiveparentingtechniques

Februrary 6

One of Abi's first sentences in English: "Stop it, Cody!" Linguistic necesseties.

February 6

I have this cold now too. Kids are whining and fighting. Abi is demanding juice and band-aids and injera and toys and... Dear Lord God, grant me strength beyond my own strength.

These are the days that make every other day look good.

Still, progress is being made. Abi ate some American food with only 42 complaints, she played a little game with Cody that involved falling off the couch, and she is healthy, adorable, and she slept until 7:15 this morning. :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Adoption IS sort of like a pregnancy! Complete with postpartum depression! Could've done without that I'm sure!