Every year, we send a report to Ethiopia about the child they have allowed us to adopt. I love that they care enough to keep track of their children, and the report is a great time to reflect on how far we've come. This year, there is a lot of good news to share, all of it better than this time last year.
It's sent early to be translated and ready to be received by the Ministry of Women's Affairs on our adoption date of October 17. :)
Here's our report from this year (with some information withheld, obviously!) and it's cause for rejoicing for sure.
Date of Annual Report: September 6, 2013
Child’s Original Name: XXXXXXX
Child’s Current Name: “Abi” Elizabeth Joy XXXXX
Place of Birth: Tefki, Ethiopia
Date of Birth: XXXXXXX
Date of Foreign Court Order: October 17, 2011
Date of US Adoption Court Order: XXXXXX
Status of US Citizenship: Full U.S. Citizen as of XXXXXXX
Adoptive Father: Matthew XXXXXX
Adoptive Mother: Erin XXXXXX
To whom it may concern:
• Continued Adjustment:
Briefly discuss the strengths and challenges and how they have been met.
As Abi approaches the two-year anniversary of joining our family, she continues to make fantastic progress in her bonding and adjustment. She has learned English rapidly, and now speaks nearly as fluently as a native-born five-year-old. She is almost always cheerful, friendly, healthy and a delight! She has many interests typical of a five-year-old: playing with dolls, pretending to cook with toy food, watching cartoons on a small screen that she can hold close to her eyes and see it, playing with her siblings, coloring pictures and helping Mommy and Daddy. She still has a few days here and there when she is sad and moody, especially if she is tired, but they are much fewer and less severe. We hold her close during these times and comfort her. In the future, if she still struggles with melancholy at times, we may pursue some therapy to help her deal with her grief.
• Family Life and Support Systems:
Mention relationships and interactions with all family members, extended family and assimilation into the community.
With us, her parents, she calls us Mommy and Daddy like our other kids do. She gives spontaneous hugs and kisses, and tells us that she loves us, and that she is happy to be in a family. I do her hair in pretty braids, and she absolutely loves that! She gets along with her three siblings well, and says that she loves each of them, especially her younger brother. She has met each set of grandparents many times and they give her the same love and attention as they give the other kids.
She has assimilated very well into our community. Because we have so many adoptive families with blended race, we don’t stand out much, and she has friends who are also adopted from Ethiopia. She has friends at church and enjoyed a week of Vacation Bible School in the summer. She also has enjoyed many trips to the community swimming pool with the family.
• Daily Routine / Day Care / Academics:
Abi is in Kindergarten this year. We are homeschooling using a State online charter school which will provide the Braille and other supports she needs as a blind student. She appears to be very bright and is doing excellent work, learning to read and count. Our family is also taking lessons in Amharic together.
Her days have a stable routine that involves choosing her own breakfast, usually uncoolal (eggs), and watching cartoons for a little while with her younger brother. Sesame Street is a show she loves, and it has been helpful in her English learning. Then, we begin school, and we rotate teaching her and her siblings throughout the day with plenty of time for play and exercise as well.
We eat dinner as a family, and do something fun in the evening like visit a park. She is really good about bed time, and sleeps well every night.
• Changes in Family Dynamics Since the Child’s Placement:
Community and extended family and social relationships
Her community has remained stable this year with no changes. We attend the same church, live in the same house and have a very similar circle of friends. Within our extended family, Matt’s brother got married, but that is the only change.
• Health and Development:
Cover immunizations, name of pediatrician and specialists. Date of last appt. Illnesses, medications, evaluations, dental issues, developmental milestones, emotional and behavioral issues, etc.
Pediatrician: Dr. XXXXXX
Specialists: Dr. XXXXXX
Illnesses: Abi has no other significant medical conditions besides her late-stage glaucoma. She is generally a healthy girl and is rarely ill.
Medications: Abi currently takes several medicated eye drops daily to lower the interoccular pressure in her remaining left eye. This will prolong the the small amount of light perception there and avoid more delay of sight loss. She takes XXXXXX, XXXXXXX, and XXXXXXX.
Evaluations: Abi’s right eye (which has no remaining sight), became chronically painful earlier this year. After consulting with her ophthalmologist, it was determined that it should be removed. Dr. XXXXXX performed an enucleation surgery on April 9th, 2013 and within just a few days, the pain was completely gone. She was initially given a temporary fake eye. On July 11th, 2013, she received a custom fitted and painted prosthetic right eye.
Dental Issues: Abi had several abscessed teeth pulled by the dentist shortly after she arrived in the U.S. as well as several small cavities filled. The development of her teeth is now considered normal by her dentist.
Developmental Milestones: Abi is on track for all of her developmental milestones to date. She chooses her own clothes and gets dressed. She can zip her zipper and put on her own shoes. She helps with chores like setting and clearing the table and feeding the pets. She is also on track academically as well.
Emotional and Behavioral Issues: For the most part, Abi seems happy and well-adjusted. On a rare occasion as mentioned above, she gets sad and moody. She exhibits a few of the symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder, such as lying, asking nonsense questions, ignoring us, or withdrawing into herself for several hours, but as I mentioned above, these episodes continue to decrease in severity and frequency.
Please address dates for Adoption and US Citizenship or plan for completing the same.
Ethiopian Adoption date: XXXXX
US Adoption date: XXXXXX
US Citizenship Date: XXXXXX
Why you feel this placement continues to be in the best interest of the child and the family.
Abi is thriving in our family. She has access to the best medical care for her eye condition, and although her sight is likely to ultimately deteriorate, we have access to excellent educational resources that will allow her to grow up into a contributing member of society. She has learned to love us and we love her deeply. We are happy to embrace her beautiful culture into our family by doing coffee ceremonies, learning Amharic and observing some of the Orthodox feast days. We hope that she will be able to retain some of her cultural identity, even though she is growing up in America.