Sunday, June 27, 2010

2 months as a family (and a little reflection)

As we celebrate the 2 month anniversary of being a family, I find myself looking back to Ethiopia. A family who is traveling for court and another family traveling to bring their son home have agreed to carry some photos and cards to the children at the orphanges and to the in-country staff.

While I has looking through the MILLION photos we have of children at the orphanages, my heart was breaking. The young men at Kolfe were amazing. Polite, thoughtful, ambitious. I told one boy at Kolfe that he had very good English. He said, "No ma'am. I don't. I need to practice." Then I responded, "Have you heard my Amharic?" Seriously, his English was spot on! He wanted to work to be an engineer. Their dreams inspire me!

At the younger children's orphanage, my heart was won by one little, filthy, stinky boy who only had the use of one arm. (He's in the photo above - we can't show faces of the children in the orphanages). I would guess he was 4 years old. One of the ladies in our group was passing out candy. She gave him a lollipop, and having one arm, he couldn't open it. I knelt to open his candy for him, and that was it - we were bonded. He held my hand. I carried him. He laughed. Somehow he got another piece of candy. And, while we were touring the facility, one little girl was lying in bed. I am not sure that she could get up, but her face was smiley and beautiful. My little friend willingly gave her his second piece of candy because she didn't get one. Our hearts broke. This little guy has nothing. Looking through the photos today, I see that his shoes were worn out and probably 2 sizes too big. His pants were probably two sizes too short and about 100 years old. But he gave away a treasure!

Then, as we were leaving, this little guy followed us to the car. He held onto me so tightly. We hugged and kissed. Then hugged and kissed some more. One of workers had to pry his hand off mine. Then he just sat down and bawled, I mean broken hearted wailing. Driving away, my heart broke. I think of his very often, and the photos broke my heart today.

We saw so much loss. So much need. So many little faces who just want a family.

As we were touring the baby room, which was desolate - way too many babies, many without diapers, in a small room, Travis reminded us of the story of the starfish. You know the one - the little boy throws starfish back in the ocean. Someone told him to give it up, that his efforts don't matter. And he replied, "It matters to the one I threw back."

Boy, are we thankful for Zadie Hayat. She loves us. We love her. We laugh together. She comes to me for comfort. In a public place, she holds tighter to her mother. I mean, we are thankful for the progress she has made. I hope we are wise as we continue our attachment. I just really want what's best for the little piece of love.

But, I can't stop thinking about all of those children. All of that need. What is my responsibility? The question haunts me.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

One Month Home! (and a little drama)

Can you believe it? We have been home for one month! And, honestly, we can't remember life before Zadie Hayat made us a family.

She has brought many smiles to our hearts. And in the past couple of days, a couple of tears to our eyes! No, no, no - not her exactly. And she is fine and healthy, but we've been at the doctor a few times this week.

One thing that I wish I knew before it happened was the TB drama. The embassy immunization papers don't list bcg vaccine on the chart, therefore it is not listed on her immunizations. And, once a person has been vaccinated against TB, they will always test positive for exposure to the disease - which we knew. But, when Zadie tested positive with no record of her immunization, our pediatrician's office went into a frenzy. Our doctor was out of the office on Friday when her test was read, so we had another doctor. He was not so familiar with our situation. He wanted to call the health department right away, and have me report Zadie and let "the health department make decision on the next step". Next step?? I kept thinking - Like quarantine? I even asked the nurse if he meant quarantine. She laughed, but then she said, "Not right away, I mean not just yet."

The very kind and sensible nurse talked the doctor down, and sent me to the hospital with orders for a chest x-ray. Ok, now I was back on familiar ground. This is what we were told would happen next. Once we were in the lab, and poor Zadie was placed in some sort of tube with a bicycle seat that scared the mess out of her (and this is supposed to be bonding time, right?), the radiologist ran into the room to tell us that there was a spot on her lung and that there would need to be another x-ray. This is when I panicked - a spot??!!??

So, the very gentle x-ray tech and I put the doll-baby back into the tube thingy - with more screaming and kicking and looks of broken heart, "Mommy, how could you?" They took another x-ray, and then sent me on my way. I tried and tried to get information from the x-ray tech, but she kept saying that she wasn't allowed to give any information. But she did take me behind a glass and whisper that the radiologist looked very relieved with the second x-ray.

Later that evening the nurse called to say that everything was fine, that the spot on the first x-ray was not on the second one so we were in the clear. But I still have to go to the health department this week to report my child, but at least I have a clear chest x-ray to take with me!

I say all this to say, come on! We need to have proof of the vaccination! Charlie spent quite a long time on the phone with our case worker discussing how to fix this. I mean... Really.

I suppose that we could have refused the TB test, but she is going to school with me in a few weeks, and the doctor would not have released her to go without it. I am not sure if this a universal experience, or it is just a NC thing, but Zadie and I were both exhausted after the drama of the day.

Having said all of that, she is a doll. A gem. Perfect for our family. She laughs generously. She smiles often. She is easy going, and she loves her mommy and daddy. She sleeps. I mean, how would we even ask for more? We couldn't. And we won't.