Photo album filled with pictures that was included in the care package I sent him.
When I started these updates, the purpose was three-fold:
1- to keep you all updated on my personal family building journey
2- to provide you the opportunity to get invested and attached to my children
3- to provide a means for us to learn, how to be supportive of other adoptive families.
Keeping #3 in mind, I sometimes struggle with how to word things. As you know- it takes a lot to get me upset. A lot to offend me. Among today's regular updates, we'll cover a few things today that will provide an opportunity to learn a bit about #3. Cause if it's sensitive to me- imagine what it does to normal families!?!?!?
Some of you have mentioned that you don't ask about him- because you figure everyone asks the same thing and it must be annoying. In fact I like that you are invested enough to ask. There are some things I won't or can't answer - but those are few and far between.
Now that we have a picture to fawn over- the questions have come fast. Things will be changing quickly soon, so rather than get behind, I'll try and cover all that has been asked since last update:
How am I?
Today- eh. I'm a little sad. I want him home- actually- I just want to be there- with him. I have small infrequent bouts of "eh- ness". Usually I'm happy and excited. Not scared or nervous. Just happily taking it a day at a time alternating with overwhelmed from everything I need to get done before travel.
What is next?
Courts in Ethiopia close for the rainy season. It is anticipated they will open the first week of October. At some point after that we will be assigned a court date. After we pass court (some other behind the scenes stuff happens) we will be assigned an embassy visa date. The Embassy Visa date will indicate when I need to travel. I'll be traveling for 10-14 days. The agency is telling me to expect to travel after the new year. I, on the other hand, am Hopeful for December. Bold. Yes. But Hopeful!!!
Will you be able to take time off?
Yes. Todd, Dorothy and I will discuss details after we have a better time frame.
"So what happened to his family? Do you know? Do they tell you? Is his family all dead?" (this is one of those #3 things.)
This is a difficult question to answer - for a number of reasons. It is not a casual conversation. It requires consideration and thought. Depending on the situation and person asking- the response will vary. Usually this is asked by someone in a casual group setting and I may be heard responding with "It's not a question I'm ready to answer yet." It's true - and really - it may be someone who should not have this type of personal information anyway. If we are talking in a considerate, quiet setting, I can try to answer. But it is not simple. And yet I hesitate- because I do NOT want to infer that there is or should be anything 'secretive'. It is a delicate balance.(Respecting #3- many other families will read this as being a nosy callous none-of-your-business question- rather than just curiosity. Be sensitive.)
This is what I feel very comfortable share: (To fellow adopters- in the note to family and friends I identified innocuous details to share. A date or two. Age. Diagnosis. Description. I've shared 3 details that are personal but not harmful or necessarily private. I've obviously removed them for blog purposes. Family are curious. Personally, its a better alternative to feeling like there is an air of "secrecy". We have to be confident in where we draw the boundary lines for our children. I expect there will still be moments of being uncomfortable- but being confident in our decision of where those boundaries are is most important)
Consider: 40, 30, 20 years ago when a child was adopted all personal and family history was locked up in storage and stayed there, intended to never be seen by the child or either of the families. No history of the child ever existed. It was locked away – erased… ignored.
Now- we know after years of doing it wrong- there are better ways. It's not perfect- but better. Now, I have been entrusted with his information. His history. It is my job to raise this child with his history INTACT. There, is the catch. Keeping his history intact.
We, here in the US, have no context in which to understand the complex life situations for families in a country on the other side of the world. There is no way we can understand the cultural impacts, the family dynamics, the community pressures. There is no way you can expect to learn a few facts about how a child comes into care without automatically inferring *what that means* or assuming some other things go hand in hand. It is hard for me to not do that and I've had almost 2 years of cultural training to prepare.
T will be raised knowing his history. I will do everything possible to provide cues that perpetuate the memories while he is learning a new life, new language, new family, new environment... T will then have a safe loving supportive family and friends in which to ask questions and share his family, his history- with us. I expect we'll all learn a bit about his life before us. (LBU) But- the catch is keeping it intact in HIS head, HIS heart, so when he can finally express it- he feels safe doing so - without our input and false impressions. Just our support, love, comfort and understanding.
"Your adopting? Well that must be expensive!?" "How much does that cost?" followed by "You shouldn't be spending money on that! You need to save your pennies!"
I have heard this twice now and I'm honestly not sure how happy I am with how I've handled it. The snarky side of me wants to answer these things by saying--- I can't imagine someone commenting to my mother, on her nice new van- asking how much it cost her and asking her to justify buying it when she's out of work and dad is retiring. You are aghast just thinking about it aren't you.?.? I try not to be snarky.... all the time.
If someone is truly interested in adopting, I am more than willing to have a meaningful conversation about what to expect financially. Each state, country and agency is different so it is a complicated issue... but very manageable. – I’m capable and willing to have a meaningful conversation with families considering taking this path. This is another one of those sensitive ones for families (#3).
If you are really interested in my finances- I have 2 plane tickets left to fund. If you have ideas on how to accomplish that let me know. It will all work out, though.
During the midst of my nightmare called 'child care shopping' - a couple has offered to provide T's child care. We will work out the details later- but this will be a good fit for a boy (and his Momma) in transition.
Another couple has donated their unused travel medications saving me $60+ in co-pays. So I now have most of my shots done (yay!) and I'm armed with Malaria meds, Cipro and a Lice Shampoo kit (I swear- I may really freak out on that one!! Give me Giardia. Give me Malaria. Give me Ringworm. Just keep the Lice!)
Another couple has graciously committed to taking care of/donating T's plane ticket home. Yeah. That is huge. HUGE. I was overwhelmed. Literally.
All of that happened in one week. What a relief. I lost 100 pounds of burden that week. (the scale has yet to show it- it just takes a few days to catch up)
"Have you hear anything new about him? What is he doing now?" T- Update
The couple that sent me their travel meds- the momma met 'T'. She reported him as tired and crying at potty time. So while all the toddlers were lined up sitting on their pot chairs -she rubbed his back till he fell asleep, bent over on his legs. This was the only update on had on him for some time. It made me sad, for a couple days, wondering who was going to be there for him the next day...
I also received a bit of a social report with small indications that he is understanding the Nannies but he isn't attempting to speak to them. His first language is different than what the Nannies are speaking so this is normal. Christy reviewed it as well and she agrees that he is socializing and responding, so all looks on target. It states he is generally happy and playful. (sigh)
Our own Laird Hamilton enjoy the end of the summer
Some of you have asked repeatedly what you can do. Have patience with me. There is so much I have to do! I'm truly a little overwhelmed in trying to organize it all. This is the busiest time of year for me at work - all at the same time of trying to turn the trailer over to it's winter set up & Get the garage ready for winter and get the house ready for a 2 year old. Things typically take me 4 times longer than they do most people so - I feel the need to do this early as I fully expect I'll get more scatterbrained the closer we get to traveling.
One of the things you can do is to help me in -Preparing to travel - Its been suggested to send the list of needs to family and friends and provide a drop off area. Good Idea! It seems silly to purchase luggage or tea just for the trip if some of you have a couple tea bags and luggage I could maybe borrow. (ok- not that you'd want the tea back... but you get my point.) So how does the front porch of the trailer sound for a drop off? Big and little- anything you can do to pitch in is a gift and blessing I can never repay. Thank you! We are on our way to bringing him home!
For not having any title to this one- I certainly went on long enough!
- 2 XLarge Luggage pieces with wheels
- Travel/Passport Wallet
- Small "fanny' pack
- 220 volt electrical Converter
- Non Aerosol high concentrate Deet bugspray
- Misquito netting
- Small umbrellas
- Bag 'o goodies aka "Stuff to keep kid happy on 21 hour transit"
- Long skirt (big enough to fit me) (broomstick /hippie style one)
- Kids Tylenol
- Dry powder Pediacare/Propel
- Immodiam AD (tablets)
- Wet wipes
- Small anti bacterial stuff
- Diaper rash crème
- Anti fungal crèmes (Clortrimazole)
- Chamomile Tea
- Pepto Bismal
- Lightweight robe
- Head scarf
- Small Nalgene like bottle
- 4 -RW CD's
- PinkEye meds?
- Sml First Aid kit
- Sml Flashlight
- Walkman CD player (iPod requires charging and electricity is scarce)
- Small Kleenex packs
- Cloth Diapers/burp cloths (airplane sick cleanup)