Saturday, January 29, 2011

What I should have said- Part 3...

First: I apologize. I should have finished posting this series before our one year anniversary. If you really want to, you can go here, here and here to have a faint idea what I'm writing about today.  Although- perhaps it isn't really clear to anyone.

I started writing and questioning what I wrote to my travel buds regarding our year milestone. After pressing send and hearing from a couple of them, I felt- like I pushed send too soon. That maybe I shared too much. Gave to Real of a picture.

Although the letter wasn't-  Opinionated. Judgment riddled. There were no fingers being pointed or names being called.  It was just the facts, as we lived them- granted- through my eyes.

Maybe, like that Eddie Adams Time Magazine picture of the Viet Cong man being executed at the moment he was shot in the head... maybe the truth- doesn't always sit right, light, comfortable in our hearts and minds. That photo haunts me to this day and I bet I haven't seen it in 5-10 years. (ok- just saw it as I g00gled a link to it)

The letter bothered me too. Even before I heard feedback. Something whispered to me and has been since.

Did you read the commentary below Eddie Adams Viet Cong photo?  "Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them; but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths. …"

I wrote the truth. As I saw it. As I experienced it. My truth. Not really 'our' truth. My warped narrow view.

I do not know the answer to "What should I have said?".  I've searched for that answer and I don't really know. But the whisper I hear, reminds me to consider, HOW I say it. Reminds me that my heart must be open to be gentle, not just for the reader that I do not know. Perhaps the real lesson is to keep my heart open and temper my words. I'm sure that is biblical some how.

So, I'm sure I've said this before, as it tends to take me several lessons to learn one thing- I will be more cautious in my approach here. I will attempt to open my heart and show it clearly but softly with consideration.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Phone a friend.

A friend threw me a lifeline. Did me a Solid. Gave me a Hand up. Spoke the truth. Lifted a burden.

When I was falling apart at the seams- she said, "Let me watch him for a while for you. Just go take care of yourself."

And she did. ("He" was NOT really the burden I'd been carrying. This was ALL my baggage.)

Yes. Big. And today. My seams are mended.


"I remember when each of the girls were little, calling Carolyn and screaming and crying telling her I couldn't do it anymore."

"Really? Is that the truth?"

"Oh. YA! It sucked. I thought I'd lost my mind."

"It's not just me? I'm not the only one?"

She laughed.  Snorted.  And Laughed.


I'm learning. Over and over again. That even though my 'title' has changed, there are still days when my hands are full- to capacity. Sorta like this guy below. And yet, crap keeps getting thrown at ya and you gotta make a choice (usually over and over again):
  • Am I gonna let it *all* hang out? 
  • Am I gonna keep steering this thing? 
  • Can I catch one of these piles o'crap?
  • Who the heck is gonna eat it when I throw it back?

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Year Ago... Arrival

Delayed. Re Routed. Stuck in back of freezing cold 8 seat puddle jumper.

We only had 2.5 more hours to finally get home. Mr. Little was (is) an angel for the entire trip. I was fine till Detroit where I was in immigration line with 4 people in it for over 2 hours and no one ever moved. It honestly deserves its own tirade of a post- but I get too steamed just thinking of the inhumanity of it all. So please forgive the- "I've fallen apart, down, been run over and I can't get up" look.  Men- they have it easy- both of them still all put together.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

One Year Ago... leaving

Saturday, January 23, 2010
Bole Airport, Addis Ababa

Leaving. Harder than it sounded. Some days harder still.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Some days....

Some days I'm holding onto a thread to make it through. It is 12:30 in the afternoon. He's been up since 9. I'm shooting for everyone alive by 1pm. Will renegotiate goals after that. So far today...

After days of too much snow and wind. Days of school being canceled. 2 days of no anxiety meds and now the weekend looking at 2-3 more days till I get any (those are mine by the way). Two weekends of "momma break" being canceled do to snow travel conditions. One toe nail being torn off and bleeding like a banshee (him). One gymnastics teacher that freaks because she sees blood through his band aid and makes a giant scene washing everything down he might have touched. 6 band aids. One moment of weakness in which I took the time to shower but then ended up needing to rush him to make it to said gymnastics class on time- but rushing him turned to him feeling out of control and resulted in Mommy deserving to get pee'd on. So make that 2 outfits by 10 am for mommy. Two carseats being fit into the slogging mess of a backseat to fit One nephew in along side my son. Two sinus colds. One insessently barking annoying 6 pound dog that refuses to go outside to do her business but uses the bathroom as if it is her own. Make that 2 pee messes before 10 am, one human one canine.  One case of the hiccups that I'm sure are a sign of demon possession (me).  Far more than two prayers to God to keep us together cause I certainly cain't.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

One Year Ago- Dr. Abiye...

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Addis Ababa

This man saved my son's life.


And likely, emotionally.

It is not a secret that he was sick, borderline, unsure if he would make it sick, when he came into care. Dr. Abiye spent a lot of time nurturing him bringing him back from the brink.

On this day, Dr. Abiye, no longer worked for CHSFS and yet, he came, during Timkat celebrations, as a doctor to look at each of the children, give them another once over and make sure they were healthy before heading out on the arduous trip to the states.

We met privately. I assume he did with each family. When Teg saw him- everyone that saw his reaction was in shock. I think even he was. Unsure of what to do. He clearly recognized him and his soft, modest voice grew loud as he ran to him. Then the first time he pitched any sort of fit. The first any of us heard his voice above a quiet murmering.

They had a unique bond. Dr. Abiye and he stayed close together whenever he was in the care center. It is interesting to me on so many levels- even today- to consider this blessed relationship.

I would so like to find him. He wanted to stay in touch and know how he was. And yet to date there has been no contact. No one at the agency would give me his email. He has pertinent medical info and documents that right now- I would love to have. But mostly- I'd love to show him what his patience, kindness and special attention have brought forth.

If any of you know how to contact him I would most love to. I think he had family or friends in Ohio and all email communication from the agency has been cleaned as to not show any second name or email address. I didn't consider how difficult this would be while in ET. In many ways I am sad that I can not share. In every way I am grateful of what he shared.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One Year Ago...

Wednesday January 20, 2010
Embassy Day

I remember a few things about this day. It was kinda crazy. First, we needed to leave an hour earlier than planned, and Mr. T did not want to wake up that morning. By this point, I was no longer sweating the small stuff. I got myself ready and figured if he goes in his PJ's so freaking what.

Timkat was the next day and two days of celbration were planned. It was unknown exactly when our papers would be ready. We were already arriving a day earlier than was the normal schedule and now an extra hour had been built in as well. 

The host staff including our American guide, the House Manager and bus driver were all - noticeably, shaken. As we got closer to the Embassy- it seemed to get more tangible. Struggling to find a place to drop us off, close to the embassy, the bus finally stopped. We were told to carry our kids and cover their heads if possible. Ato Girma, did not get off the bus. "No. I can not." was the only explanation.

In the crowded waiting area- there were many many many Ethiopian peoples, waiting for their name to be called. Hoping they would be granted an entry visa to the US. As I waited with them, I imagined why each wanted to leave this place? I was torn in going back myself. It was supposed to be this great proud day- that my son comes to the US- and at the same time- I was so incredibly conflicted.

Pushing my own undercurrents aside- we marched forward.

As the Ethiopians all waited. We were escorted one family at a time to a specific window just for us. This is where I first saw a touch of his charming flirty personality. There was no Shyness. He looked at the lady- knew she was in charge and started flirting.

He received his entry visa that day. I only wish immigration in Detroit had been that simple.

It would be poetic to look at this picture and say they were looking back to the care center and yammering away at what they were leaving behind. Perhaps it is what they were talking about but... they were looking at the trucks. There was construction going on in the valley just below us and along with the hand labor there was a digger and a dump truck.  And well- boys. They watched this action for days! If any recent travelers have an updated photo of what it looks like now- I'd love to see it!

The other thing I notice- is how 'fragile' they looked back then. They were about the same height, but Mosey had a wider build. He even looked stronger. He was. And he is. Tegs hair lighter. Permanently changed. He carried this big pot belly of infection and sugar milk that his body didn't know what to do with.

But now- Teg towers over his friend. He is gaining strength, but it is a long slow processes. His skin is brighter, no longer tinged yellow. Gone is the fragile look.  Only noticeable now when you touch him and joints pop, snap and flesh feels like jello. I am realizing that it will be some time before he has caught up physically with his peers. He may be a teen-ager or young man before the effects of malnutrition and Kwashiorkor  are no longer visible with the eye.

Sadly. I'm also learning that the scars, the ones that are not visible, will never completely heal. It crushes me. And now we turn toward learning how to live. LIVE with these things as an ever present part of our lives.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Year ago...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Year Later...

January 18th 2010
Addis Ababa

This will be our "family day". The day we celebrate our family, those near, far, passed, and alive. The day I will remember the heaviness of January 17th 2010 and the relief and peace of January 18th.

I do not say this lightly. Each family, in our group (and each family around the world, has), had unique and different experiences. As did each child. Each family had unique and different experiences the day before. It is with respect, and personal honor to say that this, January 18th will be traditionally celebrated as our family day.

Setting own pride aside as yes there is food in both sides of my cheeks
I did not really know how he was feeling. This is true today as well. But I sensed it then- and even more so now- that he was relieved. Although he was given special attention by many at the institution he lived in, he was also one of the smallest and likely the weakest of the 2 & 3 year olds. His personality and early illness kept him vulnerable to the more active kids and their running, jousting and excited play. (All of which he now instigates!) He was looking forward to riding on that bus and being out of the fray.

He still holds close to his heart a few of those special friends. Mosey is his one constant. In a world where a 3 year old needs to rectify conflicting worlds, languages, people and family- having a 'constant' - I believe helps him.

The best shot we get these days

Monday, January 17, 2011

One Year Ago...

 Ethiopia. Sunday January 17 2010

Saturday, January 15, 2011

One Year Ago...

The day I met my son. The day we met. Even knowing his personality more now- I'm still not quite sure what was going on. What I do know- is that he was keenly aware- hyper-vigilantly so, to what was going on with who, when and where. Even today- if he sees the shirt I wore that day or take out the bag that I carried- he spots it and remembers. Now- he is happy and giddy to remember. That day- hesitant- on guard. Oddly- so was I. I remember saying more than one time- keep the cameras out of his face.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

One Year Ago...

Somehow- this space time continuum shift allowed us a nights sleep in Nairobi airport. Shower. Breakfast. And it was suddenly 2 days later and quick little 1.5 hour plane ride to Addis Ababa.

We landed. Miraculously- And that is the truth as it never made it to Nairobi- our luggage arrived. (not that we were looking for it cause we weren't!!) (someone put a pick post it on the luggage tag that said "Addis" and it arrived. ??!?!

Caught a taxi ride....And then----

I saw what I've seen posted as pictures on a 100 other blogs. Now- in real life- seeing it before my eyes- it felt familiar. "Feels like I've been here before"

Checking into the Hilton- going into my room with a real BATHROOM. Full clean shower and clean bathroom in which no matter how I tried- my head couldn't hit the door while using toilet!! (commentary on airplane toilets) My head hit the pillows and I was out. Somehow when I awoke- it was a new day (at least it felt like it). My legs shaky and wobbly but over charged with energy to get moving. Must be nerves I thought. It took 4- 5 days to get my legs under me. (In hidsight, it was elevation)

Then I opened the window....

And turned on the TV....

Nothing was familair anymore. Everything was all too real

The first 24 hours- my brother and I went through no less than 10 1.5 liter bottles of water. Tired. Dehydrated.

Taxi'ing to the Nat'l Museum, we meandered are way- walking back. Going this way and that, just because. It was a neat experience. And totally not what I expected. The people. OH the people. I think this is when I may have fallen in love. A little unsure of myself and my surroundings, feeling all jittery and weak, loving each and every one who stopped to talk to us, help us, followed us and sold us BERBERE!  Bought my first kilo.  We walked streets, that I'm quite sure hadn't seen many white ferengi before.  Unfamiliar, stunning, shocking, and lovely all at once.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One Year Ago...

One year ago- January 11 my brother and I boarded a plane. We landed in JFK- stretched our legs and got some food and drink before waiting at the wrong gate for a while.

A day later (in some space time continuum lapse) we were in Nairobi Kenya. Ryan looking for our bags for a few hours. Me looking really haggard from the rough flight and almost getting thrown into immigration detention like this poor lady behind me. I had no idea that was happening until she screamed when I took the picture. A half a world away- the world shook. I was in the only place in the world I could be in the dark and oblivious to the happening.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Time Management...

I'm not great at it. I'm not great at letting go. Letting go of things I'm emotionally invested in. It's what causes me to take on too many work projects. It causes me to hang onto relationships that have lived their life, or season, as it should be.

But I'm trying. I have to.

I'm exhausted. And I need to let go - so that new normal- can have room to grow. Flourish.

In God speak- make some margin. Margin for God to give me more.

So I've been spending time- cleaning up my fB and blogs that I follow. Cleaning up isn't a great word for it. Letting go. Letting go of a few people that I've been invested in for so long. Organizing my fB friends for quicker faster updates in groups.

I ache a little. It hurts letting go. Even if its just these here interwebs. There are people behind these stage names, blog titles, and profiles. People with families that I've watched/ stalked as they grow. People that have held my hand and nurtured me with their smarts, wits and been there done that experience. People with the right quote or verse and exactly the right time.

Granted- most of these people do not have one clue who I am. Some of the ones I stopped 'following' - I can't even remember why I started???  But some- I just needed to make some choices. And I need to continue to whittle it down.


I get tense and feel behind when my g00gle reader says 400+ unread posts and I've got 30 minutes before I should be asleep- knowing that Mr. Little is going to be awake at 6am saying- "good morning momma"  - and this woman needs 8 hours (ok it's been months since 8 but I'm determined to get back there cause my body, mind and son can't take it any more!!). But there are now 400 things on the list and I must check them all off and it feels like cheating to just go- 'check all'.

If you suddenly noticed that I'm no longer 'following' your blog- Im really sorry. And this new, well intentioned, motivated to move forward girl... may in fact end up back 'following you' but I'm going to try and stick this out. I've got to make some changes. Small ones. Big ones. We're moving onward.

Of course- despite my recent blog break from here- I'm still keeping my little journal of life here active. We're not going anywhere--- yet.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Traditions? Oxymoron?.....

As a new family, I'm finding it hard to 'know' what we 'do' for traditions. Holidays. Celebrations. This time of year, we have some new (to me) ones to celebrate. Ghenna. Timkat. And Our Family day are all in January. So in still recovering from the 'other' holidays, we didn't celebrate Ghenna this year. I'm torn by that. Really I am. But I find myself going back and reminding myself-

I'm new at this. We are a new family. Traditions don't create themselves in one shot. We will find our way. We will find our fit. Our traditions.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Warp Speed...

I'm still on a bit of a blog break while I work a few things out and finish some things off. But many thoughtful thoughts are thinking themselves and th th th eh thwriting themselves, so bear with me. 

I needed to say something. I had to go back to the 2nd hand kids shop (50% off sale right now, thankfully) as some of the pre Christmas clothes no longer fit him. Yes. 2 Weeks ago, fit. Now, nope.  His tops are now 5/6's. Yes. 5. FIVE. 6. SIX.

If it weren't for the continuous stream of snot- I'd see him and half expect a beard to sprout any day now.

ETA: Today, I actually had to go to the big kids section to get a fleece in a size 7 with arms long enough to fit. SEVEN. That's a Medium in big kids. Pediatrician's appointment is scheduled so she can tell me I'm crazy and to let him keep growing in peace. But, as funny strange as this is- the more I try to get him clothes to fit- the more worried I get. Literally sick to my stomach worried.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

From our house to yours.....
This is not actually our house- but whatever

Oh- where you looking for my son in that photo?

Did you notice the girl to boy ratio? 

Only one boy and he learned to deal with all these girlios long ago. My son.. this was his first time dealing with all the big girls. So where was he when the photo was being taken?...

He found the secret toy room. The one under the eves with all the stuff 3 year olds aren't supposed to play with ... like marbles that look tasty and open wiring that he may feel the need to 'fix'.... cause he 3 and a boy... and that's just what he does. 

Not to worry! By the end of the evening he was calling them all his "Girls" and 'My big young ladies" and he allowed them to dote on every whim and follow him around like lost puppies. Oh- and he didn't get electrocuted nor did he choke on a marble. I suppose I'll know within a few days if he swallowed any.