Travel Journal – May 3, 2010 (2 of 2)

3 05 2011

Monday 9:15 pm

Apparently I am ill – as of 5 minutes ago.  I hope this is temporary and short lived.  Not sure if I should start with the Cipro immediately or wait a few hours and see if I really need it.  (NOTE:  Completely temporary – yay for me!)

This afternoon we got to hang out at the Care Center again.  Sister Martha was there for the first time.  I asked her how many kids were there currently and she said 64!!  All of those kids except three that are medical cases are already matched.

I doubt my friend from the baby room is matched.  I got him out of bed again today and took him to the window to look out.  He wanted to go out on the porch but I couldn’t squeeze between the cribs to get us both outside.  When I put him back in his bed, he cried.  Soon a nanny got him out to feed him.  I told Jamie I didn’t think I was getting attached to him, but right now I have a panicky feeling that I am.  Damn.   (NOTE:  This boy’s picture appeared as a waiting child in our Agency’s magazine months after we came home.  I try not to think about him.)

What laundry for 64 babies and young children looks like.

Little Dude was crawling all around the parlor room today.  A couple times he went over to the window and looked out.  He also was huffing on the window.  He engaged with the other kids and some other parents as well.  Twice he tried to crawl up the stairs.  When all the other babies/kids are winding down and ready to eat or sleep be is getting reved up and ready to party.

I had a long talk with Sr. Martha about his age.  She showed me where the mistake is on his original paperwork.  So they have been treating him like he is 5 months younger than he is the whole time he has been here.  She says it isn’t unusual for them to believe an age is wrong, but that the Adoption agency says they should not change it.  (NOTE:  I understand this policy and know how if you do not have a clear rule about this everybody will change ages based on their own opinions.  The Agency gave us his CORRECT age from the beginning.  This was NOT an attempt to trick anyone, this was a clerical error.) 

When we took LD upstairs for dinner, I ended up feeding him.  He was given baby cereal.  I shouldn’t freak out because he is obviously doing okay and I will have him home in three days.  In fact, as of 8:30 am tomorrow he will be fully in my care.

I have been enjoying my childless time.  Today I missed PJ for the first time.  I saw a really little kid running and tried to compare his age to PJ’s,  Then I thought about how she always announces that she is running when she runs and that made me miss her.

Me in the streets of Durame

This morning in Durame I hung out with the kids in the street.  They love to have you take their pictures and of course they ask you for money.  One kid was very cheeky.  At the very end I gave him 10 birr.  That is still a pathetic $1.  His younger brother had a bunch of flies on his face constantly.  He was probably about 8 and able to swat them away but didn’t, very odd. (NOTE:  When I read this it makes it sound like I made him beg for the money.  I really didn’t.  I swear.  But these interactions are a bit strange.  It is hard to tell if the kids really want to be interacting with you, or if they are just doing it to get money/food.  In which case, I would rather just give them the food/money – they do not need to perform.) 


We stopped at an Adoption Agency supported medical center, Shinshicho.  Agency pays the salary of an M.D. who works there.  Apparently most medical centers have no doctor on staff.

They showed us the deliver room – there was a box of HIV tests laying out on the desk.  They showed us some of the other physical improvements Agency has paid for at the center.

They told us they see 200-300 patients a day.  Most cases are malaria or T.B.

I started to tell M how I was thinking of asking for donations in lieu of gifts on our adoption announcements and I started crying.  I ended up being weepy all day.  Eventually I figured out part of the problem was PMS – still, I am tired, nervous about what comes next, doubting myself because I have been so flaky lately.

I think I get emotional about the adoption announcement because 1)  I know I should ask for donations but I would also like gifts. 2)  I feel worried about what people will think about our adoption decision … All of that makes me feel like a bad person and a bad mother.

I have also been feeling guilty when all the families are together and I lose track of or stop paying attention to LD.  Of course the other families have two parents sharing the load.  When we finally took LD upstairs, I decided to stay and help feed him – mostly because my other friend was in the bed crying and I wanted the nanny to take care of him.

Little Dude got bored of eating the rice cereal pretty quick.  He kept stealing the spoon from me and playing with it.  Eventually the nannies started talking about us.  They were saying his name and whispering as if I could understand Amharic.  Eventually one of them took LD away from me so they could feed him “properly.”  It was pretty funny.

There is another small baby named Little Dude in the same room.  He seems to stay in his bed most of the time.  Tonight I also saw the room with the youngest babies.  There are some pretty small ones here.

A young boy named Thomas Brown decided to join our party tonight.  I like that the nannies are indulgent.  I did NOT like that there is a big flat screen TV on in the room that Little Dude stays in. (NOTE:  Thomas Brown was adopted by a great blogger.  I was hoping to share her blog on here but apparently she has been offline so hasn’t been able to give me her permission.  Thomas is one of those human’s whose internal light shines so bright he immediately makes an impression.  Meeting Thomas made me feel more confident about adopting Little Dude.)

We finally left there at about 6:30 pm.

Jamie and I walked up to the supermarket for the 1st time.  Walking is intense because it is dark, the sidewalks are falling apart and there is enough human traffic that you have to constantly navigate.

The supermarket was interesting the way groceries in foreign countries always are.

They have “security”/customer service people in almost every aisle.  When I was carrying formula and rice cereal one attendant brought me a basket.

When we went to check out Jamie was in line in front of me.  We both had our stuff on the fairly short checkout stand.  A young woman came and got in line in front of me.  Neither Jamie or I said anything.  The teller didn’t say anything either, but when she finished with Jamie’s, she rang me up next.  Then when I was finishing paying the woman was like” hey, I forgot something” left her stuff on the counter and walked away.  The whole thing was odd.

When we got back from the store we sat down with the group for a beer and some dinner.  We didn’t sit near our normal crowd, although that was also nice. Eventually it was just Jamie, D, another M and I.  We ended up laughing pretty hard about a few random things.  Also, I talked C into giving me her shirt.

“Enjoy the present condition and do enjoyable.”

I will buy a bottle of wine for R to take to here – but I also will eventually send her a shirt/sweatshirt from home.

I said today I would like to go home for 24 hours then come back.  I just need a short break.  The ride home from Durame was intense.

Our drivers go fast and don’t have tons of patience for all the livestock in the streets.  We never hit anything but we came close.

Eventually I was trying to touch animals out my window and our driver was trying to help me reach.

I asked if we could stop and take pics of the tukuls, Tesfaye said that they used to do that and the homeowners got mad.

I saw lots of women at wells today and also washing clothes in muddy rivers.

In one river there were three naked boys splashing around while (I assume) their mothers washed clothes.

I get sad when I see what appears to be children caring for children.  Tesfaye told me the way Adoption Agency prioritizes families for their family preservation programs is based on child-led families, single moms, both parents with no resources.  They currently have 240 families in 18-month programs.

I have also learned lots about the Uganda program from C and D.  Since adoption is nearly impossible preservation and returning kids to birth families is even more important.  The lack of the word adoption makes things extra confusing, there.  If a family is truly hoping for support through foster care versus life time placement it is crucial to establish that early.  So far only two children have been placed and six others have been matched.

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4 responses

3 05 2011
Tesi

Oh, I’m crying. Duh. Thomas Brown, also known as Tomas Birhanu (though when we met him it did indeed sound like he was calling himself Thomas Brown).

His light really is that bright. Still is. So happy he’s our son, so happy he made you feel confident in mothering LD.

And of course you can link me, but don’t worry yourself too much about that. I just got my internet back up and running, it makes me feel alive again-how sad is that?

Thank you for all of these posts, thank you for mentioning Tomas. Love it.

3 05 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

I think our whole group called him Thomas Brown. He hung out with us many days. I love when you post about him. I have a crush on him, in a non-creepy way. Welcome back to real-life on-line.

3 05 2011
leigh

Amazing posts SF.

4 05 2011
Shonda

I’ve been out of town and am just now catching up on all your blog posts (have you missed me?). I am LOVING reading your thoughts from the trip. I love all the memories it is bringing back as I read.

I think our whole group was in love with “Thomas Brown.” He is one special little boy and I certainly have had a crush on him. Glad you blogged about him, and love reading Tesi’s blog and hearing all about him and Binyam.

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