Today at the orphanage was better- Engida wasn't as upset, although he was still showing signs of such great stress. When the environment got a little too loud or he got scared his breathing would get faster and his eyes would look down. He used sideways glances to steal looks at us, but if he made eye contact with us he would quickly look away. Some of the new electronic toys that the other kids were playing with seemed a little too overstimulating for him. He sat there on the floor surrounded by unfamiliar faces, with strange, loud toys, and his eyes were kind-of glazing over. I sat behind him rubbing his back and he kind-of played with his new car. He also became interested in this great set of magnetic shapes that could be used to build different structures (especially when they brought in his little friend to help break the ice)--
His friend was not shy at all, and was soon building amazing rockets and houses- apparently we have a future civil engineer in the room! Tonio finally had the great idea of taking Engida into the playroom with his best friends and a soccer ball. This was the best idea- to remove him from the stressful environment, minimalize the new noises, and change locations. There were 3 adorable boys playing soccer with us that afternoon and I honestly would have brought them all home if I had been allowed to. This might be the hardest part of being able to visit the orphanage- interacting with kids who do not have families yet. They were smiling, laughing, and their fancy footwork with the mini-soccerball rivaled the best World Cup footballers. A kind, but firm instruction was given to them in Amharic (or Sidaminya) by the nannies, and by their actions I could tell they were told to let Engida play with us, or somehow don't take all of our attention. Immediately they started giving Engida the ball, and he became the star. There was a point when Engida kicked me the ball and it went past me to one of the ltitle boys. Although he was able to kick it back, he instead picked it up and handed it to me, pointing to Engida. I tried to tell him that we could all play together, my words lost in translation. Later the boys picked up Engida to help him be the goalie, and would purposely kick it softer to him so that he could get the ball. Engida didn't mind playing soccer with us, and would throw or kick the ball to Tonio and I in a reserved way, looking down at his feet after kicking it. The three boys, ages 4-6, are all completely aware that parents come to the orphanage and adopt the younger children and babies. Later, Ato Girma told us that when the new parents come, the boys will say "Their family is here to take them home... When is my new family going to come? My family didn't come yet..." When we left, the boys all gave us hugs and kisses and said "I love you" (which I know the nannies taught them to say, but it was still tear-jerking). It breaks my heart that they understand that parents usually come and adopt the younger kids, and that they know they are waiting to be chosen for a family. I desperately want them to find the mom and dad that were meant to take them home.