Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Meeting Engida!!!!

I was so excited/anxious/nervous about meeting Engida (oh, and there was a little jet lag) that I woke up at 3am and could never get back to sleep. I read for an hour, did some exercises, walked around the verandas, watched a little TV, and finally at 7am took a shower and went downstairs for breakfast. The adrenaline was making my muscles tremble and I couldn’t stop fiddling with my fingers- would he run away and scream? I know his behavior is temporary, I know it means he was connected to his nanny, I know this is common for toddler.. but it is still hard, it still hurts your heart as a mom, because your child is suffering from this tremendous fear- really suffering because of you, and yet there is nothing you can do to alleviate it.. attempts to comfort him might be useless. You don't know what to do to that would make him feel better, you look weird, talk weird, smell weird, and really are the cause of the fear.. and even when you are trying your hardest, you may still fail to make the situation easier for him. So the anticipation of the unknown was really getting to me... I was futilely trying to imagine our first day together, at the same time in my mind impossibly going through all of the attachment and adoption literature, while smiling and eating breakfast with the other excited parents. The vans came, and we all piled in. Our van stopped at the hotel to pick up a family that was literally just arriving from the airport. The WACAP transition house is a bit away from the hotel, but soon we were turning off the main road onto a long and bumpy dirt road that led to the gated compound. The orphanage is very similar to Ajuuja, though the kids play on a concrete driveway instead of the small grassy courtyard. We got out, and I asked about Engida- “Oh, he’s at immigration.” I really had to fight back tears. Yesterday we didn't get to see the kids because Ato Teklu thought "we were too tired" and today they decided tot ake him to immigration (surely for a good reason, but still...). I fought back tears and some of the other parents assured me that we would not leave until he came back. For an hour and a half I watched the adorable new families interacting with their even cuter kids. I got to play with some of the kids who were already through court and waiting for the families to come and pick them up- you could tell that some of the older kids knew a little of what was going on, but maybe didn't understand where their mommy/daddy was. Some of the kids would ask the nannies when their mommy would come, and the nannies would explain that "in a little while" they would get to meet their new nannies. At the orphanage on our first trip, it made me really sad to see the kids waiting to be matched with families, and hear their voices asking when it would be their turn. It was obvious that the older kids understood that the babies came and went, but the older the child, the longer it would take. But here, everyone had families waiting for them, and it was only a matter of time before they would be in a family. There was an excitement in the air.
The beautiful kids- oh the beautiful kids!! I checked on Matthew and Emmanuel’s little girl, who was doing well, looked chubbier and was holding up her head quite well. We saw Vonne and Tom’s little girls- and the truth is I think they remembered me and remembered Vonne, and wondered why Vonne wasn’t here! They said something about mommy and looked sad. I gave them lots of love and asked the nannies to tell them that mommy was coming.
Engida finally came! It requires a lot of restraint to not smother him with kisses, but obviously putting myself in his shoes, he was so scared and wanted nothing to do with me at first. He let me pick him up for a second, but then he realized that I wanted to hold him, and he wanted nothing to do with that. I just followed him around the rest of the time we were there, and any time he was remotely interested in anything I had, I crouched down to eye level and took advantage of the opportunity to sneak some eye contact.

In the last picture, do you see Hirut hugging him? Hirut is one of his little girlfriends, and he let me carry him as long as she was standing next to us hugging him:). Below is his nanny, trying to make him smile (which wasn't necessary!!!).
Here is when I first got to carry him:

I sat some of his friends down and started to play cars with them and the nanny asked him to join us. He kind-of rolled the car back and forth with me for a bit, but the other kids were way more interactive with me. He really likes soccer (futbol!!!!) and he would kind-of kick the ball to me a little, but never would look me in the face. I saw him make the int’l sign for potty (grabbing himself!) and tried to pick him up to take him. He started to scream, and so instead I ran and got his nanny Alem. I followed behind them, and watched as he sat on the potty, and then the nanny snapped up his too short size 18 month overalls.

He really liked to play with his friends- here he is with Lemat and Hirut:

He loves eating and drinking. LOVES. He was sharing everyone's water bottle and guzzling it.

We looked in the mirror for a bit and he would try to steal glances at me. You can tell he was just so scared- before the crying there are the red flags of fast breathing, eyes looking down, then lips quivering, eyes welling up, and then the crying. I talked with the social worker, and had her translate from Alem some questions. Engida’s schedule is to sleep from 7am to 7pm, and nap 2-4. For breakfast he eats bread and milk and tea. Lunch is injera, rice, macaroni. Snack is at 4pm and it is some kind of snack food. Then dinner (oops, they never told me about dinner). His best friend here is Abezu, who is being adopted by the another family (who wasn't here with us now).

They had a coffee ceremony and lots of popcorn and roasted barley. The kids didn’t take any at first and we think that maybe the nannies had told them not to. They could give the kids "the look" and immediately the kids knew what they were (not) saying. But once we offered some to them, they ate like crazy. Engida was taking handfuls and shoving them in as fast as he could chew. He also ate the goldfish packet I brought, and a lollypop Jennifer gave us. He would take food from me, and then sometimes he would take water from my water bottle. He ate a lot of cookies and I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him to stop!
Some Amharic:
Shúma metá is a combo of Sidaminya/Amharic and is “Do you want to go potty?”
Gobez lidge- good boy (gobez= good)
K’onjo= smart, beautiful
Aizo= are you ok? or It’s OK.
Ow-adih-ha-lewih- I love you
Eneh-enat-neng= I’m your mommy
Yénah-mendenow= What’s that?
At the end of the day, Ato Teklu’s friend was taking pictures of everyone. I knew it was not going to be a pretty picture (no pun intended) because all of the parents were holding their children, and so far Engida did not want to be held by me. I picked him up for the group shot, and he screamed the whole time. He pushed, hit, pinched, shoved.. he really was scared and did not want me to hold him! For our “individual pictures” I asked the nanny to hold him and stand with me and Teklu, and he was OK with me kind-of putting my arm around him.
Physically and emotionally draining… I kissed and hugged him good-bye, and got in the van with everyone. This was a better day than in Ajuuja… every day will be better. Baby steps, baby steps. I just need to learn how I can make him feel more comfortable, and help him to be less scared.

We went out to lunch at a wonderful little spot with traditional food, and of course I ordered the vegetarian/fasting menu- yum! Then we went to the National Museum (our 2nd time) and had a mediocre guide. I did learn that the instrument we bought last time was called a kirar.


Zoe said...

He is awfully cute, Becky. Hope he is warming up to you more and more each day! It breaks your heart to think of what it must be like from their point of view to go through all this.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing them. Love how you write too! Love, Mom

Viv and Pete said...

We are so thrilled for your family! I loved all the pictures....he is adorable!