Sunday, June 24, 2012

Notes From Ethiopia


Greetings from the land of the perfect macchiato.  We are here, and we are happy, and we are a little bit tired.  What has been happening is so big that I don't have words to say it right.  I keep typing it over and over again, and it doesn't come out the way I want it to.  Jet lag is getting the best of me, I think.  So I will just tell you in snippets.

Elvie is pure loveliness, but too pale and small.  She reminds me of a baby bird, all big eyes and skinny limbs.  At four and a half months old, newborn shirts are still big on her.  The official plan is to wait two weeks after we get home to take her out of the house and start medical appointments, but now I don't know.  Failure to thrive isn't something we want to mess around with.

Elvie's family was waiting to meet us yesterday when we arrived, and we love them.  People try to boil down the adoption and family preservation issue to make it more manageable (and sometimes to point fingers), but what I can say after meeting Elvie's family is that sometimes it 's just a lot more complicated than we want it to be.  Care for Elvie simply does not exist here in Ethiopia, and her family knows it.  All of us who live in the developed world should take a moment right now and recognize how good we have it.  No matter what the issues our children may face, there are resources available to us.  In so much of the world, this is just not the case.

We will go to court tomorrow to say yes to being Elvie's family in front of a judge.  We've done it before, so we are not nervous.  I'm just anxious to have the adoption decree in our hands so that we can take custody of our fragile baby bird and start trying to put weight on her.  Of course we want to love on her and be with her, but if you'd seen her skinny little arms, you would be thinking first and foremost of the weight issue, too.  We want to see her well and happy.  We have a lot of work to do.

Photos will come once we are legally her family.  I know you are all anxious to see her.  Give us a few days.  We will not disappoint you.

16 comments:

  1. So happy to hear that you are all together, although sorry to hear that Elvie is smaller than you were hoping. I'm sure she's going to thrive beautifully with your wonderful family! I'm writing from Tanzania, just a few minutes from leaving my baby girl at the orphanage - so hard not to take her with me everywhere, but trying to minimize the trauma for her when I have to go back in September... rough!

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  2. So glad to know that you are there safely. Even more happy to know that Elvie is now on her way to the care she so obviously needs, and that her family will rest easier, even though they are making the most difficult decision for her possible.

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  3. I am glad you all arrived safely. I hope everything goes well tomorrow and that then as you say, all that we can access here in the developed world, can help to make her strong and healthy....

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  4. Oh - the little word I had to type to get to publish that last comment was "TryGive" - it seems to fit so amazingly with what you are doing....giving and trying to make Elvie's live so much better than it would be without medical care and to try to give Elvie's parents hope for their daughter's future!

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  5. Just hearing about skinny little Elvie makes me want to make something yummy, with lots of butter, and feed it to her. I'm having a Paula Deen moment, what can I say? So happy that y'all are there and that Elvie will be officially yours very soon.

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  6. You picked the perfect name for your little baby bird! So exciting that you're all together now, I know she will plump up quickly with your nurturing plus American medical care (you are so right, we completely don't appreciate how lucky we are). Congratulations!

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  7. Oh my gosh, I'm so happy you're there. And I just now connected some dots . . . we brought Elvie her formula went we went for court earlier this month.

    Blessings to you all.

    p.s. I totally agree about the macchiatos. And they're so perfectly inexpensive as well. :)

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    1. p.p.s. I came to your blog via Claudia's. So glad to have stumbled upon it.

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  8. Sending you all lots of strength for the journey ahead. Thinking about and sending prayers for Elvie.

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  9. I know that Elvie is obviously much smaller than my baby girl (Cora), but I wanted to let you know that you shouldn't worry about her size versus newborn clothing. Some of it runs INSANELY big for a newborn; honestly, infant clothing sizing is all over the place.

    A general rule of thumb:

    Gerber<Babies R Us<Carter's<Gymboree in terms of how the sizing runs. My daughter is 11 months now, and still very small for her age--her doctor says she's just petite (obviously, it's not the same as "failure to thrive"). She was in newborn clothes for almost eight weeks, and that's with getting lots and lots of breast milk. She was in 0-3 for another ten weeks. 3-6 until she was about 7 months old, and 6-12 is still big on her right now, esp. in the waist.

    So don't worry about Elvie--she'll catch up with all the love and food you're going to give her! =)

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  10. Thinking of your littlest one and her new family - may she thrive. You are right, we are so lucky, thanks for the reminder.

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  11. Sending prayers your way. Elvie is in good hands with you all and will start putting on weight in no time, I'm sure. I am so happy for you and your family...I bet Zinashi is thrilled.

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  12. Failure to thrive is scary, but for what it is worth, my son was about 8 lbs at 4.5 mos with FTT and at 3.5 years, people assume he is in kindergarten. (And he did have other medical issues going on.) I think in his case, he healed physically so much faster than he has emotionally. Praying you can get her settled home with you soon and start the medical care to get her thriving. (I brought Yosi to the adoption med clinic less than 48 hours after arriving in the USA, and don't regret it.) Hang in there!

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  13. So happy that you are with her and praying that everything goes smoothly at court!

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