Yesterday at rounds, one of the doctors mentioned testing Elvie's urine to make sure that the bacteria is all gone before we go home, and made some comments about wanting to be careful and keep her here if necessary as opposed to sending her home if she's not 100% ready. It sounded okay at the time, but I got more and more irritated about it as the day went on. I thought about how challenging it has been to make life work while we're here, how Elvie doesn't have any semblance of a normal schedule, and how she doesn't even know what home is yet. I thought about how tired I am, and I just wanted to go home. But something kept eating away at me, telling me that what I was feeling wasn't about any of that. It wasn't until I was on the train on the way home to shower that I realized that I was feeling incredibly sad, and then it took another few stops to figure out that I wasn't sad for my own exhausted situation or for Elvie's challenges; I was deeply sad for Zinashi.
Two years ago, Zinashi lost absolutely everything that was dear to her and came to a brand new country. Not only that, but someone she loved was the one to set that all in motion. Even though it was to preserve her life that her family gave her up, they still gave her up, and that had to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for her to understand at three years old, or even now at five years old. It makes sense that she has a deep seated fear of abandonment, and it makes sense to me that there will probably be triggers that make that old wound ache for the rest of her life.
Knowing this, for all of Zinashi's life with us, we have been purposeful about keeping her close. My goal has never been to make it as if what happened didn't happen, but rather to work with her in helping her find a sense of acceptance and peace about what has occurred in her life. Being there for her every day is one way that we give her peace. She knows that we won't leave her because we aren't leaving her. And while she has come far in being able to spend time with others without negative repercussions, she still has limits. I think that, nearly three weeks home from Ethiopia without her usual routine of Mami at home daily, Ababi home on the weekends, she has reached that limit. I simply can't be away from home any longer, for Zinashi's sake.
We have no interest in jeopardizing Elvie's health for Zinashi's sake, but we do believe that we need to assess risk, and my hunch is that risks to Zinashi's emotional health are higher than risks to Elvie's physical health. I have made it clear that we want the doctors to do everything possible to send us home tomorrow, whatever that might mean. My hope is that everything will be clear, and my worries will be for naught. But if that's not the case, we've got a clear vision for what needs to happen, and renewed resolve to make sure that it does.