Friday, October 26, 2007

Leaving Ethiopia

It's not quite the exact date of the 2 year anniversary of leaving Ethiopia but I thought I'd write about it and some other aspects of the trip now.

I was very lucky to travel with two friends. I was able to focus on my child the entire time. Mel was in charge of photos, Sara was in charge of details and keeping me sane. Never mind that the two of them took off to go shopping with everyone else while I was left alone vomiting and caring for my new infant(someone had to shop!). They ended up sick too. Having travel companions as a single mom was very helpful. I imagined the whole time what it would be like if I was alone. I figured that I could have done it but a lot of the ease of transition would have been lost. I had Sherpas, bottle cleaners, bottle makers, toilet paper finders, jet lag companions and two very good friends who were able to share the most important moment of my life.

If you are single and adopting I highly recommend bringing anyone you trust will help you (and who will be grown up about not always getting to hold the baby). I would go so far as to recommend you budget a companion airfare into your adoption fund as you plan and dream.

The purpose of the post was to blog about the most emotional part of my journey to bring Lucy Eskedar home. Like I said before, I was a little surprised about how unemotional I was about the actual moment I met her and for days after I was operating on adrenaline, exhaustion and nerves. I wasn't nervous about taking care of a baby but about all the stress of taking care of MY baby in the setting where she had lived for four months. Every day we joined the nannies, nurses and other babies for sun baths or just to hang out. Being in an "orphanage' even a nice one was very overwhelming.

When the day came for us to leave I had this weird feeling in me. I couldn't explain it. I took Lucy downstairs earlier in the evening to say goodbye to her nannies and the nurse that had cared for her when she was so extremely sick. The held her and kissed her. They put her roommates on cushions on the floor for a group photo. They said goodbye.

We gathered in the parking lot to load up the van. Everyone was so quiet. I looked at the care center building and saw her nurse looking out the window. Then the curtains shut. I sat in the front seat quietly crying. I was gaining everything from this adoption but I also felt that I was taking everything. I looked at the baby sleeping in my arms and felt this enormous sense of responsibility to make sure I did things right for her and for the loved ones we were leaving behind. I can't really explain what I was feeling. I can best describe it as grief, but not even my own grief, maybe it was despair, maybe it was guilt or some combination of all of these emotions. It was hard and heavy.

Emotion gave way to confusion as we were left at the airport to make it through security and check in. Once checked in and ushered through what seemed like half a dozen security checkpoints (only to have to do it again in Rome) confusion gave way to exhaustion and these emotions were washed away not to return for about a year (but in a different form).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Bed

We are in our 2nd week of Lucy sleeping in her bed. I thought I'd blog about the bed and the room. When I started the process of adopting from Ethiopia the program was young and fast. I just finished my homestudy and decided to start working on the nursery. Thank goodness I did because between home study approval and referral I had maybe 3 weeks. I found prints online that I loved. I decided to work the colors of the nursery around these prints. I actually pinpointed this certain color orange by walking up and down the streets of Phillips neighborhood with my coworker Brenda, holding the print up to cars parked along the street. The nursery was gender neutral because I was open to gender (at the time I applied first-time parents could choose gender).

When I received my referral for a girl baby I was shocked but happy. I found a very soft crib sheet at pottery barn but it was bright pink (the room colors were orange and yellow). I decided then that orange and pink "go together". Well shortly after, everywhere I went I noticed this color combination together.

Since Lucy and I sort of share the closet in her room (my room has no closet, since it's a sunroom). She soon needed her own "space" (she has about 100 times the amount of clothing I do). I found this adorable armoire at Ikea, bright pink and just the most childlike design, had to get it. I couldn't resist the matching youth bed. Her bed is just so cute. It's smaller then a twin but bigger then a toddler bed so she has room to grow. What I really love is that it's childish like the rest of her room. I do love the clean, orderly, wood colored nurserys that some people choose for their chidren. I thought that I would have preferred that look as well. Turns out, I am itching to keep my kid young for as long as possible and she's getting the point every time she turns around in her bedroom. Maybe these colors are why she's havign a hard time sleeping at night, hmmmm. I am rambling ...

So her room evolved. Orange, yellow, pink, blue and now bright green on her dressers. Oh and those original prints, I don't care much for them now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Two Years Ago

I am posting this a night early so if you're reading this Tuesday night just imagine it's Wednesday.

It's been two years since that morning that I first picked up my sleeping baby from the last crib on the left of of care center room A.

It was around 9:00 a.m but I had been awake for hours and hours. I was awoken by jet lag, morning call to prayer and an intense feeling of excitement. I heard babies crying in the rooms below me, she was down there. Right before breakfast I saw her from the dining room window. She was in the parking lot with lots of little babies getting their daily sun bath. I could barely eat.

After what seemed like forever (after all I had waited my whole life for this) we were brought downstairs and told about our week. During this meeting this is what I heard: blah blah blah blah blah blah blah do you want to meet your baby? Since the other two families had older children who were at a care center down the road, I was the first to meet my child. There were so many people around I felt numb to the moment.

We walked into her room. There were eight or ten small cradle/cribs in that sunny room. I followed Tsweii to the last crib on the left. She opened the mosquito net, and moved the blanket off of Eskedar. She was sleeping on her tummy. I picked her up and cradled her in my arms. After a minute her eyes opened and she caught my gaze and they closed back up.

Lucy was teeny tiny and floppy. I was asked to remain on the main floor until they were sure I could care for her. After about 1/2 hour I was released to the guest rooms upstairs. I met the other two children, beautiful 4 and 1 year old girls. I took Lucy to my room and stared at her. She was really talkative for a 5 1/2 month old. I held her and then set her on the bed. I wasn't quite sure what to do now, it was a very strange feeling to NOT have intense feelings at that moment. These intense feelings didn't really come until our van pulled out of the care center parking lot for the last time, every time I think about that moment, the moment of leaving, I cry ... that's another post for another day.

Soon it was time for lunch, Lucy hung out in the baby bjorn while I ate. We went for a walk down the streets of Addis after lunch.

It's so hard to believe that it's only been two years but it's also hard to remember life without her.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dear Lucy

Dear Lucy,

I am so proud of you. Nine(ish) nights ago you were screaming and crying in bed (and momma was crying in the kitchen, monitor clutched to heart). We were starting a new, non rocking, bedtime routine. We were both devastated. I felt so sorry for you. You sounded mad, scared and confused. I couldn't let you cry yourself to sleep. I did a quick change of methods and you responded well. In a little over a week my darling, you have become such a big girl. You fall asleep in your own bed! I read you three books: Brown Bear Brown Bear, Sometimes I like to Curl up in a Ball (or something), and some other book. You know the last lines to the last book "go to sleep little deer little deer, the very last kiss is almost here" mean that momma will be stepping out. You don't fear my big girl! You have only had trouble remembering TWICE, and only needed two reminders. You wake up sometimes in the middle of the night but only need your door opened a little wider and you snuggle right down in your cute pink bed ...

During this time you've also decided that you are big enough to use the potty chair almost all of the time! I love how proud of yourself you are, it's really cute how you clap your hands for yourself after you use the potty! I really think that this last bag of diapers is going to last us a long long time.

During this time you have also decided that you don't have to fight every stinking time we leave the house. Most of the time you just take my hand and walk out the door with me (like a normal person). You will never know how much this means to me and how I had a secret fear that this oddity would never ever go away.

OK now just one little thing, please please don't totally go grown up on me. I do love your little self.

Love your momma

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy, Busy Weekend

I am so depressed that it's Sunday. The weekend was filled with fun and togetherness and it makes it that much harder to leave it behind for the work week ahead. Focusing on the positive:
1. Lucy slept fairly well for being in week one of sleep rehabilitation
2. Lucy decided that potty training and independent sleeping go hand in hand. I mean it, potty training is not real high on my list of priorities but still the girl has had maybe 2 wet diapers/pull-ups in three days. She has done all of her business on the toilet most of the time.
3. Friday afternoon we had a play date with some of Lucy's old buddies from her daycare.
4. Saturday morning we went to EKC (Ethiopian Kids Community) Engage at the beautiful Minnehaha Falls. We saw the SUN! We ran and played in the wonderful fall leaves and the water fall was gushing becasue of all the rain we had all the live long week.
5. Saturday evening we visited with our friend Sheila. I believe a lot of Methodist Hospital was slightly healed by the very lively, spirited presence of Lucita the bonita.
6. Sunday morning, bright and early it was SWIMMING time. Lucy rocked the swimming pool with her daring underwater adventures.
7. Sunday night it was Zoo Boo at Como Zoo. Lucy showed no fear around all of the costumed characters (aside from one of the fabulous 4).
8. She is sleeping soundly in her cozy bed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ode to Makenna, Sara, Diana and Tina

I need to use better lighting when I do videos. Lucy likes to make up words to songs. Yesterday she was honoring friends near and far.

Random Things

See this photo? I came upon this still life and thought it was so cute. Lucy often sets up little scenarios like this and I come upon them later and smile ...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mel is going to KILL me!

OK Mama's to baby boys here is your warning. If you should have me babysit your son at my house over the night night time hour sans pajamas you have to KNOW that I will search Lucy's drawers for the girliest girly jammies I have and I WILL put your son in them, take photos and blog about it. I have to.

Monkey's out the window?

I FINALLY figured it out this morning. I was seriously getting a little freaked out. Lucy seemed obsessed with looking out the window and saying "monkey's hous, monkey's house" and repeating this over and over and over. I started thinking about the possibilities of monkey ghosts and whether monkey ghosts are safe nice casper like ghosts or are they evil biting screaming ghosts. Lucy didn't seem scared so I took her lead but it was still eating at me. This morning she would NOT stop repeating this mantra as she pointed out the window and all of a sudden in a burst of "I am getting a little more sleep and am not feeling quite so stupid" I realized that monkey's = Ahmahndee (our neighbor boy) and that she was pointing at Ahmahndee's house and had to keep repeating because I kept saying "Yes Lucy, monkey house".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

While waiting ...

I remember those crazy days waiting to travel (back then I had to wait a whole 45 minutes for my referral ... but almost 4 months to travel). Not that I enjoyed waiting (in fact I was almost diagnosable) BUT my heart is heavy with LONGING to be in process again and waiting. Let's just say, if you are waiting it's a good problem to have! I had some time to prepare before travelling and here are some of the things I was so glad I did:

1. I stocked up on cases of diet coke (and boy did I need them)
2. I stocked up on laundry detergent (boy did I need that)
3. Toilet paper, dry goods, frozen food ... stocked, stocked, stocked
4. I caught up on case notes (work related)
5. I set up an e-mail announcement group (in case I was able to e-mail from Ethiopia)
6. I organized my basement
7. I washed, folded, organized, folded, gazed at and smelled baby clothes
8. I read the car seat manual
9. I found friends who were in the same part of the process as I was (still friends to this day!)
10. Everytime I went somewhere I thought "maybe the next time I go here I'll have my baby with me"
11. I bought baby books
12. I gathered donations for the care center

If I had a week and the money I had before Lucy came home I would do all of this right now to help prepare me for winter with a 2 year old!

Happy waiting to all of you waiting ... and happy folding, shopping, referral photo gazing and dreaming!

*Photo is Lucy at around 7 months

I've been tagged ...

Jayme tagged me ...

Jobs I’ve held:

1. Social Worker-home visitor
2. D.O.T girl/sales support at chemical company
3. Nanny
4. Shift Supervisor at Crisis Nursery
5. steak house worker girl

Places I’ve lived:

1. Minneapolis, MN
2. Rye, NY
3. Champlin, MN
4. Anoka, MN

Foods I love:

1. chocolate
2. pizza - no veggies
3. anything curry
4. juicy lucy’s at Matt’s bar

Places I’d rather be:

1. that one island in Thailand
2. Venezuela (on that one island)
3. Estes Park
4. by a lake

Movies I like:

1. Sound of Music
2. Harold and Maude
3. anything with Julia Roberts (a girl has to escape sometimes)

TV Shows I watch:

1. The Office
2. House
3. Extreme Home Makeover (for the crying)

Friends I am tagging:

1. Jen
2. Cathy (have you been tagged?)
3. Risa
4. Malia's Mamma

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Fall photos

Night two - progress

Trying NOT to get my hopes up too high here but Lucy slept in her bed all night and at 7:15 is still sleeping. She woke up and needed a little intervention at 4 am, all I did was turn on hall light and open her door. I couldn't fall back to sleep but at some point she did!!!! I can't wait for her to wake up so I can tell her how incredibly proud of her I am. Blogger won't let me post photos uggg.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Growing pains ...

Lucy and I are in sleep training. Finally enough was enough with sleep issues and the way we were doing it wasn't working for me (and if it ain't working for momma it ain't working for no one). I didn't go into the training willy nilly. I had a date set to start (Sunday, because it left us with a week straight of being home at bedtime), I had a plan of action (modified Ferber style), and I talked it up to Lucy for several days. Sunday all hell broke Lucy. I couldn't do it. I tried. I read Lucy her books while she was lying in bed. I told her I loved her and that I would be working in the kitchen. I left, shut the door. My baby cried hysterically. I let her go for 5 painful minutes. I went back to her room. I patted her back and assured her that I was nearby. I left again for 10 excruciating minutes, I had the monitor pressed to my heart ... I stared at the clock. I went back to her room, patted her back and left. I sent messages to Mel. Jen tried to console me. Jen started breaking down. I was breaking down. I called my phone-a-friend (Deb) and begged her to tell me what to do. I didn't know anymore. I opted for reading a book on a chair in the hall. She couldn't see me but I was there. She fell asleep fast. She woke up at midnight and ended up in my room.

Once she fell asleep last night I consulted with the folks on the Ethiopian adoption forum through my agency. I was blown away by the support. Someone sent me a message of support and uttered words that could have been ripped right from my guilt ridden soul, and she shared her phone number in case I needed support. This was the strenght I needed. I know now that we won't be going back to rocking to sleep. Together we'll get through these growing pains and she'll get the sleep she needs and so will I.

Tonight we started with the chair in the hall but I also packed up her crib mattress so there's no joining me in my room tonight. I actually don't know if she's sleeping right now which is weird ... her door is still open and the hall light is still on. I don't know if the sleep training modifications are actually going to help her learn to fall asleep on her own or not but so far tonight has been pretty good, it's not even 9pm and I am already starting my blogging, cleaning etc. There has been none of the crying, screaming from last night. Wish us luck as we learn this new skill together!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Apple Orchard

I'll post some separate photos later for those who can't view the montages. What a perfect day we had ....

Friday, October 5, 2007

We Love Fall

and we haven't even been to the Apple Orchard yet ....

or dressed up for Halloween ...

or hiked ...

so much to do, so little fall

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Glamour Girl

I love Lucy's hair in these photos. Her nails are painted in an effort to encourage her to quite chewing on her fingers (and try to ward off germ catching). It's not really working but she REALLY loves her pretty nails. I had to take a photo next to her favorite air vent, notice how she's guarding the vent from possible air vent thieves...