June 2011


This is from a British reality TV show called Tribal Wives, in which Western women live with remote tribes for a month and learn about the culture and daily life of the tribe. This particular episode is about the Afar people of Ethiopia, a pastoral tribe located in Eastern Ethiopia near Djibouti. I thought it might be of interest, since my agency has started to work in this region and some of us may become parents of Afar children.

The segment about childbirth and female circumcision is difficult to watch. It runs from about 37:25 to 42:10 if you want to skip that bit.

 

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The thing that struck me most the first time I met T was how still she was – stoic, really – sitting in her crib, watching the farenji who had just wandered into Room 2. She just looked at me with those eyes of hers – as big as dinner plates, no lie – and a Mona Lisa smile on her face; letting me stroke her little cheek and pat her little head, just watching me. She let me pick her up without a fight – but without any enthusiasm, either. Her entire demeanor screamed “I’m not sure what’s going on right now but I’ll just roll with it.” The nanny explained to her, “T, this is your mommy” – I swear, the kid didn’t even bat an eyelash.

 

That’s when I realized that she was going to make me work for it. The other kids might have been climbing all over each other to get my attention, but not T. T was too busy playing Queen bee – making sure that all the children had fun toys to play with, comforting the crying toddlers, and pretending not to notice the Mommy in the room. If it weren’t for the fact that I was watching her like a hawk, I might have missed her glancing over at me whenever she thought I wasn’t looking. I might not have caught her giggling whenever the nanny reminded her just whose Mommy I was. Eventually she came close enough for me to snatch her up and engage her in a tickle fight/kissing game, which she loved. Happily, this broke the ice, and set the stage for her becoming more comfortable with me over the next couple of days. It was slow going, though.

 

The next major breakthrough was on day 3 of my 6 day stay. But before I talk about that, let’s talk about Room 2. Meg called it the party room in her recent blog about her trip to HH. That, my friends, is an understatement. These toddlers are cray cray in the best way. If Room 2 was a song, it would be Rebecca Black’s Friday as performed by the cast of Glee.

 

Or Pink’s Raise Your Glass, also as performed by the cast of Glee.*

 

 

 

Unfortunately I can’t go into too much detail in order to protect the kids’ privacy, but suffice it to say, there were shenanigans. There were also bubbles.

What? You want to know more? Let me put it this way: if you happen to spend any time Room 2, you will be utilized as a human jungle gym; you will be enlisted into the hilarious game of swatting imaginary flies, much to the amusement of your 2 year old audience; and you will find yourself falling in love with every single one of those kids and their crazy antics.

If you’re adopting a toddler who is at HH right now and you happen to read this blog, send me an email at bole2concord @ gmail dot com. Chances are I have some great stories to tell you about your kid. Honestly, these kids are amazing. Smart, funny, happy, healthy…and I’m pretty sure they’re plotting to take over the world. Just saying.

 *Don’t judge me, m’kay? That’s my show.

Next time: Day 3 and the Vapomonster

I was just informed that my job will now require regular travel. Couldn’t they have mentioned this before I became a single mom?

I’m home – actually, I’ve been back for a few days now. I’ve been meaning to post, but between jet lag and the nasty cold I managed to pick up from my daughter, I’ve been pretty wiped out.

I’ll write more in depth soon, but here are the highlights:

  1. My daughter is amazing. Smart, happy, and thriving. I think we’re going to get along just fine.
  2. I passed court! The MOWA letter was in place, no other issues. The whole thing took less than 5 minutes.
  3. The staff in ET told me that they believe my wait for an embassy appointment will be very short. They somehow managed to complete my paperwork and submit it to the embassy before I even left the country – a record, according to them.

A long, rambling TMI post will follow soon, I promise! In the meantime, listen to this:

 


 

Big thanks to Barbaloot for turning me on to this group!