Friday, May 4, 2012

Trip 2 - Thought I'd share a little

Below is an e-mail I sent to some family and close friends while we were still in Ethiopia.  This was the second day of our trip and I thought I would share a little bit of our experience.  It's funny to look back at what I wrote and compare to  what was really happening.  I seem to minimize his "preferences" and I'm not sure if it was to protect me or everbody else.  Regardless here's my take while we were there . . .

Mommy and Obsa
So Jillian didn't realize I was taking their picture - day 2 has been a little tough. Obsa just wants to be held by Jillian -definitely not me - and he is very sad. While things are going well, the emotion in our little corner of Ethiopia is palpable. Obsa seems sad, scared, confused, uncertain, distant, tired and more.  It's so hard to see such a little guy struggling to understand such a big change in his life. Jillian and I came here thinking that we would be picking him up on Monday - as it turns out we got a phone call two hours after we arrived Saturday at our guest house notifying us that our ride was waiting for us. We had just spent 24 hours traveling here and couldn't wait to just lay down, rest and prepare both mentally and physically for what was to come. But it was "game time;" so we gathered our stuff and hopped in the van to go get our new son! 

We ended up going to the orphanage with two other families.  When we arrived, we were greeted by the children holding small bouquets of flowers looking very excited and confused.  As we exited the van it was a bit chaotic as each of the kids scurried to figure out who their new mommy was.

One little boy came up to me with a hesitant pause and hugged my leg wondering if I was his new daddy.  After I showed him who his new parents were, he went running over and again stopped just short with hesitation - this time his dad picked him up and told him that he was so excited to be back to see him again.  He and his wife were there to pick up two little boys (3 & 4 year old cousins) and as he continued to tell the little boy named "J" that they were there to take him home he was interrupted with a giant hug. I'm telling you about their experience because it was a way better story than ours!  Obsa cried and did his best to wiggle away with hopes that this was just a bad dream!  Some of the older kids from the orphanage were comforting him and trying to tell him that it would be okay - Obsa was just sure they were wrong but would take a hug from anyone he knew, including the security guard!  After a couple of hours at the orphanage we all piled into the van again and returned to our guest homes for the night.

We ordered some traditional Ethiopian food for dinner and all fell asleep watching a movie on the iPad (oh yeah, we were without power since we arrived). 

This morning we awoke to the rooster crows after a smooth night and the power was back on.  Obsa slept all night and even ate some breakfast. He's very cautious about taking any food from us, even though he insists on taking something to eat and holding on to it like a Linus blanket - yesterday it was a cracker, today a piece of toast. He refuses most things to drink but was willing to allow Jillian to spoon feed some corn flakes and mango.  For the most part he's just been very quiet and demands Jillian hold him close (preferably standing and rocking). The good news is that this is exactly what we expected and were prepared for . . . the hard part is that it is tough. Jillian is a wonderful mom and Obsa is requiring every bit of effort she has. But already, we can see subtle changes in his demeanor.  He would really prefer if I wouldn't look at him but Jillian is quickly becoming his source of comfort. As I'm writing this she just got him to giggle a little bit - just a little, but it's a start.

An hour after my last e-mail, here's what I wrote . . .

While I was writing my last e-mail Jillian decided to go outside to get a change of scenery. Right after I hit send the power went out again and I went out to catch up with Jillian and Obsa and i couldn't find them. Then it started to rain really hard and they were still nowhere to be seen. A few minutes later they came running up to the guest house in the rain. They were at a birthday party for a 3 year old behind our guest house! We went back and had an awesome time! Obsa was a completely different child there - smiling laughing, having fun! We ate a bunch of stuff we shouldn't have (including sheep's liver) and have returned and are awaiting the aftermath!

But at least Obsa had fun! It was a much needed light of encouragement!

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