Today was another great day. We had gone to bed at 9 last night. By 5 am, we were both wide awake. Adam went downstairs to work and I stayed in bed catching up on Facebook. :-) It was a nice, quiet morning. We had waffles in the shape of a heart for breakfast.
We go to the transition home and Allie lights up when she sees us again. However, about 15 minutes into the visit she shows us how she can cry a little. It was simply just a few seconds at a time, but sometimes she produced these huge tears. She was biting on anything she could find. We could tell that her teeth were really bothering her. I was a little worried because she just wasn't her happy self, but when I looked around, all of the kids were so tired. Most of them were fast asleep or just kind of in a daze. I am sure this is all so overwhelming to them. We laid her down on a blanket. She loves to be on her stomach. Within a few minutes, she was in a deep sleep. She was just exhausted. She slept most of our morning visit (along with the other children).
We ate lunch back at the guest house (in the dark because we had no power), and then we went to the market for a quick shopping trip. We bought her a pretty Ethiopian dress that she can wear when she is a few years older. Adam also bought a camel bell. It is a hollow turtle shell with a stick in it. He said we'd hang it on Clementine. Um, I don't think so. At the market we were definitely swarmed by children who were asking to shine our shoes, sell us a map, or were simply asking for a few dollars. We had candy on us and so we were able to pass that out to them.
After lunch, we went back to see Allie. Oh the drive is definitely something you must experience at least once in your life. We did see one intersection with a stoplight – but it was more of a suggestion really. Most intersections have roundabouts with many lanes all coming together at once. At one point today, I thought we were going to drive up on the sidewalk to get by.
Alemitu was so much happier this afternoon. She was showing off how she can squeal/scream with excitement. She also showed us how she can army crawl. We had no clue, but out of the blue she just started scooting herself forward. By the end of the afternoon, she was on all fours rocking back and forth.
We are grateful that Allie has adjusted so well to us, but at the same time, we know we need to pay extra attention to her ability to attach/bond. Having her cry when she leaves a nanny is a really good thing. Alemitu loves everyone. When we bring her back home, we are definitely going to have to work hard during our nesting period to make sure she understands that we are her providers. She definitely favors us over strangers, but she loves to give everyone smiles and she loves to talk to anyone.
Later in the afternoon we were able to watch Allie get a bath. Oh wow. The nannies here are very much like the nurses at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. They know how to do things much more efficiently and quickly than we ever will. The nanny bathed her so quickly, turning her all sorts of ways. That sponge with the bar soap fit in places I never thought it would. Let’s just say that Alemitu is a very clean baby – everywhere. She had no problem with the bath, even when water and soap were running down her face and in her eyes. It was amazing to watch, and the other families had the same “oh wow” reaction as we did when they got to watch their children be bathed.
When we were first given Allie’s referral pictures, a few people said that she looked like me. We thought maybe they were being nice. This afternoon, one of the families said that they can’t get over how much she looks like me. Another woman sitting nearby (who is African American herself) quickly said “Yeah, my husband said the same thing!” Her husband then said that he thinks Allie looks a lot like me and if I put her hair in a faux hawk then she really would. While it doesn’t matter to us if she looks like us or not, it did make me feel so good to hear this
We have also decided to possibly make a name change for Allie. Opinions are welcome. Since we have been here, she is definitely “Alemitu”. That is what we call her, and we are really starting to love that name. To us, she is definitely Alemitu. Today I had my first thoughts of possibly keeping her name. The problem is that we still have the same concerns regarding her having to pronounce it for everyone; correct the teacher on the first day; be discriminated against on resumes when job hunting, etc. Adam thought of a good idea. There are so many people who go by their first and middle name (i.e. Mary Jane) – why can we do “Allie Mitu Fischer”? That way her first name is still “Allie”, but it would make perfect sense for people to call her “Alemitu” as well. You pronounce it by saying “Allie – Me – Too” with emphasis on the “Me”.
Saying goodbye to Allie for even just a few hours has been getting harder. I have no idea what we are going to do on Wednesday night. After we said goodbye tonight, the 4 of us families staying at the Ethiopian Guest House went over to the HOH2 (where the rest of the families are staying) to have dinner. It was a great night getting to talk to everyone. We had the most amazing salad, that I’m going to start making at home. It was simply peeled cucumber, onions, and some orange bell peppers with Italian dressing. Very, very good.
Tomorrow we have court. This is what we know: Court is in the afternoon. Court has been changed to 10:30. Court has been changed to 2 p.m. Court is whenever the judge finishes her paperwork and calls us over there. We were told to be at the transition home at 9, 8, and 8:30. We were told that we can play with the kids and then go back to our guest house for lunch. Then we were told that we need to be there early and wait for the judge’s call. We were told that we will have the birth relative meeting after court. Then we were told that they are driving a long way and may not have time to meet with us. Then we were told that the plan is for them to come to the transition home and we meet with them with our child. All of this information came just yesterday afternoon. Basically, we have no idea what is going on. So I guess when you think of it, say a prayer – we might just be in court at that time.
Tsegay said that we need three things to pass court: (1) consent to judge; (2); birth relative consent to judge; and (3) that important little paper from MOWA. Number 1 is easy. Number 2 is also set – all birth relatives confirmed to their social worker on Sunday evening that they are attending. We just need to get that special little paper from MOWA on time. If that happens, Alemitu will officially be ours and we can post her pictures everywhere!
Okay, that’s all for now. I typed this once before and lost it when we lost internet earlier. I just woke up and I’m sitting in the bathroom re-typing it so I don’t wake up Adam. It is 2 a.m. here. I’m hoping to catch a few more hours of sleep and then get ready for one of the longest days of my life! Adam has some pictures ready for the blog showing Allie's home. When he wakes up in the morning (evening your time), he'll send them over to add to the blog.
Thanks again for all of the e-mails, texts, comments. They mean so much. I really enjoy reading them all!
Praying for a “pass” tomorrow,