Monday, August 27, 2007

Unexpected Gifts



You know, this whole parenting thing is so strange sometimes. I never know what is going to really touch my heart or make an impact. For example, yesterday we went to Michigan Adventure with my mom and Julie (more on that later) and Grace did pretty well, although had her crabby moments throughout the day. Later last night, I think she was feeling a little bad about her on-and-off bad attitude and she was trying to "make it up" to me. She did this by just sticking by my side (which was a little rough since I was tired and could've used a few minutes alone, but oh well). She didn't want to go anywhere without me because "I love you so much and you are the best mom ever." yep, brightens the day. Just like when Ally buries her face in my shoulder and doesn't want to be taken from me...

Now, 10 years ago, I could have probably predicted that those things would mean a lot. However, before starting the adoption process I couldn't have told you how important the tiniest scrap of information on my son would be. Each small tidbit of information, each photo a treasure.

Well, on Saturday I was lucky enough to spend over a half an hour on the phone with a woman who just returned from Ethiopia! She was there visiting her daughter (same orphanage as Abenezer) and was able to not only take some photos and video for us, but also spend a little time with Abenezer! Just being able to talk to her about it was such a treat. Little things like this really make him more real to me.

She said that he is very sweet. =) He is one of the kids you are just drawn to. He is very healthy and happy. When you come in, many of the kids just charge you, all vying for some small bit of attention. Other children hang back and don't wish to have any contact. Abi seems to fall in the middle. He loves attention, but if he gets pushed out of the way, he lets another child have a turn and goes to play with a ball or something.

The woman who met him, Charlotte, also gave us a guess on his age. She and her husband, John, have a 3.5 year old daughter and a 1.5 year old son. They adopted their son from Ethiopia last year. Based on her observation and comparison to her own children in size and development, she guessed Abi was about 2.5. Our best guess has been that he is about 3, with some of his records even suggesting he is four, but that doesn't seem too accurate.

It appears that he isn't talking too much yet, even in Amharic. This may be because he is only 2.5 and just not an early talker, or may be due to some delays. Given what he's been through, that wouldn't be unusual. I want to work on my sign language with Ally (we haven't really been keeping up with it lately unfortunately...) because I'm thinking that might be a good ice breaker in the first few days and until he gets a better handle on his English language skills. I still hope to learn a little bit of Amharic too.

Charlotte also shared with us how popular our little guy is! Apparently one of the orphanage volunteers has taken a shining to him and wanted to adopt him herself! Fortunately Charlotte set her straight and told her he already has a family waiting for him. =)

Sometimes when I hear stories of people visiting the orphanage and getting to see my little guy I get jealous. I want to be there! But this time I just felt good - I was so appreciative that Charlotte was there. And that she was willing to take a little bit of her limited time in Addis to pull him on her lap and give him a squeeze from us.

She also was honest about the orphanage - it is definitely a third world country. But she said that the kids are happy, well cared for, and definitely loved. That helps. Still can't wait to get him home as soon as possible!!!

But it all makes the wait just a tiny bit easier...

Thanks Charlotte - for everything.

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