|Bethie at 9 months old, soon after coming into Gladney care. I love this picture so much.|
Lots of y'all have emailed me or left facebook comments asking questions about Bethie, and I got a whopping six straight hours of sleep last night, so let's take a stab at answering.
I'm gonna pretend I'm a movie star and y'all are interviewing me, is that okay? In my jammies eating Texas Trash. But whatevs.
Some of the questions I already answered here.
Q: I thought you were gonna bring her home last week?!?!?
A: non non mes amis. We just went for court. Now they have to submit us to the US Embassy where they will redo her birth certificate and make her a passport and all that stuff. This usually takes 6-8 weeks so we hope to travel again in January. And bring her home. On a 23 hour plane ride. Hold me.
Q: How'd y'all come up with her name?
A: Bethlehem is a fairly common Ethiopian name that we settled on lo, many moons ago when we started this adoption. We love it and it fits the subtlety religious, different-but-not-weird theme we got going with our kids' names: Shepherd, Evangeline, Magdalene, Ingram, Bethlehem. In Ethiopia the way they say it is absolutely gorgeous, kinda like Bey-tla-hem. Oh, it's so pretty. The Ethiopian nickname is Bete, sounds kind of like Bay-tee. But here in Texas we gon call 'er Bethie. But Maggie calls her Bethly :)
Bayesh was the name given to her at birth. I assume it was given to her by the nurses in the hospital, not her family. The nannies at the care center pronounced it By-YUSH. We will call her that at first, and gradually transfer to Bethie. I thought of telling the nannies that, but felt weird.
Q: How are you kids spread across bedrooms? Is Bethie going to bunk-up with Maggie?
A: At first, she will sleep in our room, either in our bed or in a pack-n-play, and we shall join a club known to many adoptive parents as the Sex In The Closet Club. Sorry, but I was just thinking about that tonight. Several of my friends kept their child in with them for about six weeks of non-sleeping (kids from orphanages notoriously snore like truck drivers), then moved them to a sibling's room, and all was happy and bright again. These kids are used to bunking up with other kids. So, if all goes as planned, she will be sleeping with Maggie and Eva Rose soon, probably in the double bed with Eva Rose. But we'll play that by ear. We do have a bedroom we are using as a playroom now that a child could move into if necessary.
Q: What do you have planned for when you bring her home? Will you gradually integrate her into your routines (church, going the store etc) or will you keep her at home and adjust slowly?
A: We will probably hunker down at least in the beginning. Bethie is very shy and introverted and is going to be confused and overwhelmed. However, I have heard from other parents that the children are used to being around other children, and sometimes get stir crazy at home with just mom. But, venturing out can quickly lead to sensory overload for a child who has never left the walls of the care center.
Focusing on attachment is our primary goal, so we won't be around other people too much at first.
Short answer: I don't know! We'll pray and play it by ear.
And, no airport party, sadly. It would totally freak her out, that much we could tell.
Q: Is her diet currently very different from what she'll eat here? Will you need to ease her into a Western diet?
A: Diet is a great concern. We've already been told that she's not a great eater. My friend Julie's little girl would only eat a couple of foods when she came home (oatmeal was one, and sausage) and I've read that's normal. They are experiencing such sensory overload that they tend to limit their foods, and that's okay. I have some shiro - shiro is made with chickpea powder and tomato sauce and is standard Ethiopian kid food. It's yummy. I'll just gradually add foods. Ethiopian kids tend to like spicy foods, so she'll make a great Texan.
Honestly, I have four great eaters, like, ask for more brussels sprouts great. I worry that I'm gonna pay for it now :(
*** One thing for sure, she will NOT be exposed to artificial dyes and preservatives. After coming from a virtually organic, all natural environment, to launch an American chemical assault on her little system could be catastrophic. I wonder how many behavior problems that some adopted children have could be helped if not solved by diet change? ***
Q: What's her birthday?
A: October 15, 2010
Q: I've been wondering about the language. At only two she probably doesn't have a large vocabulary but I'm sure she responds to some Amharic words. Do you just start over in English or are you planning on incorporating words she already knows?
A: Oh my word, Amharic is about as different from English as a language could be. I could not get "thank you" down the whole week I was there. Amesege'nallo. A-me-se-ge-nal-lo. Oh my skull. Our driver Solomon was showing us an app for Amharic - Amharic has 184 letters and they all have several sounds. This is my name in Amharic:
Um hm. Pickin that right up.
We will learn some basic terms ("Nay" means come, see, I know that one!) Most kids pick up English at a crazy speed. Hope she's one of them.
Q: What will you have to do differently in parenting her than you did with your other children? (Sleep training, behavioral discipline, sticking to a schedule (or not), leaving her with babysitters, etc.) How might you explain those differences to your other children if they notice she is being treated differently?
A: I think I will do just about everything differently, to tell the truth. Partly because some of my parenting philosophies have changed over time, and my situation is radically different than it was the last time I had a two year old.
The main, main, main, main, main emphasis with Bethie will be attachment. I will be breathing, eating, and sleeping ways to attach to her. If that means co-sleeping, then we'll co-sleep. If it means not leaving her with sitters, then we won't leave her with sitters.
It will definitely mean a very different way of discipline. The mantra with adopted kids is "Connect then correct" which is actually an excellent philosophy that works great with my bio kids, but I can be a little lazy with them - I can't be with her. And we spanked our bio kids - there is no way that this little girl will ever be spanked.
I do love me a good schedule but I have four other kids with lives. Sticking to a schedule is hard when you have lots of kids, I had learned that by the time Maggie came along. Bethie does still nap, so I will have to squeeze it in before kids get out of school. And she currently goes to bed at 7pm, which is great.
My desires and needs will fly out the window in favor of attachment. If I didn't learn to fully die to self by having four kids in four years, I reckon I will be learning it now.
I don't think that the other kids will have a problem with it. They are considerably older than she is, and so they won't recall how they were disciplined at two. They also are old enough to understand that bringing a two year old into a strange environment is vastly different than how they came into our family.
Any more questions?