Tuesday, December 4, 2012

You got questions? I got answers


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? ***

Dismount soapbox.

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:

 ሉኡ ሮኦኣኧ

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?






 

44 comments:

  1. That is the second beautiful baby girl's face I've seen tonight. (My friend just posted a blog with first pics of her daughter in China that they will get to meet soon.) Great update. I will definitely be praying for your family. :)

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  2. you rock! - thanks for filling us all in. Bless the next 8 weeks (and beyond) for you! And may Bethie hold on til you get back!!

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  3. I made a mistake when Alex (at 2.5 years old) first came home from Ukraine. The very next day my sisters, nephews and my Mom came over and we took the kids to the park. He ONLY wanted attention from my sister and when everyone left, he had a screaming fit for about an hour!! For some reason, I thought we were exempt from rules of attachment!! Silly me. After being home just over 2 years now, I can thankfully say that even though a lot of mistakes were made during the beginning of the all too important attachment/bonding period, Alex shows more affection; checks in with me more often; seeks my approval and even listens and obeys better than my bio son of the same age!! I guess, I didn't mess up too bad. Yes, definitely play it by ear and follow your gut. She will give you cues and even with well intentioned attachment exercises, sometimes they want nothing to do with it! I tried to rock Alex, countless times and he just wouldn't have anything to do with it! But, from the beginning, he always wanted hugs and kisses! I made sure I never turned one single hug or kiss! :)

    It is so exciting for your family right now! I will pray the transition is smooth and the tantrums are few and far between! :)

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    1. Oh no! Well, you always get a do-over.

      I bet there are so many more resources available now too. I have more books on my to-read list than I can keep up with.

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    2. we have an entire collection of adoption books... only read three! Oops. My problem is that I'm too nice sometimes and I couldn't say no to my Mommy. Long term... no harm done.

      Btw- she is gorgeous!

      What airline are you flying home on? Depending on the airline, each seat has its own tv which include kid shows. Also, the bigger the plane, the better- hubby walked Alex all around and let him explore. We passed the time with snacks, books, magnadoodles, organic suckers, movies, hubby's phone and toy cars. Ask her nannies what her favorite toy is and have it on the plane. OR just keep her up as long as possible the 24 hours prior to your flight and let her exhaust herself so she will sleep on the plane. :)

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  4. Thank you for posting! I've been refreshing my feed all night waiting to see what you'd have to tell us today. Feeling a bit silly for thinking that she was home with you... Still sending prayers right on along anyway! :-)

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    1. Lots of people thought that - obviously I wasn't a good communicator!

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  5. Love it! Can't help but smile. Our son is one month older than Bethie, home from Thailand this summer. I love that you have a plan and also plan to be flexible. I'm so excited for you to see all of your kiddos together under one roof. It's gotta be the hugest blessing of all. She's gorgeous and it's about stinkin' time she's HOME! PS: We have a small closet, so were a part of the Sex on the Couch club. We don't announce that to many guests. It tends to freak them out. We got him into a room with his sis at about 3 months. :) I'm so excited for the next few insane months to unfold for you! --Jen T. PS: We learned about 10 signs and it was a HUGE lifesaver during those first few weeks for us to communicate with our little man.

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    1. Yeah but the couch - your other kids could walk in!!

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    2. Silly me - we have a separate building attached to our garage that Walker uses as an office. We shall join the I Gave At The Office Club.

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  6. So excited for you! It will be an incredible journey. It seems that many orphanage kids are notoriously bad sleepers at first (just a warning). Our daughter seemed to mourn all the change and loss in her life at night... from 12:30 - 4:30. Good times! She is still in our room after being home for 4 months because I don't want her to disrupt my other daughter's sleep. Thankfully at about 3 months she started sleeping better... not great, but better. Also - just a note about sharing a bed with her sister... it's likely that she will have parasites, so you will want to get those cleared up before sharing beds or baths or anything like that. We are still battling the parasites 4 months into it :'( I just want my girls to be able to bath together!!!!

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  7. What an adventure and great advice! I remember my in-laws adopted from China 18 years ago and first weekend she was home we all went to church and out to lunch at Olive Garden. Oh my word!

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    1. So much more info now for adoptive parents! Back then they just totally winged it.

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  8. Ahh, Bethy has the same birthday as my older daughter--but is younger by 20 years.

    I am so happy that Bethlehem is a name that they have in Ethiopia too, and I love the way you describe the Ethiopian pronunciation of it.

    The huge and overwhelming change she's facing makes *me* feel overwhelmed, but on the other side of it is a loving family--a very, very loving mother <3

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    1. thanks :) and how fun that we have daughters with the same birthday!

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  9. so your closet comment???? Made me laugh out loud. We have a walk-in thank thee the Lord. Livvie transitioned great to Addison's room - I think she likes it better in there. But she will still sleep in her pack-n-play if need be. Thinking back to all the attachment stuff, man - we got an easy baby. Praise God!

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  10. I have a very good friend who is adopting from Korea. They are anticipating going over there in march to get their son. Sometimes I'm not sure how to talk to her. She can't have any bio children of her own and I have two. I'm always afraid I'm going to say the wrong thing about the adoption and that she will either get mad or start crying, so I tend not to say anything. But I know that's not right either. I would love for you to tell what things you want friends to ask you to let you know they care and what you don't want them to ask you (I read your post on what not to say after they come home, I'd just like to know what to say now.)

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    1. Cathy I would just be real honest with her. Say you are so interested in her adoption but scared of sticking your foot in your mouth, and ask her to tell you all about it!

      Listen, when people didn't ask us, it hurt me so bad. Still does. It's like I was 25 months pregnant and they were pretending I wasn't. ASK.

      Offer to throw her a shower. Ask what size he is so you can go shop for him. Does she have any new pictures? Ask obvious but innocuous questions, like how much does he weigh, does she know what he likes to eat, is she going to use an Ergo, where will he sleep, has she found a pediatrician. Just like she was pregnant. Don't be afraid! She's dying to talk about him!

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    2. This blog-comment exchange is soo sweet & dear and good. Thank you ladies for sharing your hearts here...

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  11. Loved reading this. So informative for us and loved seeing your thought processes. You're going to do great!

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    1. And be sure you let us know when you come out of the closet. :-)

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  12. Missy, I have been following you for a few years now. I love your blog. I have 4 boys of my own and as I read your blog I am always relieved that I am not alone in my struggles as a mom, wife, believer. Sometimes, you put into words my thoughts...it is wonderfully crazy:) I am over the moon happy for you and your family as you see your dream come to reality! I can't wait to see your next post about Bethie. She is absolutely beautiful and I am looking forward to watching this journey unfold. My husband and I have really never considered adoption seriously, mostly b/c I am a bit overwhelmed with the boys I have!LOL Although, reading all your posts about adoption kind of gets me thinking. My husband and his twin are adopted! Anyway, I really don't have any questions but I love it that you have clearly done your research and are so sensitive to what her needs will be. I just believe that true biblical love is being played out in your home. So neat to see!

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  13. I'm curious what her nannies are telling her. Does Bethie know she is leaving and now that she has met you, does she understand you will be her mother? When you spent time together, was the nanny translating back and forth? It's so interesting to think about Bethie years from now being able to reflect on this bewildering and yet life changing time period. What a life she has been chosen to live!! ♥

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    1. The nannies aren't supposed to tell them we are mom and dad. Ha. They ignore that rule. Her nanny kept saying "Say hi mommy, hi daddy, hi brother, hi sister" and trying to get her to come to us. Honestly, this may have freaked B out more, but she was trying to be helpful.

      But I really don't think she knows what a mommy and daddy are. She's only 2, so I don't think she can fathom what's about to happen.

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    2. Do you think the nannies get upset when a child leaves? Or is it like you were saying, they are paid to love (so to speak) and expect the child to leave? Just wondering how the nanny handles saying goodbye and if they ever want to keep in touch kind of thing. How will Bethie be prepared for her departure if the nannies aren't supposed to tell them anything? I can't imagine! Sounds like Bethie's nannies are ready for her to attach to you so I hope that means they are currently talking to her about what is going to happen when you come back. I guess that could be good and bad if that makes Bethie worry. Just typing outloud here, but those are my thoughts!

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  14. I'm loving all your posts about this. The funny thing is I haven't thought of any questions, but when I read your posts and all the comments, the answers to the questions I didn't know I had are being answered. :)

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  15. So, one question I saw posted on FB that I didn't see an answer to on your previous blog or this one is: Why is Bethie an orphan in the 1st place? I remember reading somewhere that her mother died? Or did I imagine that? Did she not have any other family to take her in? OR, is this all very personal and you'd prefer not to share this piece of her history? Either way, I'm curious, but if that's too private, or maybe unknown, then that's fine too :) Congratulations to you all again - very excited to watch this next chapter unfold for you all!!!

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  16. Yay! It's so much fun to find out more about Bethie!

    I think you're doing a great job walking the line between 1.) studying and learning about what to do for her benefit when she comes home, and 2.) realizing that you have other kids too, and knowing you may have to deviate from the "plan" sometimes.

    I about drove myself crazy with our first daughter when we had to do some things outside the "plan," and I worried so much about attachment, bonding, etc. I will still do almost all of the same things with our next daughter, but without the second-guessing and worrying.

    With that said, we are talking with our oldest boys about maybe needing to drop an after-school activity next year so we aren't running around like maniacs, or we may have to get really creative with carpooling, etc. But I think it's GOOD for kids to learn that loving well sometimes involves sacrifices.

    Can't wait to hear that it's time for you to travel! And that 23 hours of travel? That's your "labor." And it's usually kinda painful. ;)

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  17. Dear Missy, I know, I KNOW YOU are incredibly busy-THANK YOU for sharing this journey with us! Salt and light you are! <3

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  18. This was such a great, informative post! We are still in the paperwork stages of our adoption, but reading this makes me even more excited. (Didn't think that was possible!) Are you still in Ethiopia right now? I'm curious about your feelings regarding having to leave Bethie there until your next trip. Even though that time is very far away for me, I'm already dreading it. Any tips for coping?

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  19. Amharic--Crazy hard. My friend was an Ethiopian missionary for 2 years and has a business now, http://www.thecanvasheart.com/. It is precious.

    Congratulations!

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  20. I love reading all of your info about adoption and Ethiopia. I've been to ET four times in the last three years, and I have a different question for ya...did you like the
    Bethel Guest House? Just wondering. I'll be traveling with a team there again next year, and I'm always interested in another guest house option. :)

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    1. yes! very much. Very modern and clean and tons of storage, all locked. Great food. Wifi. Washer dryer! I don't any Ethiopian guest houses to compare it to, but it was a lot better than many places I've stayed in Europe, if that helps.

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  21. Just so, so excited for you! Our daughter from Ethiopia has been a really good sleeper -- never naps but soundly at night, hoping you get the same sleep blessing! Sleeping with us for 5 weeks and then transitioning into the room she shares with her sister worked great for us! We had about one week after she moved to her own bed where she'd wake up in the middle of the night and I'd bring her down to our bed, and after that she stopped waking up at night. We had NO parasites, so don't be too fearful.

    P.S. - Nearly one year post-orphanage and our little Ethiopian girlie still snores like a truck driver -- she's scheduled to have her adenoids removed next week! I'm hoping that helps the snoring and the pretty constant runny nose for the past 11 months!

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  22. love it all!! :) Our Alemnesh (also from Ethiopia:) is just two days older then your bethie! Love!

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  23. Your post about the orphanage mothers not loving enough chilled me to the bone. You put beautifully, into words what I could not. I have been a nanny. I loved those kids. But yes, it was a love that was only skin deep.
    Yes the child will lose a lot of her culture but she will have deep, Mama & Papa deep, love. And that is oh so priceless.
    Thank you.
    I don't agree with everything you post (I am an atheist, tree hugging, latte sipping Australian lefty!) but that post...that touched my soul.

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  24. Were/are you scared to death? We're in the early planning/dreaming stages of adoption and honestly I'm terrified and not sure I can do this. Adoption is so deep in my heart however, that I may not have a choice. :) How have you coped with the fear and doubts?

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  25. She is konjo. :) It sounds like you're making some good choices. Hunkering down was so very important for us during those first weeks. Of course our boys were a bit older. You're in the most excruciating part of the wait (as you're well aware), but she'll be here before you know it. So excited for you and your family.

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  26. oh my word! I just realized something!!

    I've known all along that you're adopting from Ethiopia, but didn't realize til now that you're adopting from the same orphanage (or at least it appears so) as 2 friends from church. They both went through Gladney & both had Solomon as their driver when they were there!!

    Go over to my blog & find their blog links. One is listed as Josh & Lori. The other is Kuykendall adoption. And we're all Texas folks! Small, small world!

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