Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Simbona and Winnie the Pooh

This was a message posted on CCI's Yahoo group, by the family who has been posting the information about their recent travel to Ethiopia. Their twin girls spent time in the same orphanage that Sena and Simbo were in, and they know him very well. It's such a funny story! ---

I have to share a sweet sweet story from this weekend. We pretty much only turn on the tv on the weekends, often for Saturday morning cartoons. (The writer's husband) brought the girls down on Saturday morning (to let me sleep in :) and turned on Winnie the Pooh for the twins. He said they got very, very excited and started gibberjabbering in Oromifa, but kept repeating over and over again Simbona/Simbo. George finally realized they said his name every time Winnie the Pooh was on the screen. They thought that Winnie the Pooh was Simbona :) I don't know if many of you have seen Simbona, but he is quite a chubby baby. We thought that was so cute that they thought they were seeing their good buddy Simbona on tv and were sooo excited about it. Just thought I would share.

----I am thinking that maybe the twins knew that Winnie the Pooh was a favorite stuffed animal that Simbo likes, or maybe a character on one of the few shirts that he wears... Not sure!

Monday, April 7, 2008

New information about our babies

(This information also came from the family mentioned in the previous post...)

Simbona is so big and healthily chubby. He was playing with a couple of legos when we arrived. (This family's adoptive twin) girls talk about him all of the time and play like they are taking care of him, so he must be pretty popular...ha ha ha...also made the car ride no problem. (*Side note - our babies were transported on a 14 hour journey from their orphanage in Kamashi to Addis.) The poor nannies though all were car sick, as probably none of them had been in a car before.....but they never stopped caring for the children and making them a priority even through their sick moments...
What was really neat is that when the caregivers realized which children would be siblings back here in the states, they started already introducing this to the children.

Stuff for the babies' "baby book"

This post was listed on our agency's Yahoo group. I wanted so much to post it on my blog so that everyone would have a good idea what life is like for our babies. Also, it was a welcome comfort for those of us (like me) who were a little "alarmed" at the pictures that we received from our agency. It was posted by one of the two families from our agency (the other family was my friend Nora) who just returned from Ethiopia from picking up their children.

Hi Everyone,
I feel compelled to explain something from my point of view as many
of you have commented on the children looking overwhelmed in the
photos. I hope this helps ease some of your worries :) The
orphanage is very simple and plain. The walls are plain white and
until this trip there were not many toys or colorful things to look
at. Also, there are not any white people there...AND. ...many adults
are stunted in growth due to malnutrition. So we showed up and
probably looked to the children like 3 giant white women and 1 giant
white man. We had only one day to assemble, organize, and
distribute 8 bags worth of donations; teach the nannies how to use
the items we brought; photo and video all of the current children;
photo and video all of the new children; deliver the care packages;
and explore the orphanage to see what else is needed. AND I was so
surprised to find out that daylight doesn't come until after 7am and
is gone before 7pm, which was critical as there was NO electricity.
(We were making coffee with flashlights in the morning :) When we
went to deliver care packages, photo, and video the children, they
had to stop playing and doing what they were doing, come and sit on
a chair or come to a certain area, and be surrounded by the white
giants with things that had red and green blinking lights on them,
while flashes of light were going off around them. Then they were
given bags of things, but did not understand necessarily what they
were for, as most if not all of these children have never had
possessions before. So really from their perspective, it was
perfectly legitimate to look confused.... hahaha... .I would have
probably been screaming and crying...hahaha. ..I just wanted to see
if I could shed some light on the events from a child's
perspective. I have seen this in Guatemala as well. There is no
time on these trips to take with each child, making them comfortable
with the photographer, to try to get good smiling photos. THere is
just too many other very important bits of business to attend to to
assure the progressions of the current and future adoptions. But I
promise you that I saw all of these kids from a short distance
behaving like regular kids, playing with their friends, smiling,
interacting with the nannies and the new toys. AND you will have
the real genuine smiles in person someday soon :)

Well, not to make this email longer, but I thought you might be
interested in the routine of the kids at the orphanage. Here is
what I observed on a Saturday:

Wakeup and morning routine, dressing, breakfast occurs between
around 7:30 to 9ish. This is because there is no light until then.
The nannies in the nursery were busy feeding up to 3 children at a
time usually with one baby with a bottle and 2 older
babies/toddlers, spooning porridge into their mouths. They were
using the bassinet part of the pack n play to situate 2 of the
children with one on their laps. The diapering of the babies was
very intense. THey would layer a cloth diaper and then a piece of
plastic and then another layer under the clothing. The flurry of
feeding and diapering it seemed to just continue and continue
throughout the day. Oh, before the dressing, the children are all
washcloth bathed and some kind of thick pink cream is rubbed all
over their bodies to keep their skin soft. THe nannies rubbed fast
and furiously, stimulating morning circulation, which the babies
seemed to love. THe nannies were hard at work also singing to the
children, working with the little ones with sitting and standing,
and giving them tons of kisses and hugs. The older toddlers and
older children in general were not bathed until the evening. THis
involved them undressing and sitting on the side of their gutter
system while bar soap was rubbed on their heads and was washed all
over their bodies while water was slowly poured over their heads.
THe kids all would rub furiously all over their bodies trying to
remove the day's grime, which was substantial. ..hahaha. For all 3
meals, the older toddlers and older children ate Ingira (I haven't
looked up the spelling :( THis is a flat fermented kind of sour
bread that looks kind of like a big oversized thin pancake. While
we were there the evening meal included a bit of cooked lentils in
sauce as well. The toddlers donned huge bibs that covered their
entire bodies while they sat on the edge of a mattress and ate. You
use Ingira actually as a utensil to scoop up the lentils and this
really develops fine motor skills. We have been extremely impressed
with our girls fine motor and attribute it to the ingira. Then the
kids begin a day of play with the sticks, rocks, and especially
marbles. THey would roll the marbles down the gutter system that
they bathe in, make holes in the dirt and try to roll them in, and
hit marbles with other marbles for a more advanced game. They play
tag and hide and seek. THe older toddlers loved to play with the
babies, trying to help care for them and make them smile. AND some
of the older children would also make their way in to play with the
babies. At night, bathing of the babies occurred again, with more
cream, more feedings, more diapering, etc. The older children lay
down on mattresses on the ground, with the babies in the cribs and
pack n plays. When we left at 4am on Sunday to return to the city,
we went to see if the nannies needed help with light to prepare some
children who would be traveling. They were doing all of this
bathing, feeding, diapering in the dark very easily! They must be
used to waking with the younger babies throughout the night and
continuing their care. What amazing women! My girls also came home
singing Alleluia and we saw a couple of the nannies with Bibles.
THis was great to see as well!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

God is great!

Today I recieved photos from my dear friend Nora, who has just returned from her trip to Ethiopia. The pictures that she sent me were SO MUCH BETTER than the ones I had received from CCI. The kids look healthy, beautiful, and SO SO SO CUTE!!! You are just going to fall in LOVE with these babies. They are adorable.

Sena must have been napping before the photos that were taken of her by CCI. Her eyes looked so bad! But in these shots Nora took, she looks much healthier. Simbo is being held by a woman who really appears to love him in these pictures, rather than sitting alone in a crib. My heart is put more at ease that they are doing well (as best they can without Mommy and Daddy).

Thank you, Lord for your gracious provision of such a good friend in Nora. There is NO accident that she and I became friends for this very reason (and more). Just think how anxious I would have been had I not had Nora's pictures to see before we travel in THIRTEEN DAYS!

Thank you, Nora!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More pictures of Simbona

Sue sent us another set of pictures of Simbona today. He is seated in a bouncy chair. He still has no smile on his face, nor sparkle in his eyes. I want him HOME NOW!!! My children here at home are just aching to hold them and love on them.

She remarked in her email that she and her daughter (who travelled with her) are experiencing chills, diarrhea, and vomiting. She will be sending out a DVD with some video footage of the babies as soon as she is back on her feet.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New pics of the kids!

Debbie sent us some new pictures of the babies (as Sue has returned from her trip to Ethiopia and took pictures of all the adoptive children). I have to say, I was really shocked to see their faces. The pictures that we had gotten only 6 months ago showed twinkling eyes, chubby cheeks and bodies, and a zeal for life.

These pictures showed an entirely different picture. There was not one picture in which the babies were smiling. The sparkle seemed to have disappeared from their eyes. They looked so sad and seemed much thinner than before. Simbona's beautiful hair has been shaved off (maybe due to a lice outbreak??? Not sure) and he was just sitting alone in a crib in his pictures. He didn't seem to be even one bit joyful at some toys that had been placed in his crib to make him smile for the pictures. He has really thinned out in the face, and is wearing a shirt that I saw him wear in a picture taken 6 months ago. Has he not gained any weight?!?!?!

Sena had either just woken up from a nap, or she is not feeling well. Her eyes are droopy and she seems to have lost a lot of baby fat. She has lost that "spark" in her eyes and her legs look so thin. A nanny was holding her in the picture, so at least she was being held.

I can only think back to the emails that Nora sent me about Yacob being so sick (due to malnutrition). Could this have been the fate of these two sweet angels? Could it still be? Please pray that they will be kept healthy and nourished so we can bring them home!

I am in agony right now! All I want to do is go get my babies and hold them and feed them and love on them. I don't want them to go another day without their Mommy and Daddy who love them so much.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Note from Nora #3

Nora got a chance to meet our babies while she was in Ethiopia! (It doesn't hurt that she's an MD and can give us her "professional opinion" about their health in the note below... (Don't tell me THAT is a coincidence!)

First, I need to say that Simbona has the chubbiest thighs! Why is it that mine are about the same size and nowhere near as cute???? Both of your children are absolutely beautiful!
Zenha is doing wonderful! I absolutely fall to pieces everytime she says, "I love you" or "Ah my ay" or "mama". She has the cutest dimples when she giggles! We have been sleeping together except for a few times when I have rocked/sung her to sleep and then did some chores or took a shower.
Yacob is not doing so well. They have run a bunch of test but we do not have all the results yet and they are ordering a cat scan of his head. My guess is that he has a seizure disorder that is being caused by an underlying illness or malnutrition issue but we need the results of all of his tests to determine the exact diagnosis. It brought tears to my eyes to think of the chubby cheeks he had in the photos on the CCI website and now to see him with absolutely no body fat--on his cheeks or anywhere else. -Nora

Please be in prayer for Yacob and all the other orphans who are living in extreme poverty and need love and care. We just don't understand what life is like outside the United States. We are so blessed and take it so much for granted.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

We booked our tickets

We decided to go with Susan Parr Travel (who specializes in adoption travel). Their staff is so familiar with the in's and out's of travel in Ethiopia. They are also very professional and helpful. We are on our way!!! We purchased travel insurance (in case we get sick on our trip - God forbid) because our US health insurance will not cover us abroad.

When booking our travel plans with the travel agency, I had to give information about the babies, like their birthdates and names. It seemed so exciting to be able to call them Sena and Simbona MCXXXXXX! (You know our last name.) :)

Note #2 from Nora

I need to keep this email short but wanted to let you know that I briefly met your children and (another adoptive mom's) children today. They are absolutely beautiful and based on the few minutes that I was able to spend with them seem very happy and in good health. I took a few photos (which I will send as soon as I get home) and told them that you loved them and would be there soon. -Nora

Isn't she just the sweetest thing to be taking care of me while she's on her trip to Ethiopia???