Can you believe it has been five months since my sweet Ethiopian Princess set foot on American soil?
In some ways, it seems like she has always been here. She just fits.
Her language has grown by leaps and bounds, and her beautiful African accent is slowly fading. I will be so sad when it is gone.
SHE has grown by leaps and bounds! Gaining an average of one pound per month and already growing 2 inches and 2 sizes since she came home, I am realizing that I should not have bought those clothes on sale at the end of last summer! She came home in a 2T and now is moving comfortably into 4T clothes. Her feet have also grown 2 sizes. And her hair? It has grown at least 2 inches. (I think I see a pattern here!) She no longer feels so little...when I pick her up I find myself having to work to hoist her up on my hip. She feels more "meaty"...my hands sink into her little bottom when I am holding her and her once bony frame is taking on layers of sweet, healthy "fluff". She is still very slender, but her limbs and her previously distended belly have met in the middle and her proportions are right, praise be to God.
Earlier this week she had complete dental restoration. She was SUCH a trooper. Even though she was nervous, nothing could squelch her excitement over getting "new teeth with no boo-boo's!" Her poor little mouth was in awful shape...her molars were actually loose and on the verge of crumbling.
Let me take a moment to give you some advice...Do not (I repeat DO NOT) take candy when you visit children in orphanages. PLEASE for the sake of their health and comfort, bring sugarless gum, granola bars, ANYTHING but candy. Little Sister spent her first three years with no access to dental care of any kind, therefore entered the orphanage with already weakened teeth, then spent eight months being given dum-dums by countless visitors to the Transition Home. She happily stuck those suckers in her cheeks, but never saw a regular tooth-brushing, therefore her molars were completely rotted in the exact spot where she kept those sweet treats on both sides. It has affected her greatly...she has had incredible difficulty eating anything crunchy or cold and often cried with the pain caused by her decayed teeth. She spent 2 hours under general anesthesia in order to have 2 molars pulled, 4 molars crowned, and every other tooth filled because every single tooth had cavities.
Every single tooth.
So please do not bathe the teeth of orphans in sugar. It is NOT worth it. They are just as happy to have chapsticks or gum...trust me. That is what we brought and they all loved it.
Anywho...I will step down off of my soapbox to tell you the funniest story!
We were at the Surgery Center awaiting Mari's procedure and our anesthesiologist gave her a liquid "happy medicine" to drink so she would be relaxed when they took her away from me to go to the operating room. She drank it down and continued to play with stickers for about ten minutes. Dr. L walked by and said "She may start to get wobbly, Mama."
"Ok," I said.
About a minute later she began to sway, so I laid her down on the pillow and she looked at me with sleepy eyes and said "Night night, mommy. BA ha ha ha ha!!!!"
Little girl was positively drunk! She cackled and cracked herself up and had everybody in stitches! She was even slurring her words! When they wheeled her back to the OR (yes I cried...) she was oblivious and went to sleep with no problem whatsoever.
When she woke up she was so precious. It felt so good to be there for her. I really believe that it was another opportunity to build trust with her, for her to see that I wanted her to be comfortable and feel safe, and I gladly stroked her hair back from her beautiful face and whispered how brave she was, how proud I was of her, and kissed her warm cheeks and the tip of her little nose.
She has recovered beautifully, though she is quite sore. I am so glad to have that behind her.
Five months. I notice this post is less about her adjustment and more about just normal daily life. What a huge praise to our Father and the Author of Adoption that is! We still have moments that are incredibly frustrating, but they are just moments, not entire days. She has talked a little more about her memories of Ethiopia, some of which are very hard to hear, and I feel like being able to have those conversations with her is huge. She remembers her Ethiopian Mommy being sad, and she remembers friends dying because "their bottoms got sick." My heart just weeps for all those who she left behind...for those who still wait for a Mommy and Daddy to bring them home and walk them through their healing. For those who are sick and dying and sad. Too many to count...but God sees and knows and loves every single one.
We stalk blogs and Facebook and rejoice every time we see that one of her friends is coming home. She LOVES seeing their pictures and knowing they are coming on an airplane to America just like she did. But still...there are five million orphans in Ethiopia. FIVE MILLION. I know they cannot all be adopted, but oh if God's people would rise up and care for these children...to be sure they have their needs met and get a chance to grow up and break the cycle of poverty...if the body of Christ will be willing, an entire culture could be changed.
Yes, Lord. We are willing.