Videographer/crapographer... you decide! You'd never know I actually went to film school by the horrid filming I did in Ethiopia! Most of our videos are of my freaking knee caps because I seem to have mistaken "standby" with "record" and everytime I thought I was recording it was in "standby mode", idiot! At least some videos made it!! To my own defense (I'm prosecutor and defendant all in one) this camera was purchased mere days before our departure! OK? The sticker on my forehead stayed there for a very long time because it was the first pro action my daughter showed to me by placing it there with a smile! :)
Let's start with a quick little video that some of you don't need a description of... bring back any memories gals??? I miss the "all day prayers"!
Room with a view... our balcony.
Pictures of our "master bedroom", Four Seasons lookout, the guesthouse is moving in on the 5 star status! Not sure what the deal is with the neck roll thingy's everywhere??!! :)
And the bathroom, thankfully we never got ill and spent much time in here! Phew!
Day two (Monday) began early with the long drive back from Awassa to Addis. We got back to the guesthouse, showered and had to be downstairs for lunch and to fill out our I600's with the group before heading to the embassy appointment. Teddi had only seen us once so far and it was the day before at 5:00am (not good). It was a very brief meeting and I can't show the video as it has some of the nannies in it.
Ouside of the big kid house...quiet!
"I don't like you mother"
Devlish play and even aggressive play was all she did there - what a difference now.
We all got on the bus and headed down the street to pick up the bigger kids. They put the kids on the bus with us and I scooped her up and put her on my lap and held her close. She was cool and even started nodding off because it was their nap time (great time to drag them to a big scary building with tons of people and security etc).
The embassy appointment went "ok" and she must have decided that it was me or nothing and chose me while we were there. We dropped the kids back off for dinner/bed and went back to the guesthouse to get ready for dinner out with Dr. Tsegaye (head honcho of WHFC) feeling like huge progress had been made. The first meeting wasn't exactly a "Hallmark moment" and the second wasn't either but it was OK, we were making progress, or so we thought! Dinner was amazing, just amazing - watch the video and you'll see too! This was our group!
One of the WHFC coordinators Emily G. came along on the trip with us! She was a great resource and is super cute inside and out! You'd never know she's just a wee thing at 25! We travelled to and from Ethiopia with her from Boston and she escorted a little 11 month old peanut on the way home. We love Emily!
Karen (left) and Carlin! Karen and her husband are a wonderful couple who co-reside between FL. and Italy! They adopted the most amazing little cherub six month old on the planet. I've only seen one other child smile SO much at that age (Judah)! Carlin (right) and her mom spent a ton of time with us on our adventure... they went on the b.family visit with us and also adopted a three year old gorgeous boy! I miss them...
Tuesday, we woke up bright eyed and happy since this was our first whole day there and we didn't have anything to do except get her photo at a nearby place for the German transit visa (which wasn't ever looked at but took us a ton of time to acquire in Addis). We ate and were over at the big kid house pretty early as we were eager to see our girl! We walked in and turned the corner into her room where she and some others were on the floor with a nanny or two. We gave our goofy white folks smile and waved to her and she freaked out! She clutched onto the nanny screaming, she knew who we were and why we were there. My smile quickly turned upside down and I could feel my eyes swell with tears. I knew I didn't want her (or anyone else) see me breakdown so I bolted out of the room and around the corner. The tears started to pour out of me and I tried to hold them back but couldn't. It seemed like I stood there forever but it was only probably a couple of minutes before MP came out and tried to pull me together. "I can't do this" I said, "if she doesn't want us what are we going to do"? "I want to go home"!!
Sister Tirhas (head sister) came out and literally ripped the bootstraps up from under me and grabbed my hand, ripped the kid out of the nannies arms and grabbed MP's arm and said "let's go, follow me now". We followed her out the back door where she proceeded to grab some chalk, dummies, and a few blow up balls and pushed us down to sit on the ground in a circle (all of us including her). She forced integration but Tarikua still wouldn't look at us and had her infamous shoulder to her ear the entire time. Time passed and sister got up to go do something and Tarikua walked away. I stood up and started to cry again... MP said, "we HAVE to make this work, we HAVE to do this". I looked up at the sky and asked Jesus to please help me to be strong and to put on a smile and just DO. At that point my thoughts were very irrational but very real. I wanted to figure out a way to leave - I didn't want her anymore than she wanted me. It was ugly and disgusting and I never want to feel that way ever again. It made vomit sit at the top of my throat and I can feel it all right now again just recounting this day. The only choice was to "fake it til we could make it". I took a huge breath and chose to just do, keep doing until "it" worked. By removing my emotions and not taking it personally I was able to get hold of myself and hunker down for the long haul of the rest of our trip. With a huge exhale we started off to look for her to begin again... after several hours of "faking it" she had started to allow me to chase her and showed her toothies a few times. It was a huge step. We were moving forward. It was lunchtime/nap time for the kids and so we left and walked back to the guesthouse only down the street for our lunch too.
Michael and I went back to our room after a delicious lunch by the now famous Sinidu and talked ALOT! We decided that every encounter with her was going to be a strategic one. We knew that before we saw her each time from this point on that based on our most recent visit we would recalibrate our interactions with her to suit the day. We also decided that even though we didn't want to, we had to forgo most of the outings and sightseeing opportunities that some of the other folks had to spend every possible amount of time with her and I knew from that very day that SHE HAD TO BE OUT OF THAT HOUSE and be with us exclusively (which turned out to be what turned the corner in the coming days).She's holding onto me!!! Baby steps...
So, when we got back again, stomach in knots we approached cautiously and stood in the background where she could see us but not be forced on us. The problem was that we had to take her for the stupid picture and things went south. She clawed my neck, spat on me, kicked me, and tried to bite me all the while thrashing her body trying to get out of my arms. I clenched my teeth and was able to thwart most of her blows. Once we got in the bus she calmed down and withdrew. The photo was brief and she was decent (still crying though). They dropped us back off and we spent more time with her trying to just hang out. This is when I decided enough was enough, we needed to bail! Don't get me wrong, that place was and is amazing, all the nannies are superb and the children full of love. Too much love was beginning to be a problem. Every small ounce of progress we made with Teddi would mean a step back because the beautiful children wanted to ALL be in our arms and play. They were pouncing on us and it was apparent that our girl needed our undivided attention to thrive. So, I picked her up and announced to sister Tirhas that we were all leaving (three of us) to go to the guesthouse.
We walked down and into the house, we proceeded to our bedroom. I had her sit on my lap (sort of straddled) while I laid down (to appear calm cool and non-threatening). I pretended like I wasn't staring at her and MP sat on the couch and pretended to do stuff too. We had pulled out her very own and filled with goodies backpack and just laid it next to her on the bed open. All in all we were there for an hour and a half and after about an hour of just sitting on my lap staring at nothing she began TO MOVE! It was a miracle! She started looking at her shoes and futzing with her clothing. I slowly sat up and opened her backpack so she could fully see the contents and she reluctantly and slowly began to pull things out and grin! She scooted off my lap and I showed her how to use stickers and we were having fun??!! This is when I truly knew that everything would be fine! Just fine and dandy and wonderful and it would just take a little time and a whole lotta love and attention but it was going to work!
We had to bring her back for dinner and bedtime (which stunk) but SHE CRIED when I tried to put her down back at her house! I couldn't stop smiling and felt like "F" of the mountain! Shoulders back, head high, MP and I strode out of there thrilled for each other proud of ourselves. It was a good day...
The onion was peeling and although it seemed slow going, and she put her foot down and withdrew on many occasions, every day proved to be so HUGE in her turnaround and progress.