Friday, February 12, 2010

"Menden Boy's Name?"

It has seemed over the last few months that Yikealo really did not remember his older brother at all. He has never mentioned him, and whenever I've brought up his name, Yikealo has shown absolutely no recognition. On the other hand, maybe he knew the older boy by a word that meant "brother" and not by his given name. The only information that we've had is that his name is Edil and that he was 10 years old last March when Yikealo was relinquished. We also know that because of the extent of Mihiret's leprosy, Edil was doing pretty much everything around their home, including taking care of his little brother, earning any money, feeding his mother, and cooking the scant bit of food that was available. Now that he is no longer responsible for raising Yikealo and he and his mother are receiving sponsorship money from our agency, it is hoped that Edil will be able to gain at least a little education.

Anyway, yesterday morning, out of the blue, Yikealo and I had this conversation:

Y: "Mom, menember Mihiret have ouchie hands?"
Me: "Yes, I remember."
Y: "And then Dear God give you little boy - me?"
Me: "Yes He did."
Y: "And then I go Mihiret's house?"
Me: "No, sweetie, I'm sorry, but we can't go to Mihiret's house."
Y: "No, no no! Not now. I live Mihiret's house - long time."
Me: "Oh! You mean that you used to live there?"
Y: "Yeah! Mom, menden boy's name? Big boy - live Mihiret's house?"
Me: (slightly shocked) "You remember a big boy that lived with you?"
Y: "Yeah - menden name?"
Me: "Edil."
Y: (thoughtfully) "Edil." (long pause and a little smile) "Mom, he nice with me."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Looking Back...

I changed a picture in my hallway yesterday. I keep a little gallery of scrapbook pages there, and it was time to change the one of Yikealo. Last May I had done a page using my favorite of his referral photos, and I had journalled some of my feelings about him. It has been hanging in the hallway ever since and I have stared into that little face almost every single day. It's time to update the photo and the sentiments, but I'm so glad that I captured that time in my life, because I think that it sums up so many of the bizarre feelings that an adoptive parent can go through. It is titled "The Paradox of You" and the journalling reads as follows:

  • I'm your Mom, but I've never met you.
  • You're my son, but I still don't exactly know how to say your name.
  • I can't wait to meet you, but it terrifies me too.
  • I can say "Where are the suitcases?" in your language, but I haven't learned "I love you" yet.
  • You're not even four, but you're one of the scariest people in my life.
  • I've never seen you face to face, but I miss you terribly.
  • I've never held you, but my arms ache for you.
  • You're one of the most important people in my life, but you've probably never even thought about me. I doubt if you know what I look like yet.
  • I have no idea how to be a parent, but I'm going to be asking you to commit yourself to my care.
  • You're my only child, but I'm not your only Mom.
  • Being your Mama is undoubtedly going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done, but probably also one of the most rewarding.
  • We live on two different continents, but God has chosen us for each other, and He'll be there through everything.

That photo was the one that made me fall in love with my son - and it comes the closest of any of the 40 pictures that we received to really capturing his personality. I was so glad that I had taken the time to put pictures of him around our house before we travelled too - he ran around wanting to kiss all of them within minutes of arriving at our home, and he had David lift him up so that he could reach that hallway picture...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Trains, Kissing and Shots

Things have been very much back to normal for the last few weeks. After his little bout of sadness, Yikealo has been joyful, sweet and happy most of the time. He is so much fun, and I'm honestly amazed at what a great time I have playing with him. This very girly girl is having a ball with all of the little boy toys - who would have believed that could happen??
Yesterday, I was reading Disney's Pocahontas story to him. There was a picture of John Smith and Pocahontas kissing, which he was completely fascinated by. Several hours later, as he was about to fall asleep for his nap, he informed me, "Mom, when I get big, I'm gonna kiss a girl." Great...I'm so glad that he's already planning this out at the tender age of three. I guess that maybe there's something to be said for continually reading "boy" books like "Smash! Crash!" or "Go Dog, Go!"

Two weeks ago, he had his six-month follow up appointment at Rainbow Babies international adoption clinic. They rechecked him for a whole battery of things - HIV, Hepatitis A and B, TB, titres for immunity and who knows what else. Thankfully, he's negative on everything. When we were there in July, they drew about 10 vials of blood for the initial tests, and as soon as the lab tech picked up her blue tourniquet band, he started SHRIEKING. David and I looked at each other and said in unison, "He knows what this is!" - and it took both of us to hold him down. This time, I had warned him that he was going to get a "shot" again, and that if he would be a good boy, I would buy him a "milkshape" on the way home. He marched into the lab as if he owned the place, and asked the tech, "Does this hurt?" She told him that maybe it would hurt just a little bit, to which he replied, "I big, brave boy. I no cry." She was highly amused, and said that he looked like a "big, brave boy!" He did great - he whimpered just slightly when he first saw the needle, but didn't cry at all. Apparently bribery in the form of "milkshapes" works wonders!