Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 5 - Part I

Day 5 - Part I

It is Wednesday already. I can’t believe we leave tomorrow night. Our time is so busy while we are here. Hanock will be picking us up soon to go shopping at the postal shops. When he arrives I remind him that we want to visit their orphanage, Grace House. Our babies were transferred from their orphanage to a transition orphanage after our court date was approved. It was important to us to see where the babies had lived for the past year and to meet their primary caregiver. Hanock promises us that we will go today once we are done at the postal shops.

Today the drive seems longer to get everywhere. Maybe it is because I have a 20 month old on my lap or maybe it is the crazy driving. My mom ventures to ask Hanock if people ever get driving tickets here. Hanock said yes. I am not sure he understood what she meant. Or maybe they just see driving differently?
The paved roads do have lines on them but we have decided the lines do not create hard fast rules. Rather they are there as a suggestion as to where you might want to drive. Passing cars 3 abreast on a two lane road is not a problem in Ethiopia. Two inches away from the vehicle next to you is also not a problem. Traveling a safe distance from the car in front of you translates – just don’t hit the car – 1 inch clearance is just fine.

We finally arrive at the postal shops which are line of shops just a couple of notches better than the shanties we see throughout the city that form a T between two roads. There is traffic and people everywhere. Hanock squeezes our van into a space that I am sure was only meant for a car the size of a Ford Festiva. Before we even get out of the car there are kids trying to sell us gum competing with adults trying to sell us maps and belts. The commotion is ended quickly with the arrival of a woman wearing somewhat military style clothes carrying a very large stick. The words of Winston Churchill came to my mind “speak softly and carry a big stick.” By the way the people scattered, it was obvious she prefers to use her stick over words. I believe her job is to keep illegal solicitors out of the way of those doing business in this area.

The first shop we enter is filled with all kinds of stuff but my eye is instantly drawn to the stacks of scarves on a very large table. There are so many different styles, colors and fabrics. Each one is unique and full of beauty. The ceiling has several different purses hanging from it. Some made out of thick linen while others are made out of silk. One wall is lined with items made out of ebony. Ebony here is in abundance so you can find tons of things made from it. We continue through several stores while Isaac and Jocelyn are nestled against Hubby and me in their Ergo Carriers.

It was so important to us to go shopping especially for the babies. We wanted to buy special items that we will give them over the years as a part of celebrating their heritage. But it was hard to concentrate. There just seems to be so much going on. We are busy worrying about the babies, being bothered by the owners of the postal shops to buy more, trying to make sure our money and passports are safe, and being conscious of the time so we are able to make it to their orphanage, etc…etc…etc… We try to keep moving, seeing as much as we can as quickly as we can. It feels a little bit like power shopping in a store you are completely unfamiliar with. To make matters worse, I forgot the list we had made of items we wanted for the babies. I know it seems like it should be a simple task to remember what you want to bring home for your children, but you have to understand the state our state of mind. Besides all the things we are worrying about while shopping, we are also still jet lagged, the schedule is exhausting, I walked the floor with Jocelyn for 3 hours straight last night, etc...etc…etc…

While at the postal shops, I received a stark reminder of some of the behavioral modifications we would be dealing with once we arrive home. All families are asked not to discipline their children while in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people have a different style of discipline than us. Because of this, they ask that we wait until we are home for discipline. After about 30 minutes of shopping, Jocelyn decided to reach out and grab an ebony statue off a shelf. I put it back and told her no, don’t touch. She looked me directly in the eye and then dug her finger nails into my face. Can I just say it is hard to remember your promise not to discipline when your 20 month old child is digging her finger nails into your face? I grabbed her hand and whispered in her ear in the sternest voice I could offer in a whisper and said “don’t you dare.” She just stared back at me like “you want to make a bet?”

Behavior is one area that I believe was lost in all of our training. Attachment disorder, adjusting to life at home, and remembering their heritage seemed to be the focus of training. After talking to several other families who have adopted young children, there seems to be a theme with them – scrappiness. Biting, scratching, pinching and hitting seem to be how they cope with things. Why? We were very surprised to see this very spiteful side of our babies. It is just one more thing for us to ponder. Are Ethiopian people against disciplining such small children? Is it because they were in an orphanage with so many other children? Did they fill the need to fight for everything? Did others hit, pinch and scratch them? It is just one more thing to add to the laundry list of unknowns for us.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kelli,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog and can tell you that Rosie has that same scrappiness as Jocelyn. She gets so frustrated and angry at me... she also does the face pinch and is quite the little biter.
    Ahhh... parenthood- nothing like it!


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