Friday, October 16, 2009

What makes her tick??

This AM we had one of those dramafests that mothers and their daughters seem to get drawn into. The climax came when Colleen was buckling Marins' seatbelt. Somehow Colleen's thumb became entangled in the belt. At that instant, Marin decided to become resistant and tugged powerfully on the belt, spraining Colleen's thumb. Colleen, naturally, screamed out in pain. The interesting part is what happened next.

Colleen abruptly returned to the house to get an ice pack and an ace bandage. I put Marin in teh car and drove her to school. Marin was overcome with panic.

First, Marin thought she had killed Colleen. She made me promise her that Colleen was not going to die and asked me over and over "How do you know, Daddy?" "How do you know?"

Once, I got her off that, Marin continued her panic session expressing fear that Colleen would not want to be her Mother anymore. Again "How do you know, Daddy?" "How do you know?" The poor kid was like nearly suicidal until I finally dialed Colleen up on the cell, explained the situation, and Colleen got Marin calmed down.

Some thoughts....................

1. Even after three years in America, Marin's first reaction to even the most routine illness and injury is that the person is going to die. It's just unbelievable to think about how many people she saw die in her young life in Ethiopia. And its' equally unbelievable to think about how totally preventable those deaths were if the country had any kind of living standards.

2. Even after three years in our care, Marin fears abandonment. This really caught me by surprise. We have been totally diligent about hugging the girls every day, several times, telling them we love them forever and we will always take care of them. Never once using corporal punishment. And when we have ourselves convinced that the kids are totally secure with our love and commitment, something like this happens to make us realize they still live in fear of our abandoning them. Bummer.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When does the hungry train stop??

Yesterday we were driving in the car and we saw a homeless person standing with a "hungry" sign at a busy intersection. Marin saw him and asked about it. So I gave a rambling explanation of what a homeless person is and why some people are hungry even in America.

Marin: But where is his guitar?

Me: What?

Marin: I know hungry people, too. But they play songs on their guitar and have a box to put the money in.

Me: Where did you see this?

Marin: At the Sea Dogs game ( local baseball team to which Marins day care went last summer)

Me: Tell me more about this.

Marin: Remember you gave me five dollars in case I needed to buy a snack at the Sea Dogs game.

Me: Yes.

Marin: Well I bought something to eat, but it cost only two dollars. So I had three dollars left, and I gave it to the hungry man who was playing his guitar.

Me: Why did you do that?

Marin: Daddy, listen, I know what it feels like to be hungry. It hurts and hurts and hurts in my belly. So I felt sorry for the man with the guitar and I wanted him to buy a sandwich.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Story

There's been a lot of traffic in the Eth adoption chat rooms about 'the story'. That is, what were older children told by their own families as the explanation for why they were getting into a van with a stranger to go someplace? Many were told they were going away to school and some were told they were going to visit a distant relative.

This is a great question, and one I wish we had asked when we were in Eth. It is a great question because it helps you to understand your childs' behavior. For example, if the child freaks out whenever you try to leave him or her at school, and you know that school was the story the Ethiopian family used to get the child into the van, at least you understand there is a rational reason to freak out from the childs' perspective. Without knowing the story, you would probably misdiagnose the situation.

So last night I asked Marin if she remembered what she was told when she got into the van with Solomon (I happen to remember her driver's name).

Marin said "They told me we were driving to the next village to get water."

Me: Really? Did you believe that?

Marin: Yes.

Me: Why?

Marin: Because that was one of my jobs to get water for some of the Mamas in the village so they would give me and Emmy food. I was happy we were driving because all the other times I had to walk. Then after we were in the van a long long time I knew they tricked me so me and Emmy started crying.