Thursday, May 28, 2009

One way to choose...

    How many major decisions have you made based upon eeny meeny miny mo or Rock Paper Scissor?  In your lifetime probably more than you can count.  Today, when we were walking to school Noah told me about a time he had to use his own version to make a big decision in his life.  Once again I have to add, every day I gain a new sense of perspective from him, and this morning was no different.

    We started our walk as we usually do, chatting about bugs and how tall the field grass is or whether or not the boys should have brought a sweatshirt to keep away the morning chill.  Today, Noah turned his backpack so he was wearing it on his front.  He made a little pouch and smiled, saying “This is how I carried Galiela.” (Galiela is his baby cousin who was given up for adoption prior to Noah’s relinquishment.  He still talks both his aunt and his baby cousin almost daily)  He told me how he would carry her all over Desse, his home town.  From sun up until sun down his aunt would go to the Teff fields to harvest the grain and Noah would be in charge of baby Galiela.  Noah said their neighbor, Mrs. Wordos, would be home so Noah would check in with her throughout the day.  Now and then Noah would carry Galiela out to the fields, in his front pack, to visit his aunt Genet.  When he would have to leave and Genet had to get back to work Galiela would scream for her mommy, like any baby her age, any where in the world would do.  

    Sadly Noah’s time with Galiela was short lived.  Genet had no way to feed the two extra mouths.  One day she took Galiela to the orphanage where she relinquished her.  Noah was devastate at the loss of his baby cousin.  Through Noah’s recollections Galiela was adopted to a family in Spain.  

    Things didn’t get better for Noah and Genet.  This morning Noah recalled a moment with Genet.  Genet told Noah she could not take care of him anymore.  She told Noah she had three choices for him as far as where he could go.  America.  Spain. Somalia.   Noah has an uncle in Somalia and Genet considered sending him to live with the uncle.  Here in front of  6 year old Noah were three options. America.  Spain.  Somalia.

    This morning...with his fingers...Noah showed me how he became our son.  He touched his pinky finger on his left hand and said, “America.”  He touched his ring finger on his left hand and said, “Spain.”  He touched his middle finger on his left hand and said, “Somalia.”  He continued this through all ten fingers and whatever country he said when he touched his right pinky finger was his choice... “America.”  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Camper

 We took Noah camping this weekend.  He did awesome...then again if you think about it he 'camped' for the first 6 years of his life.  In fact...our 'roughing it' really doesn't compare to his every day existence in Desse. Regardless, Noah was the definition of "Happy Camper" over the long weekend.  We took a short drive to Silver Falls State Park set in the Oregon Cascade Range.  Noah's Godmother and her family, as well as another family, joined us.  All in all our camping party was 17 people strong.  Now that's a lot of mouths to feed. 
What was really cool about the weekend was of the 11 children camping, 7 were adopted.  3 from China, 2 domestic, 1 Korea, and 1 Ethiopian. : >)  They have their own special support group.  Really a wonderful thing. 
Noah's favorite part of the whole experience was riding his bike around the campground.  He probably logged in about 30 miles in 2 days.  He was exhausted Monday night when we put him in the bathtub.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Perspective and Happy Mother's Day

My perspective has never been the same since I returned from Ethiopia 7 months ago.  
I saw a lot.  I heard a lot. I touched a lot.  A lot touched me.
When the world started talking about swine flu last week I listened.  But with all the hype my perspective kept winding its way back to Ethiopia.  Why in our world would the deaths of 27 people in Mexico create a panic that would have hotels holding travelers hostage in Asia, citizens screaming to close our borders, jet planes changing their routes because a passenger has a cough, and schools shutting down because someone has a fever.
In the Sub-Sahara region of Africa, the soil from where my son comes from roughly 5,500 people die A DAY from AIDS.  That's right, in ONE DAY.  On the Ethiopian soil from where Noah walked one year ago ... 5 million children are orphaned... 1 million children are orphans living with the HIV/AIDS.  On the African soil from where Noah's family still lives today almost 7,400 people are newly infected with HIV A DAY.  

Imagine living with those numbers day to day.  So I ask a question...what if Ethiopia or Uganda or Zambia were our neighbors to the south...neighbors knocking on our door for help.  Would the world notice?
Here's a little something I found this week.  Some bullet points from the Federal Ministry of Health in Addis Ababa for the past week while we have been washing our hands with Purell. 

  • Given the late start of belg and the approaching hunger season (yes, their ministry has a name for the time of year when famine could strike) food security  and nutrition conditions may deteriorate rapidly in some parts of the country.
  • Since the beginning of April admission rates of malnourished children have increased rapidly and are alarmingly  high in some areas.
  • Over 1000 children have been admitted to health care centers in one weeks time due to malnutrition.
  • The average price of cereals is still high and the price of livestock is increasing.  No rainfall from belg producing areas so prospect of belg harvest is not promising due to inadequate land preparation and late planting due to erratic nature of the rain.
  • 26 deaths have been reported due to Acute Watery Diarrhea  last week.  Due to lack of proper drugs, poor water supplies, poor hygiene and sanitation, and inadequate human resources they only expect these numbers to grow.  
   Oh, and one more thing....
  • No reports of Influenza H1N1 (swine flu)  Phew!!
You see...Perspective. 

May 7 is World AIDS ORPHANS Day.  May 10 is Mother's Day.  May 12 is the one year anniversary of Noah's relinquishment...the day he said good-bye to the only world he knew and started his transition into our world.   Mother's Day is bookended by two very sobering reminders of life outside my walls. 
A friend of mine adopted an HIV+ child from Ethiopia.  We met in Addis last September and spent a week together with our new children.  It was the AHOPE orphanage that Melat was in that left such a strong imprint on my mind.  This month Jessica was honored by having an essay about adopting an HIV+ child published in Seattle's Child Magazine.  Within the article there are some great ideas for Mother's Day gifts that Support AIDS orphans.  I would highly recommend checking the article and the ideas out.  

So let's see...for Mother's Day this year I think I'm going to ask for a bowl of peppermint candy ice cream and some micro-roasted coffee that will help support AHOPE.  

Happy Mother's Day