Home Study

We have now officially had our two home study visits and are (what else) waiting again.  I was told this part of the process would probably take about four weeks and we are now seven weeks into the process.  I know this is not an unusually long amount of time but I am still disappointed.  Our social worker is an extremely nice woman who has several adopted children of her own.  Unfortunately, she just doesn’t seem to be the most organized of souls…

I want this process to move forward now…Unfortunately, I get the feeling the entire adoption process will probably be like this.  I am lucky and have a beautiful, energetic little boy to keep me busy and distracted most of the time.  I also know that this gives us time to do the things we need to do:  consolidate finances, start going through all the boxes in garage (Really don’t want to do this!), make a loft bed for Caden and make a new room for the big girls in the garage.  Yes, the minor task of constructing a new room from scratch in the garage.  When we evaluated all of our space options this seemed to make the most sense.  The girls are getting older and if they decide to live with us to go to college it would be very nice for them to have their own space.  They are pretty excited about it.  I am hoping to have loft beds with a desk underneath on opposite sides of the room.  That way they could each have their own personal space.  Ahhh, but before Jeff can begin all the wonderful construction I must deal with the boxes and piles of clutter.  Oh, joy!

So, enough whining.  The home study visits both went well.  On our initial visit we went up to the SW office and talked to her for about an hour and a half.  She was very personable and showed us pictures of her kids and grandkids and talked a little about adopting.  She had us talk through our individual histories and how we would handle racial problems that came up.  I thought it was very interesting that she said we would be viewed as an African American family after the adoption.  I know we will be a “conspicuous” family but I hadn’t really thought of it in that way.  During the appointment she asked about doing our home visit the next day because her daughter had to come down to Salem to drop off a vehicle.  While I really, really wanted to get this done that just was not an option.  I know they are not checking for cleanliness but there are just some things you don’t show to strangers.  Consequently, it was two weeks later before she was able to make it down to Salem.

For our second home visit she was squeezing us in before an adoption event she was attending in Portland.  I had to be to work by noon so she was supposed to come by about 9:30 and stay for about an hour.  She got here at 10:00 and stayed about a half hour.  She talked to the girls and took a quick peek at the house and told us she would call us if she had anymore questions.  Hopefully, at this point you can understand my frustration.  I am paying a large sum of money to be evaluated by this person and this is not what I consider business-like.  I have one set of expectations for friends and family and another for things that I consider to be personal business.  Aarrh!  I really liked our social worker but I don’t have any faith that she is going to get the home study wrapped up in a timely manner.  Patience, right?  Gotta work on that one.  I realize that this is a process that will take as long as it takes.  I guess I just really don’t like having so much of the process out of my hands.  Who does?  So, I guess the next step in distracting myself is to gird my loins and go attack the garage.  But first, maybe I should write a post on 50 Reasons not to clean the garage…

~Alisha

A Walk to Beautiful

a-walk-to-beautiful2The adoption process had opened something in me.  It is difficult to explain but I no longer close myself off to stories of hardship and horror.  I allow myself to be effected by these peoples stories.  I cry, rage and laugh as I hear these accounts and see the faces.  I believe that in doing so I honor them and grow as a person.  I do not have all the answers but I do know the answer is not to stop hoping, dreaming and believing that a difference can be made.

This is one of those stories:  A very moving clip about women whos’ lives have been effected by childbirth.  These women have been ostracized and marginalized because they had the misfortune of developing a fistula due to childbirth.

~Alisha

Latent TB

Chest x-ray of patient with active tuberculosis

Chest x-ray of patient with active tuberculosis

I think most of us dream of bringing home a perfectly healthy child but what if your child is not perfectly healthy?  It is possible when you bring your child home from Ethiopia that they could come home with latent TB.  Latent TB is not contagious and there are no signs or symptoms.  I am going to describe, in simple terms, what latent TB is so it is easier to understand why this happens.  I’ll start with a disclaimer:  I am not a physician and anything in this blog does not replace the advice of a physician.  Okay, that’s out of the way…

Tuberculosis, or TB, is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium turberculous.  TB is usually transmitted via microscopic particles called droplet nuclei (from respiratory secretions) which contain the bacteria.  When you cough or sneeze these particles are expelled into the air.  These particles can hang in the air for up to 20 minutes in a 20 foot radius.  Pretty gross, huh?  Now you know why everyone is told to cover their face when they cough or sneeze.  Viruses are spread in the same way.  If one of these bacteria is lucky enough to take up residence in the lungs your body attacks it with immune cells. These immune cells form a mass (nodule) around the bacteria and kill most, but not all of them. This is latent TB; when the bacteria are encapsulated by the immune system.

TB can remain latent for years.  While the exact cause is unknown at some point in the future the surviving bacteria secretes a substance to liquefy the mass surrounding them and a cavity is formed.  The bacteria can now multiply freely.  This person would now have active Tuberculosis.  There are approximately 1.5 million TB cases in sub Saharan Africa every year.

Treatment for TB usually consists of a 6-12 month course of one to two antibiotics.  Unfortunately, there are now strains of TB that are multidrug resistant which can make treatment much more difficult.  As if taking an antibiotic for a year wasn’t fun enough!  Bacteria are tricky little organisms that have learned to adapt to their environment in order to survive.  Great for them, not so great for us.

~Alisha

Hair or HAIR?

Cadens' third haircut

Cadens' third haircut

I had my sons hair cut recently at Little Clippers in Portland and finally got the hair cut I wanted for him.  Yeah!  It only took me two times to figure out that I had to go to a place that specialized in kids’ hair.  It is a great place with cars, jeeps, motorcycles, horses, etc. that serve as the hair cutting station.  Each station also comes with it’s own TV and VCR to help keep the little customers sufficiently distracted through the process.

It made me start to think about the whole hair thing for our little girl.  Okay, I have seen some seriously scary hair in some of the pictures and videos from Toukoul.  I have enough problems trying to style my slightly curly, mostly frizzy hair on a daily basis.  The thought of trying to style a different hair texture on a daily basis is intimidating (to say the least.)  The thought of leaving my husband to deal, alone, with said head of hair is more terrifying.  When my stepdaughters were younger, he tried I know he did, about the best he managed was a sloppy ponytail (Sorry sweetie.)  I know, in theory, I should have some time to figure things out as she is growing up…but what I really feel like I should be doing is taking a class on Ethnic Hair 101.  Is it stupid to worry about something like hair when there are so many bigger issues?

From the research I’ve done so far it seems like the key to getting and holding a good hairstyle is product, lots of product.  Here is a discontinued blog that has some good hair product information.  It gives a list of hair products and some reviews and comparisons by moms who have used them.  I have also seen some African American kids haircare books through Amazon.com and will try to check some of them out. Suggestions anyone?  Anyone?

-Alisha

E’njoni Cafe

Alisha and I ate at E’njoni Cafe a couple of weeks ago for an early dinner…it was wonderful!  What can I say, I love food and it’s a great way to learn about another culture.  The proprietor seated us herself immediately and was very personable.  The restaurant itself was very clean and done in beautiful earthtones with African artwork on the walls.  We were a little early for the dinner crowd (arrived around 5pm) and initially had the place to ourselves.  This was nice since we have a very rambunctious 3 year old.  The owner brought us a couple of childrens books to help occupy him.

Okay, the food…Delicious!  This was our second time at an Ethiopian restaurant and this restaurant is best by far.  I had dahir hamil (chicken with spinach) and Alisha had a shiro dish of chicken cooked in a chickpea sauce.  They came on a large family-style platter with a lentil salad and a couple vegetable dishes (spiced cabbage & spiced potatoes).  Everything was absolutely delicious–perfectly cooked and perfectly spiced.  It is good to remember when you are ordering that many Ethiopian dishes tend to be spicy!  When we ordered we were asked our preference (mild, medium or hot) and the dishes were prepared as we asked.  If you have not been to an Ethiopian restaurant before it is good to know that you eat with your hands using the injera (traditional pancake-like flatbread) to scoop up your food.   They also have a wonderful glass case stuffed with fancy desserts (tiramisu, amaretto torte, etc) that are quite tasty (not exactly Ethiopian).  Really, we had to sample at least one of them!  Check them out!  For those that may be interested, they have a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony on Saturday and Sunday between 4-6pm? (double check times before going)

~Jeff