I have no time to write!!! But I need to write a quick update. First of all, in my last post, I had just spent time with my brother who really critiqued me and Project Esperanza.. that's just the kind of guy he is. What had upset me the most was that he had judged Ilayas. Well, for the record, the thing that he had judged him on is the way that he sometimes behaves with Ebo, the little boy we are fostering. He gets territorial over items and hits him and gets rough with him. But he really doesn't do this all the time and they quite often play very peacefully and cutely. They often remind me of Sam and his friends on the wonderful movie I Am Sam, the way they communicate in a positive manner that doesn't quite make sense but they are communicating among each other and working together. I, of course, don't want Ilayas to hit Ebo, but realize that the situation is tough and I don't plan to hit him back, or at least not on every occasion, but at certain times to strategically teach him, not overly punish him, just because I knew it would be tough for Ilayas from the beginning to share everything he has, including his mom, just four months after he became a big brother.
Actually, Ilayas often pleas on Ebo's behalf when I lose patience with him. Ebo eats a lot!! About three times what Ilayas eats. So sometimes when he whines after I know he has eaten, I lose patience asking, "What's wrong!?" Ilayas seems to know and tells me that Ebo wants milk. Ebo also is very active and takes things off the table and plays with things that aren't toys. He has improved soo much in this area from when he first moved in, but he still does it. The other day I kept taking things out of his hands that he would climb up and take off of higher shelves or table tops and then he grabbed a light bulb box and took out the light bulb. I grabbed it from him and got angry and told him to sit down, as he was standing on a chair. He just looked at me as if to say "Make me," so I did, and with anger and force. He cried and yelled even though he was unharmed and I was glad that he did so that he would learn submission as he is 2 and I am his 27-year-old caregiver. But then Ilayas said, "Ebo, I'm sorry..." which he was trying to tell me that Ebo apologizes and I should forgive him. So I quickly hugged him to let him know that it was okay but don't do it again, and he quickly quieted. So he pleas on Ebo's behalf. But he also loses patience with him as well, but his behavior is apparently normal.
My good friend Crystal who has run a day care for a number of years read my post and e-mailed me lots of encouragement. I told her what had most upset me about my brother's critiques and she let me know that that is completely normal, especially at that age, and how she deals with her sons having to share their toys, space, and mom since she runs a day care out of their house. Thanks again Crystal! I also believe I said in the last post something about Jireste just being "a crazy Haitian man". Well, that was coming from my brother's strong critiques as well and it was basically my way of saying.. DON'T JUDGE! but in a too compromising way. I apologize. Really, when one's life has been so very very different than yours, you're just setting yourself up to be wrong. I think dealing with different cultures and such is quite tricky and... well I've learned many times that if you base your judgments on what you have seen in your own culture, then you are making a mistake.
It's hard not to, it's true. I used to be sure that people were doing drug deals, just because I was so used to seeing that among young men in the US in high school and college. I found out that they were talking about things such as loaning and returning a pair of shoes, and no drug deals were in sight at all. And why did this venting come out on my blog? Well, I think I went into submission and shut down mode when the critique took place and then needed another outlet to share. So that's that.
Now, I just wanted to say that we went to Santo Domingo for Maraya's consulate report of birth abroad meeting, which went well. We ended up killing two birds with one stone and took Elisenia to CURE International's clinic there. I wrote in my last update that we took her to the CURE center in Santiago. That is not as supervised or really as functioning as the one in Santo Domingo and we didn't receive the care we had expected there, so after communicating with the medical staff through e-mail, who have been so super responsive and helpful, we took her with us to Santo Domingo. We already had an x-ray done. It turns out that she does not have a typical club foot that can be fixed through a series of casts but that she was born with a rare disorder where she has no tibia. The most likely solution/ course of action is to amputate her foot and put on a prosthetic, but I guess a lot will depend on her future with adoption, etc. Speaking of which, I am finally in communication with the wonder lawyer from Port-au-Prince who can help out with her adoption and those of her siblings. Dr. Dan Ruggles who consulted us at CURE said that I could send him (via e-mail) another x-ray in a year or so so that he could see if her tibia was starting to grow, in which case there is some hope of salvaging the foot.
Since Elisenia has been at the hostel for two months with a caregiver (although she will be moved to my neighbor's house tomorrow), I don't see her every day and sometimes just have to run in and out and not spend much time with her. Sometimes she has diarrhea and I always let her caregiver know that if it continues, we have to take her to the hospital, but she lets me know that it doesn't last, just has little bouts. However, if we were to take her to the hospital, it would be difficult because both I and her caregiver have little kids which makes it difficult for us to sit at the hospital with her. The new caregiver has older kids, speaks Spanish much better, and has a disabled child with lots of experience going to the doctor's. So she will more be able to do things like this should they come up. But the issue before was, who would go and sit with her? And would the Purto Plata hospital even do anything as they didn't before? If not, it's even less feasible that someone goes and stays with her in Santiago.
Well, when we picked her up Thursday night to go to Santo Domingo and then slept at Jireste's Aunt Mari's house in Santiago, I realized as I changed her daiper that she had withered away to skin and bones, even more so than before. I became fearful and hoped that at CURE they would put her on an IV or something. The next morning at CURE the doctor agreed that she was dehydrated and needed immediate medical attention, but they are an orthopedic clinic and don't admit sick babies. Willy and Enso had come along to hold her during the trip and to see the capital for the first time. Enso (for those of you who know him, not Luckner Enso, Ti or Little Enso..who is not little now), refused to hold her and it was a discussion throughout the day but I resolved it by rewarding Willy with 200 pesos for his willingness. They stayed in the car with her and continued to give her her bottle while we went in the consulate, which went very quickly and smoothly, and then we headed back north with the plan of going straight to Transformation House in Cabarete.
Well...I just got a call from my Mom who said that my sweet, sweet Daddy passed away this morning. He had lung cancer for the past year and a half. So we'll try to see if they'll let me go with Maraya although her paperwork isn't done yet. I hope that they will as I really would love to be with my mom and siblings. If I can't though, I can't leave Maraya and... it'll be okay. I thought maybe I should erase the first part of this post since it portrays somewhat of an argument with my brother but I'll leave it since it's the truth and I highly doubt he reads my blog. But for the record, I love you Brother and I pray for nothing but unity for our family and strength for Mom. My Dad taught me so much... and instilled so much in me. I thank God for him and I am so proud of him for the life that he lived. And I'll miss him so much... but I do feel confident that he has life where I just don't get to see him right now. Thank you Lord.
To finish up, Transformation House was closed but we took her to Centro Medico Cabarete who were not working but a nice man perscribed Pedialyte (can't believe I didn't think of it but thought she needed something more) and told us to come back with a poop sample. Sounds like from the color of her poop (very white, never changing color even when she eats other stuff it doesn't seem) that she has a bacteria infection that may be messing with her nutrient absorption and overall health? We're actually heading to the doctor's with her today. So that's that. Not gonna read over this but just post it.