Every tree limb overhead seems to sit and wait, while every step you take becomes a twist of fate.
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road...

If you are new to our adoption blog please take a moment to scroll down to the archives at the bottom of this page and start with July 2009 post "Watershed."


+ One

On July 18th Ari invited some close friends to join her in the backyard.
Adults helped themselves to sangria.

Babies helped themselves to dirty pool water.

Pink cake was eaten daintily.

And pink cake was eaten not so daintily.

First birthday celebrated. Check.
First year gone completely. Check. :(



Love Grows Softly

How do you know when attachment is growing?

I wondered about this a lot. I swore to use the word "bonding" for at least our first 6 months home instead of "attaching" since I know this second word can be...confusing? debatable? hard to measure?

Bonding is easy. I think we understood from day one that bonding is little moments and memories you create that build a web of invisible strings between parents and child. We started bonding when we delivered sweet snacks into D's mouth on day one. We started bonding when we gave her the bottle. We took photos. We touched her feet to the grass. We pointed at ourselves "mama" "dada" a million times with big smiles. We hugged and held and made her laugh just a little. We took photos as a family. We were creating bonds.

But how to measure attachment? What does it really look like? I am thinking about that a lot these days because something is changing in our house. There is something, dare we say love (?!), growing softly in our home.

Tonight we had this moment of overwhelming sweetness before we put her to bed. The three of us, giggling, kissing, rubbing noses, making eye contact. She was so happy she was just glowing. J and I were not a. trying to rush her to bed so we could get some evening time alone or b. tired and frustrated from a long day with a demanding one year old. Nope. We were just enjoying it. No faking it till we make it.


looks me in the eye a lot

smiles when she sees me

plays near my feet or within my sight (or J's if he is home)

bursts into sobbing tears if she senses any frustration or irritation on my part (I don't quite know what to make of this actually - any thoughts?)

comes to me and lays her head on my shoulder while we are playing in her room

gets upset if I leave the room when we are out in public

touches my face and hair (or J's) when we rock at night (sometimes with more force than I would like but still, I think it counts)

Likes to look at us together in the mirror - this makes her laugh and sometimes she announces "mama" at our reflections

Talks about "dada" or "dadee" all day long

She does all of these things. They were little at first. Their charm snuck up on me. Many early days I spent wishing for the cavalry to come and save me from her grabby hands and screaming voice. But then one day recently I realized that I know each scream. Now I understand what she needs immediately. She screams so much less now that she trusts us. One day I realized that I liked looking at her in the mirror too. One day we realized that we have little family jokes and tricks just between the three of us.

J and I have become oozing piles of baby love mush. We were not when we arrived home a month ago. And now we are. What happened? More than bonding I think. Dare I say attachment work is going on here? I think D is helping us along. She is really the answer to all of my prayers for a child that would bring us great joy and laughter.

We named her:

(Jeremy suggests that I tell you it is pronounced like the music group R.E.M. but I would say that the last a is much softer. More like Are yehm.)

The name is a Ge'ez word which means Supreme Heaven. Ge'ez is the ecclesiastical language of Ethiopia. I think that means it is the language used for worship, scripture, and music.

We gave her the middle name Isabella. It means God's promise and it is also the name of Kelley's little girl whom we absolutely worship and adore.

Finally, we kept Derartu as a second middle name.

We left for Ethiopia armed with a few names we liked. And believing that we might choose to keep Derartu as a first name. But the name became painful to my ears after hearing it on the nannies lips for 3 weeks. There were too many moments when someone used her name to draw her to them and try to claim her. Too many times when her name felt like a leash tying her back to her long series of losses and orphanages and caregivers and not like the cord that could tie her to us. We needed to claim this little girl. To be honest I was scared to do it. I was having self-doubt. I was worried that she would feel loss. But far from that, she became A from day one and never looked back. She immediately stopped responding to D. She's a survivor. But more than that I think she WANTED and was waiting to be claimed by her family.


PS. After rereading each post I am shocked by how far we've diverged from our adoption parenting plan. Co-sleeping? Not a chance. Baby wearing? She wants none of it. Keeping her name? Nope. I would call the plan a huge fat failure IF I didn't look at the big picture and see so clearly how good each decision has been for all three of us.


Days 5-19 The Rest of the Story

Ok, I lied. Name post will be the next one!
Really needing to wrap up the travel posts and put them behind me.

After her long day at the doctor's office on day 4 we spent the afternoon in immigration. This appointment is part of the behind the scenes work done before most families arrive in country. We took D to immigration in the pouring rain. Buckets. Cats and dogs. Drenching cold rain. HUGE crowd surrounding the building. Overflowing waiting rooms. Completely incomprehensible set of intricate stops and starts and lines and forms. We were with 2 social workers from AAI and several children being processed for their passports so we just followed everyone around clutching the baby to us and trying not to slip and fall in the mud as we went from one building to another.

We shuffled around, changed a diaper on the ground, kept D plied with bottles and each went into our zones. (You know, the happy place you go in your mind when you'd rather be anywhere else. Mine was a Fiji, Tahiti, Bali, Hawaii combo. I was tan and thin, margaritas drunk from coconuts were plentiful, it was not too hot or too cold... you know the place.)

We were rewarded at the end of the day. D had her passport photo taken (and received her passport early the next week) AND we got to see her new Ethiopian birth certificate. With our names listed as her parents and her birthday surprisingly assigned as July 18, 2009.

Days 5-19. How can I even describe them?
We had a very brief honeymoon period. Just a few days where D slept for long naps and long nights, we were both well, and the weather was warm and sunny. We spent one afternoon playing with Kelley's kids: Ben, Bella and Simon, at the private international school which has a track, playgrounds, green grass, and a great cafe.

(Keeping it real with this photo. She's been our mini dictator from the start.)

On day 6 we joined Kelley's family and several of their friends for lunch at Antika - an Italian restaurant off of Bole Road that I highly recommend. During this lunch something really significant happened. It turned out that one of Kelley's friends is the man who processes adoption visas at the US embassy. We talked for several hours about adoption, corruption, ethics, agencies, visas, the future of Ethiopian adoptions, AND we talked about D's medical needs. This man, this wonderful man, described step by step to us what we needed to do to expedite our visa process. He said that because of her pre-existing medical condition PLUS the extremely poor care she received resulting in poor health, she would qualify to be expedited by the embassy. (And she was. In the end we passed court on May 24th and had our visa appointment on June 16th. It was practically a miracle.

(Had her first pizza and LOVED it. How do kids just know the junk food?)

On night 6 I got the chills. On day 7 I was feverish and could barely get out of bed. On day 8 we called our friends Jon and Jess (who work for Foresaken Children - a great organization that supports a drop in center and halfway home for street children in Addis) and they took me to the Swedish Clinic. Dr. Nagina is kind but very blunt. As I lay on her emergency bed claiming I was about to die (and I seriously felt that way) she said "we will take blood. If it is viral I will send you home with nothing. If it is bacterial you get medicine." (I have never in my life prayed so hard for a bacterial anything!)

(Jon, Jess and baby Dawit. Thank you - we love you!)

She attempted to swab my throat for strep and it didn't go well. Let's just say that she probably has better patients in her 5 year olds. (I have a phobia of that wooden tongue depressor.)

It was bacterial. I cried a little with relief. She said I had an "extremely high and obvious" count of bacteria in my blood. No clue what that means. Sent me home with medicine.

Day 7-9 I lay in bed. Yeshi the cook makes me homemade chicken noodle soup and keeps it coming. Jer brings me crackers and apple juice. I can barely swallow (the infection is respiratory and throat infection.) The fever breaks. I read the entire book The Help. I sleep 20 out of 24 hours. I have no idea where D is or who is taking care of her and I kind of care in between long sweaty naps but mostly I have a little lapse of memory that she is with us and I am a mom now.

Day 7-9 J apparently takes care of D with lots of help from Dinkanesh, Yeshi and Kelley/kids. Jeremy becomes very very tired. Jeremy almost cries. I almost cry. Maybe we both cried but I can't remember much from those days. D looks at me suspiciously when she's in my room. She doesn't understand why I've withdrawn. I feel guilty. The whole thing is nightmarish.

Yeshi and Dinkanesh cannot understand why J is taking care of the baby when they are there. They take D from him at every opportunity and begin to bond with her. D transfers her affection to them and to the guards. We know it will be hard to win her back. UGH.

Days 10-19 Nine days apparently go by and I just don't know what we did. We feel we are living the movie Groundhog's Day. Each day we are unsure if we'll make it in the embassy batch for the 16th. (Her TB test, passport, and other documents have to be done.)

J gets up 3 mornings in a row at 5am to have D ready for her 6am TB sputum testing. It involves intubating her. It is apparently not pretty. This happens while I am recuperating.

We rarely leave the house. I work to gain back trust with D. We visit with a few friends. We go to bed by 7:30 or 8pm every night. We pray that we will get her visa.

Day 14 We drive to Debre Zeit/Bishoftu with an AAI social worker and an Elolam Kids social worker. They take us to visit D's hometown. It is not far from Addis but is a long drive in rain and on bad roads. It is a long and hard day. We learn some things we did not know. We are left though with more questions than answers. We make a surprise visit to D's first nanny. (More on this in the name/attachment post.)

Day 16 We go to the embassy with the AAI group and receive D's visa. They even allow us to come later than the families with older children so that we won't have to wait so long. (Average embassy wait is about 3 hours.) We see "our guy" at the window and thank him profusely.

Day 17 Kelley and Yeshi help me dress D in her traditional outfit for a spontaneous photoshoot. In the afternoon D's orphanage throws a going away party for several of the children leaving for the U.S. with adoptive parents. We make a definite decision to change her name after hearing the nannies call to her all afternoon.

Day 18 We said goodbye to the Bunkers on Day 17 when they left for their summer vacation in the States. Jon and Jess pick us up at 8pm. Jeremy has had food poisoning for the previous 12 hours. I have a raging recurrance of my bacterial infection combined now with bronchitis. (But thankfully minus the debilitating fever.)

Our flight is at 1:40am. We arrive 4 hours early in order to request bulkhead/bassinett seating at the ticketing desk for Ethiopian Airlines - which was already reserved by our travel agent. We are told these seats are confirmed. We move on to the endless nighttime airport wait. The only glimmer is the light at the end - the bulkhead bassinett seat so we can LAY HER DOWN. (She hates the Er.go carrier and got a major second wind in the airport that involved crawling, laughing, eating, and screaming.)

We board somewhere around 3am. Late. Late departure. And our seats are NOWHERE NEAR THE BULKHEAD.
This is when J has hits his very limit. 19 days of confusion, late pick ups by drivers, wrong information, sickness, poor service from almost everyone involved in D's adoption, and he is over the edge. He takes the baby, walks up to the front of the plane (after trying to talk to flight attendants with no results) and demands to talk to a pilot. He does not budge for 30 minutes. There are obviously other seats available - many at the back of business class and at least one on a bulkhead but they will neither move us or shift anyone else to a better seat so that we can have some room to spread out. I am tired. I am defeated. D is crying. I am willing to give up and sit down. (SO not my normal style.)

But J stages his silent furious crying baby-holding protest until finally the head attendant comes and moves a man out of our row and into a nicer seat so at least we have a seat free between us for D. It was the best we could get, and it was not the "confirmed" bulkhead, but it satisfied. I think after all that we had been through J just could not handle the thought of either of us holding her for one more second. (Especially since were both sick!)

We lay her down, she fell asleep, we slept a bit. And somehow the 9 hour flight to London passed without any more drama. There were other adoptive families on the plane looking at us. I am sure they thought we were being ridiculous. But they did not know what we had been through the past 19 days. This was just the breaking point.

We have only one photo of the entire trip home. This one. And it just about sums it up I think.

When we arrived in London we couldn't stop grinning. We love the UK. We have lots of friends in London. London has great health care. London has pharmacies to treat my cough. London has croissants and hot mint tea and so much yum. We ate in Heathrow. D crawled around Heathrow. We decided to implement the "well it couldn't be germier than where she was living in Ethiopia" standard for allowing her to crawl all over public spaces. We slogged ourselves around to stay awake. We loved every minute of those 4 hours.

And then we hated every minute of the 10 hour flight home to Denver. It wasn't United's fault. They of course were wonderful. The transfer desk agent spent 20 minutes moving around the entire plane to get us a row of 3 in the front of economy plus. In theory we had space and comfort. But 5 of the 10 hours J spent in the back kitchen galley holding D who wanted nothing to do with sleep or sitting. 5 of the 10 hours I spent choking on my own phlegm and trying not to breath on any other passengers. 1 hour I spent walking D into sleep. And then she slept the last few hours on the plane, all the way through immigration and customs, all the way through baggage claim and almost all the way home. :)

We've reached the end. Home glorious home. Cool breezes, endless blue sky over mountains, green grass, our car and her carseat, our doggies, friends with food deliveries, a CRIB to put her in. Heavenly.

These posts are not meant to diminish the accounts of wonderful trips from other adoptive families. I am guessing that if you are guaranteed a visa and only spending 4-7 days in the country, particularly during the warm/dry/sunny season, that Addis and Ethiopia in general seems just fine.

But I have traveled all over the world and seen some DIRE living conditions and yet I have never experienced anything close to Addis Ababa. It is painfully dirty, painfully full of disease and neglect, heartwrenchingly full of the poor, elderly, disabled and children living in the streets. I have been there twice before this year so it was not a surprise. But living there with a sick baby for 19 days was not easy. Or pretty. Especially in the rainy season.

J never wants to go back. It was that traumatic. It's actually kind of funny looking back - a month later - at how visceral a reaction he had to it. But we have committed to attempt a return every 5 or so years. So we will be back. And we will go during sunny season. To visit Lalibela and Axum and Lake Tana and all of the other beautiful parts so that we can help D appreciate the land and people she comes from. We certainly don't want this one pick up trip to be all we can offer her.



She's growing up between blog posts!

I'm taking a break from blogging our time in Ethiopia to celebrate one month home! (Today is our FIRST post-placement visit from super wonderful social worker Kate.) We began our homestudy visits with Kate exactly one year ago this month. Last summer. It was an eternity ago. It was yesterday....

(Standing on her own now and SO proud of it!)

(Peekaboo is her favorite silly game.)

(First time at the Denver Ethiopian adoptive families picnic. Last year we declined.)

(First fourth of July party.)

(One week home - already a lifetime ago. Quite possibly my favorite photo of all time.)

(She likes her ride.)

(Who doesn't love bathing in a pink plastic pool on a hot day?)

(Early days home. One of her first big smiles - she was swinging.)
We are in no way "there" yet. As I type she's squeaking and screaching from her crib in full fury that I should set a nap time schedule and expect her to relax instead of play with us 100% of the time. But we are getting there.
(Next post! I promise I'll write about her name.)


Day 4 - The Swedish Clinic

We "woke up" from our sleepless night at 6am and had to wake D up, get her ready, and be at the orphanage at 7am for our doctor's appointment.

The doctor did not show up. According to the nurse he had a late night and decided to come at 10am instead of 7am.

SO. Not. Cool.

We had to choose between waiting for 3 hours (which was not going to happen) or walk a couple of miles back to Kelley's house. (Couldn't get a taxi to stop in rush hour traffic.)

We walked in the dust along the side of the road. Through goat herds, over piles of crap, with exhaust in our faces, clutching our sick baby to J's chest. I kept stumbling on huge rocks. J was being stared at like he was an alien landed from the very outer edges of the universe. D was all wide frightened eyes and raspy wheezing. Awful.

Kelley took one look at us and packed us off to her doctor at the Swedish Clinic. What can I say about the Swedish Clinic? It is professional. The doctor is kind. The lab is on site. The medicine is imported from Sweden and is guaranteed not to be expired.

We spent 3+ hours at the clinic. They gave D a full body physical and noted that she was very sick with bronchitis and a bacterial infection that entered through her v*g*na and spread up throughout her body. It was emerging as an eye infection, a bacterial respiratory infection, and a v*g*nal infection. The cause? Sitting in dirty diapers. Not being cleaned properly. Which is just infuriating since the orphanage has four nannies assigned to just 3 infants in the baby room. There is no reason they couldn't use the pounds of wipes sitting in the nursery to clean those babies. (But they don't.)

D also had fungal infections behind her ear and in her v*g*na. What we saw was not pretty. There was a lot of swelling, discoloration, pus, and general ooze. Our poor baby. She was so lethargic. But she was a great trooper throughout the whole inspection and the blood draw.

We left the Swedish clinic armed with 4 prescriptions, a receipt for our $325 bill, and feeling huge relief knowing that we had received the best care possible in Addis Ababa.

I don't understand why AAI can't bring the children in their care to the Swedish clinic. This is beyond my understanding. Why are the children at A***E being given such poor local care when we are, in theory at least, paying for their care while we wait to pick them up?

After arriving home I learned that other volunteers had stories of finding D sitting alone in her own feces covered in mucus and vomit. Another volunteer found her with the skin peeling completely off of her little bottom from such terrible diaper rash. How is this an acceptable level of care? I simply don't understand it. It isn't like the nannies were overwhelmed with children in the nursery.

The night that we brought D into Kelley's home, her cook burst into tears. Later she told me that as an Ethiopian she felt ashamed that any Ethiopian woman could take such poor care of our baby. She knew just by looking at D that she had not been cared for. She was actually afraid she was going to die! (A bit melodramatic in my opinion - but she said she was scared for her.)

Several times throughout our weeks at Kelley's house her cook, nanny and rotating security guards thanked us for coming for D and apologized that it was Ethiopians who had allowed her to be so sick. At first I tried to tell them that I thought the nannies might have been doing their best but they ALL told me that no woman would allow her child to become so sick with things that were preventable (like a diaper infection) and that it is common knowledge that orphanage workers work for money, not for the love of the children. :(

This isn't the end of the story. We are ok now obviously. And even in our time in Addis D improved tremendously. She enjoyed HUGE daily doses of affection from Kelley's family, from Yeshi the cook, Dinkanesh the nanny, and Solomon and Dessie the guards. She was emotionally and physically lavished with attention and care and it didn't take long for her to become herself. But I will never forget the condition her body was in when the doctor examined her at the Swedish clinic. And I will never forget the horror on Kelley's staff's faces when they saw her (CLOTHED) that first night.

My poor baby. I wanted to believe they loved her. But love is expressed in actions and I can't find anything in their actions that could make her conditions acceptable.




He is.

Evidence #1:
Yesterday he asked me to take the photo above so he could change his profile picture on fac.ebook. It is the only time he's ever changed that profile picture. He's never even posted a photo of me on his profile page!

Evidence #2:
Tonight he disappeared into the nursery to put her to bed but didn't come out for an HOUR. In theory this is not part of the cry it out method. When he finally came out he guiltily admitted to rocking and cuddling her into sleep.

Evidence #3:
During our first torturous, sick, sleepless week in Ethiopia he said "YOU did this to me." It didn't sound very nice.
Tonight as he reluctantly left her room he said, "You did THIS to me." ;)



Day 3 - Family Day

We tried to visit earlier. We arrived at 9am thinking we would be a step ahead of nap time.
But again, she was a tiny, fragile, sleepy baby with deep and sad eyes. She did recognize us when we arrived and gave us a big grin and some hearty clapping. But shortly after that she fell into a deep two hour sleep. We traded her back and forth while we sat in the playground, talked with another family, and took goofy photos of us looking ecstatic. We realized that the love had grown.

When it was time to say goodbye I just felt that everything was wrong with the world. I felt scared to leave her there and aching to take her home, give her a bath and get a good look at what might be going on with that little body.

So after saying goodbye for lunch we walked down to the AAI office to talk with Gail. She explained that D's birth certificate and court decree were not ready yet so we could not take custody. She also told us that we would most likely be assigned a June 30th embassy date and that we would have to go to the embassy to sign papers giving me power of attorney for Jeremy since he would be leaving on June 19th. Worst news of all was that I would have to renew my visa (it would expire June 30th) and that it would not be easy to get another one. It was so discouraging and we were so deflated heading back to Kelley's. We were both silently praying for a miracle.

When we arrived home the cell rang. It was Gail. She said that right after we left her staff brought in D's birth certificate and court decree. Which meant we could take custody of her that afternoon!

I had a meeting at UN.I.CEF and we knew D was sleeping until 3:30 so we agreed that Jeremy would go to get her ready and I would meet him there when I could with Kelley.

It was such an exciting afternoon. I'm so glad I had a meeting to focus on.
In a side note - this was a very cool meeting! It was a group of NGOs (some that do adoption and some that just do development) meeting to discuss their plans for foster care programming in Addis. This is such a big step in the right direction towards gettting kids OUT of the orphanage system. It was a professional and personal honor to be a part of this growing network.

By the time Kelley and I made it back to the orphanage we were an HOUR late and we found poor J standing outside holding a very dejected D and looking overwhelmed and exhausted. He had a pretty funny story to tell. (Funny to me but not to him.)
Apparently when he arrived, they weren't expecting him. He walked back to the baby room and walked in on a nanny WITH HER TOP OFF changing into her clothes to leave for the evening! I so wish I could have seen his expression. He says he'd like to erase that memory from his eyeballs. LOL

It was very anticlimatic. No AAI representative. No orphanage director. No formalities or goodbyes or signing her out. Just like it began.
Jer and D were reaching their limit of patience so we just packed them into the SUV and hustled out of there as fast as we could. D was wearing the jumper we sent in her care package. I sent J back in to find her owl lovey and photo book because no one had thought to pack those up for her. Very annoying.

I will never ever forget the breath of relief I took as we backed out of those green gates and they closed in front of us. I just hugged D to me, told her we would all be ok, and took a second to appreciate that our daughter had been SPRUNG from prison. Oops. I mean that orphanage. Forever. Never to have to live there again with such a poor level of care.

We were welcomed by Ben, Isabella and Simon at Kelley's house. They were too cute trying to be calm and talk softly but they were obviously so excited. (They had asked when the baby was coming home every day since I arrived!) We posed for this quick photo in the kitchen and then took D down to our room for her first bath.

She was amazed by her bath. She laughed and clapped and even bent down and tried to drink from it. But the day ended poorly with a big pasta dinner, a struggle over meds, and a giant vomit. Oh man. That poor baby. I just felt sick with worry about her, and our ability to feed her and medicate her, by the time we put her down.

I wish we had a picture of her first night with us. We put her clean and lotioned little body into warm brown and pink flowered pajamas. Then we rocked with a bottle. Before she fell asleep we slid her into the Peapod, pulled up the soft pink blanket, read a book and said goodnight. She played peekaboo with her blanket and we tried very hard not to burst into laughter. HERE was the little girl that shines. And then. Very suddenly. She was fast asleep. (Hah. That's the LAST time it happened that way.) She slept for almost 13 hours with a couple of short wake ups. WE did not sleep for even one minute. We lay in that bed listening to her sick rattly wheezing and worried about her. We discussed what we had seen on her body and in her diaper. We strategized the plan for the next day. We laughed and we almost cried. It was a very long night's introduction to parenthood.




She slept well in Ethiopia. Two full naps each day, at least two hours each. We would do a bottle and holding then pop her in the Peapod once she was asleep and go about our business. At night she slept from 6:30pm-5:00am with two wake ups.

The serious sleep problems began on the flight home when she showed us that she could keep herself awake on adrenaline for 20 hours at a time.

Our first week home she was jet-lagged and that was a blessing because naptimes were easy and long and nighttime wake ups were easily forgivable. And we were more awake in the middle of the night anyway. We noticed she was waking up more often and staying awake and upset (even as we held her) much longer but we assumed it would improve.

Five days ago it began. The BIG SLEEP PROBLEM.

It began to take 40 minutes or more of walking, rocking and holding to get her into a deep sleep. Then after putting her in her crib she would wake up anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes later howling and screaming in anger. (Not crying - screaming.) Naps became non-existent and I would spend 2 hours trying for morning nap and 2 hours trying for afternoon nap only to be completely sweaty and exhausted myself with an overtired and angry baby on my hands at the end of it. Nightime devolved from 3 wakeups lasting 10-20 minutes to 10 or more wake ups with at least two lasting an hour or more.

The night before last she stayed awake screaming in our arms from 1am-3:30am. She fell asleep for an hour and woke up for good at 5:00am SCREAMING.

We have been confused, frustrated, desperate. We have googled. We have emailed friends for help. We have traded off nights. We have tried to bring her into our bed where no one gets sleep. We have held through kicking, hitting, and biting. We have tried total darkness. White noise. Calming music. Baby rescue remedy. Warm baths. We went to the doctor and got antibiotics for a very light ear infection. After reading someone else's sleep post on a blog I tried praying over her and for her. Desperate prayers for deep sleep.

Nothing made it better. It got worse and worse and worse with the grand finale the night before last. Yesterday neither of us was functional. We were falling to pieces and so was she.

Confession. Last night we tried the cry it out method. Not recommended for adopted babies. Controversial for some. Not in my parenting plan (which involved cozy story times, snuggling in the Ergo, and co-sleeping) whatsoever.

Last night she refused to go to bed after 40 minutes of rocking. She was so wound up from being sleepless for so many days that she kept herself awake in our arms until 9:00pm. Crying, laughing, hitting, bouncing and sticking her fingers up our noses. (Sooo much fun.) We tried bottles. We tried singing. We even let her get down and play for awhile which only increased her adrenaline surge.

Finally I had her in a deep sleep. Then I put her down. Three times she woke up immediately upon touching the crib mattress and went from deep sleep to full angry scream in .1 second. On round three I confess. I was ready to throw her out the nursery window. Or something like that. I could feel my hands tightening on her little raging body in a less than soothing way. No matter how much empathy I feel for her. No matter how desperately I want to ease this for her. I just can't be a good mother on so little sleep.

I had to put her in the crib, turn on the monitor, close the door and walk away. Her howling was pure torture and I thought it would kill me. I sat on the couch and listened to her. My biggest fear was that this would go on for two hours or even more. But after 20 minutes it was just periodic baby swearing in our direction. And after 30 minutes it was a very infrequent grunt of anger. And at 35 minutes she was fast asleep.

She woke once and we changed her diaper and soothed her right back to sleep.

AND OTHER THAN THAT SHE SLEPT ALL NIGHT. Until 6:20am. And she woke up happy and giggling and hugging us. Not a care in the world. And. no. screaming!

So I confess. We went against all advice and conventional wisdom to save ourselves. And it worked. And now she is 45 minutes into morning nap and still sleeping soundly.

This is such a long and boring post for anyone reading without a sleep issue baby.

But to me this is a big day. It is the first morning I feel functional and it is the first morning we are cheerful and have hope that we can actually make it another 17 years of parenting this child we love.

About Me

My photo
J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.