Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Travel Journal: 3-13-07 Too much help!

What a day! Right now Bright is sitting across from me on the bed looking at the photo album I made for him. His favorite picture is himself!

---Break---over an hour later.
Someone knocked on my door wanting her son to meet Bright. She took Bright from me without even asking and walked off. This morning Bright has decided that ANY Ghanaian lady is better than me. When I brought him back to the room he cried for quite a while. Finally he settled back in and then ANOTHER knock on the door. It was the same woman delivering breakfast. SHE TOOK HIM AGAIN IMMEDIATELY! Happy Bright. Then she left and he began to cry again. He was so mad. I was so mad. He kept motioning to the door. Anybody but me.

We got through breakfast with off and on crying (mostly crying) but he did give me a bite of his toast. Then ANOTHER knock. "He is still crying. He wants me." said the woman's voice. I wanted to say, "Of course he does but I'm his mom! He's got to learn that!" Nobody here seems to understand that. They just want the baby to stop crying (everybody in the compound can hear him.)

I tried to talk to her this last time about how all babies go through this at first and he needs to just get through it WITH me--but at the end she said, "Okay, so we go then. He is happy with me." and she walked out the door with my baby.

I feel like crying. Why can't I just be mean and tell her NO? Because I'm the first parent they've seen taking the baby and I don't want them to feel like I'm an ugly American stealing a Ghana baby away. Bright and I made such good progress last night BEFORE all of these "visitors." Now it will all have to be done again.

He woke at 2am and drank a bottle while looking into my eyes. He interacted with me for an hour before I put him back to sleep. When I woke him this morning there were no tears. Tons of eye contact, a hug, and my first tiny glimpse of a smile. Now it's all ruined. Now he will probably cry all the way to Accra.
I got him back! I went out, found him, talked for a bit with the woman who had taken him over, and saw that he was getting tired. I was about to say he needed to rest and take him when she walked away. When she came back she had Bright strapped to her back! No way lady! Mommies do that! So I told her he was tired and I would take him back to sleep. She reluctantly agreed. I brought him back, gave him part of a bottle and put him to sleep with no tears. Whew. We need to get out of here before he cries again or more well-meaning "help" will arrive!!

---Break---Hours Later---
The saga continues. Edward came in this afternoon (we were supposed to leave at 9am) and said that Mama E wants us to stay one more night so Bright can get used to me. She said that if anything is wrong with Bright it isn't immediate, but crying could make him sick. I just wish I could convey to them what Bright needs. Yes, I believe that crying makes things worse too, but the only thing that will make it better is getting to a doctor...and time. But we're here for another day. Bright does okay until someone else comes to the room. Then he loses it. He's not crying before they come...they come...he starts crying because he wants to go to them...then they want to take him because he's crying! Ahhhh!!!!

Okay. Edward talked to the "helpful" ladies at the guesthouse and now they are leaving us alone. Come to find out, Edward had asked them to be as much help as they could to Bright and I. =-) This afternoon has been very difficult for Bright and I. He's fighting sleep and I'm certain he hasn't slept enough. He is MAD--hardly cries tears--just yells and points to the door because that's where the black people are! It does seem to help (just like it did with Taevy) for me to walk around with him outside. The problem is that he starts crying wildly when he sees a Ghanaian person so I'm ducking in and out so he doesn't see them.

At one point I put Bright on my back and he immediately assumed "the position" of a Ghanaian baby. So a bit ago I got brave and asked the women here to show me how to wear him on my back. They put him on my back and lay the fabric over him and then expected me to know what to do from there. I had NO idea! LOL! They laughed and laughed as they showed me how to tie the fabric (something they probably knew how to do from the time they were toddlers) and kept laughing as Bright and I walked away with him happily perched on my back.

Since Bright has been on my back he hasn't cried. We went for a short walk in the village, met children, took pics of a school house, accepted a gift for Bright from some of the girls (palm fronds braided with flowers), and met a 7 year old boy named Bright. Then we came back to the room where I expected him to cry--but he didn't! I should have done the back thing LONG before now!

So right now he is sleeping on my back and I have both hands free to write this note! I may be imagining things (time will tell) but it's as if me putting Bright on my back signaled him taht I'm for real and I am his caregiver.

Edward is so wonderful. Today, while I've been dealing with Bright he has been doing all kinds of things on my behalf. He went to Eugemot and tried to talk to Mama about everything for 2-3 hours. Mama wanted us to visit the orphanage today but I explained to Edwards that would absolutely be So confusing for Bright! So the compromise is no Eugemot visit but we stay in the hotel another night. Edward also went to the hospital in Ho to see if we could get Bright's labs done here today (no--would take several days) and talked to the doctor in the village to make sure we could bring Bright to him in an emergency. The doctor said anemia takes "a while" to kill someone. Great. =-/ Bright has already been anemic for at least the last 2 months. He sounds awful when he cries. He has a deep cough. How long is "a while?"

Breakthrough! I just walked the grounds with Bright on my back. We saw all of the people who he wanted so bad (including Edward) and he didn't cry for them! Now I am a real Ghana mommy!!
It's about 8pm and I think Bright might be out for the night. I'm waiting for dinner to be made and I'm starving. Definitely think I will lose some weight while I'm here. Today I've eaten one order of toast (shared w/ Bright) and 3 granola bars (shared w/ Bright). They made me an omelet for breakfast but it was full of veggies so Bright at part of that--I didn't. Tonight I've asked for chicken with plain rice (no pepper). I think I will devour it. Even though Bright hasn't eaten much food he has drank his formula well so I'm not worried. Definitely has a sweet tooth like his mommy!

This morning my door wouldn't unlock from the inside so they ripped the screen and had me pass my key to them. Now the carpenter is in and out trying to fix the door. He's been gone for a long time now and I wish he would hurry because I want to shower and go to bed!

Dinner came (huge mound of yummy rice with spicy fried chicken). The carpenter is here now too, so maybe I can get to bed by 10 (it's 8:30). Tip: Buy BAGS of water when you are here! Each bag has 500ml (16 or so ounces) and costs 400 cedis (.04). So, I've bought 15 bags (240 ounces) for about 60 cents! Okay...I'm full, my door is fixed and locked...I've got a sleeping baby...shower time!

It's 9:10 and I'm clean. Ahhh! The shower both here and at Hands of Mercy cracks me up! If you turn your kitchen sink on very low, and make the water cold to room temperature--you have the shower I've had. But you know what? When you're hot and tired and dirty it doesn't matter quite so much. You also take other things in stride--like the fact that it's a lost cause to put on makup or blow dry your hair (I blow dry straight but it kinks up as soon as I'm done here)--and that you forgot to pack a pair of panties for your "overnight" trip that turned into two nights (3 days). Bath soap and cold water will do. Better than wearing them for third day without being washed! Just hope they're dry by morning.

Have I said in the last hour how great Edward is? He is. He has it all set up for us to go straight to the doctor tomorrow...phoned Paul to let hi know of our plans...and talked to his friend at the passport office who says he will get it done as soon as humanly possible. Edward says, "Bright IS going home with you--at least I will do my part to make sure that happens." Edward is great.

I miss phone and email and blogging. So much so that I find myself dictating letters in my head about what I will write to Mom and Eric as soon as I can! I know they have got to be going batty not having heard from them. And I'm going batty not being able to contact them to ask for specific prayers. I think I will try to sleep now. Goodbye March 13.


LeAnne The Haiti Lady 12:17 AM  

I have enjoyed reading about your trip to get Bright. My hubby and I went to Haiti in December to bring our 2 youngest home. My 3rd trip to Haiti, his first BUT First time we were BOTH away from our other children (both from Haiti as well) and we thought we would only be gone 5 days total. USCIS and the Consulate were not on the same page and we ended up staying 10 days in Haiti instead of 5 round trip. Talk about washing your undies with soap, little water, and hoping they are dry the next day!
Prayers that all will work and Bright can come home THIS TRIP!
LeAnne The Haiti Lady

Barbara C 5:56 AM  

Thanks so much for typing all this out, Anita! It's so helpful!!! I'll definitely be putting Deirdre on my back! I had a little practice with that in South Africa with Molly. And so glad Taevy hasn't regressed! Yay God, indeed!

Jen 1:27 PM  

Anita, I haven't looked at your blog for about a week. WOW! I missed a lot. I'll have to catch up on it all but I love reading about your experiences. You are SOOO in Africa. It all moves differently there, doesn't it? Our American ways get tested but that's not always a bad thing. I was so happy to read that Bright is settling down now that he's on your back. I love it. Good luck with everything and I am anxious to connect when you return. Take care!