The day after we returned from Awassa our agency brought our children to the Guest House. All of us parents were excited and we paced and waited for the van to pull in... yet not far from our minds was how difficult this moment must be for our kids. I think Sweet M* had the hardest time out of our travel groups children. His heart was racing when they put him in my arms and he even tried to run out the gates of the Guest House bc he was just so nervous. It was the hyper/ excited/ nervous so he was smiling, but he just wasn't himself. We took him upstairs and gave him a bath which he loved. We were shocked that he could wash his entire little body all by himself with a bar of soap. He would even scrub his face with the soap and then dump the water right into his eyes. It really makes you wonder who or how he was able to bath in the orphanage and with his birth family. He was pretty proud of himself after the bath and some new clothes and he continued to bath about 3 times a day for the remaining days.
But, what also came with the nervous/ excited/ scared little boy that I had was tantrums. I was expecting tantrums, but I had read more about them with kids from Russian orphanages and I hadn't seen much about it on Ethiopian Adoption blogs. I don't know that I was ready for the blood curdling/ inconsolable crying (screaming) that was going to occur. From the moment we took custody anytime we had to give direction Sweet M* would go into a full blown tantrum. He wouldn't hit or bite (yet) he would just scream and cry. It was so loud the maids and guards would come to see what was going on. I felt awful. Walks outside would help him calm down, but at the time I just couldn't do it. Taking him into the streets as a white person in Ethiopia while he was kicking and screaming was just too much for me- I was scared we would ruin international adoption for anyone behind us. So, I would allow the maids and guards to help console him. At first they could, but as the days went on and people just kept giving in to his fits he got worse and even the guards and maids would give up trying to get him out of his raging fit.
The last day there I decided that I was not going to let the others help and if he needed to cry bc I had to give him a direction so he did not hurt himself that was okay. His tantrums started to slow down and get a little better. And, he would calm down after he came out of a fit which I noted as progress. But, I was really having a hard time and I was exhausted.
The one thing that really helped me was Nancy Thomas' "Taming the Tiger" program. They have a yahoo group that was my savior while I was in Ethiopia. I just needed to hear that others had been in my situation and that they and their children got better. They told me that they did and now I can say that we are making it to. But, I'll catch you up soon on our more recent progress.
I have paused, erased, re-wrote and re-thought typing this information, but I want to be REAL. I was scared in Ethiopia. I was worried that I wasn't capable of handling my son and it was hard to see it getting any better. And, yes I read a ton of books and researched toddler adoption- BUT it is different reading it and experiencing it. I want those behind me to understand and be able to be prepared for this part of the process. And, I hope you find this information helpful.