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Adoption Blog: Melting Pot Family

Learning More About Our Daughter’s Birth Country Put Our World in Perspective

After receiving our referral for a baby girl from Ethiopia, I printed out copies of my daughter’s picture: one for my work, our bathroom, and my home office. I would talk to them, as if by doing so I could communicate to my daughter how much I loved her and wanted to care for her. I also found myself reflecting. Something had shifted. We had opened a window into another reality and I needed to examine our lives with the benefit of this new light. 

A few weeks before, when I had gone to my regular yoga practice, Dimitri, our eldest, headed to a park with a friend on their bikes. During my class, in which there is a strict no-cell-phone policy, I had a strange feeling my phone had rung. It was in the back room, so it is unlikely that I actually heard anything. But it was ringing when I retrieved it after class. My husband was at the emergency room with Dimitri.

Things had not gone according to the plan. People were playing paintball in the park, so Dimitri returned home. In the meantime, my husband, Michael, and our other son, Damian, went to find Dimitri. While they were looking, Michael received a call from the fire department. Dimitri had an accident and needed immediate medical attention. At the hospital, the X-ray showed a grim picture. Dimitri snapped his humerus (upper arm bone) and pushed one section past the other at an angle. The doctor talked about surgery and rehabilitation.

As we came to learn, Dimitri attempted a 180-degree jump off a retaining wall in front of our house. He was completely torqued when he landed with his bike on top of him. When he then used his broken arm to try to get up, he shortened it by a few centimeters. 

Once he was able to come home from the hospital, Dimitri was in such extreme pain he walked like someone decades his senior with debilitating health might. When his painkillers wore off, he woke up in the night screaming. He insisted that we keep all of our bedroom doors open as we slept so we could hear him call out.

He struggled to balance schoolwork and simply getting around. After working so hard to earn the right to play for one of the top soccer teams in our community for boys his age, he had to sit on the sidelines during practice.

My husband and I were consumed with worry. But friends from our community were wonderful. They stopped by with schoolwork and sent well wishes to cheer him up, including a digital picture frame with photos of Dimitri and his team playing soccer. He positioned it so he could see it as he fell asleep.

The medical care he received at the hospital and later at a pediatric orthopedist was amazing. No surgery was required. He rejoined his soccer team on the field, albeit with a slightly shorter arm, a mere eight weeks after his accident.

Thinking back to the referral call, I recalled our coordinator's revelation of the stark details about the immense need in Ethiopia (the details of which I'll explore further in a future post). From this I gained a new perspective on our own struggles. We had worried so much about a broken bone. I had felt inadequate as a mother because I wasn't there when my son got hurt. But we had access to specialized medical care and so much support. How must it feel for parents who cannot provide food, shelter, or medical care for their children? And how do they cope when there is nowhere to turn for help?

Someday our daughter may have similar thoughts and questions. She may be the one asking how her life might have been if it had taken another path. But for now, she is beyond happy to be toted around by her big brother, who, as you can see, is fully healed. And as a mother, I am completely humbled.

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II think I know where you’re going with this post. While on our trip to India we saw disease and poverty unparalleled in the US. It really changes your perspective on life. Often, when I feel down or worried about this or that, I think back to our trip and realize, by comparison, I don’t have a care in the world. Great post and glad your son recovered quickly!

By Jeff on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 3:39 am.

Thanks, Jeff.  You got it exactly right! 

Oh to be young with those magical healing abilities . . broke my toe yesterday and don’t think I will recover as quickly.  Oh well . .small stuff.

By Ellenore Angelidis on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 8:13 am.

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Ellenore Angelidis

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