STEPS: So, the big news first...our little man is walking!!! He has been pulling himself up for quite some time which led to taking a few steps here and there. And then...drumroll...on October 9th, 2010, as he was sitting on the kitchen floor banging two chopsticks together, boom. He got up, continued banging the chopsticks and took off without stopping until he made a full loop to end up back where he started. He then hurled himself forward in exhaustion and remained flat on the floor. (chopsticks were removed from hands by this point)
Nikolicious is also sleeping through the night! Last night was the fourth night in a row and I really hope I'm not jinxing it now that I've put it in writing. His crib is now his friend, which is just amazing to see. He loves playing and dancing in his room at the beginning and end of each day. Watching him now from only two short months ago is like watching a different child. He's growing each day, both physically and mentally. It's so comforting and rewarding to see his confidence, joy, content and overall excitement each day. He is truly his own little man.Leading up to the big day, a little girl in the park asks if she can help him walk. So cute!
One of the final days in shorts. I can't believe he's outgrowing clothes already!
AIDE: If you are traveling soon and able to carry aide, please email me at tamara at newyorkdesigner dot com. If you know of anyone traveling, please pass this info along.
One of the government orphanages that Gladney families tour is Kebebe Tsehay. This place will leave you speechless. Before entering the baby house we were given a short overview. It is labeled 'the worst government orphanage in Ethiopia'. A heavy title to bear in a country already known for such poverty. We were also told that two weeks prior to our visit, they lost seven babies in one night. There are babies living with a series of illnesses that are otherwise preventable in the United States, due purely to a lack of resources.
On our tour, there were 14 adoptive parents in our group. Each parent had a baby in their arms while holding a bottle for another lying nearby in their crib. There were still babies not being tended to. On a daily basis these babies have TWO caregivers. That was until this amazing woman stepped in and was able to assist in providing 24 caregivers. Her blog describes the orphanage in great detail and I suggest reading it.
Asking what else could make an impact, I was told hand sanitizer. There was NONE. The caregivers are doing the best they can with what they have, but are treating one baby and then moving on to the next and very likely spreading disease in the process. I have secured multiple refills of hand sanitizer with their corresponding wall mounts. If you're able to drop them at Kebebe on your upcoming visit, I will ensure I wrap it in a way to avoid any leaks. One item is the size of a standard wall dispenser. Hopefully this can work out and I will continue working on this end to keep the supply coming. Each refill bag = 2,000 squirts.
SPECIAL MOTHER: Our little boy's personality continues to amaze us. As he reaches a new development stage, looks to us with such security, trudges along with such determination if he toddles over, discovers a new sound and experiences everything with such joy we continue to think of his Special Mother. I think we always will. She played the biggest role in his life prior to our care and we are forever grateful for the genuine love and guidance she provided. We know his transition to our care would not have been as productive had she not supplied him with the proper tools.
She asked for updates and photos as he grows, which we are so happy to do and recently sent our first to her with a traveling family. It was a little hard to write and show pictures of him walking, knowing she may be a little sad reading this from afar. However, I truly believe all the Special Mothers do want updates and the comfort of knowing all their little guys & girls are doing well. What a great role you all have played in the lives of our children. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!