On Binyam

Bee-nom, this is how they really pronounce his name. We had thought it was Bin-yum but it’s not. Bee-nom, it suits him.

The smallest of my clan, and arguably the most needy right now. I’ve never blogged about this because it just didn’t seem “right” or whatever but lately I’ve felt like I could talk about it without sounding…unauthentic or something? I don’t know what the word would be.

Anyway, Binyam has club feet. In the beginning he looked like this (how cute, how sad, how precious?)

One of the women who happened to be there when my boys were relinquished arranged for an American doctor to perform surgery on Binyam’s feet. Now they look like this. In most shoes it looks mostly like he’s severely pigeon toed.

I bring this up only because his future foot issues will probably be a hot topic around here in the coming months. He has his first specialist appointment in less than a month. Probably it will require either another surgery or many different casts/braces.

But don’t let him fool you, this kid is STRONG. You’ve never seen someone run as fast as he does on the outside of his feet. In the beginning I tended to baby him thinking he wasn’t capable of all that he is, my mistake. I have a feeling a lot of people will make the same mistake and he will continually prove them wrong-break barriers that people lay before him.

I also happen to know that his feet are undoubtedly the main reason he came to be in our family. We were open to club feet when not many/no one else was. I guess this is my time to encourage those of you on the adoption journey to look at EVERY condition on that checklist, there are lots of things that end up being a very small deal when you bring your kids back to the States. I’m just sayin’.

But back to Binyam. The cutest, funniest, precious boy. He loves us, he is really starting to love us. Do you know how I know?

Because the kid doesn’t sleep. After almost a week of him sleeping maybe a few hours at night and not at all during nap, I finally called our Social Worker.

In the adoption world we call it “hyper-vigilant”. Binyam is on constant guard, making sure nothing in this new world of his, a world he likes very much, changes. Binyam doesn’t misbehave when he’s not sleeping. He’s not playing, or reading. More often than not he’s literally sitting up staring at the door or laying down staring at the wall. Sometimes he can be found standing next to the door.

Apparently the door thing is probably an indication that he’s making sure no one will leave him. He wants to be the door keeper, he wants to make sure this family stays intact.

We have him sleeping in our room and last night I woke up every half hour or every hour to find my youngest staring at me (not at all creepy, ahem). Get up, lay him down, give him a kiss, whisper “I love you” and then crash. Rinse, repeat every hour.

Surprisingly he doesn’t act out or make bad decisions during the day (which is what most of the other kids do when they are sleep deprived). The best way to describe him is “zombie-like”. He walks around in a daze, appears to almost fall asleep during meals, etc.

So that’s what’s killing me about him. Because usually he’s vibrant, giggly, teasing, loving in an appropriate way, etc. And now, nothing.

After talking with our social worker I feel a bit better, though she didn’t give us any new information she did confirm everything we thought. It will get better once he learns more English, keep doing what you’re doing and trying new sleep arrangements, etc.

We had Tomas ask Binyam why he wasn’t sleeping. Binyam spoke for quite awhile, pointing at the doors of his bedroom. Tomas didn’t have the English words to translate back but we made out a bit of what Tomas was saying back to Binyam. Something about Ethiopia, about us and family and then Tomas told Bini to say sorry to us. 🙂 We are hoping in the coming weeks either Binyam will be able to tell us what is wrong or Tomas will be able to translate for us.

I’m surprisingly okay about this whole thing. A little tired, perhaps, but nothing that a little coffee won’t fix. All things considered this is a pretty good sign. I don’t want our family to change either, and I want him to know that.

This is just sad for me. Sad that a 3-year-old knows so much about abandonment. It’s so wrong for a kid to know this feeling it feels like Earth’s axis should be moved multiple degrees everytime this happens to a little one. That’s how wrong it is.

And now I have 3 kids who know this feeling within every fiber of their being, and again, my mama love isn’t enough to cover them or to make it right.

But it’ll be there, and hopefully this mama love will be enough to start the healing soon. Because I already am loving these newest members of our family. More than I loved Tariku at this stage of the process, truth be told. But it’s a long road, more so for them than for me. I’m just praying that Binyam will keep his eyes on the love we’ve built and break this barrier like he has the rest of them.

Until then, multiple times a night, you’ll hear this from my bedroom. “Go back to sleep, we’re still here, we love you, we won’t leave you, you’ll be in this family for the rest of forever and I am so happy, so thankful I get to be your mommy. Ishi (ok?)”

13 thoughts on “On Binyam

  1. Little Miss will lay awake in her crib for a long long time. She does the same thing. She doesn't cry, she just lays there and LOOKS for as long as she can until she finally falls asleep. We peek into her room to be sure she sees us, we make eye contact, smile, say I love you, see you in the morning, I'm here if you need me, etc. I try and be a little noisy, talk to myself etc so that she knows we're still out there. We talk about it before and after we put her to bed too. "You're going to sleep now. I'll be here if you need me. We'll see each other again when you wake up."Not like you don't that stuff, just rambling here in your comments…lol.Sorry! 🙂

  2. Aw, him barely sleeping just breaks my heart. Prayers for Binyam and your family as you embark on doctor's appointments for his feet. And, I know he feels the fierce love you have for him, but I hope he soon understands it enough that he can relax and finally get some sleep.

  3. You're doing a fabulous job. Your sweet boy is in my prayers as well as you. Praying that you will all know sleep, peace and for Mr. B that he will know the assurance that you will be there in the morning. My husband just asked me last night if I knew how Tomas was doing. So, I popped over here to check on him. He made quite the impression on my hubby 🙂 We have the cutest video of him leading the kids in singing at the farewell ceremony. If you want me to send it to you, message me and I can! Blessings to your household today…Laurawww.lifewlaura.blogspot.comlaurajvg@gmail.com

  4. Those were my favorite feet in all of Ethiopia. He was one of my favorite kiddos. I'm so sad he is so concerned but thrilled he now know the love a family he doesn't want to loose!

  5. Tesi – Great point about being open to health issues on the list. There's so much kids can overcome and I had to get passed my own head to be open about it.Tarren and I are saying prayers that Binyam will relax his vigilance as you come together as a family. When you're in the thick of it these things seem to last forever! Tell the boys that we (Tarren in particular!) say HI!Love,Anna (and Tarren, Wyatt, Waverly, Jude and Asher!)

  6. z used to sleep hard to escape life. just plain escape it. he would not pause to breathe during the day and at night he didn't want to deal with any of it so he just crashed. it's so interesting how kids respond to the awfulness of it all. i remember the zombie look, though. i think that's normal in that there's so much to take in they have to shut down every once in awhile. you are SO in my thoughts and prayers. and those feet of his are so kissable. they've got some amazing life adventures ahead of them.

  7. So much good stuff in such a great post about such an amazing kid. Patience and love and SLEEP can do wonders…praying for all three for your family. And praying for some clear answers on your upcoming appointments. Thank you for your mention of various conditions and what they might mean–we wouldn't have our daughter today if we would have said "no" to one of the very minor things that we said "yes" to. Amazing.

  8. I just wanted to let you know really quick just how much your blog has meant to me recently. My husband and I are adopting from Ethiopia and I stumbled across your blog several weeks ago. Somehow, I ended up reading this post about your son. We were in the process of going to committee on another waiting child at the time (he did not have club feet) but we were not picked. When they called to tell us the news, they asked if we would consider looking over the info on another waiting child, a little girl with club feet. Your blog was the very first thing that came to my mind at that moment. I had just read this post about a week before, and honestly I have no idea how I even stumbled onto your blog or this particular post. We looked over her info and said yes the next day. We are just starting to learn all there is to know about this condition, but I have been comforted by the words (and pics) on your blog. I just wanted to let you know that your post really spoke to my heart and gave me the peace and confidence to help us make the decision to add this baby girl into our family. God knew that I was going to need that encouragement about a week after I read it, he was already preparing the way and using your words to help guide us. I have really enjoyed your blog and you have a beautiful family. Thanks again!

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