Friday, February 5, 2010

First Broken Bone

Returning from the docotor.
Post ice cream.

All packed up

Care package ready!

Not exactly the "first" that I would have chosen to document. So after only 18 days in our care, Hermela sustained her first (as far as we know) broken bone-her left clavicle (collar bone).

I knew that we would eventually have a broken bone with five kids in the house, I just didn't expect it to be Hermela or Meron and I really didn't expect it to be so soon. With two boys and a big climbing tree out back, sports and Colton's fearless sense of adventure, I figured one of the boys would win the prize for "first break".

So our neighbor was pulling his 1 year old son in their wagon and Hermela hopped in for a ride. He was pulling them around in circles and then letting the wagon "spin out" (while still holding on to the handle). Hermela was loving every minute of it. I had just gone inside to make lunch when I heard her crying for mommy (Nick was outside with her). The wagon had tipped over on its side leaving a big bruise on our neighbor's baby and Hermela clutching her shoulder.

It's hard to assess a child that is fairly new to the family and doesn't speak much English. Reactions may not always match the seriousness (or lack of seriousness) of the injury. We've had a couple of minor "koosils" (boo, boos) since we've been home (i.e. stepping on a toy, falling down while running..) and Hermela-who is a little on the dramatic side-will start to cry and then laugh once I come over to comfort her. She and Caleb have even started saying "drama, drama" when somebody cries or falls down as a joke. So when I first brought her in, it was hard to tell how much was drama verses a real injury. I had just read in one of my adoption books last night that adopted children often over play their injuries as a mean of getting that extra loving care that accompanies being sick or hurt (mommy comes to the rescue, kisses, hugs, rocking...). We quickly discerned that this was not attention seeking and was truly a serious injury when she repeatedly told us her collar bone hurt and consistently pointed at the same spot on her bone. Pinpoint tenderness, as it is called in the medical field, is a hallmark sign of a fracture.

Sure enough, she had fractured her clavicle. She is now sporting a lovely harness that straps around her shoulders and back like a back pack. She'll have to wear it for the next six weeks and then should be good as new. I hate it for her that she is in pain and has to go through all of this. Especially because she is just getting use to us caring for her and we don't have all the words to reassure her that we would like. Thank goodness for "Simple Amharic for Adoptive Families" (an Amharic phrase book we bought). It has phrases like, "this won't hurt", "this is the doctor", "point to where it hurts" and "this will make you feel better". I think she knows that we will take good care of her.

I told Nick that I was glad these weren't our first kids. I would have felt like a complete failure if we had only been parents for 18 days and already had a child with a broken bone. Even though it was a complete accident that could have happened to anyone at anytime, you still feel bad as a parent.

She did perk up when we got home and I offered her some ice cream. Meron asked her if she'd like some cake to go with it-we didn't have any (Meron tries to sneak cake in whenever possible).

On a brighter note, Caroline's new favorite game is to play "go to Ethiopia to pick up your new kids". This game consists of packing up and flying on an airplane (the bottom bunk of her bed) to Ethiopia and then meeting your new kids and bringing them home. Fun little game:). Tonight I was impressed with the detail of her packing. She thoughtfully packed a gallon sized ziplock bag (those of you who are adopting will appreciate the fact that she stayed within the alotted bag size-we wouldn't want to pay extra for baggage) with books and toys to send as a care package for her kids (like we had done for Hermela and Meron). She told me she was bringing all the kids in Africa back to our house because we have room for them. So cute!

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