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?)"