It’s the news everyone has been waiting to hear: our baby is finally home! This afternoon, we were walked to the doors of the hospital and sent on our way. We don’t own a car, and finding a car seat to accommodate Elvie’s physical differences is difficult anyway, so we took public transportation home with Elvie in a ring sling against me and a balloon trailing behind Jarod as he walked. Zinashi and Jarod’s mom met us near the streetcar stop, and we all walked the four blocks home together. It was perfect, our own little private parade. Walking into our home together felt fantastic, like all the weight of all the weeks Elvie has been sick lifted off my shoulders. It feels so good for all of us to be in the same place at one time.
This weekend will be all about settling in as a family of four and figuring out our new normal. If this evening is any indication, we will be busy, but we will do just fine. There are plenty of things that have been put on hold since the day we left for Ethiopia, well over a month ago, and we will begin to attend to those. Mostly though, we just want to enjoy each other and relish the feeling of all being home at the same time.
We’ve had some help along this road and now I’d like to take a moment just to recognize the medical team who made a huge difference in Elvie’s life these past five weeks. First and foremost, Dr. Nancy Curtis of the International Adoption Clinic at Children’s Hospital in Oakland has been our heroine. Her help via email while we were in Ethiopia and her care in person when we arrived home is the reason that Elvie is doing so well today. Two days after we arrived home, she came to our house to do a thorough evaluation of Elvie and by that evening she had everything lined up for us to admit Elvie to the hospital the following morning. When we checked in, we had a detailed report of all her findings to give to the medical staff at the hospital, and as Elvie’s treatment got underway, her advice and encouragement helped us navigate hospital life and aspects of Elvie’s care we might not have thought to pursue ourselves. If you are adopting internationally, I cannot recommend her services highly enough.
We are so grateful to the staff of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital for giving Elvie and our family as a whole such excellent care. The difference in our Elvie from the day she was admitted until today is simply remarkable. Under their care, she went from being an emaciated, sick baby, to a somewhat plump, healthy baby. You can see the difference by just looking at her, and we see her developing new skills every day that she simply was too sick to work on before. Beyond the medical care, we found the staff at UCSF to be kind and attentive, and we felt truly valued as a family by everyone who worked with Elvie. Staff would stop by just to say hello to Elvie and chat with me, and that made me feel so good, not to mention how it helped me retain my sanity during those long hospital days. As hard as it was to spend these weeks in the hospital, it was a pleasure to get to have such fantastic people caring for Elvie and for us.
Beyond medical care, we had a whole lot of help from a whole lot of people, and I know if I were to try to list everyone here, I would leave out someone important. We have had such amazing support from friends and family at this time, not to mention from everyone who has followed our story here at Being Pregnant and on our family blog. We are thankful every single day to have such amazing people on our side, to know that there are so many people who care for our family. Even though this has been a rough few weeks, it has been a remarkable few weeks as we see everyone rally around Elvie and our little family as a whole. Our hearts are full. We can’t wait to sink into normal life and let you follow along with something a little more boring.
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