I stopped blogging long ago to protect our process with Marvin and Rose, to protect Marvin and Rose specifically, and to protect the legal guardianship process in Uganda, generally speaking. Now that we have been to court and have been granted legal guardianship of them, and have been through the US embassy process and have their visas in hand so we can come home, I can safely rant and rave about them, with no ramifications. I won’t be talking much at all about the specifics of the process, but if you’re at all interested, it’s a wonderful country to adopt from, and I can hook you up. shoot me a comment with your email address and we’ll talk.
What I would most like to do tonight, one of my last nights here in Uganda, is to introduce our newest family members to family and friends, who may be wondering what these little people are like. It really does feel like they’ve been with us forever already — I had a moment where things were really hard, and I had one of those morbid disaster fantasies where I wondered what it would be like if this whole thing didn’t go through, and all I could think of was the emptiness that Mark, Lucy, Dexter and I would feel without Marvin and Rose in our lives. We have our fair share of uphill climbing to do in the coming months and years, as no adoption comes without an emotional price to pay, but these little ones have already captured our hearts, and are well and truly part of our family.
So, without further ado, let me introduce Zachary Marvin Nuwarinda Pullyblank and Naomi Rosemary Owembabazi Pullyblank…
Marvin, who we are starting to call Zachary Marvin, and will eventually probably mostly call Zach (except when he’s in trouble, when all four names will be VERY effective, I think) is the cutest, sweetest little guy, who is currently in the process of seeing what exactly he can get away with in this family. If you know us well, you know that the answer to that is “kind of a lot” but it feels like he’s looking for more concrete boundaries from us, so don’t be surprised to see that we are a little (ok, a lot) more strict with him than with our other kids. Our other kids did not do well with absolutes, but Marvin seems to crave them, and need the line drawn in the sand for him. I’m hoping this is a phase, and that he’ll relax into a kid who doesn’t feel the need to challenge me to get my attention, but we shall see… when he does have my attention, he is a really sweet kid who is a lot of fun, very generous, and really affectionate. He LOVES boda bodas and motocars (motorcycles and any kind of automobile, the bigger the better), kicking a soccer ball, being tickled, listening to music on lucy’s ipod (and today came to me requesting “mama say mama sa ma ma kusa”), helping with laundry, taking showers (ok I feel incredibly guilty for wasting so much water, but he can stay in the shower for hours with a few cups and it gives me a chance to NOT make sure he isn’t pouring water on the floor), SWIMMING (I can’t believe how quickly Ugandan kids go from terrified of water to jumping in and going under with a huge smile on their faces) taunting his little sister with any food or toy he has that she might want, singing songs in Runyankole, and anything with his mama — he very quickly figured out that having a mama is a pretty sweet gig,… oh, and drumming. he loves drumming, and I’m so happy we went with the slightly larger drum to take home, as he seems pretty musical — one example of this is that he harmonizes with my cell phone every single time it powers up — doesn’t copy the tune, but harmonizes with it. Maybe it’s a strange brain malfunction, but I find it fascinating. He can be really challenging when he looks right at me and does exactly the opposite of what I’m telling him to do, but he’s so dang cute when he does it, it’s easy to forgive and forget, which is one of the most important parts of parenting, I think. He has a hard time going to sleep sometimes, even with me right there with him, and sometimes wakes in the night crying. He doesn’t speak any english at all, really, and he chatters away in runyankole — I so, so, so wish I could understand him, and communicate more with him about what he is feeling. He was taught a few english phrases at the orphanage — namely, “how are you?” and “I am fine.” along with “thank you very much” and counting to ten — though he prefers to count in runyankole. He knows most of the letters (maybe all of them?) in runyankole, and points them out on the computer keyboard. I feel kind of rude correcting him in english all the time, so we’re letting most things roll in runyankole — one thing I can’t wait to see go is “Impa Impa!!!” which means “give me that!!!” — that one we’re switching to “please mama?” He is a very independent kid, and tries to do most everything himself, often to my total frustration. A few things he has decided he really needs mama to do (but can do perfectly well on his own, but he has never had a mama to do these things for him, so I go along with it) are put on his clothes and shoes, help him up onto chairs and the toilet, and he loves to be carried and held a lot, which is usually really nice. Other things he wants to do on his own are, cook dinner, program the ipod, do the laundry, and adjust the temperature in the shower. These are the things I would like him to get help with, and we’re working on “help me please mama?” He’s doing really well for only having been with us for 3 weeks, and I have faith that in another 3 weeks things will be easier, and in 6 months he’ll be far more relaxed and himself.
Then there’s Rosie. She is so aptly named, I can’t quite get it into my head to start calling her anything else, but if we’re adding a name for Marvin, we’re adding a name for Rose, so for now, we’re trying to remember to call her Naomi Rose, but she is more commonly called baby rose. She was born to be the baby of the family, and manages to be crazy loveable even when she is spitting at you if you’re bugging her or doing something she doesn’t like, or trying to bite you if you’re doing something she REALLY doesn’t like. But in a really cute way… She has quite the little temper, all the better for letting everyone know what she needs, but she is quick to settle down, even if she doesn’t get her way. She doesn’t hold a grudge, and is crazy smiley most of the time. Her main interest at this point is bananas. We make sure to cover her eyes if we drive or walk by bananas that we aren’t planning to purchase and eat right then, because she will freak out if she sees a banana and can’t have it. Today at 9:30 am I bought a GIANT bunch of bananas (probably around 15 bananas?) and with only a little help from me and kawoya our driver (we each had one) she and Marvin polished off the entire bunch before 5 pm. They really get each other hyped up about food, whining and crying if food is being prepared and they think the other one might get some and they might get none. The first few days they were with us, they showed no signs of food insecurity (aside from sort of grabbing at food you offered them) but it’s definitely there, and it can get pretty loud at times. Zachary Marvin understands “go sit at the table and mama will bring you your food” but he doesn’t always trust that I really will, and so I often find myself making food with little people pulling on me, crying, trying to push each other away from me, and trying to out yell each other. I probably don’t need to offer up the information that this can be a little difficult at times. I can’t wait to get home where there are chairs you can strap your children into, so I can give them some fruit or veggie to snack on while I get the other food ready. Luckily when food time is over, I can wipe them up (to a lot of crying, because rosie hates it when food time is over) and move on to something else, and then we’re good.
Both kids are really good natured, easy going, and generally awesome kids. They are still little, and we still have a lot of settling in to do, but we pretty much hit the jackpot with these two. Can’t wait for you to meet them!!
Lucy and Dexter are doing amazingly well here, and are adjusting to being older siblings really well. Zachary Marvin is a handful, and while L and D take the kids out to play here at the apartment playground, he really doesn’t listen to them at all, I don’t think. Naomi Rose gets more attention than she would like at times, and we’re all learning how to co-exist happily. L, D and I are all so happy to be going home, and while it will be a bit shocking to poor Zachary Marvin and Naomi Rose, I think having the rest of us more relaxed will do wonders for them as well.