Today I feel old. I'm trying to create a blog for friends and family, to update you all on the exciting changes in our family, but I have no idea what I'm doing. So please bear with me as I attempt to create the Bly Family Blog!
Tihun - the inspiration for our blog
I was inspired to create this after receiving our referral for a beautiful baby girl named Tihun Tesfaye. She was born around November 15, 2006, which means she is only 5 months old!! We were completely expecting an older child referral, so we are still straining to wrap our minds around what we will have to do now that we will be bringing home a BABY!! Our house is currently prepared (more or less) for the arrival of a toddler, since Eliana was 2 when we moved in. But a baby...well, that's another story altogether. So we are in the early stages of discussing high chairs, bottles, formula, onesies - I still cannot believe we are going back to that phase of parenting.
I'll admit, I kinda thought I had managed to worm my way out of parenting a baby again, by extending our referral age to 24 months. Don't get me wrong, I love babies! But my memories of Eliana's first year are blurry from sleep deprivation, and loaded with anxst and frustration. Not to mention a healthy dose of postpartum depression. My hope is that all of that will remain in the past, and that with my previous experience as a mother, I will be able to weather the challenges of babyhood with less neuroticism than last time. But I would't count on it.
Naming the baby
One of the first dilemmas we are facing has to do with Tihun's name. In Amharic, it is pronounced Ti-hoo-nah. If you say that out loud, you may notice that it sounds a lot like Tuna. I am having a really hard time warming up to the name Tuna for my baby girl. On the other hand, I'm reluctant to just willy-nilly change her name just because I don't particularly care for the name her birth mother chose for her. It seems awfully presumptious. We originially thought we would name her Isabelle Tihun. In fact, we sent out an announcement to our friends and family with that name. But now Paul and I are both unsure of that decision.
On the one hand, she is now our daughter, and giving her a name that we (actually, Eliana) chose has some meaning for us. It is symbolic of her entering our family. On the other hand, her mother named her Tihun, and to just toss that aside, or assign it middle name status, has a touch of disrespect in my opinion. As though we are trying to downplay her heritage, or declare that her Ethiopian name wasn't good enough, and that she would be much better off with an American one. Another thought I had today was that we could give her another Ethiopian name, one that has a particularly meaning for our family (Tihun means Let her be). Names apparently are chosen for their meaning, and I think choosing an Ethiopian name that has a special meaning to us, with Tihun as her middle name, may also be a good option. My plan is to consult with an Ethiopian woman (a friend of a friend) and get her thoughts on this topic. Obviously, it's one I don't plan to take lightly.
Traveling to Ethiopia
Lastly, for today, I wanted to write a little bit about our upcoming trip. One thing we are debating (we do a lot of debating in our home) is whether to stay at the Guest House or at the Hilton. Paul says that he promised himself, after spending a year "roughing it" in Tanzania, that the next time he went to Africa, he was going to travel in style. Or at least, in relative comfort. Apparently, the guest house is quite nice, but can get a little crowded, and electricity and showers are far from guaranteed. The Hilton usually has reasonable rates, and we have enough frequent flier miles and Hilton Points that we may very well get to stay for free, depending on availability when we are given our travel dates. And then our showers are guaranteed, and we would have some time to ourselves to unwind, perhaps with a glass or two of wine, at the end of each day.
Regardless of where we stay, I am so excited for this trip, 30 hour plane ride and all. I know it will change my life forever, and I hope for the better. We will get to travel south, to the region where Tihun is from, and perhaps even meet her birth family. This will probably rip my heart right out of my chest, and I know that I will have strong doubts about what I am doing, and wonder how on earth it is ok for me to take another woman's baby to the other side of the earth. But I suppose I will write a lot about that later.
We will likely be traveling in late June or early July, much to Paul's dismay, as that is about the busiest time of the year at Thomson. I feel kind of bad for him. He's trying to be the best Thomson employee ever, while also doing his best to be father of the year. And while he gets pretty darn close to achieving both of those goals, I don't envy him. We'll see how it goes this summer. Paul may acquire a few more gray hairs and some additional wrinkles on his forehead before it's all over. I feel pretty grateful to him for affording me the opportunity to stay home with the children for a while. I think (I hope) that we will all benefit from my taking a few months off from work.
That's all for today. Thank you for tuning in to the first post on the Bly Family Blog. Stay tuned for updates!!