Tuesday, March 06, 2012

In Uganda: Salongo


Faith and Favor are doing great so far. They are with me literally 24 hours a day. I can only really shower or go to the bathroom when they’re preoccupied with napping (which they’re doing right now and I just realized I haven’t showered today!). Today I snuck away with Faith to take her to go potty, leaving Favor with the group of families hanging out. When I returned, Favor was soaked in tears and the other parents said they couldn’t console her. It’s episodes like that that show we can’t really leave the girls in anyone else’s care at this time unless we want to disturb the process of developing attachment and connection with them. They really fear transition and abandonment since we’ve removed them from all they’ve ever known at the orphanage.


They both seem to be sleeping better, which is a little odd since Sarah’s gone and I expected our nighttime crying to at least double. They sleep at least 10 hours at night and nap at least 2 hours in the afternoon, and are now only slightly whining when I put them down to bed at any time. I sandwich myself between the girls and pretend I’m sleeping so that they will also sleep, and my body also acts as a barrier so that they don’t flop onto each other and scare each other awake (which has happened on many occasions).

We thought the girls would probably have food issues because they were undernourished at the orphanage, and any time they even saw food they’d get anxious. Faith was even known for scarfing down her food and stealing food off the plates of the slower eaters. We’ve now been feeding them 3 meals a day and snacks for more than a week, and I’m happy to report that they’re eating well, getting a little less anxious, and they’re even getting a little picky about what they eat… like any normal kid, they seem to dislike vegetables on their plates. But we’ve still got a long way to go with food. It’ll take a while to put some meat on their skinny little bodies, and it’ll take months or years for them to develop a healthy and secure approach to eating.

According to the tradition where the girls are from, their Ugandan names (serving like last names) reflect their twinhood. Favor’s Ugandan name is Nyangoma, which means “mother of the drum” and is given to the older twin. Faith is Nyakato, which means simply “the younger female one”. When we first heard of these names, I thought it was an incredibly cool cultural tidbit that I was happy to keep in their legal names post-adoption. And then I heard that parents of twins also get new names! We would be Salongo Jonathan and Nalongo Sarah. While we traveled around their home region, several people referred to us as such. The only person we heard about in the twins’ lives who was officially called that was was their birth mother. Even though I’m only “Salongo” through adoption, I am proud to carry the name!

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