Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Ethiopian daughters who were formerly Ethiopian orphans need to be taken to the doctor. Daughters who have smelly ear drainage need to be taken to an ear doctor. A daughter who, according to the ear doctor, “might have latent TB in her ear,” needs to be taken to the International Adoption Clinic.

We have just the place at the University of Minnesota. I found myself finally in very capable hands, particularly when I met Beth, an RN and my new best friend. Trent, the travel agent from Velocity Tours who made the trip to Ethiopia possible, has been replaced. Beth makes being home from Ethiopia with two daughters possible. She told me, as I tried to relate my long story of woe from one failed doctor visit after the other, that she would “be there for me all afternoon.” I burst into tears.

I made my clinic appointment. The appointment person was not Beth. It was Someone Who Needed to Follow The Rules Rather Than Think. Our conversation went like this:

Me: I need to make an appointment for two girls.

Her: We don’t make appointments back to back.

Why not?

Because one appointment takes a long time.

Ok. I’ll start with the sickest one. Her name is Elizabeth.

How old is she?

I think around 3.

What language does she speak?

Ummmmmm. Nothing really.

Well, the doctors want us to have a translator there.

That’s great, but I don’t know what they would translate.

(slight detection of exasperation on her end...) What language did she speak in her country?

They spoke Amharic at the orphanage but she didn’t.

I need a language, mam.

Ok, Amharic.

Where is your daughter from?


How do you spell Ethiopia?

At this point, I couldn’t spell it. Gone was my confidence. Gone was my “I’m finally in good hands” feeling. I finished this most painful conversation and called my new friend Beth. Again.

Hi Beth, It’s Marty... I made an appointment.

Oh good!

Well, I have a couple things that went wrong. First, they won’t let me schedule both girls.

Call them. Tell them Beth says she wants them both here.

Thank you. Also, the girl asked me how to spell Ethiopia.

Oh..... ok. I’ll deal with that. Anything else?

Yes, one more thing. They insisted that I have a translator.

OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!! Ok. Yes. I just...yes, I just cancelled the translator. Anything else?

No. That’s it. Thank you.

It was a long visit. It was a thorough visit. It was a good visit. They knew the girls’ history before I got there. They knew what to look for and what to tell me to do and what to do to undo what hasn’t been done or done incorrectly. Beth and Dr. Kang. Great people. Phone lady? Didn’t have to meet her. That’s also good.

1 comment:

  1. Ugaritic. That fills in the blank. Good thing Lizzie has a Mommy who doesn't stop.