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Hello

We were introduced to our son, Omar, on the 12th of November 2012.  We were shown a photo and given the very little information surrounding his arrival to the orphanage in Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso. We were, of course, overjoyed that he was to become our son.  This blog gives a little background on our adoption process and Omar, and should (where possible) track our journey to Burkina Faso to meet Omar in person.

For those of you unfamiliar with a blog layout, recent updates will be shown on this page in chronological order (and by scrolling down), whereas by clicking on the menu above, you can find all related content under each subtitle.

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More photos……

Tante Mama (our local agency lady in Burkina), took many photos of us during our stay in Burkina. She was with us every step of the way and tried to capture all of our emotions.  We will be forever grateful for these photos and everything she did for us.

In time order.

Walking into the orphanage

Arriving at the orphanage

Omar being brought to meet us

Omar being accompanied to meet us

Omar en famille 22 octobre 2013 (22)

Omar bringing his mum some flowers

Omar bringing some flowers for his new mum

No words

no words

Papà

Papà

Omar en famille 22 octobre 2013 (27)

Omar showing us around (and where he slept)

Omar showing us around (and where he slept)

at last!

at last!

Breaking the ice

Breaking the ice

Omar's new (temporary) home

Omar’s new (temporary) home

 

Omar's new bed and welcome

Omar’s new bed and welcome

JOY!more joy

even more joy

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The journey home

We left Ouagadougou with Omar on Friday the 1st of November on the late flight to Brussels.

There were tears.  Not from Omar, he was almost driving the plane, but from everyone else (and of course, ME) including the people we met in the hotel, the owners of the hotel (and baby sitter), our lovely lady in Burkina, and just about everyone else who we were lucky to meet during our stay.

Omar, on the other hand, started getting agitated and withdrawn from around 5pm, (we were due to leave for the airport at 8pm). Livio and I started worrying about whether he was suffering, having second thoughts about leaving his country, life and everything he had known until that point.

He laid on the floor of our room, whilst I prepared the suitcases and would not talk.  When Livio tried to rally him  to going out to play with his friend, he refused,  and although eventually accepted to leave the room (on the promise of a Fanta) he clung to Livio and would not let him out of his sight.  It was only when the hotlier’s wife suggested it he might be scared we were going to leave him behind did we think to show him his new passport and reiterate (again) that he was really coming with us. It was like magic.  He changed from a sullen, clinging boy to a beaming, excited angel.  He literally ran around the pool shouting OMAR EN ITALIE!!.

At the airport we said our painful good byes to Tante Mama, our agency lady (read angel) whilst Omar almost ran through passport control, organized our baggage drop single handedly, and pushed aside the security staff.  Once on the plane he did not know whether to look out of the window, pull down the table, play with the video games, or watch the penquin film, take his shoes off, leave them on, undo his seat belt or keep it on. He lasted around 20 minutes doing just about all of it and then fell asleep.  Only to be woken up 6 minutes later by the strong smell of Air Brussels food, and ate the entire tray (pure joy for him to have his own tray, steaming rice and meat (his favourite), butter and bread, laughing cow cheese, and cake, and a packet with a knife and fork!. The same thing happened on the flight from Brussels to Venice, although this time, having slept just 3 hrs in total, food did not wake him. All in all, it went very smoothly and we arrived bang on time to Venice on Saturday morning at 12.45 to a hugely excited Nonna Marta (Livio’s mum) in the airport and an ecstatic grand-mère Carol on Lido.

I should add that although we had prepped Omar on the whole journey back to Venice from Burkina, i.e., books, drawings, “car, plane, plane boat, maison”, etc.  we had omitted to mention that when you get to the airport 3 hrs prior to your flight, you dont immediately get on a plane, that there is a bus ride to the plane (which is terrifying when you have never been on a bus, that at Brussels aiport we had a 5 hr stopover.  These were the only downsides of travel for Omar (and clearly the beginnings of him not trusting what his parents tell him) but that were quickly forgotten once he had discovered escalators and lifts in the airport in Brussels.

foto (22)

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Hairdressing skills

Omar normally takes a nap every afternoon but today we were not so lucky. We gave up after about forty minutes and having read all of his books twice, we turned our attention to finding something quiet and relaxing to do. It was at this point we discovered his hairdressing skills.

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Tantemama

Tantemama is the name Omar (and all the other children she works with) calls our local agency rep here in Burkina. She is native to Burkina and her real name is Mamadou Sanou.

Most of you know that towards the end of our wait, our faith in our adoption agency had all but disappeared. The time it took, the lack of information, and generally bad communication flows all contributed to our shredded nerves and stress levels.Although we had been told by our agency that we’d  be met at the airport by a local member of the team, who would accompany us to our hotel, to our meeting with Omar, we did not expect, or could have ever dreamed of the type of support, assistance, advice we received from Tantemama.

Tantemama has been with us every single step of the way;
She ensured Omar was told the day before we went to meet him that “tomorrow” was his special day.
She asked the orphanage if Omar could come back to the hotel with us just two hours after having met him as she understood just how important it was for him to have a family, and now.
She took us to the supermarket to buy water and change our currency and to help us buy food.
She either came to see us,  take us out, or give us a call, every single day.
She had Omar’s temperature taken, blood sample taken ,diagnosis (malaria) and medicine prescribed and administered within 2 hours on a Saturday afternoon.
She took us shopping for gifts and invited us to meet her family, and told us off when we paid too much for a taxi.
She took photos of every important event and gave us every single photo before leaving, (see other posts).
She invited us to lunch with her family (husband and son) and told us how to cook a real Burkina meal.
She laughed, sang, danced  and cried with ALL of us.
She pleaded us to call her the minute we got home to give her a call to let her know we got home safely.
When I couldn’t find the words in the airport (the tears were flowing too strongly) to say goodbye to her, she understood and said nothing too.
She is a true angel, and someone we will be forever grateful to. She isn’t reading this blog but we do want to share just how wonderful and important she is.

Tantemama

Tantemama

 

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More about the boy

As the days pass, and little by little, we discover more things about our Omar.

He likes physical contact and is always up for a hug, or in times of stress, will hold your hand.

He is counting the days until the whole “Omar family” can take the plane. We spend our days repeating….Car (to the airport) plane, plane, boat, maison !

He likes to look at photos. We show him a lot; old ones of him, new ones of our life in Venice , and the photos we have taken here. It is definitely a preferred past time and he is very excited about showing us photos of his friends from the orphanage. He tells us each of their names and what they like playing.

He asked us to play some hip hop music ( I was happy with my Cat Stevens) and if shown anything to do with football will list the local football team player’s names.

He will repeat just about anything you say, and has already started taking the mickey out of the way I say Livio’s name.

Livio and I are in awe of his humour and spend a lot of our time laughing in disbelief.

Don’t get me wrong , and without going into too much detail, it has not been a walk the park.
He is no angel, and can be naughty and trying and exhausting and sulky, but thankfully, he is like any other ‘almost’ six year old!!!!

We will be very sorry to leave Burkina and the people we have met here, but we are so excited about coming home.

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A nice spot for a picnic

Having spent the entire morning waiting on a pediatric visit, Lunch was organized and prepared by Omar under a rather nice tree.

Bread and ham, some pretty tasteless crisps, but the most delicious banana and oranges. And just because we are in Africa dessert was a Lion bar.

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