Lux et umbra vicissum…

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Desta, dermatitis, and dossiers

November 13th, 2008 · No Comments

There are several things that fall by the wayside when my back goes out badly.  House cleaning is one.  Walks with the puppy is another.  Unfortunately, daily oiling of Desta’s scalp is a third.

Desta has eczema on her scalp – at least that’s what the allergist says.  So may other parents report the same condition in their Ethiopian children that I wonder if it’s eczema (which doctors don’t really fully understand but think has to do with allergies somehow) or if it’s just severely dry skin.  Whatever it is, I’ve found that daily application of pure virgin coconut oil takes care of it beautifully.  When we’re taking care of it regularly, we can even do it every other day and it’ll be fine.  Actually, if we’ve been keeping up with it for a while, a longer break won’t make it terrible, which is good since braids stay in her hair for at least a week and during that time the oil doesn’t get to all of her scalp.

The reason this ends up not happening so much when my back is out is that, unfortunately, application of the oil takes some time – time sitting on the edge of Desta’s bed with her sitting on a stool in front of me while I carefully separate her hair into sections and oil every bit of her scalp.  When a child has as much hair as Desta that’s no joke!  Now, when we’ve been able to do this regularly, it only takes maybe 15 minutes or so to do her whole head, especially in summer when the oil is actually liquid because of the heat.  In cooler weather, it’s a solid and has to be rubbed to form the liquid oil, so that adds a few minutes.  Then if we haven’t been able to do it for a while – say a month and a half while my back was insanely whacked out – well, then you get a session like we had last night.  It took me about an hour and a half to go through all of her hair and try to carefully take care of all of the trouble spots.  The poor kid.  Granted, we sing songs while we work (my voice was getting tired by the time we were done), but even with that distraction she was pretty thoroughly sick of the process by the end.  And her poor head!  There were small spots that bled as I worked with it, and other spots were scaly.  It was awful.  Talk about a guilt trip.  Not sure how we could have avoided it, unless we could have found a friend willing to come by every other night to oil it for us or something.  We were getting the kids to bed late every night as it was because I couldn’t help Joel much with the process.  We didn’t expect my back issues to last this long so it never occurred to us to try to find help for this particular job.  I guess we’re warned for next time, heaven forbid there should be a next time.  Thankfully, that oil makes a difference very quickly.  I wouldn’t be surprised if when I oil it tonight it’s back to just looking dry with a few scabs where it had bled before.  Within a few days, it’ll be all better.  Not to mention it smells so yummy!  But no braids until I’m sure we have it completely healed.

On a more positive front, we are SO almost done with paperwork.  Joel’s going to try to take tomorrow off so we can go get the last of our forms notarized.  When that’s done, the rest of our job will just be waiting.  We’ll mail off two of the papers to have them authenticated (the Virginia secretary of state says “yes, this notary is a real person”), and we wait for our home study to be fully written (which should be pretty soon now).  When we get those last forms in the mail, we send it all off to our agency.  We’ll need to gather some more funds before the dossier can be sent along to Ethiopia, but at least the paper part will be finished.   People have been helping us out with the funds, and we should be able to apply for grants any day now.  The Lord will provide somehow!

Tags: Adoption · Family Life