Once your sweet one has been home for awhile, and the post placement reports are finished, the annual reports we agree to send to Ethiopia annually can loom large. Without a particular template, it can be difficult to decide just what to include, and what NOT to include in the report.
When we wrote our annual missive a few weeks ago, I thought of it as a friendly letter to a relative we hadn’t seen for awhile. We included all of the developmental highlights of the last year, covered our daughter’s overall health, discussed some of the trips we’ve taken, and also talked about the steps we have taken to maintain Astrid Meklit’s ties to her Ethiopian heritage. We focused mainly on the positive, although if there was a serious bump in the road (like an illness or injury) I would have mentioned it too. A one page update is very little room to ensure others that your child is healthy, wise, and well-cared for, so I really tried to hit the highlights in this last 12 month period.
We knew pictures were required, but our agency, Dove International, gives few guidelines about the numbers of pictures to include. I decide to err on the side of excess and send one for each month, careful to make sure the pictures were modest–no bathtub shots, or bathing suit clad splash-a-thons given the preferences of the Ethiopian government. I also included a picture of Astrid Meklit, taken in Addis the day we left. I’ve included it with every report in hopes that seeing the same picture with each report will aid in continuity.