Oct 8, 2014

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Four-Plus Months Home

Once again, I am behind on sharing an update on how we’re doing and that’s partly because we’ve been so darn busy every minute of the day, it seems. And it’s partly because of some really negative comments someone posted here that discouraged me from writing for a while.

I ultimately didn’t publish the comments because hey — it’s MY blog, and my husband and I decided that we have no obligation to give a voice to blatant negativity. Despite commenting on several posts, which meant he or she had read a lot, this person clearly had little understanding of our case, of our story or the ethics involved in this adoption. It’s easy to look at the surface information that’s shared in a public place such as this and form opinions not grounded in facts. (Come to think of it, that’s one of the biggest problems of the Internet, period.) That is what this person did and accused us of buying a child, denying her rights, bribing officials (???) and other awful things that were never anywhere on our radar, much less actually happened.

Are there things we’d have changed with the clarity of hindsight? Absolutely. But the bottom line for us always was that we wanted to follow God’s leading with regard to Violet and our prayer all along was simply for His will to be done in her life and in ours. I’ll go to my grave believing in His faithfulness, that His will was done and continues to be, and that He has a plan for her that, for whatever reason, included being part of our crazy Muzungu family beginning at this time in her life.

Being her mom is rather like watching a flower unfurl before your eyes. Every new experience opens up something new inside and it’s just an absolute honor and privilege to experience this.

When I first started this post over a month ago, I was thinking about textbooks and dentist’s chairs.

In late August, we started our private school/homeschooling combination, and we were blown away by our daughter’s work ethic. If I assign her two workbook pages, she insists on completing six. Some days, I have to make her stop working; she will even skip lunch to work. Leaving anything blank causes real stress for her, and she can be perfectionistic about details. I’m sure that some of that is rooted in fear of the shaming and/or beatings they would get in Ugandan schools, (which makes me so sad to even think about anyone beating this precious girl) but I can also tell that a lot of it is simply her intense hunger for learning. She wants to master English and has a drive for education that I’ve never personally witnessed in a child before. It’s so refreshing to behold!

She was so excited to get her textbooks. I’m used to my sons being indifferent, or even groaning, when being presented with new school books. Violet marveled at them. “I’ve never had big books like these,” she shared. It was another one of those things that I hadn’t really given much thought to before. She explained that in school in Uganda, only the teacher had big textbooks. The rest of them might sometimes have small workbooks, but mostly the teacher taught from her book, wrote on the board and they did their work on pieces of paper. (This is a pic from one of her schools in Uganda.)

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It was hard for Violet to believe that she had her very own big books to study, in all five subjects; not only that, but that she had her own personal seat and workspace. She also couldn’t believe the fun she had doing science experiments at school, and was elated to earn an A on her very first science project. She is so proud of what she’s accomplished, and we’re proud of her, too.

In August, she visited our dentist for the first time. Bless her heart, she was so worried about going. She had to have some baby teeth pulled when she was younger and I’d never gotten any details about that except that it was her only time seeing a dentist, and there wasn’t any anesthesia. “It pained me badly,” is all she said. I kept reassuring her that they would give her numbing medicine if she needed anything like that here, but she was still very anxious about going.

Well, we got there and she oohed and aahed over the dentist’s chair and even insisted I take a picture of her sitting in it.

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When I asked if that was the kind of chair she sat in at the dentist in Uganda, she laughed and said, “Oh, no! It was like that one,” and she pointed to the plain wooden chair I was sitting in.

I just can’t even imagine….

She was fascinated by how the chair reclined, and rose up and down, and I had to ask her to stop touching stuff! But our hygienist, Lindsay, is the nicest person in the world and said it was no bother. She patiently explained everything to Violet, and cleaned my teeth first so that V could see what to expect. It was so kind of her, and I had the benefit of having two attendants, because Lindsay let Violet do the slurpy-spit-vacuum thingie on me, which she loved doing. When it was her turn, she hopped into the chair and after, seemed amazed by how clean her teeth felt. Her teeth were in better shape than I’d expected them to be, although she did have a few cavities.

Other firsts over the past few weeks have included her first church supper, (where she marveled over having open access to that much food), her first trip to a beauty salon (which she adored and completely won over every stylist in the place) and her first taste of cool fall weather (which she, unsurprisingly, is not very fond of!). She does think the leaves changing colors is absolutely amazing, though. And she is so looking forward to her first birthday celebration and first Halloween, both occurring later this month. I’ll be sure to update with new photos and stories soon after!

OUP Oct Collage

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Jun 24, 2014

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One Month Home

One month ago, our daughter first set foot on American soil.

It has been a month full of firsts for her, almost too many to list.

First amusement park and water slides….

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First car show with her dad and brothers….

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First camera, which came in some of the first mail she ever received — in her entire life.

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And she’s fascinated with computers, phones and technology in general.

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She’s made new friends, tried dozens of new foods, become quite the brave little swimmer despite only having been in pools three times, ever.

She even dabbled a bit as my apprentice and decorated her very first cake….

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She is protective of and playful with Jonah, laughs with Zach and Eli, and is respectful to me and Donnie. She loves princess movies, nail polish and all things pink (much to my joy) but also loves Transformers, Ninja Turtles and most of the boys’ Xbox games, which as you can imagine, has completely endeared her to the guys in this house.

She’s so well-rounded, has fit in so well, and adjusted better than I could’ve asked for. Sure, there are little behavioral hiccups here and there, but nothing very different from what we experience with our biological kids. The longer she’s here, the more she tests us a bit, to see what she can and cannot get away with (i.e. asking Dad for ice cream when Mom said “no”).  But it would be weird if she didn’t do this. The fact that she can test us, ironically, shows a degree of attachment, of feeling safe. It shows that she’s not afraid that she has to be the “perfect daughter” or work to earn our love.

That makes this mama smile. In so many ways, it feels like she’s been home much longer than a month, like she’s always been part of our family.

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Happy first month home, baby girl. We’re so thankful that you’re here.

 

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May 27, 2014

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Home Sweet Home

Everyone says there’s a honeymoon period following adoption, and I’m sure they’re right. I’m trying to just enjoy each day and not worry about when this time of happiness might be put on pause while our daughter processes through the negative aspects of her new life.

But y’all — it’s going SO well! Violet really fits into our family.

Not that I doubted she would. I mean, who would pursue an adoption thinking, “Wow, this particular kid might make our lives just plain miserable!” Of course we hoped everything would go well, and we had every reason to believe it would based on the time we spent with her in Uganda. And so far, it truly has been wonderful.

She’s already experienced many firsts and made some precious comments. She grinned ear-to-ear when she saw her bed and said, “Thank you, Mom. It is a pretty room!”

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She’s marveled at the miles of smoothly paved and painted roads everywhere, and declared the 3-lane Interstate Highway to be “too big!” However, she is still eager to drive on it and has more than once asked if she could drive “Mom’s car.” She giggles when we tell her that she can’t until she’s 15.

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She giggles a LOT. And it’s joyously contagious.

She told us that she’d heard there was no soil in America–that everything was either grass or pavement. So we had to show her soil today.

She’s also enjoyed riding bikes and the Green Machine every day with her brothers.

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Jonah, our 4-year-old, has been stuck to her like glue, following her everywhere, asking her everything, and randomly saying with his southern accent, “I love you, Vyyyy-LIT!” I keep waiting for her patience with him to run out, and I’m sure it will one day, but she’s so good with little kids. Both in Uganda and at church Sunday morning, we’ve seen little kids just flock to her.

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She dabbled a bit in my makeup while I was putting it on yesterday and found out that mineral powder can be quite difficult to wash off. She just laughed and laughed when she saw her reflection in the mirror, and giggled even harder when Donnie asked her if she was trying to look like a muzungu!

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For Sunday lunch, she asked to make rice for us, and it was so good! I’ve never been able to make perfectly-textured rice like she did. And our smart little chef didn’t measure a thing!

I know the experts say to cocoon when you first get home, but it feels almost impossible to do so with Violet. She actually reminds me a lot of my late grandfather. He would try anything, go anywhere, just jump into whatever activity was going on and enjoy himself. That’s how she is — she has not hesitated at anything. She is a bit quiet when you first meet her, but as she grows comfortable around you, all the loveliness of her personality freely flows and she’s just a joy to be around.

The boys seem to be adjusting well, too. So this mama is feeling truly blessed! Thanks to all of you who have been praying for a good weekend for us — please continue to remember us during the next weeks and months of transition.

 

 

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Mar 20, 2014

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Travelogue: Day Five — Ice Cream

The funny, metallic pinging of “My Heart will Go On” filled the air as Donnie and I turned to see rural Uganda’s version of the ice cream truck.

I love the ingenuity and resourcefulness I see in Ugandans. I think we’ve had such an easy life in America for so long, that we tend to sit back after some small effort and declare that a thing cannot be done. In Uganda, they take what they have and make it work. So, this young man found a way to offer relief from the heat in the little poor area called Mpumudde — he filled a cooler with ice cream, secured it to his bike and drove around town, selling it for 1,000 shillings or so per cup. (That’s less than 50 cents U.S.)

The kids knew what it was right away, and Violet asked if she and her friends could have ice cream. Ha! As if we could say no to faces like these? (Still bearing the stickers they got in their dental care kits!)

I could tell by the way she was beaming that it made Violet happy to be able to offer this to her friends. Ice cream is a rare treat, and she says it’s one of her most favorite things to eat. (How fun is it going to be to take this girl to Dairy Queen?)

As Donnie was standing by the ice cream man and taking these photos, I was standing in the shade next to the van, talking to our driver, Francis. I think I’ve mentioned before that traveling with Francis is like having your own personal minister, life coach and encourager by your side. He is just a phenomenal human being. He said, “I think that ice cream man is going to thank God for blessing him today!” and I looked up to see Donnie waving some of the neighborhood kids over so he could buy them ice cream, too.

They’d been watching us from afar, but with great interest since we’d arrived to tour the property. We were actually getting ready to leave when the ice cream man came, and these kids had crept ever closer toward the road, to get a better look at what these muzungus (white people) were doing. One of my regrets is not capturing a picture of their smiles as Donnie invited them to come have ice cream, too. It was so precious to see their faces light up!

They stood patiently and quietly as the man scooped their ice cream, one cup at a time, not jostling or shoving ahead of each other like American kids that age might tend to do.

And one by one, they gently shook Donnie’s hand and told him, “Thank you,” in their sweet little accented voices.

One child held Donnie’s hand and kneeled down as he said thanks, and I could tell Donnie was choking back tears just like I was, watching everything just a few feet away in the shade.

One little boy was dressed in clothes so dirty you couldn’t really tell what color they’d originally been. He looked to be about four, the same age as our youngest son back home. That sweet child walked past me slowly, holding his paper cup of ice cream in both hands out in front of him, his huge eyes staring at it like he just could not believe his good fortune. It was like he was so amazed, he didn’t even want to take a lick of it, for fear he’d ruin the moment.

Like it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever received.

A simple cup of ice cream….

News spread fast, because a few more kids came running down the street, and after ten or so had been given ice cream, Francis and the pastor suggested that we stop buying it because we could be there all day. As Francis said, “The needs here are so great — there is no end to them.” I could tell that Donnie didn’t want to tell anyone no, and I didn’t either, but we understood the wisdom behind what our Ugandan friends were saying. Donnie took the change he received from the vendor and gave it to an old man in tattered clothing, limping down the road. As we drove off, I could see the kids who had ice cream sharing bites with the ones who came too late, and it just warmed my heart to see no jealousy or covetousness — just that warm, generous Ugandan spirit of giving that we’d already witnessed so many times.

A few weeks ago, Donnie and I were reminiscing about that day. His eyes grew misty and he said, “I never told you this, but I’d prayed before we went that I’d have a chance to buy ice cream for some kids.”

Just…wow, God. Wow!

It was such a simple answered prayer that became one of the highlights of our trip, and I’m failing miserably at articulating how much it meant to have been given that opportunity to bring a little joy into those kids’ lives. Because until the day I die, I will never forget the sight of the small Ugandan version of my boy Jonah, beaming brighter than the sun, gingerly carrying that ice-cold treasure in his dusty little hands.

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Mar 18, 2014

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Travelogue: Day Five — The Orphanage

The road was a narrow strip of rusty red clay that dropped sharply into deep ditches littered with trash. Chickens strutted lazily across the dirt while a few goats slept in the sunshine atop roadside beds of tall grass. It didn’t seem like the row of stucco storefronts quite belonged there. In Georgia, you’d see farms and cotton fields along a red dirt road like this, not stores. I wondered where their shoppers came from, and later learned it would be on foot; there was a much larger network of huts and houses here than was immediately apparent to me.

It seemed an even odder location for an orphanage. It’s a long story as to how they ended up in this temporary location, but like he’s always done, Pastor has made it work.

When we drove up, dozens of familiar faces poured out onto the porch to greet us. After initial hellos, a cautious jump across the wide ditch, and lots of handshakes, we entered the building. It was a single, dark room, not much bigger than my living room at home, with a wood and screen panel in the middle to separate the boys from the girls.

Bunk beds were crowded in the space, stacked three high and draped with somewhat holey mosquito netting; other than the beds, I only noticed a few small shelves where supplies were stored. No tables for eating or chairs for sitting. It was austere, to say the least.

We quickly moved through the building and out the back door, where we saw half a dozen girls sitting on the tiny patio, cleaning rice to remove stones and other impurities before cooking it for their daily meal. Off the patio was a small closeted area that I’m guessing hid the latrine or toilet. And that was the extent of their shelter. There was a long yard behind the building, and laundry was stretched out to dry along the shrubs. There was no kitchen for cooking the rice — just a small round charcoal stove for that big metal pan fit atop. Two kids were bent over small plastic buckets, washing plastic plates and cups. I wanted to help, but wasn’t sure if I should offer to or not.

I didn’t see any toys, or pictures or pretty blankets or anything that would make this feel like a place where children lived — not even an old ball to kick around the yard. The only toys were the two baby dolls we’d given Violet, that the other girls graciously held and shared. Violet joined some of her friends in a pat-a-cake game on the front porch, but those few moments were the only times I saw anyone engaged in play.

Later that night, I’d think about what I’d seen, and how these simplest of living conditions are still such a gift to these kids. It’s a richer life than the one they’d have in the remote villages most of them come from.

It’s still hard for that to sink in, almost two months later, that one meal a day and access to school — things totally taken for granted here — are so hard to come by that a widow will send her child away to receive it. Some of the kids in this orphanage are double-orphans, meaning that both parents have died. But many have a living parent who cannot provide even the most basic of the child’s needs. To prevent them living on the streets, they send them to places like this, where the kids are stacked two, three, sometimes four on one twin-sized mattress, twenty-plus kids and adolescents in a living space not much bigger than the average American bedroom.

I’d stay awake a long time that night, having seen how my daughter has spent the past five years of her life, thankful that she’s been fed and kept clean and educated. But it’s a stunning realization to see the difference in how we define those words here compared to what they mean there. “Fed” in America means three meals a day plus snacks. “Clean” is fresh clothing in the morning and at bedtime, daily baths and toothbrushing, shoes on your feet wherever you go. “Educated” means free access to twelve years of schooling, and if you’re needy, they’ll even give you feed you breakfast and lunch for free.

Nothing is free in Uganda. Nothing. There’s no governmental safety net, no food stamps or Medicaid, no free education. The only things you have are what you earn for yourself or are given. Period. I realized in a new way that our daughter truly cannot have any idea the extravagance she is going to experience, even in our ordinary, middle-class American world.

Anyhow, back to the orphanage. Everyone was so warm and welcoming, in that gentle Ugandan way. I loved finally meeting everyone we’d talked to through the years, and seeing how much the kids had grown since I’d last seen their photos.

We had an opportunity to distribute dental care kits and bibles that were donated from friends back home, and Donnie was really in his element. Look at all those beautiful smiles! My friend Bev asked me if there was something in the water there, because Ugandans are so lovely. I have to agree!

After we distributed the gifts, we presented Pastor with a french press coffee maker and some Seattle’s Best coffee. We also gave the kids some sweets and 10 lbs. of beef jerky we’d brought from America.

Then we piled as many people as we could into our driver’s van, and took off for a short drive to the orphanage’s new location, the building site they are trying to finish and move into as soon as possible.

They’ve really done a great job on the building. Most of the walls are up and I believe they plan to move in as soon as there’s a roof in place, living there while finishing up the rest of the construction. It’s going much slower than any of us would like, due to a lack of funds and laborers willing to donate their time. (Please keep them in your prayers and if you’re able to help fund the construction, let me know.)

As you can see above, after touring the site, I sought shelter under their banana trees. My ghostly-white skin was broiling under the equatorial sun and I had to find cover from it! (Note to self: next time, bring hat!)

As we stood there, cooling off, a strange, tinny-sounding version of the “Titanic” theme song begin waft through the air. At first, I thought I was hearing things, but then it grew louder and Donnie commented on hearing it, too. We said in unison, “That sounds like an ice cream truck!” and then chuckled at the thought of an ice cream truck cruising this corner of the world. But then I turned around and saw something that amazed me. And little did we know, that cheesy song was bringing us one of the most meaningful moments of our entire trip.

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Mar 14, 2014

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Passport Party

Oh yeah, we’re rocking a Passport Party over here today!

I think this might just be the first thing throughout this adoption process that’s happened at the time it was promised, but our Ugandan Pearl has a passport!!!

Honestly, I don’t know how to act. Having something happen on-time in a Ugandan adoption is just crazy talk!

But we prayed, and our sweet friend worked his tail off to make this happen, and it did.

Praise God!

Next step, medical exam and then we are on our way to get our girl and bring her home!

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Mar 12, 2014

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Travelogue: Day Five – Road Trip

The next day in Uganda started early. I was feeling somewhat better, so I went down to to breakfast for the first time since arriving at the Apricot Guesthouse.

And it would be the last time there, because we were leaving for Jinja that day. As you can see from the pic, I stuck to carbs — toast, banana, a dry pancake, tea. And of course, more Imodium before that road trip! Hahaha!

On the way out of Kampala, our driver Francis took us to a neat market to shop for souvenirs. Unfortunately, about five minutes into shopping, I started feeling weak and dizzy again and had to go sit in the car. When I uploaded pictures from my camera, I was SO disappointed to see all that I missed! Violet had taken dozens of pics of beautiful things, and I wished I’d seen them with her. I also wish I’d gotten the earrings she had me model. The fact that I didn’t should provide insight into how bad I was feeling. Oh well — there is always next time!

As we made our way out of  Kampala, Violet kept snapping pictures. She is just like her new mama in that regard! She took many pics of the traffic, and captured one of the Mandela football stadium that was a bit further outside the city.

She also took lots of selfies, and pictures of her doll, and of Dad taking pictures, and even swiped my sunglasses and Donnie’s new ballcap! She is a hoot! And as you can see, she put stickers all over our faces. I don’t know what the story is behind Ugandan kids putting stickers on their faces, but they love to do it!

The road to Jinja was gorgeous. We passed rainforest and huge fields of sugar cane and tea.

And we stopped to buy chicken on a stick from roadside vendors, as recommended by Francis. As we pulled over, he said, “Watch…we’re going to be swamped!” and we were! Dozens of people rushed the car, offering to sell us everything from the chicken, to sodas, to mysterious-looking meat chunks on sticks and roasted bananas. A little boy stopped by my window and wanted to sell me a bunch of tiny bananas. It was a little overwhelming and I was glad that I wasn’t lying when I told him that I had no money (Donnie handled all the cash for us).  It only took a few minutes and Donnie, Francis and Violet enjoyed their lunches of chicken, chapati and roasted bananas as we drove off again.

I didn’t want to eat, since my stomach was still off, but Donnie was raving about the food and insisted I take a taste of everything. I admit — the chicken was amazingly grilled, the chapati very flavorful and the roasted banana reminded me of soft, cooked plantain. I probably could’ve managed a banana or a whole chapati, but one of my greatest traveling fears was being hit with the “Big D” and not having access to a proper toilet. (NO food is tasty enough for me to risk facing a squalid squatty-potty or having to duck behind a snake-and-bug infested bush beside the road!)

About an hour later, we finally caught our first glimpse of the Nile River, which marked our entrance into Jinja. It was so beautiful!

After crossing the bridge and going through a roundabout, we turned onto more country-looking roads as we headed to our first stop: the temporary location of Violet’s orphanage. Finally, I would get to meet the other children I’d only known so far through photographs and Skype!

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Feb 18, 2014

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Travelogue: Day Three

I can’t recall ever having been so dehydrated.

The midnight to noon hours of that January Monday are one big blurry memory of the same repetitive sequence: stomach cramps, rush to the bathroom, wash hands with terrible-smelling hotel soap, flop back in bed, try to sleep.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

After the first couple of times, when the fever began, I thought, “This must be the traveler’s diarrhea I was warned about.” So I stopped taking only Pepto-Bismol and asked Donnie to find the Cipro. He also brought me a Coke from the fridge downstairs, and a Stoney — a natural ginger soda so strong, it probably would’ve really helped — had I been able to get past the burn enough to actually consume it.

Around 7:00, I finally gave up the fight against vomiting and experienced the most painful retching I’ve ever endured. (A friend still teases me because I described it as feeling like my stomach was trying to turn inside-out.) It just went on and on and on.

After that finally passed, I was so parched, I wanted to gulp down the contents of all those bottles. But I knew I couldn’t. Each tiny sip was like torture, trying to keep from triggering my gag reflex and becoming even more dehydrated. The skin on the backs of my hands remained standing when I pinched it up; I couldn’t say more than a couple of words before my dry lips and tongue stuck to my teeth, ,making me slur like a drunken sailor.

I was miserable. And everyone else was worried.

Donnie went down for breakfast with Pearl, her birth mother “H”, and the pastor came over from his hotel to spend the day with us. I think I finally slept a bit at that point. I knew I’d have to get up and be presentable for our meeting with the attorney that afternoon, but in the meantime, Donnie gave my regrets to everyone and explained that I’d been sick all night.

I dozed off and on for a few hours, while Donnie and Pearl enjoyed some father/daughter bonding time. They colored and took pics together… (again — forgive the cheesy smiley faces — still no court ruling, and I can’t share her face here ’til it comes!)

They built a Lego Friends set together…which she loved and had never done before…

Pearl and “H” discovered the fun of playing Fruit Ninja together on the Kindle…they thought it was hilarious!

Pearl asked Donnie if she could go upstairs and check on me. It was a really sweet surprise, though I felt terrible that she had to see me looking like that. She looked very concerned and said she was praying for me and rubbed my arm. She asked me to come down if I could. I assured her that I would do that, soon. Donnie put in an order for dinner at the guesthouse, so I had to smell cooking all day long. Yuck! I could’ve sworn I was smelling fish, but they were served chicken. (That’s a little scary if you think about it! LOL Donnie said the food was really delicious, though.)

Around 5:00 p.m. our attorney came to meet with us. I put on a nice skirt and top, but I was pale and sweating from the fever and truly embarrassed by my appearance. (Later, the lawyer would tell us that he was a bit startled when he saw me and feared I wouldn’t be well enough to attend court the following day. So yeah…this mama was looking ROUGH. LOL)

We met outside under this lovely tented area, where it was cool and comfortable and beautiful….

He prepared us for what was going to happen the next day. He said that our judge was a Christian and would welcome honest answers about our faith’s involvement in our adoption decision. It was a pleasant surprise to hear that — open confessions of faith aren’t exactly encouraged here in the states anymore — especially not in a legal venue. I’d heard scary stories about families facing a really tough Muslim judge, so hearing this was a big relief.

After our brief meeting, I went back to our room to rest while the others ate dinner. After, as I’d promised Pearl, I came back down to visit with everyone. This was the last night we’d have with H and there were so many things I wanted to ask her about Pearl’s life so far and their family history. I didn’t really feel like being vertical, but I was pretty upset that I’d already lost so much bonding/talking time to sickness. I was determined not to lose another minute of this day.

H doesn’t speak very much English, so the pastor interpreted for us. I wasn’t able to ask very many questions, as the conversation seemed to lean more toward H asking questions about us. We showed them a photo album we’d put together and told her about the family and where we live. She kept telling the pastor to make sure we understood her gratitude for what we were doing, and kept referring to us as her sister and brother. There was one precious moment when our eyes met as mothers and she smiled the same soft smile I’d seen a hundred times before on her daughter’s face. She knelt down and grasped Donnie’s hand, and then mine, and it felt like receiving her blessing. The pastor explained that in their culture, deep gratitude is expressed by kneeling. I think we all had tears in our eyes, and we made sure H understood how thankful WE are for the gift she’s given us. It was a very, very sweet moment that I’ll remember forever.

While we were sitting on the sofa next to each other, Pearl kept reaching up and playing with my hair. It’s curly and unruly sometimes, and it was like she was trying to get it to lay down a bit. I wanted to giggle, but the back of my neck was damp with fever-sweat and it was kind of embarrassing for her to feel that. But she didn’t seem to mind, and there would be other times over the next few days that she’d try to get my hair to cooperate. It was one of those funny introductions to parenting girls that I hadn’t really thought about. I’ll probably write another blog post at some point dedicated to grooming lessons we taught one another during that week together. There’s definitely some humor in how that played out!

We took Pearl upstairs before bed and gave her the dress and shoes we’d bought for court. She liked them a lot and though it seemed to me that the fuchsia flats we’d brought were a little too tight on her feet, my pink-loving girl stubbornly shoved her foot into them and I don’t think she wore another pair of shoes the remainder of the week!

Thankfully, I rested better that night — even though I woke at 2:00 a.m. to find an almost three-inch-long cockroach hanging on the outside of the mosquito net near my face! (Thank the Lord for heroic bug-slaying husbands!)

I remember fading off to sleep thinking that it didn’t seem possible that we were only 12 hours away from our long-awaited court date. Finally, the day had come!

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