Sunday, November 7, 2010

Long memory

As I rocked my precious girl to sleep tonight, and she hugged me and snuggled close, my heart was full and grateful for the treasure nestled in my lap. As we rocked and snuggled, she sat up and looked at me with an open, sincere expression and said, "Momma, miss Kimmy."  Kimmy is Hanna's best friend. She lives in an orphanage in the Philippines. This is the conversation that followed:

Me: You miss Kimmy?
Hanna: Uh-huh. MJ. (her other close friend from the PI)
M: You miss MJ, too?
H: Uh-huh. Sing-a-Loo-uhd. Sing-a-Loo-uhd-a-Kimmy.
M: You sang to the Lord with Kimmy?
H: Uh-huh. Nex-a-her. Sit nex-a-her sing-a-Loo-uhd.
M: You sat next to her and sang to the Lord?
H: Uh-huh. Read.
M: And Kimmy would read with you?
H: Uh-huh.
H: Love MJ. (sad face)
M: You love MJ. I know. (tears filling eyes...mine)
H: Come-a-my-room.
M: You want Kimmy and MJ to come over to your room?
H: Uh-huh. Play.
M: I wish they could. I wish you could see them one more time.
H: One more time.

It was a treasured glimpse into my sweet daughter's heart and mind. I only wish I could do something to help her. Sadly the only remedy for separation from and longing for a friend is to be reunited. I will pray for her heart to be made whole and ask you, dear reader, to do the same.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One month later...

We've been home a month now and we are doing very well. In some ways it feels like we have always been together. Always been a family. In many ways it feels like we know each other inside and out. Like she is of my body, of my blood, shares my mind and make up.

Then other times I am reminded that I don't always intuitively know what she wants, what she thinks, how she feels. We are still learning each other, but God's grace has knit our hearts together in ways that I simply can not explain. She IS my daughter, my treasure, my love.

Hanna is adjusting so well. She still follows Caleb EVERYWHERE and says and does whatever he says or does. Caleb is also getting more and more used to sharing everything - even Mommy - with Hanna.

There are so many little things that tell me that she is really accepting that this is her forever home (as much as she "gets" what that even means). She and Caleb frequently have "My Mommy! No, MY MOMMY" spats :) which always end in big hugs for all. She also loves to play a little game with me that starts with her saying "Ah-baby" and me saying "Yes, Hanna is Mommy's baby" and her giggling her head off. This is followed by "Daddy baby?" and "Lay-leb baby?" I she wants me to say that yes, both she AND Caleb are mine and Steven's "babies" :)

We even have a bedtime routine that she is adamant about following, including me singing "My Girl" to her..."Song? Gull?" is what she says and won't take no for an answer...not that I've ever said no to that particular request :) and the either Steven or I praying over her while she repeats the last word of each sentence we speak in a tiny little whisper.

All in all we are doing GREAT, considering, and I would only ask that you continue to pray for her heart and continued bonding and grief recovery, for Steven and I as we walk the road to becoming successful parents of 2 and adoptive parents as well, and for me that the Lord would clearly show me how to mother these two precious children He has entrusted to my care in a way that would glorify and please Him.

Now, just for smiles...

Sister LOVES her boots!!!

Her first day at church...and on the playground!

Friday, May 14, 2010

First week home

Tomorrow marks one week since we arrived home with Hanna.

For the most part, things are going well. She is still waking up well in the mornings and she and Caleb play so well together. She loves to be with me and with Steven and calls out for us and looks for us periodically when she's playing. She LOVES to watch "Signing Time" and know a lot of Sign Language for a child her age.

She runs up to us and gives hugs and kisses and smiles and laughs all the time. She talks so much more than we thought at first...she just needed to warm up to us, I guess.

I would be lying if I said it was all love and kisses, though. She is definitely going through an adjustment and is grieving the loss of her previous caregivers and friends. She asks for them occasionally and wants to look at pictures of her friends often. There have been several times when she has cried for a while inconsolably. She actually seems angry at these times and will scream, not only cry. The last time this happened, yesterday, she started asking for "Kim", "Kimmie", "MJ", "Abby", "Noni" (which is actually Nori) and so we looked at some pictures.

We're still "learning" each other and that takes time. We're making progress with God's help and I know that He will continue to build our family for His glory. Please pray for Hanna that He would continue to walk her through her grief and for us that He would show us what to do for her and what NOT to do for her, as well.

Here are a few pictures of some things we've done this week. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Progress and the power of prayer

We have now been home with Hanna for 3 nights. The first night was NO problem because we were all so exhausted that she was literally asleep by the time her head hit the pillow. The morning, however was a different story. She woke up crying and apparently terrified that she was alone, Momma wasn't there, and she might not have even known where she was.

Fast forward to rest time, and she freaked out when I tried to lay her down in her bed, so I laid down with her and she went right to sleep. We've had to wake her at every rest time so far, so we don't know if she'd cry if she woke up then, but I'm betting she would.

Same exact story on Monday (yesterday) and I had to lay down with her at rest and bed time.

Imagine our excitement when she woke up this morning and all we heard was "Daddy!" in a very happy, playful voice. When Steven went upstairs, she was lying awake in bed and was happy to see him.

This is a perfect answer to prayer as we have been praying for her that the Lord would give her a feeling of safety and security in her room, that He would give her surety of our permanence and that when she woke up that she would remember where she was.

What a GREAT God we serve!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Swimming with brother

When we got to Baguio, we promised the kids that we could go swimming, so after our visit to ICAB, it was time to "pay the piper" :)
We had been swimming once already with Hanna, but this was the first time with just our family, so it was the first time that she really got to play with Caleb in the pool. Let me just say it was a RAGING success. They played and splashed and laughed and loved playing together. She is pretty fearless in the water which is nice, and doesn't mind water in her face at all. She fell down a couple of times and just stood back up and kept playing.
Check out these pictures to see how much fun they had together!

Visiting ICAB

Every adoptive family visiting the Philippines to take custody of their child or children is required to visit the Intercountry Adoption Board, also known as ICAB. This is the governing body in the Philippines responsible for matching children for international adoption.

It was a completely painless appointment. We went in, we met a few people, we took a few pictures, no big deal. They did have a few gifts for Hanna and even for Caleb and I thought that was very sweet. They gave Hanna a cultural doll, a Philippines flag, and a book that is all about the PI and also has places in it for pictures of Hanna and our family. It's kind of like a baby book. They also had us write a note to Hanna that will be placed in her file for the day when she travels back to the Philippines to discover more about her heritage.

The appointment could have taken a lot longer, but we happened to come on a day that the matching board was meeting, so we didn't need to meet any of them and were "in and out".

Here are a few pictures of our visit:

Che, our local agency rep, and Caleb waiting for our turn to speak to the ICAB rep, Kathy.

Hanna's doll from ICAB.

Our family in front of the sign ICAB hung to greet us.

Bye-bye Baguio

When it was time to leave Baguio City our new friends the Piets were SO gracious to save us from another bus ride and instead treated us to riding with them to Manila. It was SO fun to get to spend these last hours with them visiting and soaking up the fellowship with new friends that we won't get to see for a year or two. We will really miss them!
Hanna with "Momma Kim" on the car ride down the Mountain

As we drove down the mountain, we were able to enjoy the sights and visit with our friends. One of the most unique things we saw was a funeral procession. They were all walking with umbrellas behind the hearse and some military officers.

It was such a nice trip. We just can't say enough about how much we appreciate NOT having to take the bus and getting to spend those hours with our sweet friends!

Giant rock lion. 'Nuff said.

Pics of the view on the way down the mountain. They can't possibly do justice to the majesty of God's creation. It is breathtaking.