Real life

Fun, laughs, and dare I say, I fear a few more grays…life as we knew it is over and a new reality has been given to us.

I have hesitated to update the blog because I feared that people only wanted to hear the rosy stuff and not the nitty-gritty of reality…but a good friend reminded me today that the nitty-gritty is really what life is all about.

When we were able to spend the wonderful few days with Apple back in Sept, we caught a little glimpse of her personality, bull-headedness, and adorable sense of humor. We also were able to get a heads up on a few of her med issues. But how much can you really get in 3 rushed days together? We took as many notes as possible to try to come home and re-group and be as prepared as possible for any curve balls that may be coming our way, but it appears that, as in life, all the prep in the world doesn’t substitute for reality and actually being with our amazing daughter 24/7.

When I finally brought Apple home to the hotel from the orphanage, I could barely allow myself to believe that it was real and she really was ours forever, I just tried to enjoy every moment possible. I learned that the head thrashing she did in Sept was still present, the ear infections (despite the hotel Dr and the Embassy Visa medical appt saying she just had a bit of wax buildup and inflammation) were still raging and she actually had a perforated eardrum, and that she was just as stubborn as I am!

As expected, she pushed and tested every boundary possible to see if Mom was just another caretaker or if I was actually going to be around for the long-haul and whether I actually had any authority. She learned quickly that although I couldn’t let her run our worlds, that Mom really does love her and it was like watching a switch move and a light illuminate…shortly thereafter, she allowed herself to really bond, hugging and kissing me back, laughing from the deepest part of her being, sharing her food with me and allowing herself to just relax. It was amazing to experience!

Due to the last not-so-pleasant trip to the ENT on court day, I was expecting a fight when it came time for the TB test, and boy was I right. She did her typical “zone-out” coping throughout the medical exam, not speaking a word and staring off into space but when she saw the nurse was holding a syringe she immediately began to whimper and squirm. She was not having any part of whatever they had planned and they needed to know that right now! As she speaks only Telugu, and no one in the office spoke Telugu, there wasn’t much consoling other than Mom’s calm voice, loving hold, and me trying to tell her it would be ok. I pinched my arm, showed her where they would put it, she mimicked my actions and tried her best to be ok with what was coming…until the nurse actually came bedside. She started screaming, kicking, and clawing, trying to get away (not that I blame her, I’m not a fan of needles either and even my 11 year old has a mini-breakdown every time he has to get a shot). As it was a requirement and we needed it done correctly so she didn’t get hurt and didn’t get stuck having to repeat the test, they called in 4 male nurses to hold her down (2 at first, then they realized just how strong she really is…guess they didn’t believe me till they saw it for themselves) she was being pinned down to the bed by the nurses so tightly I was worried it was only causing more emotional trauma and was worried she’d have bruises up and down her arms (fortunately, she didn’t), and just as soon as it was over, she ran right into my arms, hugged me, sobbed, and nuzzled into my neck. She actually did so much better than I expected as it took so much longer than that for her to recover from the ear exam last time! She amazes me everyday! Fortunately, the test read negative two days later and a Visa was speedily issued a day later, which we were very thankful for.

And, despite a last minute trip to the ER due to massive amounts of pus and blood pouring out of her ear (yep, again, and worse than last time), she did amazingly well even on the flights back home! She is the perfect world traveler actually! She slept when we asked her to rest, she awoke and ate when we asked her to do so, never complaining once, never getting restless or tyrannical (unlike many of the other children on our flights). I am still so amazed by how she surprises me everyday! She recognized Daddy right away at the airport and hugged him, recognized Brother but played shy, and would only wave at Uncle Jon. But once home, and once my Mom, brother and his girlfriend left (although she was sad to see them go), she has actually really gotten close to Brother and Daddy and now goes to them freely for help, or to follow them and help them too. Love it!

And then there’s the flip side…she’s a typical older, newly adopted kiddo in that she’s set in her ways, isn’t afraid to argue with me and tell me “no,” and seems to have learned that her adorable smile can bend people to her will. She’s a bit less than pleased that the smile, winks, and eyebrow lifting don’t have the intended effect upon Mom.

Now that we are home, I’m starting to see her true self come out and blossom. She’s so funny, loves to smile, loves to dance (a square dance type move for every pop song is her favorite – so cute to watch how truly happy she is when she dances!), loves horse-play, wants to help out whenever possible, loves to do any and everything anyone else is doing, and she’s actually pretty shy for anyone outside of Momma, Daddy, and Brother (she can’t say Tristan…comes out something like “sisten” so she prefers to just call him Brother).

She’s not a big fan of our dogs thanks to our furry Rasta deciding to run into her room before we could get her back up on the bed (she was sliding down the bed’s slide over and over and happened to be down when he was super excited to say Hi). She started screaming bloody murder, clawing Brother and Uncle Jon (my brother) to get up off the floor, and then there was our poor Rasta who had no idea what he’d done and immediately fell to the floor, rolled over, and closed his eyes hoping someone would love on him and tell him it would all be ok. Little Miss was looking for the same thing, of course, and it has taken us until today to get her to a level of comfort that she doesn’t run from the couch to the chair to a big person, just in case the white fluffy monster is around. Now though, she says “Happy Puppies” and will actually pet them, and walk, timidly yes, but solo, around the house.

Bedtime at first was a huge challenge as she would scream at the top of her lungs and sob whenever she was in her room, and don’t even think about asking her to play in the room, let alone sleep there. As we are the mean parents that don’t allow co-sleeping in our bed (never mind the fact that Gabe has a weird schedule making it next to impossible for peaceful sleep), I was prepared that I would need to be staying in her room till she was fast asleep…however, the bull-headed kiddo of mine can totally outlast me! When I tried to get her to sleep in her bed, you would’ve thought I had just placed her on hot coals…my first clue to the sensory issues (more on that later). Eventually we settled for a makeshift bed on the floor in front of the bed, which she promptly needed Brother and Momma to be in as well in order to be comfy…the last two nights, however, she’s able to go to bed solo and actually sleep. However, since she’s still thrashing her head back and forth in the night, she’s actually getting road rash on her chin, poor baby! I’ve asked the Doctor about the thrashing and as we thought, the best guess is that it is a combo of ear/sinus pain issues coupled with emotional stress/trauma/memory…going to be staying on top of that one! She’s got a ton of blood tests to be run tomorrow and vaccines on Friday, so she’s still got a fun road ahead. Fingers crossed for smooth appointments.

Despite the frustrations from her pushing back over everything from drinking fluids, to food, to socks, to which pink shirt to wear (even though we always find a common ground), she’s still adjusting amazingly well for only being home less than a week! Just have to keep reminding myself of that fact and to just breathe, be patient and understanding.

On a much lighter note, she’s actually VERY smart and can understand most anything I say!! She will rarely speak, English or Telugu, and when she does, she whispers it, but to see her level of understanding when she’s asked to do something is just breath-taking. One day she just starting randomly speaking English and pointing to everything in the room and saying every item correctly…that was my first clue for just how much she really knows! I have determined that since she’s so small (the size of a 4 year old), that she has been treated as a 4 year old and not the 7 year old she really is…thus explaining some of the behavioral issues we are working through. 😉 I keep reminding myself, Mr G and Tristan that she’s 7 and is able-bodied despite being a bit smaller than others…and we aren’t helping her if we don’t show her that she can do anything she wants to set her mind to do, she just may need a little accommodation (yep, she loves her little red stool and carries it all over the house!). I’ve already noticed a difference in her responses by expecting a bit more rather than less, she’s just truly amazing!

And before I quit rambling, I have to share a few of my favorite moments with her so far…

1). At the hotel in Delhi on the last night before returning home, Apple, my mother, and I were trying to keep ourselves occupied as we waited to be able to leave for the airport (we had a 4am flight). We decided it would be fun to let her dictate what we should write…little did we know just how seriously she’s take her role as teacher! She turned into a Telugu rambling dictator! She gave my mom and I instructions in Telugu and told us to write words or numbers on a piece of paper. After playing for quite some time, mom was getting tired of writing the same thing over and over (and being the funny lady she is), so she decided to write the numbers Apple asked for, but did so in a square shape around the paper and handed it to Apple for review. Apple, being the strong willed child she is, took one look at it, wrote a HUGE “X” across the paper and sternly told my mother “You fail school!! Seeerrrooo (aka zero) Nana, you fail!” She was so serious and so disappointed that my mom had done something so against what she had been asked to do, and all my mom and I could do was roll on the bed in complete astonishment and uncontrollable laughter for about 20 minutes….fortunately for us, she let the stern teacher persona go and my adorable daughter was back, laughing right alongside us!

2). We learned the other night that she loves to dance! I have tried on several occasions, since our family loves music so much, to get her to let loose and dance with me, only to be met with a funny look of “um, yeah, Momma, as if!” However, I had Pandora running on my phone last night and a song came on (Grape Vine, I think) which caught her fancy and she started bobbing her head more than before until the bobbing hit her arms, then belly, then legs till she was in full redneckery square dancing gyrations! She grabbed my phone, placed it to her good ear, and started gyrating all of the living room with the biggest grin you’ve ever seen, and grabbed Momma to dance, chased Daddy and Brother and insisted they join in! Nothing like seeing how happy she was moving and bouncing and getting everyone else to do so too!! I only wish I had my camera to share the moment as I’m sure you all would light up and roll on the floor laughing (then secretly try to mimic her cool moves!!).

3). And lastly, tonight we finally put up the Christmas tree. Watching Tristan and Apple decorate it with such clear intent for each strand of garland, ornament, and candy cane was just priceless. Decorating the tree has always been a fun tradition and now to have his little sister finally here too was just wonderful.

So, we are moving forward taking the good and the not-so-fun as each day gives it to us, exploring the new little pieces we each discover of each other and just trying to enjoy every minute. And yes, I’m sure there will be more new and interesting things to come, and yep, more gray hairs too! But I’m just thankful to have my children, my hubby, and my wonderful friends and family, and I’m just going to try to hold each a little tighter this holiday season.

We wish you guys the very best during these holidays and hope that the New Year brings amazing new adventures and new kiddos for many of you very soon!

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Seeing my baby girl again!

When we arrived at the compound, my body and face flush with excitement and anxiety and impatience, we went directly to the office instead of being able to go to Apple. As we walked inside the little office filled with women (and two men) who work so diligently for the care of the women and children trusted to them, I immediately noticed a new face sitting at the Director’s desk! Turns out, the previous Director had retired (probably for the best) and here was a new woman, a face which I recognized from the many women who had gone to court with us during our turmoil of trying to keep us from having to return to India for court again, or from having to stay indefinitely in country…such a pleasant surprise! As we did the formalities of paperwork, and as the hours passed, I just tried to keep a smile on my face and let my gratitude be seen for what these women have done for my child and for my family. We made small talk intermittently as the women and men chatted at a hundred miles an hour in Hindi, and just waited.

Finally, about 2 hours after our arrival, the discussions about our file were over, the Director signed off, thanked us, and left for lunch. Minal, always trying to keep tabs on everything, then went to work having me sign here and there, and suggested that while we wait for the ladies to finish their end, (I think she knew how desperately I wanted to see my baby), we go to the children’s home and see if we can see Apple…oh how I had waited for that moment!!

The last memory I had of leaving her home was not a positive feeling (Mr. G and I kept it together until we were in the car leaving our daughter behind at the orphanage…the last memory I had of my time with our daughter was of her following our car outside the children’s home, waving goodbye until I couldn’t see her any longer as we drove away), and I was ready for the next chapter in our lives together!

When we arrived at the home, it was eerily quiet as most of the older kiddos were apparently still at school. So instead of seeing my baby, we waited. We presented the coloring books and crayons, and gifts to the women who had cared for my child for so many years. We made small talk as we waited for Apple to arrive. Finally, about 30 minutes later, we heard children start to walk into the home…oh which of these groups would finally contain my baby? Group after group and still no Apple, then, as she almost sneaked by without a care in the world, there she was!!! Dressed in her olive drab school uniform with a backpack that was a big as she! Swaroopa, one of the heads of the children’s home called her name and she peeked out from around the leg of the adult she walked with. I saw that gorgeous little face and our eyes met! Oh how my heart skipped a beat!!! And in true Apple fashion, she gave the huge “yep I see you and you’ll have to come and get me” grin, and took off towards her room! Ha!!! She remembered me, I hadn’t imagined or elaborated on her personality, and she WAS happy to see me!!! I looked at my Mom who was trying so hard to capture that moment on camera for me and still be present in the moment taking it in, it was, after all, the first time she was meeting her granddaughter, and we both had ear-to-ear smiles on our faces! I looked at Minal and she said we needed to wait for Apple to return, so, again, we waited.

Then, in a lucky turn of events, Minal asked us if we wanted to see where Apple slept, as we waited for her to return? Oh my goodness, um, YES please!!!

As we walked through the halls, we saw babies and toddlers everywhere! We heard children’s laughter and giggles and cooing, such an uplifting moment to feel the happiness and peace versus what I know happens in some institutions.

As we passed a group of toddlers, one little girl whom Minal is trying to find a home for, decided to come up to me. She was dressed in a pretty little white dress, had beautiful short, curly black hair, huge black eyes, a smile from ear to ear, and was fixated on me absolutely! She waddled to me, took my hand and just stood there, staring and smiling at me for what seemed a wonderful eternity. Minal said she’d not seen her interact like that before and it just increased her desire for a placement for her! Despite her special needs, I KNOW in my being that this child is amazing and I pray that she finds a family who sees her for who she really is, and finds a family soon!

We walked a bit further, took in the smells of the orphanage, damp, slightly musty, but not as unpleasant as I had been prepared for, and looked around to see how clean the orphanage really was, older and worn, yes, but clean. We arrived at the room where Apple had grown up, I was left speechless. It was so amazing to imagine that my child had spent her life in this small, colorful, cheerful, sparsely furnished and yet crowded room. There were so many babies and toddlers crawling on mats and on the floors, and there were at least 4 women interacting with them. And, in the corner, I saw them again, those huge, beautiful eyes peering at me from in between the bars of a crib. There was my little girl, waiting her for her Aya (Auntie/caretaker) to get her ready for me; huge smile and a need to not come to me until she was “presentable”, as if that mattered to me, but it seemed to be very important to Apple and the Ayas, so again, I waited. I crept towards her corner, saw the little bed where she slept each night, a toddler bed which she shared with other girls. And then, there it was, the Taj Deccan bag filled with my daughter’s pink dress, black leggings and little black Mary-Jane shoes she was wearing when I left; they actually let her keep her own belongings, and had washed them and kept them safe for her!! Oh my goodness this whole experience was so becoming so much more than I’d even dreamed of! As her Aya finished applying her face powder and oiled her hair, it was finally time for me to get to see and hold her! Apple came over to me, cautiously, as she was trying to listen to 5 different women talking and telling her what to do, all at the same time. She came to me, hugged me, smiled, and I knew, yep, we were made for each other! We spent a few minutes in her room, and then Minal said we didn’t have much time as we had needed to have been back already in the office. We went back to the front room and got the bag of stuffed babies from Tristan’s fundraiser as I wanted to be sure Apple was able to pass these out to her friends and we were able to photograph the moment. Apple passed them out and handed them to the babies and then to the children that were being brought into the room by the Ayas, she seemed to enjoy herself and we got pics for my son so he could see how his love for these kids was so appreciated!

As it was then well past the time for us to have returned to the office for more paperwork, we had to leave Apple to her lunch of rice and Dahl, and my heart sank just a bit as the Ayas whisked her away without so much as a goodbye.

We returned to the office and eventually I received the paperwork I needed along with Miss Apple’s passport (they changed her name as we had asked!! Her full name and our name were all listed in the passport…which has proven to be a surprisingly helpful gift). Finally, Apple arrived with another Aya, and she was mine forever! Many pictures later, a few goodbyes, lots of smiles and waves, and we were on our way back to the hotel.

What an amazing and emotionally tolling few hours, but oh has it been worth every minute!

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Catching up

So here it is, 2AM, laying awake in bed again (for some reason, Mom and I have been wide awake at 1AM EVERY night), and I realized that I hadn’t given an update to you!

Where to begin….

As many of you know, instead of flying Singapore Air, we were booked on Emirates for our flights (wasn’t particularly happy about that, but with short notice, what’s a girl to do?). I was worried that the international leg of the flight was going to be too difficult for my Mom, and turns out, it was special for us both! Our flight was 14.5 hours straight to get into Dubai…being crammed in like sardines again, all I can say is how incredibly envious I am of the folks who get to stop and live in Business Class! Again, these seats are not made for people taller than 5’7″, I’m certain. And to add to the fun, our crew on that first flight was so grumpy, impatient, and outright rude at times, we felt like we were inconveniencing them simply by being in our seats. One attendant repeatedly rammed (yep, rammed) into me and many other passengers and as she walked away, yelled “excuse me” with a lovely foreign accent I couldn’t place…at least it sounded smooth and sweet when she spoke.

Not sure what happened on that flight, as we were assured that Emirates was on par with Singapore Air if not better…all I can say is that first flight didn’t help to drive that positive sentiment home.

And of course, as expected, watching, begging, wishing that the little plane on the screen which tells you how far you’ve gone and how far you’ve yet to go would just move a bit quicker or else you might be the crazy person who you’ve seen in the movies trying to occupy their time by running up and down the aisles or trying to get a group of passengers to sing along to Christmas carols! All I can say is even having taken so many international trips, it never gets easier. LOL 😉

Fortunately for us though, we finally landed safely in Dubai and boarded our next Emirates flight with a new crew who must have been well rested as they were much more professional, attentive, and very friendly. As each hour passed, I came to realize I really was getting closer to finally having my baby in my arms forever, wow, what a thought! Mr. G and I had tried unsuccessfully so many times through the years to bring another kiddo into our family, and here I was, so close to finally seeing our dream become a reality.

And then the mind starts racing with questions…

Would she be upset with me for leaving her after our last trip?
Would she come to me easily or would she be hesitant, constantly wondering if I would leave again?
Would she even remember me?
Would she be as charismatic and amazing as I had remembered her, or had my memory distorted things somehow and I’d created a falsification of how wonderful our last encounters were?

Oh, the many questions an adoptive parent asks themselves…and I came to realize that although the context may be a bit different, I asked similar questions of myself before my son was born, too. It all boiled down to the same core question though, asking myself, will I be enough for my children? I think as parents, the only answer is that if we do our best each and every day, then yes, of course we are enough!

So after my question and answer session finally subsided in my head, I happened to look down at the screen which showed our flight progress and was indescribably elated to see we were so close to landing in Hyderabad!!! Woo-hoo, no more planes for a few days, and woo-hoo, I’m back in the city of my daughter’s origin and would be seeing her in a few hours!! Ahh, the sweet feeling of excitement and peace fell over me and although I was apprehensive that our luggage wouldn’t arrive again (yep, learned my lesson from the first trip and packed 4 different suitcases with a bit of each of our belongings and a bit of each of the donations we brought inside, just in case!), I just wasn’t nervous. I guess I knew that I had survived with one outfit for 4 days before, and I could do it again if needed, so why get anxious.

My poor Mom though, so patient as she was in the sardine cans, helping the man next to us as he writhed in pain, trying to help me with more leg room by keeping hers smooshed together so I could stretch a bit (helps that she’s so much shorter than I!), so sweet!! As we walked down the corridor towards Immigration, it was so interesting to be able to watch her reactions to the way the people here work! She was so appalled by the fact that there was so little organization to keep those of us who had been standing in line for an hour already, actually in our position, rather than allowing any Tom, Dick, or Harry to just push their way in front of us. As I had experienced it before, it wasn’t surprising to me this time around, and I knew just to push back, but it still seemed very unnatural (as it seemed for most of the other foreigners in our line, too). But eventually we made our way through and hour and a half after we landed (note to self, don’t arrive into Hyderabad on the very early morning flights, as that’s when everyone else arrives too…Singapore Air brought us in just before midnight and we stood in line for maybe 15-20 mins, as most flights arrive later than that).

As we made our way to the baggage claim and saw all 4 pieces arrive, I was elated! And seeing my name on the hotel driver’s placard, oh what a relief!

What I would’ve given to have been able to watch the two of us as we tried to settle and relax at the hotel! Instead of relaxing, Mom and I went right to work getting everything we needed for the orphanage trip separated! A quick shower and breakfast later and we were running downstairs to find Minal so we could be underway.

When we happened upon Minal (seated in the restaurant, happily enjoying her quiet breakfast), she invited us to join her until she finished and we could then leave. So funny to watch the business mens’ faces as we sat down with our bags stuffed full of crayons, coloring books, treats, gifts for the caretakers, gifts for Minal, and then there I was with a massive Space Bag filled with my son’s fundraiser efforts (he asked that our friends and family participate in a stuffed animal drive through my company, Scentsy, so that I could bring the stuffed babies to give to the kiddos in Apple’s orphanage who needed a bit of extra love). As we finally left the hotel on our way to Apple, we stopped at a little candy shop and bought sweets for the ladies in the office and for the kiddos in the home, so that Apple could give some treats away as she said goodbye to the only home and only family she’d known for the last 7 years.

As we turned the corner into the government compound where the offices and children’s home are located, I could barely contain my excitement!!

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Bringing our baby home

Hello to all my amazing friends and family who have endured the long process to bring our daughter home, right alongside our family!

As I sit in Seattle’s international terminal awaiting the arrival of our Emirates ticket agents, I reflect back upon the last two years of our lives.  We, as a family, went from having had 1 amazing son (and 9 lost pregnancies) and being content with the size of our family, to falling in love with our daughter, Apple, and deciding to pursue her adoption.  We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, financial hurdles and successes (thanks to the support of our friends, family, and grant organizations!), excitement and let downs, watching our friends bring their adopted children home or face major obstacles as well…and yet, it has all led us to now, here, waiting in another airport terminal with calm and peace in my heart.

Now for those of you who know me well, patience one not one of my better virtues, nor is an ability to be calm…thus you can understand my confusion at this peace I feel!  I can only hope and offer the explanation that a lot of preparation on our part, a lot of positivity, and maybe a little of our Irish luck may be contributing? Either way, whatever the explanation, I’m fully thankful!

So, as we sit in a freezing terminal in cloudy Seattle, we anxiously await Thursday, the day we land in Hyderabad and the day my daughter becomes mine to love forever!

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Reflection

First I want to apologize for the post yesterday without much detail, as it seemed like it caused a lot of worry.  Not to say that I think it is unjustified worry, but I will be having private conversations with a few friends who will be experiencing similar parts of our journey yesterday as well, so that they are truly prepared for what to expect.

I was once told by a mom that she was so affected by a first trip that she would do anything to keep from having to return, she just wanted her baby home…although I never learned of all the experiences she had during her trip, I can now better appreciate why she felt such anxiety, for this place is certainly amazing and overwhelming all at once.   After having experienced the culture and the nitty, gritty of this process, some of what I must imagine was similar to what she experienced, I feel that at least I can now share through telephone conversations more details of our experience so that friends can have a “leg-up.”

And actually, albeit crazy and super frustrating, the first part of our day was not the worst part, as the part of our experience that will be somewhat similar for others was “interesting” yes….the most traumatic experience of the day was actually a visit to the ENT for our daughter’s ears before we had to return her to the orphanage.  The sheer terror in our daughter’s eyes, her completely tensed little body, the yelling and screaming and kicking to try to get away, the sheer panic…I will never be able to get that out of my head.  The doctor was actually pretty nice and she had never been to his office before.  He gave specific instructions on what to do to care for her ears, a whole mess of new meds, and he wants another hearing test done after the infections are finally healed.  We gave all the meds and instructions to the caretakers, and I just pray she gets well soon.

For those of you who may not understand why we must make two trips, let me give a bit of insight…the first trip is required of the courts that adoptive parents appear in person for the hearing, then we return 2-3 months later to bring our child home.  In our case, Mr.Judg* decided to go on vacation for the next 5 days, thus leaving us hanging.  If it were not for the persistence of some amazing women (including Min*l) and a head clerk at the court directing our attorney on what to do, we would be either stuck here for who knows how much longer or would have had to return next week.  Now, though the chance that we will still have to return for another hearing is still present, it is smaller.

So here we sit, getting ready to leave tonight knowing that we’ve done all we can, but we are still leaving without any word on whether she’s ours or not.  As I reflect back on the last few days here, overall, the good absolutely makes up for the not-so-fun.  Our time with our daughter was amazing and we feel so blessed to be able to be a part of her life.  Min*l has been wonderful, the staff at the Taj Deccan have been amazingly helpful, and although Ind*a is super chaotic, there seems to be a level of understanding for the somewhat “organized” chaos.

I will just remember our daughter’s reaction when we brought her to the caretakers and she was told (for the first time!) that we were leaving but would return…she was so accepting of it and just gave us hugs goodbye and waved us off.  Like Mr. G said, it’s like she knew all along and yet still chose not to be distant with us and rather to enjoy every minute and allowed herself to bond! This child is so precious to us and we can’t wait to finally be able to have her in our arms forever.

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Awful

Well we are emotionally spent.  Today was one of the most horrible days of my life, right next to the day I almost died and was so afraid I would die in our driveway and not be able to get our 3 year old son safely in the courtyard…yep, that bad.

No details as I’m not ready to have to re-live it yet.

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Nitty, gritty

Here I sit again, the only one awake…here are the three of us all wrapped in down duvets and sheets…three peas in a king-sized pod.  My husband sleeping peacefully with a grin on his face, facing our new daughter as she lays between us and always has a hand or arm on one of us at all times while sleeping, and I think to myself how lucky are we to be given the opportunity to love this child forever?  I say that to myself so often about our son, and it now dawns on me that this child, too, will be in our arms forever….or in reality, in our hearts again for the next two months, and THEN in our arms forever.

We have only had our baby for a couple of days and yet, as we were all just discussing over dinner with Min*l last night, it truly seems like she was made in heaven for us and that she’s just always been ours.

Nitty, gritty…In true form for me, I listened to my instincts who kept saying that despite how amazingly well she’s doing, I think there is something wrong with her ears.  When we received her at the orphanage, we noticed the crazy oily hair (with lice which I expected as it just comes with the territory…can’t barely go a year in a second grade US classroom without a bout of them, let alone trying to raise 100+ kiddos 24/7 on a daily basis, so yep, all you squirmy moms, bring a few boxes of the Rid kits so you can love on and snuggle without worry), and also a dark discharge in her ears…ok, so I know this may not be so fun to read, but I just want to keep things reality, not fiction.

Well, the nitty, gritty of it is that the discharge got worse yesterday, despite baths, with now a fowl odor, and increased in volume.  I called Min*l immediately, as we had noticed that when Ap*le sleeps, she tosses her head to and fro and must be calmed, (the first day, we thought maybe that was her version of the “meltdown,”) but yesterday during her nap, we noticed she was actually bleeding from her ear!! Let’s just say I called the hotel manager and told him I needed the doctor back for our baby’s ears, and despite the fact that it was almost 7pm, he had the doc here within 15 minutes!!  Min*l notified the orphanage immediately and they offered to have her seen by a doctor immediately, which she gracefully declined and said her parents were taking care of it and that we’d keep them updated.

Cut to our nervous selves trying to gently wake our ill 6 year old from deep sleep, so that she’s not completely startled by the doctor when he starts messing with her ears!  That was fun, she is certainly her brother’s sister!  Doc looks her over and at first is annoyed that we don’t know how long her ears have been ill, then Mr.Rao of the hotel mgmt explains that we only received her yesterday…yesterday, really?  Well, she’s got infections in both ears and an ulcer on one eardrum; she needs meds and to be seen by an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist.  The doc and mgr leave to get her meds, and I update Min*l, who calls the orphanage again to relay the info.  The staff at the orphanage were very concerned and immediately started working on getting her in to be seen by an ENT after court today. One dose of meds later, and she’s already seeming to feel better, thank God, and slept much better last night.

Yet, here I sit awake, filled with nerves over what the ENT will say, over our court appearance, wondering what it will be like, why didn’t we know that today was yet another holiday and that the courts could be closed, was she really prepared for us to bring her back to the orphanage, will she hate us and for how long because of having to do so?  As I have said before, although the logical side of me knows the statistical answers, the “just Mom” side is concerned about it all, and now that Mr. Gearhead is awake too, it seems he too is worried.

So what to do…worry about it all day, dreading the moment we have to return her to the orphanage, (which, btw, I think is a terrible idea for any child), or we can just enjoy these precious moments we DO have with her knowing what is meant to happen will happen, and we will all come through it eventually.  We take solace in the fact that we know of good friends who have already had to visit and leave their child and both survived (albeit it difficult and completely wrong, in my humble, or not so humble, opinion) and others who have done this same trip and have brought their babies home successfully bonded…I think we will take option two.  😉

So, now it is time to get ready for court with butterflies and all, oh and with fresh clothes since our luggage finally found its way back to us (with a lot of calls from the hotel managers).  Mr. Gearhead is finally doing better, the cut on my hand is healing (yep, dropped a glass while IN the water…yay for me), and my baby at home is doing well, and my baby here seems to be a bit on the mend.  Just have to keep making the conscious choice to focus on the good and release the not-so-fun, right?

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