Monday, May 15, 2017

4 Weeks Later...

Everyone time seems like it passes so quickly.... yet so slowly as well! :)

Lots of people have been asking how everything going so here is our best update:

B is settling in really well! Here's what we have learned:

1- She will probably NOT say hello to you when you meet her the first time. She is not quick to say hello. So please give her space and just wave at her or put your hand for a high five. She is getting better at interacting with a high 5. You can say hello, just don't get offended if she does not react much. She is making progress in this area, but it's still something she is uncomfortable.... and that is OK! :)

2- She LOVES water!!! Since it has been so hot around here we have had a lot of water time. She loves splashing around and getting all types of wet! :)

3- She is getting better with playing with The Bash. They are slowly starting to play together and pick on each other (which I count as win).

4- She has a hard time sleeping through the night. Some nights she does, and some nights she does not.... It's always a mystery what the night will be like!

5- She loves all the food! She really eats everything we have served her and loved it. She loves singing "food for your belly" when it's time to eat! (who doesn't?)

6- We are looking at lots of books and talking about what we see in pictures to help with English. It's slowly coming along. I think that her understanding is far passed her speaking. She loves finding B for her name everywhere we go!!!

7- She has met a lot of our family. She seems to be better when we have people to our house. She feels more comfortable and kinds "lets loose."

8- She likes to push some days.... Some days she likes to push the limits to see what she can get away with. Those days are rough and exhausting. She is so smart and will try things out JUUUUSSSSTTT to see what the reaction may be! :) I count that as a pretty NORMAL kid activity.

9- She is getting better at playing. At first we did a lot of nothing. We are slowly playing more around the house. She really loves The Bash's cars and nerf gun fights :)

10- She loves telling on The Bash when he is doing anything she thinks is wrong! :) She likes to be the boss!

11- She has told us she loves us! It took awhile, but she said it to us! :)

12-She has started to want to tell stories like us. But she doesn't know enough English so she does some gibberish talk. It's awesome!!!! I love her excitement about talking with us!

13- She LOVES to help. If we are doing something/ anything... she wants to help! It can be REALLY awesome (turns the socks right-side out) or really annoying (when I need to sweep and she just hangs on my shirt because there is nothing for her to do) :) But nevertheless... she is SUPER sweet to help.

14- She LOVES everything at stores. When we go shopping she has to show me EVERYTHING "Ooooooo!!!!Mama see?" It takes us forever to get shopping done, but it's pretty cute!

Overall we are so excited about how quickly she adapts to new places and things. I can say that God knew EXACTLY which girl was supposed to be in our crazy family. She has brightened our days and made our home feel even MORE like our home! :)

The Bash has been filling in the big brother role like a champ. He really has been outstanding. He is slowly learning how to show B how to play WITH him... or how to contribute to what he is playing. Hopefully soon they will go off and play by themselves like the crazy kids they are!

Thanks again for all your prayers and notes of encouragement. They are such a blessing to us all. Here are some pictures of our past few weeks!

If you have specific questions you want to know more about, please message me and I will answer it in the next post!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Our First Week In The BOOOOOOOOKS!

Hello all! We have officially been our family of 4 AT HOME for 10 whole days! It's been a whirlwind... and yet so normal! Does that even make sense?

Let me do my best to recap our first week.

The Bash stayed home for Monday and Tuesday of our week. It was a blessed 2 days for him and B to bond. She started to ask for him and follow him around. When The Bash went back to school B kept asking where he was... The Bash started school on Wednesday and had a good 3 days back. I think he enjoyed being back with his friends.

B has done a lot of great things. She has slept like a champ. She has eaten like a champ. She has met a BUNCH of new friends and family. She has been working on colors and we have read a lot of basic vocabulary books. We have worked a lot on how to use words (not whine) and interact with us in a nice way (not just grabbing, biting or hitting when things are frustrating or don't go her way). She has loved doing baby doll hair, SOME coloring, cars, window watching, play-doh, she LOVES helping with any task ever, dancing, singing, and looking at books. She has this cute little purse that she loves to take everywhere. She doesn't really ever take anything out of it... but she loves taking it. Any time we leave the house and I grab my purse, she grabs hers!

This transition has been such a blessing. I must say all your prayers for God to prepare B and our hearts for her to come home.. THANK YOU!!!! It has been such a great transition with her. She is happy. She is settling in like she is home. She is getting used to being here as her home.

Some things we are working on: When she falls or hurts herself... he first reaction is to laugh. I want her to ask for us and get consoled. We are working on her asking for things she needs. She did end up with a stomach ache last Thursday night. She didn't tell me at all and just started crying. I wasn't sure what was wrong with her, until we started getting ready for bed and I felt her belly. It felt really tight. I asked if her stomach hurt and she nodded. But until that point I had NO idea what she was so upset about. That is hard. It is hard that she cannot communicate what is bothering her... when something is bothering her. We will get there though!

This week she has slowly started to interact with other people OTHER than our family. Her grandparents came over on Sunday and she really let loose and hung out with them, even when I wasn't even there! That is good, in that she is REALLY shy at first and really clingy to me when she meets new people and new things. The fact that she is starting to feel so at home that she can let her guard down around others is awesome steps.

ALSO, she has HATED Nala (our dog). BUT, we are making slow steps with that as well. At first we had to keep Nala outside or inside depending on where we were. Now Nala and B can be in the same room and she is fine! She even pet Nala's ear the other day.

Aren't kids amazing? I continually stand in awe of all her accomplishments, her bravery, and her continued growth. 10 days is not that long... yet it feels as though we have been a family for forever. She just stepped right into our crazy family and it has fit so perfectly. God is sooooooooooo good. I have no doubt this girl was meant for this family and we were meant for her.

ONE MORE THING... thank you all so very much! We have had gifts for our kids, food, groceries, gift cards, and just plain 'ol phone calls, encouraging messages, and visits from so many of you! We feel so blessed to have you in our lives. I know that our daughter was blessed to come home to such a huge support system. Please know that she is VERY shy and does not know that much English. So if she does not respond she probably is not fully sure what you are talking about, and is very timid. I'm sure you will ALL get to see our sweet girl's sassy and spunky attitude soon enough. Thank you for being so patient with her and us!

What else do we need?!? Some people asked what else we need. So here is what else we could use: Shoes- she wears like an 11. Kid plates and bowls (plastic) we have some from Target. Bubbles (she loves bubbles). Annnd.... Booze... HAHAHAHA...

On to pictures!
Here are some pictures of things we have done this past week:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

New Chapter... New Beginnings... New Normal

We left off when we arrived home late at night...

Here's how things have gone on these past two days home:

B has woken up really well both days. I have woken up and worked out with my group. The Man wakes up when I do and moves to her room so she does not wake up alone. 

On Friday, she woke up in a good mood and she was EXCITED To play with all the cool new toys. She spent a TON of time playing with the her babies. She had a great time doing their hair and dressing them! :)  Today she woke up and took a bath, and then took a bit to get going... but has started to open up very quickly.

She loves the record player. She loves having music on at all times (our type of gal). She has even figured out how to lower the needle and LOVES it.

She always is looking to help! She wants to help do anything. She even likes picking things up and making sure everything is put away (YES!!!!! Sound like anyone you know.... :) )

She was shocked at the dishwasher, putting toilet paper IN the toilet, and the foamy soap.

Most of the day on Friday we spent at home playing and investigating all the parts of the house. The Man and I were both pretty exhausted from the late night the night before... but honestly her excitement and good mood helped us to keep going! It was chilly outside, but that did not stop us from spending TONS of time outside in the front yard (she tried biking for the first time) and in the backyard  (she climbed up in the play house AND played on the playground... no trampoline yet though).

I have done her hair both days... and I'm not that great at it .... and need to do a LOT more youtube video watching to figure out the best and cutest hair-dos.

She really opened up and has talked, laughed, and smiled a LOT these past two days.

Today, Saturday, has been a lot of feeling out boundaries. I think she is trying to see what she can get away with. What we allow. What we do not allow. What is acceptable and what is not. This happens with all of our kids... Every year I teach I get this same type of activity. We had a few time outs (with me) or time outs from that object (kept stuffing grapes in her mouth and so she had a time out from them... She kept making a mess with her drink by blowing bubbles so she took a time out from her drink...) She makes adjustments quickly and does not hold a grudge when she does have a time out. So all positive things there. The teacher in me is ridiculous! :)

She is SOOOOOOOO sassy. She has a sassy skip. She loves trying to do a lot of things herself. She eats all 3 meals and some snacks. Drinking from her special glass (loves Kool-Aid).

Today, Saturday... she got to work with plants and dirt. She helped dad bring dirt around to the front yard to help our gardens. She wanted to carry it herself... BUT... that didn't quite work! :)  She enjoys being outside.

Bed time... it has actually been pretty seamless so far. It is a little unreal how well she has gone to sleep and how she sleeps through the night. I rock her to sleep and then move her to her bed. So far, she has gotten to her bed and stayed asleep! It's been a surprising blessing!

All in all... we are shocked at how well she has adjusted to being home. It is amazing how quickly she has opened up and just hopped into being here. Most days, hours, minutes, seconds it all seems unreal. This girl we have prayed for, thought about, imagined, talked about, and prepared for... is FINALLY here... and we could not feel more happy!

THANK YOU to all the friends who have made us a meal... Who have dropped over random goodies for our kids and us.... Who have come over to chat or say hello! Thank you to everyone for the hugs.... the prayers... just EVERYTHING... it's such a blessing...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Day 5- Gotcha Day

Today started like the rest of our days. The Bash up first peppy as ever. We got up second trying to stay close to B for when she wakes up... Last B wakes up. She is a slow riser... It takes her a bit to wake up... Which is exactly OPPOSITE of The Bash. The boy is up peppy and wired all the way until he lays his head back down on the pillow for bed time! :) Love that about both of them!
We showered B off (once she did get up) and dressed her. Then I cuddled with her while I posted some updates on Facebook. She just sat there... Until I was too boring! :) She started moving around and I asked her if she was awake now. She nodded. I asked her if she wanted to go play with The Bash... She nodded. It was an awesome start to the morning. She was ready to play with dad and brother and that left me a small amount of time to go workout. I know that sounds crazy, but those of you who know me well... know that a workout helps me function the rest of the day... I cannot explain it... It just is who I am... So I worked out. As I'm in the room workout out, B kept peeking in and watching me (like I was crazy) and then running back out to play.
I got ready and we set off to play! We ran around and played Memory (again).... took some awesome pictures thanks to these sweet, now friends, at the crèche, and got things packed up and ready to go. Another mama arrived last night, and so I was able to talk to her. It's such a blessing to have a community of families that are going through EXACTLY what we are going through. It is a blessing to be able to talk about fears and hopes and doubts together and know that they know EXACTLY what you are feeling. All these parents I have met through this experience are so amazing. Such a blessing to us for sure!
We went from playing to packing up the van in a hurry. It was a surreal feeling really. Like... we have waited 3.5 years for this.... and it is ACTUALLY happening. Some days during this process it felt as thought this day was never ever ever ever ever..... ever.... going to happen. I would cry and cry in frustration feeling like we would never see the end of this process.... But then there we were... packing ALL Of us up to head HOME... TOGETHER!!! Can I get an amen hallelujah!?!?!
I was worried all morning about how our travels were going to go.... First,  we loaded the van with no crying. She clung to me tight... but no crying. She ended up falling asleep on the way down the mountain. When we arrived to the airport... no crying. She did a lot of people watching. But she was good. She was awesome! We ate lunch at the airport and then had some wait time. She just sat there soaking it all in.
We loaded the first plane... no crying. We took off. She gripped me tight. She clung to my arm. No crying. As soon as I could I took her seatbelt off and she hopped on my lap so fast and we rode the rest of the flight with her on my lap. She fell in and out of sleep... but was AMAZING.
Got to the airport in Miami. Was not sure how she would do with all the people, lights, and craziness... But she did awesome once again. She helped push suitcases, went though the medal detector, and walked through the airport like a champ. WE had a good 2 hour laps once we found our gate. At first she did not want to eat (pizza)... I was worried she was not going to eat or drink... but she downed her PowerAde and then was excited for her Lara bar. So I praised God for that. She ate, she drank, and she was pretty relaxed as we sat there. We did a sticker book (thanks Autumn) and she did a TON of people watching. She stared at a group of girls for the longest time. I think she thought they were pretty interesting! :)
As we loaded the 2nd plane she clung to me again. WE walked onto the plane and she squeezed my finger tight... but no crying. As we took off her squeeze got tighter, but she stayed strong! Another great flight! Praise God! She even got up to go to the bathroom!
Our car trip was another awesome trip. She let me sit her in her booster and buckle her in AND me sit in front. She watched out the window for a bit, and then fell asleep.
When we FINALLY arrived home (at 1am) she KINDA woke up a bit, but quickly passed out in her bed. It was a relief because then The Man and I could do the same!
WE ALSO arrived home to our back wall being finished (thanks pa) and food stocked up (thanks Char). THANK YOU for all your prayers... They have been answered and we feel so very blessed

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Day 4- Steps forward and back

Today was another emotional day.
B woke up kinda her normal timid self. Not sure what to think. We let her lay there to wake up, and then I pulled her over to snuggle and check out what The Bash was doing. The Man started the shower (it takes a bit to warm up) while we woke up. Once things were warm B took a shower (I THINK her first). She was not so sure what to think about it, but I think she liked it. She washed herself and then we got her dressed and ready for the day.
The kids and dad watched a little show, while mom worked out. Then we headed out for some play time. This morning B was ready to go. She talked to us more and sooner, She was very interactive with all of us. She was laughing and having a good time. We played games, played some beats with some drum sticks, painted pictures, chased each other, stacked blocks, and just had a good 'ol time. We ate lunch together and then headed over to the creche.
There was NOT a whole lot going on, but I wanted a nanny to work with me on how to do B's hair. So we found a nanny that was willing. She did all but a little and let me get my hands in there to do the braids. So I got a very mini tutorial on how to do B's hair. I feel betterish about that whole ordeal. The good thing is, I don't have to work... so I should be able to work on that girl's hair all day if need be! :) She likes to sit and cuddle a lot, so I can get some good practice time in then!
After that B was tired and actually ended up taking a nap on me, while the kids ran around and we decorated for B's party. Benito stopped over and we met with him. I'd love to tell you more of that story.... just not at this time.... hopefully soon though! Anyway we talked with him, and then the "party" started. The party was mainly us being mobbed by the kids wanting all the goodies we brought. It was craziness. We also brought nanny gifts and let B hand them out and give hugs to them. It was sweet to see how much the nannies love her... and hard... hard to see her have to say good-bye to these women that have been her mamas for so long.
We left soon after handing out all the goods. We came back and vegged out. Be was tired. I was tired... We were all tired (except maybe The Bash... does he ever get tired?). So we played a little ipad books and then a couple puzzles and memory. It was good, but really dazed. We ate dinner and B did not eat too much. Not super surprizing she had eaten a lot that day. After dinner she pretty much just wanted me to hold her. We walked around the halls and just watched everyone else.
Right around bed time we started brushing teeth and I changed her clothes. I had her take off her shoes and she lost it. I really wasn't even going to try and put her to sleep tonight. Just walk the halls and let it happen... but she started to cry and could not contain herself. So despite my efforts of a low-key evening and a better night of getting her to sleep... we had another rought hour of full on crying. It was insane at some points. She was kicking and screaming and crying so loud. Some times I had to set her on the bed and let her scream and cry there because she was moving around so much I couldn't hold her. I would just hold my hands out and when she was ready she would come back to get a hug. She did that for a good hour. I can only imagine the fear and hurt she must feel. It breaks my heart each time. I could feel my heart just beating and breaking... But we continued on... I kept hugging and holding her. Giving her space, yet not leaving her... and then... without warning... She is done. She stops crying. Barries her head on my shoulder... and is fast asleep. I sit there rocking her and crying.
If we have an amazing day, and have an hour each night of full on crying... I'll take it. I honestly think it would be more alarming if she didn't cry through all this situation.... But my mama heart breaks so much when it happens.
ALSO, side news... we do have other people here at the guest house with us. That has been nice to have other people to interact with and talk to during down times. It can get a bit lonely here. ALSO... it just so happens that they are photographers here to take pictures for C4C... So we will get some awesome pictures of B's gotcha day tomorrow! HOORAY!
THANK YOU again for everyone's messages yesterday. They are so encouraging to us. We appreciate them so much.
Please pray for us as we have a LONG journey home tomorrow. Please pray for safe travels and smooth travels. Pray for patience and peace.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 3- Wanna Hop on This Roller Coaster?

Today started off pretty good! B slowly woke up, we bathed her, dressed her, and we cuddled for a good long time. We started watching/playing with books on the ipad and she got settled in so that I could back out and let The Bash and her cuddle and play together. I even got my workout in! :) She EVEN took time with The Man. They played with playdoh and she even made The Man a bracelet! :)
The morning went along well and everyone was getting along great. By the time I was worked out, showered, and got ready it was time to take up the donations and some gifts for the kids at the crèche.
When we got there, before entering in, B turned around and wanted me to hold her. She did not want to be put down, and just held on tight. While we were there the little ones were having school! It was fun to sit and see all they are learning. After school we handed the kids the toys (which are probably destroyed by now). We were only at the crèche for about 15 minutes and decided it was time to go back home and eat some lunch. So we walked back and fixed some lunch. B ate it up like a boss and a feeling of gratitude came over me. I feel so very blessed to have all of us around the table and eating together!
After lunch we played UNO, Memory, stringing items, building items, coloring, and tons of puzzles. The Bash and B even went off and played together for a bit. HOW COOL!?!?!?!
We ate dinner again and it was another great meal. She just takes food down and stops when she is full. I can safely both kids LOVE fruits and veggies (especially carrots). Both kids LOVE to drink TONS of water.
Overall B was a lot more easygoing today. She was a lot more willing to play and walk around. She talked A LITTLE to us. She laughed and smiled and had a great day.
Bed time was hard. She was not wanting to stay another night. When she knew it was time for bed, she lost it. I rocked her for a good hour or so while she screamed/sang. I cried. I felt her pain. I'm sure this whole thing is awesome... but SCARY! I cried and she cried and we sat and rocked for an hour. And then, she just.... stopped.... She passed out and is asleep now as I write this. So.... it was rough.... but in the same light it was a good hurdle to jump over with her. It hurt my heart that I could not just stop her from crying. It hurts my heart that I cannot comfort her and let her know that everything is going to be great. Even after she fell asleep I cried... My heart breaks because I feel so unequipped to do this.
So she sleeps... and tomorrow will be another day. Tomorrow will bring another set of new joys and new challenges. Your prayers and encouragement are a blessing to us. Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH!!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Day 2- Let Her Sleep in Shoes!

Today has been nothing less than a whilwind! We started off our day at 3:17am.  We hopped out of bed, got ready as quickly as we could and then headed out the door. We took a shuttle to the airport and there we sat for a good 2 hours. It was easy to check in, because our checked luggage was already checked and waiting for us!
We loaded the plane and set toward Haiti. The flight was uneventful, and no matter how hard I tried I could NOT get The Bash to take a nap. So he stayed up... and so we all stayed up! After we landed we gathered up all 9 of our bags (3 checked, 3 carry on, and 3 bags) and carried them through the airport.. It's funny how different our feelings are in this process from the first time we landed now to our 3rd time. We've got this down like pros! :) We met our ride and loaded all our bags into the car.
We acutally did a LOT of driving fomr 9:45-2:00. We picked up our C4C rep, headed to the Embassy to pick up B's passport, went to IBESR to get our final signed off letter, hit up GIANT for some fresh produce groceries, and then FINALLY made it to the guest house. We dropped out things, stuffed food in our mouths, and headed up to the creche.
B was there eating. She is always a timid one. Remember that when you first meet her! :) But she soon came to me and held on for dear life. I held on to her. Trying to sniff her (it's a mom thing?). The Bash found his friends and quickly took off with them. THEY LOVE HIM THERE!!! THe kids chase him around and pick him up and just love him. It's amazing. BUT, at that time... I was too tired to be dealing with so much touching and craziness... so I suggested we take B back to the guest house and get settled there and The Man agreed.
So we swept B away... and didn't go back. At first B was VERY nervous (as she has a right to be!). She held on to me tight and said not ONE word. We watched The Bash and The Man play Jenga. We watched a movie (did I mention we were tired?!). Then we had dinner. The girl LOVED it. She scarffed it down! I loved watching her eat. I loved being at the table and eating as a whole family. It's just a glimpse into my life now... and it just was everything I loved and so much more.
B started to get restless. Not sure what we were going to do with her, but for SURE wanted to start heading back to the creche. We distracted her with coloring, music, and books. Then it was time to sleep. I tired to take her shoes off... and that was NOT happening. I tried just sitting and rocking with her for a bit, like I had done the times we were previously here for nap time.... BUT she was not having any of that. "COME" she told me as she pulled my hand toward the door to lead me back to her bed. I said "No, B, we are staying here. We are staying as a family now." Anyway, we had a lot of going back and forth. Finally I did what I had done to The Bash the COUNTLESS nights he was awake. I walked around bouncing and rocking her and FINALLY she passed out asleep. THen I laid her down on our bed and she grabbed my hand and fell back to sleep. Shoes on and all... She is sleeping right now next to me... with her shoes on! :) I'll take it!
As we laid there together I recapped the day in my head:
1- The Bash is an amazing boy. He is loving towards his sister with NO return at all. He was patient in a car for hours on end and plane trips for hours on end!
2- B is an amazing girl. She has stuck it out in this situation that I can only imagine is 100% frightening. She has been so strong and so trusting in a time when we have not really earned it! I remember our first trip here. After the first day of all this change and struggle I cried. She... is... amazing! I know God is working in her heart right now, and as I laid there I continued to pray for His work.
3- The Man is a patient and loving man. I cannot imagine this journey without him. I don't think I would have made it.
4- God is good! I do not have to go back to work for the rest of the school year. So if I have to stay up and rock this sweet girl to sleep every night.. I can. If I end up sleeping in her bed for months... I can. Whatever this transition needs... we can do it! What a blessing!
5- I HOPE that we can continue to bond closer and closer as a family in these next few days here.... So that our return home is a good one. I PRAY that the Lord continues to break down barriers in B's heart and help her to embrace this next CRAZY step in her life. I PRAY that we all can have our hearts and heads ready for this new change. I an so THANKFUL for these 2 kids. I lay in this room with our family of 4 and could not feel more blessed. We have been waiting for 3.5 years for this very moment. 3.5 years to bring this sweet girl home so we can be complete..... AMEN!
Haiti is beautiful!

IBESR Office