Wednesday, April 27, 2016

India/Pearl recap #4 (originally posted on Facebook while in India)

Let's get physical...or at least talk about some physical stuff here at the beginning with all three of us.

As I wrote about in my last blog post the day we left Atlanta, and as you may have noticed, Pearl obviously doesn't look like she is from India. According to her medical records, she has a mild form of albinism, making her skin lighter than it would normally be. 

With that diagnosis also comes some eye issues. The one we are aware of now is nystagmus, a condition that causes Pearl's pupils to twitch back and forth at times. We mostly see this when she is waking up, when she is very tired or when she has high anxiety. A month ago, she was given glasses at the orphanage. The day we took her home, they told us she was to wear them about 2-3 hours a day. We tried the first couple of days we had her, but the pair they gave her is a joke. They're way too big for her little face and continuously fall off. For now, we will wait until we get home and see a pediatric eye doctor and possibly get a new pair based on the diagnosis. 

The other significant, and unfortunate, physical issue is that the back of Pearl's head is pretty flat. It appears as if she did not get enough tummy time when she was an infant and spent too much time lying on her back. At two years old, we're pretty sure it may be too late to try to correct this, but we will find out more after our first visit to her pediatrician when we get home. Not a big deal, but noticeable, that's all. 

Overall, Pearl seems to be very healthy. She does most of what other two year olds can do and she has a fairly good appetite. Other than the three dishes the chefs here at the hotel prepare for her, mostly consisting of rice and either milk/sugar or puréed veggies, she also loves bananas (has a fit when she sees one), brown toast with strawberry jam, honey oats cereal, French toast, oatmeal, graham crackers, peanut butter oat bars that we brought from Trader Joe's, and chocolate cheesecake (like mother, like daughter). She only knew a vegetarian diet at the orphanage. The other day
Derek tried to sneak a teeny tiny piece of shredded chicken in with her rice, but she would have no part, and that chicken came right back out. It's definitely a texture thing right now for her. Praying she will come around and soon, because, hello? Chick-fil-A???

So far, Derek and I are hanging in there as well. We both believe we had a case of "Delhi Belly" (just google it...) even though we have only had bottled water to drink and to brush our teeth with and have carefully avoided fruits and vegetables not in a skin or not cooked. Western tummies are just weak, I guess. I started feeling feverish a couple of days ago, so I started taking an antibiotic our doctor had prescribed and that we brought with us in the event we needed it. SO grateful for modern medicine! 

Pearl's personality has started peeking out more and more each day. She has many gentle and also helpful tendencies. She loves to put things away for us and even helped me bag up some of my dirty laundry yesterday. This just blessed my heart because what Mom couldn't use an extra hand around the house?!? We have also observed a playful, slightly mischievous side. Mostly, I think it's her way of bonding with me even more--checking to see if I see her about to touch the plug or cell phone or alarm clock or eyeglass case or whatever that I've asked her not to touch. Bonding and the fact that she is two! 

As far as Derek is concerned, we feel she has moved from really frightened of him, to slightly frightened of him, to tolerating him right now. He actually spent a lot of time with her alone today, even taking her down to breakfast by himself, which is huge--for her not him. She was doing amazingly well when I saw them at the table when I came down later. But I came down, and she saw me, and came undone. It's like he's okay until she has another option...mommy. One day she will get just how awesome it is to have a daddy--especially the BEST one there is! Derek said he will probably lose it the first time she willingly comes to him, just because she wants to be with him. (Now y'all don't tell him I told you that...)

We finally did a little sightseeing around Delhi yesterday. We hired a driver and he took us around to some of the most prominent places in the city. Pearl did amazingly well and was actually the sought after prize everywhere we went. Tons of people kept stopping me asking if they could get a picture with her, with me, and sometimes Derek, too, but the fascination was with the two of us (bleached blonde hair and fair skin will do that). 

Sometimes we would stop and be gracious to pose for a pic, but other times it got out of hand. At one point, I could hear a crowd gathering behind us, shouting, "Excuse me! Excuse me!" Starting to feel a little threatened, I told Derek, "Keep going!", basically running out of the historic site. Back in the car, I asked Derek if he thought that must be a very small taste of what it feels like to be a celebrity. He said, "Probably. But the difference is that they have body guards." 

The best part of the day happened this afternoon. After over four hours of waiting in two different offices (CARA & FRRO), we got the last documents we need to travel home! NO GLITCHES with the paperwork!!! Hallelujah to the Amen, brothers and sisters!!!

We cannot help but praise our God, our sole Provider, the One who has been our cloud by day and our fire at night, the One who came ahead of us and prepared the way for our arrival and now our departure, all because of the unfathomable, unyielding, intentional, intimate love He has for this one little girl lying in the bed asleep, nestled between a mommy and daddy, two unheard of, unimagined people she didn't even know she needed, who heard Him whisper to their hearts to go. Go farther than their minds could have ever imagined, farther than their hearts have ever felt and farther than their legs have ever traveled. To go in search of their Pearl. 

When I finish writing this update, I will go to bed tonight exhausted, because I haven't slept well the past week, but so, so grateful. Thank you for every. single. time you stopped and breathed our names to the One who thought this up for us in the first place. You carried us here, placing us at the feet of Jesus, in every moment of every day. Now...please pray us home!

Monday, April 25, 2016

India/Pearl recap #3 (originally posted on Facebook while in India)

First of all, we believe we've taken a couple of steps forward the last two days. 
Yesterday we had a "rest day" according to our itinerary (meaning no appointments to attend). Initially we thought we'd take that time to do some sightseeing, maybe drive to the Taj Mahal (3 hours away), etc. But then we realized it was just too much for us, so we opted to stay here at the hotel and the mall next door. The other day we purchased a stroller at a market and wanted to use it today to "teach" Pearl how to ride in it. I know this sounds like common knowledge for a two-year old, but when you've never seen a stroller, it's not. We wanted to prepare her for all the times when we get home when she will have to be strapped into something--carseat, highchair, stroller, etc. And also the stroller will help greatly in the airports as we make our way home.

Yesterday morning we took her to the mall and as soon as we put her in, she started wailing. She pulled at the straps and cried and cried. I walked beside her holding her hand, caressing her arms, and offering pieces of cereal, which she took in-between snuffles. After about 10 minutes, she stopped. She was clinging to the bar in front with all her might and her legs were tense. But we got through the rest of the walk with no tears. We took her back later yesterday evening, repeated the process, and had even better success. She only cried for about a minute or two before she stopped and realized that riding in a stroller is actually fun. 
 Tonight we did the same thing. And let me tell you...there was NO peep! No tears. No fear. No tension in her body or on her face. I was even able to walk beside her without holding her hands, just offering big smiles of encouragement and pride whenever she looked up at me. At one point we looked down and she had let go of the bar in front and was clapping and bobbing her head to the music playing inside the mall. I wish I had a picture of the look Derek and I shared when we saw her doing this. It was like we'd just witnessed a miracle. Hope flourished! She looked like all the other kids we passed as we pushed her.

We are super aware that most everything she sees or experiences is brand-new to her. She spent the last two years of her life in three rooms. Three rooms. If she had a theme song right now, it would be "A Whole New World" from Aladdin, because it all is to her. 

How is she doing with us? Pearl is completely and totally obsessed with me. If I take one step to the right, she takes one step to the right. She has to be as close as possible to me or in my lap at. all. times. Yes, she is attaching, but it's very insecure attaching, because if she looks up and I've walked into our hotel restroom without her knowing it, she cries. I have a set of little brown eyes on me at all times. Big adjustment for me since I've had so much freedom with my girls being older. I know it will get better as she transitions to being securely attached, confident in the fact that I am close or that she can trust me that I will be right back. Sadly, abandonment wounds run deep. 

Derek has started taking her on brief walks around the hotel whenever I need to get dressed. No, she's not a happy camper when he scoops her up, but after a few minutes, she stops. She used to throw her head back when he touched her, but thankfully she stopped doing that. If I'm standing next to him, sometimes she'll let him give her a kiss. She also lets him feed her at every meal and doesn't mind sleeping in between us in the king-sized bed. She's not consistent with her reactions toward him, but he is certainly giving all he has toward winning over her heart. But I know it still hurts him when she pushes away or cries when he gets too close. He really, really misses Grace and Gloria and all their loving right now; I do too. 

We had three big appointments today: 2nd medical where the Dr. cleared her for leaving India (yay!), applying for Pearl's VISA at the U. S. Embassy and then the forever long one at the Foreign Regional Office for our exit permits to leave the country. Derek has to go back tomorrow to get the VISA and then present it to the FRRO.

Then we have one last pick up of the exit permits on Wednesday. We pack up on Thursday, head to the airport around midnight, and hop on our first plane HOME! And.we.cannot.wait. We're just too homesick and are over feeling like exiles in a foreign land. PLEASE PRAY we receive all the documentation I mentioned above and that there are NO glitches. 

Oh, and a couple of other positive things...even though Pearl babbles a lot in Hindi, we know she comprehends about 10 English words already in the 4 days that we've had her (mommy, daddy, baby, cup, eat, shoes, blanket, keys, up, & water). That's pretty impressive! Proof that she's a super smart girl!

Another awesome thing are the changes we've seen in her little hands. From the moment we got her from the orphanage we noticed her hands were always gnarled up--like someone with significant rheumatoid arthritis. Of course this concerned us; Derek even said he prayed for them. But today we looked down and noticed how relaxed they looked. It's like the tension is leaving and she is starting to feel comfortable with us. Of course, in a few days, her little world will change again when we get home. I'm sure we'll experience some setbacks, but then after time, some MAJOR successes. Cannot wait for those!

We really appreciate you following along with us and ESPECIALLY for all the prayers. It's those prayers, you all lifting us up, carrying our needs to the Father, that has sustained us and allowed us to experience some tiny, and big, victories the last couple of days. We wouldn't have them without you. So, thank you!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

India/Pearl recap #2 (originally posted on Facebook while in India)

No glamorizing, no romanticizing, just honest facts about the past 24+ hours.... 
First of all, the flight to Delhi was super successful. We fed Pearl some leftover Naan bread from her lunch during takeoff and then she slept in my lap for the rest of the flight. The wait at the Pune airport prior to that flight was tough though. Derek and I were battling our 7 pieces of luggage and Pearl for three hours while we waited for boarding. She kept wandering away and I just could not hold her the whole time like she wanted; my arms were noodles. Derek told me he was just going to take her and walk with her. I told him she would squall her head off. He said he didn't care and scooped her up anyway. She threw a fit, but my man kept at it. He walked around and around, up and down steps, etc. for 45 minutes so I could have a break. I saw him singing to her, praying over her, etc. I'm not sure I've ever loved him more.

Things went downhill again after arriving at our second hotel here in Delhi. Pearl had just started getting accustomed to the first hotel, the restaurant, routines, etc. there and then we moved to this hotel. She was inconsolable when we got here late last night. We were exhausted and just wanted to unpack and get changed and in her fear, she just wanted to be held. I don't blame her. Her world has been completely turned upside down.

This morning was no different, maybe even worse. She cried from the moment she woke up until after we got her through breakfast. She is grieving so, so hard. All she has known has suddenly disappeared and she is trying to make sense of it all. She is struggling to find new routines and then we have to change it up again because of our crazy schedule here. 

We took her to her medical appointment today and she had to have a TB test. That was rough, but she immediately quieted down when I picked her up. She always does. Both Derek and I are amazed at how easily and quickly she is comforted by me, still not him though, unless he has the snacks. We go back to the Dr. in 2 days to get the results from that test. It has to be clear for us to get to come home Friday. 

We also had another appointment we had to go to. I finally put Pearl in a wrap/sling thing for the first time and she absolutely loved it. She fell asleep and slept for a long time while we waited for our paperwork to be uploaded. I also carried her in it later in the day when we meandered around the mall attached to our hotel. We found a toy store and I thought it would be good to take her out and let her roam around looking at toys. She cried (again...) and slumped to the floor. It was hard watching her in the toy store. Nothing fazed her, no excitement over anything. The only time we saw her remotely light up was when she turned around and saw a little girl and boy. She actually started following them. It's obvious she misses interaction with other children. Another reason why we can't wait to get home!

One of the hardest moments was this afternoon after her nap. Derek and I are trying to rest when she rests, so I was right beside her while she slept. All of sudden she jolted up and started screaming. I reached over to comfort her and she bit my arm (I still have the marks to show it). It took her a minute to remember where she was--not in her crib back at the orphanage.

Not every single moment has been hard. We have had a couple of bright spots. The amazing restaurant staff has graciously taken her food list from the orphanage and have been preparing meals for Pearl that she is accustomed to--free of charge! Massively HUGE blessing to finally get the food she knows and likes. Don't know what I'm going to do when we get home, but I know I will have to learn to prepare some of these Indian dishes and fast! 

After lunch, the super-friendly and super-helpful waiter at the hotel restaurant volunteered to take us to a local market to shop. We rode in an auto-rickshaw and enjoyed the cultural experience and of course, purchased a couple of goodies for Grace and Gloria (Shh...). 

We played with balloons in the hotel before dinner. Pearl cried when I started blowing them up, but after watching Derek and I tossing a big blue balloon back and forth, she decided to give it a try (from the comfort of my lap, of course). She smiled and even giggled a little. Derek noted, "She's a kid; she wants to have fun. It's just hard when you are so depressed."

Some moments we feel like we are taking one baby step forward and three giant leaps backwards. We thought we were educated about the grief and trauma, but experiencing it first hand is completely different. 

This is hard stuff. For her and for us. Derek and I just keep looking at each other asking, "How are you? Are you okay? We can do this, right?" 

One of my fellow India-adopting mamas just private messaged me some advice she got several months ago..."The baby you have in India is NOTHING like the baby you will have at home." That encouragement was nourishment for my soul. 

We are choosing to keep loving, keep trying, keep persevering and keep believing that God brings beauty from ashes and that He has called us to partner with Him in the process. I look forward to each new day of this week, not only because it brings me closer to being home, but also because of the new mercies I know are my lifeline for that day. Thank you, again, for continuing to pray for us!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...