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!