Monday, November 23, 2015

Our week with J + some

*** edit: this post was taken down during our in-country process for safety and security issues. Therefore the date published shows the date I am republishing.

We've been home for a week now.

Wow, do I LOVE h.o.m.e. I missed Carver and Macy so much. And the older I get, the more I've come to realize I am SUCH a homebody. I'd seriously do well with house arrest. ;)

BUT, I can't help but shake the realization, that we're approaching another holiday season (my absolute faaaaaaaave!) without our entire family under the same roof, a flash back to last year. Goodness gracious. WHO KNEW?!?! 

I can't seem to get over this!?

I'm sure you're tired of me saying this, but I cannot seem to shake that we're IN THIS PROCESS AGAIN. I literally cannot believe it. It felt so surreal. The plane rides, when we landed- the smells, the sounds, all of the senses that come with Africa.....being back at the guest house, dodging traffic, hailing bodas, my Ugandan-English Accent ;) came flooding back, Lusoga phrases and words spewing, adjusting to time changes/climate/culture felt like deja-vu the ENTIRE time.

In fact, we had to make an appointment to pick up a form and have Beau do something at the U.S. Embassy there, just like last time (January)....and when we were called to door number 4....and opened the door, I saw again, the Ugandan gal from my document check appointment from Carver and Macy's adoption process. Her face was OBVIOUSLY surprised and a little shocked to see me again. I thought, "Surely she doesn't remember me. But man do I remember her." Sure enough, she said, "Beau, Kendra? I remember you from the last time. Not that long ago, this year?" Yes m'am. that's us/me. ;)
She got a big smile on her face and shared that when she saw Beau's name, she wondered if it was us, "I recognize that name, it's not common!" HA! She asked if we were back to adopt a sibling from the first two....welllllll, no. But they will be! ;) Then we got on with our business.

I wanted to pull up a chair and tell her all about how we've seemed to find ourselves in this predicament again. ;) Scream, "IT WASN'T US! IT'S GOD!" to defend our 'crazy'. In shock still, that God asked this of us. And in shock still, that we said yes. A little stunned at how that 'yes' has changed since and downs....(excitement/honored that He'd ask/shock/awe/stunned/terrified/freak-out/joy/etc.)

If I could paint a picture of what my mind/thoughts look I constantly go about my would literally looking like the iPhone emoji that has the pink cheeks/wide-eyed/stunned look. 😳😳😳 You know the one I'm talkin' about? Seriously. That's it.

Anyway, I'm on with the parts I know you really want to hear, about J. But I had to share the 'real' too.

So we roll up to the baby home, we shoot out of the car, and I remember how much we valued and rewatch the video of me meeting the kids for the first time, so I fumble out my phone to try to video this reunion. Will she like us? How will she react? We ARE NOT the family that was supposed to show up to pick her up! GAH. What is she going to think?

Needless to say, I could hardly get my phone out and pushed record in time, before Beau took four steps in the door, and she came running to his arms. (she had seen/met him the least of the two of us too!) Not to overuse this word this post, but SHOCKED....describes that moment. I caught a bit of it on video. :) We stayed at the baby home for a bit passing out our sweeties and clothes and items we had to donate to the kiddos there, and J did not LEAVE Beau's side/lap. So far so good!

Then it was time to head back to Kampala. We head towards the van, and one of the workers came up behind J and grabbed her shoulders from the back, the worker wanted a picture with her(?) before we left. However, J IMMEDIATELY threw her arms up/back to pull herself away from this lady- she 100% thought the lady was preventing her from going with us. Not. Good. I had to quickly try and tell J that she was still coming with us, just smile and take a picture quick. (eeeeeeek!) (yiiiiiiikes!)  (and gosh darn that was so unnecessary)

We hopped in the van, and I instinctively said, "Say goodbye!" (not knowing if she's scream and cry/wail or what...she had no idea where she was going or who we were, kind of?) And she immediately said, "BYE, BYE, GOODBYE!", while waiving profusely. I instantly thought, "She's totally ready to leave this place? She is having zero issue with saying goodbye/leaving! Woah."
So off we went.

* we have another great sleeper! (little more of a night owl. Which I recalled from my other trips, that she was ALWAYS up later than any and all of the other kids...till like 9-10pm....the staff said, "Yes, She delays sleep." ) But as the week went, she started to fall asleep sooner, and she sleeps through the night, no accidents, and would get up in the morning, crawl out from under her mosquito net, and under ours, snuggle in, and fall back asleep for a bit.

* she's a good eater: anything but watermelon, she'd eat that week at the guest house with us. (which is primarily NOT traditional Ugandan food she's used to.)

* J didn't talk a whole lot. I thought even if we tried talking to her, she'd respond or talk in Lusoga as if she understood us/wanted us to know what she was saying. But she really didn't. She just smiled and giggled- the whole week. Anxious to see how this changes!

* She's a girly-girl. She'd always pick skirts/dresses over pants or shorts outfits when I'd give her the choice. I brought some bracelets, she wore them EVERY DAY, ALL DAY, and even through the night. (until we realized the bangles, bang a bit too much over night.) The head cook at the guest house makes those magazine beads jewelry- and I let her pick whatever necklace she wanted. She wore it every day there after.

* We took her to a salon that I had taken Macy to last trip (yep, they remembered me there too!) and asked their advice what we should do with her hair. We wanted to best take care of it- and they suggested to even it out (super patchy in length), different colors (due to malnutrition), and just unhealthy as a whole. So we said yes to whatever they thought was best! Well, as always and typical Kendra-Luganda-English language barrier fashion, they cut off wayyyyyyyy more than I/they communicated. :( HOWEVER, we LOVED the outcome, and she was so stoked to wear headbands all day, every day. (multiple through the day, in fact.)

* We also saw that this salon had ear piercing, or "pins/pinned". We asked how much, and they said 20,000! (like $6-7 USD). I knew from other friends posting on Facebook, anywhere here in the states is like ten times that much. Another dude at the salon spoke Lusoga and asked J if she wanted her ears pinned, and she got a big smile and said yes! (I showed her like mine and Macy's too!) She loved it! Didn't even flinch when they did it. Not a tear. It ain't no thannnnng for miss J.

* She's teeny. I knew to figure that she was smaller than pictures, just like Carver and Macy. But I was just as shocked as I was when I saw give you an idea: 
J weighs 34 lbs. She's seven. 
Carver is 36lbs. He's four. 
Her arms/wrists/legs are tiny. Then her poor distended belly, doesn't help.

* I have no reservations in telling you that she absolutely favored Beau. I didn't really expect that. And I didn't expect how much I'd just "let it be that way" as the days went on. I understand that next time, he won't be there with us, and that'll be our time to bond/attach more. And honestly, I feel like I was just in a daze the entire time we were there. (?) 

* We only experienced a short period of defiance the first night. I'll take it! It was a long day in the car, we were hungry, and it very well could have been her testing the waters right out of the gate. (over something some trivial as to taking her plate to the counter...girl, we know you do it at the baby home, and you'll do it at home with C&M too! haha!)

* She's a champ! Be it a long day at court/2.5 hrs IN court, car rides, dodging traffic in the busy city, boda boda rides....she was right there with us, and even had some great moments of her showing her TRUST in us! Yay!

* She started playing with the other kids at the guest house wayyyyy sooner than C or M did. (and have I mentioned how great it is to have a child who can hold her own plate through the buffet line that is all three of our meals? Or no diapers? No bottles? No accidents? Dresses herself? etc? HOLLA! That certainly helps make things a titch easier!)

* J's baby home has done such a wonderful job raising these children with what they have. And part of the culture for kids, is when around older adults, you "kneel" in front of them when greeting them, taking your dishes to them, etc. The ladies at the guest house were in such awe of her doing this (none of the other kids did this.) and commented on how respectful and "humble" she was. :) pretty neat. 


The last day came, and we woke up knowing the escort would be there around 10-11am to take her back to the baby home. Being that we were in Africa, I knew we probably even had till like noonish ;) with her....but at 1:30pm when no one showed, I called our facilitator. We wanted time to tell her what was happening (Thank you R at the guest house, who knows Lusoga!), but knew from telling Carver that we'd be leaving/coming back....he screamed/cried/refused to eat the rest of the day. So we were playing it safe and waiting to tell her shortly before the escort came.

Facilitator answers the phone and apologizes for not calling sooner, he decided to have her come with us to the airport (yay! MORE time with her!) and he'd take her back the next day first thing. (OH CRAP- she'd be coming TO the airport to see us off?) Eeeeeee.

Later in the afternoon we had R come out and translate everything we wanted to tell J about us leaving, but I was coming back....just like with Carver and Macy. She handled it so well- no tears. She ate the rest of the day. And her smile only faded for a little while.

It wasn't till we got to the airport....rolled our luggage carts up the big hill to the front doors....gave hugs, and kisses, said goodbye and we loved her sooo much, and we'd be back.....we started to walk away and to the doors- and she ran and followed. :( Ugh.

I walked her back to our facilitator and he (and his girlfriend who helped us this week too) just got on his knees, held/hugged her, and tried to translate through his language (similar to hers, but enough different) that we'd be coming back. And then it was time for us to go check in. Oof.

So here we wait, waiting for the judge to give his ruling (and that means pictures of J for all of you!)....and that will help us know when we (and by we, I mean me and Jesus) get to go back, and bring her home. 

Pray with us. 


kendra said...

Wow! I've been reading your blog for a long time and stepped away for a little bit and now you're getting #3! Did I miss a post explaining you got called to be her parents? I don't see the info and I bet it's a great story! So happy for you 5. Hope she gets to come home soon.
-fellow adoptive mom also named Kendra

kendra said...
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