Sunday, February 28, 2010

Forms....forms and more forms..

Early tomorrow morning (which is really this morning)...I will be mailing off our I600. We had hoped to file it in Ghana when we were there - but that was not meant to be. So we waited for a couple of weeks to get our decree and we are sending it in tomorrow.

I am hoping it won't take too long to get it processed. I figure there is no real rush for us at this point since we are still waiting for passports. If we don't have our I600 approval by the time we get the passports...then I will start stressing out. That could literally take months...so I am just chilling. Our fingerprints expire in May, so I figure we will send in for our appointment sometime next month and start facing the possibility of renewing our I600A. UGG!

However, for now I am optimistic and I am very excited to be sending paperwork off to a new stage of waiting!

I wonder if I have mentioned the joy I feel every moment I spend in the ICU?

This month we have a perponderance of really old and sick patients with very little hope for a meaningfull recovery...it is a testament to how brief life is and what a small amount of time I have here to make a difference.

Things go by so fast, in like 5 minutes...years will have gone by and I won't have done all of the things I have planned. I have got lots of plans and I constantly have to remind myself of them before they slip away under piles of the things I have to do on a daily basis....laundry, work, cleaning, paperwork, etc....etc.....

In August 1998, I picked out a little puppy...a super cute little weimaraner from a a litter of puppies born in July. She was the best dog I had ever had. She was always happy. She slept in bed with me, I walked her almost every day. I used to take her to the dog park along the Mississippi river in new orleans. She loved to jump in that nasty water and swim around. Then I would walk her home and give her a bath with my pantene shampoo. She was really smart too. She used to play with this big KONG dog toy and I could say "daisy, where's your bone?" and she would look around and run all over the house trying to find it. She would bring it back with her happy, anticipatory waggy tail. I swear she could smile. We lived in apartments and I kept promising Daisy that I would get her a back yard someday to just run around at full speed.

When Lilianna's father and I divorced he took Daisy. I was very busy with medical school and, of course with Lilianna. I never gave Diasy a back yard. Last week, Daisy died. Lilianna's father had her put to sleep...it was time...I knew she was sick. He told me her tail wagged and her little face had her puppy smile on it all the way until the very end.

There are many things I have promised myself that I would do for others...for Daisy, for a little girl in an orphanage in Ust-kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, for a little boy in Belovodsk, Kyrgyzstan. There are many things I have had good intentions to do and not done. For each of those things I have failed to follow through on...I am sad. But instead of dwelling on the ways I have disappointed, I can remind myself that those moments slip away. Your chance to give to others slips away.

So, I look at some of my really old and sick patients and wonder as they lay there are they thinking about the moments they let slip away? When I am them how many more things will I regret not doing? My goal is to live my life so that I don't have to add any more regrets of moments and opportunities missed to my list.

thank you daisy for all of the sweet memories and for reminding me to keep the main thing the main thing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A new ticker....

You may notice that now our ticker says...."Waiting for Passports is 11 days old"...because we got our adoption decree today! Yeah!!!!!

Now we can file our I600 and file for our adoption reimbursement benefit at Keith's work (which started on January 1st of this year!)!!!!

Ticker...

You may have noticed that I placed a little ticker on the side of my blog...it says
"Waiting for our decree is _____ days old"

I have refrained from tickers in the past...but I thought it was funny because waiting for the steps in this process does get sooo old! So for now we wait for our decree and our wait is 18 days old! Our passport wait is like 11 days old...but one wait at a time!

Did I mention how much I dislike being in the ICU...I think it is the process of rounding on patients in the morning. If I could just work 30 hours and go home I would be fine...even if I were exhausted and busy for the entire 30 hours. Being awake for 24 hours and then to be expected to read a bunch of scrawly handwriting, find labs, look at chest xrays and then synthesize the info and provide patient care between hours 25 and 30 pushes me right over the edge. I know stop complaining...I really do love my job and I am very lucky to be able to do something I love....every other month except this month - haha!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Life in a castle

Apparently, Lilianna has decided she wants to live in a castle and has very meticulously ruled out every job in a castle except for servant. She knows she can't be a princess unless a prince marries her...so that is out. She doesn't want to be the princesses teacher because there is too much to remember. She doesn't know how to take care of real horses (only butterscotch the pony), she doesn't know how to play the harp so the only thing left to do if she wants to live in a castle is to be a servant.

I am just hoping we have a couple more weeks of Lilianna keeping her room clean and cleaning up after the boys! haha.

In other news....the ICU still sucks!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I have been quiet..I know...

I have been pretty busy since we got back. I started in the SICU on last monday...which totally sucks. Yes, it sucks...there is no way to sugar coat it. Its better than last time because I am not 7 months pregnant with my husband out of town with only 4 days off the entire month. It has been restructured so that I get 10 whole days off this month..which is awesome. See here I go...looking for the positive....it really does suck though.

The family we travelled with to Ghana got their adoption decree last week......our adoption decree is still nowhere to be found. Just another testament to the complete and total unpredictability of international adoption! I am handling it very well though and surprisingly, I am truly happy for their family and not secretly jealous and petty as I maybe would have expected! I am truly convicted that the paperwork will come when it is supposed to come and the timing will be perfect. I know it might get harder to believe that whole heartedly if it starts dragging on...but I am good for now!

A couple of days ago, Lilianna decided she wants to be a servant when she grows up. She has been very thoughtfull about it. She wants to start lifting weights so she will be able to lift heavy things, she wants to practice making beds and cleaning. She has been cleaning her bedroom and the boys' bedroom before dinner. Today we talked about where she can go to servant school and what the best college for servants is. One of her friends at school told her she was too cute to be a servant but she thinks maybe if she cuts her hair funny she can lose some of her cuteness and be a good servant. She was talking about it at Dinner tonight and kind of sighed and said "I know when I grow up , some people will make fun of me for wanting to be a servant...but I just want to be one".
I have been trying to figure out where this came from....she is just all in and it is so not a ballerina, a firefighter or a princess.

Kids really do say the darndest things!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

We are home!

The flight was long...really long. We ended up eating breakfast 3 times, lunch twice and were home before dinner. It seems like we weren't even there...it is very strange looking back on it. I sat down to download the last of our pictures....like this one and may have started crying.

It is good to be home...I was very excited to get home and see the kids....and drink a diet dr.pepper and take a long hot shower. I am looking forward to taking a nice jetted bath tonight too!

Off to church!

Friday, February 12, 2010

ready to leave...

We are frantically packing to leave ghana in 4 minutes....well we are packed, but keith is taking an extra long shower...like always!!!!!

It has been such a wonderfull trip - we are ready to come home...but we are ready to come home with our new daughters and that isn't going to happen for a while. It is a weird feeling walking away from 2 little girls who are legally our daughters, but who we can't care for yet.

keith asked me if I was ok as we left and I told him I just wasn't going to think about it yet. So I am sure half way to Amsterdam, I will not be able to hold out any longer!

by the way, it is snowing in Alabama and school was called on account of snow...I guess that groundhog knew what he was talking about!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

odds and ends

This is a full on Veronica temper tantrum....if only I could post a little movie...she is kicking punching and screaming. We let it go on for a couple of minutes and then I said...Veronica do you want a snack and she stopped crying sat up and smiled. She is trouble!
Today we didn't do a whole lot. We went over to Beacon House in the morning and took a ton of pictures of everything and just about everyone at Beacon House. We also brought some stuff over that we had brought to Beacon House....diapers, towels, flip flops and bibs. Then we just hung out and played around with B and V.

We left at lunchtime and came home and ate some of the MRE's we brought. MRE's are so much fun. They are strangley filling. Seriously, we haven't been eating a whole lot here and we couldnt' even finish the little meals.

In the afternoon we brought the girls to our Hotel room and B wanted to watch Barbie and Diamond castle again...so we did. V finally learned how to use the sippy cup we have been giving her all week...yeah. I think she really like sucking. I imagine liquid has basicall just been being poured down her throat and she is drinking out of a regular cup....but I think she liked remembering how to suck...I don't know if there is a real basis for this...but it was like a light turned on today ( I guess it would be the second light). She was a lot more playful and less moody AND she started playing with Keith. This is a huge breakthrough! Go Dad!

We took them back at Dinner time ...see my babybacking pictures! B did really good when we brought her back...no sulking or crying. Tomorrow is going to be really hard. She is really opening up to us and it is going to be so hard to leave for what is likely going to be a 6-9 monoth wait to get them home....UG!

Coming up soon.....pictures of Keith eating the vanilla pudding from his MRE....oh the anticipation builds....

Michelle's Obruni's Guide to Babybacking Part 1

Add one baby, 2-3 yards of fabric, instructions from one housemother and a skeptical Adoptive mom and you have my first attempt at babybacking.
Baby to my hip and then slide her under my arm (this seasoned little girl latches on like a spider monkey!)

She is totally loving this....her arm go under my arms and I hold her into place with pressure on her arms in my arm pit...a lovely image


Then I bring the top edge around to tie
to be continued......



Michelle's Obruni Guide to Babybacking part 2

Wrap it around under her arms and your arms and tie it. Mavis told me she could just tuck it in because "I am perfect, you are not perfect, you tie".
Scoop the bottom of the fabric under her butt, wrap the edge around so her little legs hang out and then tie the bottom edges.

Voila.


I got even more weird looks today than before...now if only I could balance a 20 gallon garbage can on my hand while babybacking I could be like the cool woman we saw on the way to Beacon House today.



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This afternoon's visit


Ok..I didn't have any new pictures from today..so these are from our guest house in Tamale last night. Benedicta is going to make a great american teen ager. she is watching a movie on the computer. She is so sassy!
We picked the girls up after their nap about 3 and came back to the hotel. The girls were very dusty and our bed spread is white so Benedicta took a quick shower (which she LOVES taking warm showers) and we quickly wiped down Veronica) and we all piled on the bed to color in B's Hello Kitty coloring book. Then we broke out toss up (a colored dice game) and had loads of fun playing that.
We had a couple of very good parenting moments with temper tantrums from Veronica and some defiance from B which was successfully managed. There will be lots of things to work on with the girls when they get to come home and I wish we could bring them home and start now. My hope when we started adopting from Ghana was that it would be a quick process. It is so unpredictable! I am just praying that all of the other steps go quickly.
Passport applications will be filed tomorrow and we can file the I600 as soon as we get the adoption decree. I know someone who recently got a passport in less than 2 weeks, I know someone else that has been waiting for months....many long months. I 600's have taken as little as 2 weeks and as long as 6 weeks. The visa comes last and could take 2 days or 2 weeks. To me the wildcard seems to be the passport. Anyway, there is really nothing I can do about it except wait and pray for a little bit of help...at least right now! Ok so best case scenario is like the decree comes out tomorrow we file the i600 here on Friday. We put in our passport applications tomorrow and it is back in 2 weeks, the I600 gets processed in 2 weeks and by week 3 the kids are getting their visas...we are back in 3 weeks....oh I am like a comedian. haha. I am praying that the girls are home in May
We brought the girls back and then raced home as it looked very stormy. We got home and went to the hotel restaurant for dinner....have I mentioned what a great hotel we have here....I totally recommend it highly! While we were eating...it started raining...thunderstom actually. I didn't think we would get rain while we were here...but we managed to squeeze that in!

Toto song....

You know the words....yes that't right....today it rained so we can say "we felt the rain down in Africa".

Now I am just getting silly.

Ghanaian description...

When we were meeting with the family of the girls, the older uncle asked Bernard if he has met his brother who lives in Accra. Apparently, there is an uncle that lives in Accra and had been to Beacon House to visit the girls once. He says to Bernard..." He is tall and he is Black...did you meet him?". Ok, now I could be crazy....tall could be an important descriptive feature...but black? It was funny, he said it twice.

Mama Laadi's


Mama Laadi was such a dynamic woman. When we drove up to the compound there was this crazy dude opening the door for us to drive into the compound...he kept sticking his chest out and saluting. I asked him if I could take his picture and he said "Oh yes...I like it" and he posed for a couple of pictures..in one he is saluting.
Romana told me a story that she was out with Mama Laadi visiting families and at one point in the day, she looked down and Mama Laadi's shoes were gone.... she will literally take off her shoes and give them to someone else who needs them.

Day 6....Bolgatanga

I have no idea who these women are - but they were in the girl's family compound area. B didn't know who they were. I didn't want to post pictures we took of their extended family, because I am not 100% sure it is OK.
These are the neghborhood kids at the well getting water.

This is the entrance to the compound, I think our girls lived in the second door on the right. We did not see the inside of any of them.

OK...this is going to be an exhausting post. It was an exhausting day.
We got up at 3am, got ready and then sat around for 30 minutes. Then the hotel van took us to pick of the girls at Beacon House. We went to the airport (met up with Bernard) and caught the 6am flight up to Tamale (TAM-eh-lee). Our driver met us at the airport and we drove straight to Bolga which was about 2 hours. We all kind of snoozed the whole way up there. The scenery was eactly what you would expect from "Africa". It was very Savannah, there were ginormous ant hills, sparse trees, goats, pigs and cows roaming in the street. We went through several villages with dilapidated shacks on the side of the road ad women selling weird looking food off of their heads. My favorite is the battered and fried fish that still has scales and eyeballs on them...and that was the thing I recognized.
We saw lots of giant trucks with people just piled up in them and hanging off of the back, there were tro tro's with goats on top of them. We passed a world vision headquarters....yeah worldvision. We also saw a UNICEF mafia member in a suite being picked up in the UNICEF SUV...I didn't see them run over any children on the way out of the airport...but I wouldn't put it past them.
The girls' family lived in Bolgatanga, itself, that is kind of the big city...although it didn't feel like it to us! Because it was the big city, the visit ended up being a lot shorter than other people's visits....life just kind of went on around us. In smaller villages when you show up with the kids, there is a lot of ceremony and a party. This was just us talking to the family...2 uncles, and aunt and a grandmother.
As soon as we got off the airplane, B got really animated, talking about seeing her grandmother and she got really excited about it...she was the most talkative I had seen her ...then she went to sleep! When we got there, she didn't really want to get out of the car. When she did, she didn't want to talk to them at all. I finally coaxed her into some pictures. We had brought a bunch of little toys for her to give to her friends there...so we got them out and I said lets go over to the well and give your toys to your friends. She walked over to an area on the other side of the car and just stood there and pouted and said I want them to come here. I convinced her to go over to where the kids were. That interaction kind of confirmed for me that this visit was not exactly how she had dreamed it would be.
I don't for a second know what she is going through...but I do know you can never go backwards and it is never the same when you try to go back...no matter where it is that you are going.
After the family house, we went to Mama Laadi's foster home. It is a christian foster home/orphanage that takes children who need help. I couldn't tell exactly, but I don't think our girls actually ever live there. I think that because of V's health their family brought them here and Mama Laadi contacted Romana and they went to Accra and Beacon House very quickly. Anyhow, it is great to meet a woman who lives her life for children....she has quite a generous spirit and I was very impressed with what she is doing and how she is doing it.
Then we headed 2 hours back to Tamale where we were staying. The drive back was HOT. Yes, I am a baby. We have been staying in this hot country for the last 6 days and there is rarely any A/C. Our hotel room and the Accra Mall is about it. The car that picked us up at the Tamale airport had A/C....it was so nice...but it broke about 20 minutes into our drive back and I was hot. 4 people in the back seat with a 20 month old on my lap the whole time. The guest house we stayed at was nice-ish. I kept feeling like I was in an Indiana Jones movie...that has really been the theme of this week. We did have A/C in our hotel room...we also had a giant multi-colered iguana thing living in our a/c unit and it kept scurrying around and every once in a while I would look up and see it's ginormous feet. We braved the dinner at the guest house, it was fried (thoroughly like...dry)chicken and white rice with Peppe sauce. Yum. I love the spiciness here.
Breakfast did not get eaten by me...the girls ate it...it was an omelet and toast...Keith and I did eat the toast. Then it was back to the airport and back to Accra.
I may do some more posts throughout the day on the experience. It was interesting to say the least and there are lots of little stories that don't really fit into this sort of narrative. Anyway, we are back and I appreciate our awesome little hotel even more today than I did before we left!

Monday, February 8, 2010

by the way....

I think 5 days is about the maximum amount of time I can be away from my kids without losing it. I got so sad today skyping with the kids....mostly with the babies. I know they are having an awesome time. Our babysitter is like extended family and the kids love to be over there....they are soooo spoiled.

The kids don't seem to get upset when we talk to them...they are just excited to talk to us. Zebby got a weird look though at the end of our last skype that just broke my heart...he was a little bit confused and kind of sad.

Skype is perfect for kids zeb and ben's age because you can play a mean game of peek a boo and blow lots of slow motion kisses. It is more of a challenge with Lilianna because she just keeps on talking and too fast for skype to catch all of her words....in fact it is difficult for human ears to catch all of her words.

Being away from them this long is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be and I know that waiting the seeming eternity for our new girls' documents is going to be more difficult than i anticipated.

Just thought i would post about the hard part of this trip!

Introducing.....

Benedicta
Super sassy Benedicta

Veronica
We were granted an interim adoption order this morning at about 7am with permission to travel. Yeah! Now it is passports, I600's and emmigration visas. We have only begun!
We had a great day...obviously. Keith went to court this am and i slept in. In fact I was still asleep when Keith came back to tell me we had our girls! Then we went over to Beacon House and I cuddled with Veronica while Benedicta was in class. Benedicta's class was on a fruit break when we got there and she ran up to us and hugged us and was her happy little self again. I was a tad worried about it. After school and lunch was nap time. While the girls took a nap, we (and the other adoptive family) went to the big Accra mall...it is a nice western style mall with a food court! Yeah! We did a little bit of shopping and then went to pick up the girls. Again, I must warn any parents coming here to meet their kids....bring a toy watch for them....apparently that equals love and they cost like $20 for a stupid Barbie watch at "Game"...a south african store at the Accra Mall.
We got the girls and took a taxi to the Art market...which is little stalls of people selling crafts....here is where i would put the pictures if Keith or I had actually taken any....ouch. We are back to our old ways. We are going to go back before we leave (probably) to pick up a ghanaian nativity set which was super cool. So we will take pictures.
B was sooo good at the market. We told her ahead of time that she could pick out one thing. We went and she started with I want this, i want this and I reminded her one thing. So we walked around and looked at things for about 45 minutes, then she picked out her one thing. She was very, very, very well behaved.
Tomorrow we head to Bolgatanga. It will be really nice to have the girls to ourselves for a full 24 hours.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ghana

Today, after we dropped the girls off we stopped by the little corner store on the way home to pick up a couple of bottles of water. The sun was just setting, the breeze had picked up and it had cooled off. The corner store was blaring music out of its huge speakers. The owner (from Atlanta) was there, his wife was loading up empty bottles into their SUV to take back to wherever they needed to go, his young son was clamouring after her.

We headed down the dirt road to our hotel.

I totally love Ghana. It is super awesome here - i can't believe i was scared of travelling here. Everyone we have met so far has been so nice, the food has been delicious and the weather in the evenings is totally gorgeous.

Just wanted to quickly post about how super wonderfull our time in Ghana has been just by virtue of the fact that we like Ghana so much.

Day 4

Today is Sunday....church day. We went to church with the kids from Beacon House. This is a half built church...I am not sure for how long they have been building it...but they meet here anyway. They don't have walls, or windows, or media equipment. They have about 5 big poster flip picture books of bible stories, 2 children's pastors, and an inexhaustable supply of patience. Church for the kids went from 1030 to about noon...the grown up church was going on for much longer. This church is actually right across the street from Simple Brothers and the little corner store.

After church, we were able to take the girls for lunch and swimming. We went right across the streetto Simple Brothers and ate it at the corner store while I drank a delicious coke from the bottle and B had an Orange Fanta. It was amazing to see what little was left of the chicken bone after B was done with it. We sat out at the corner store and listened to a lot of the grown up church across the street.

Then we came back to our hotel room and finished eating. Air conditioning, a full tummy, and little bit of cuddles unlocked V. She started making faces at us, and really smiling and interacting with us. It was a huge, huge, huge breakthrough. She started saying a ton more sounds. I even got her to say Mama and Dada...but she probably doesn't know what they mean. While we were at our hotel room she was like a new child. It was amazing.

Then we went swimming and it was nice and cool as usual. We spent a lot more time playing around. Keith through B up in the air a couple of times and she liked that. We got a head start on the other family because they didn't take their kids straight from church, they waiting until after nap time to pick them up (around 3 pm). By the time the other kids got to the pool, it was time for us to go. I know B wanted to stay and play with her friends...but this time is family time and we are going to use it as such. After swimming the girls got a shower (V got a bath), lots of lotion on their skin and we watched High School Musical 2. I would say it took about 5 minutes for V to fall asleep and 30 minutes for B to go down.

When it was time to head back to Beacon House, we woke up B. We probably should have woke her up sooner ( she slept about 30 minutes). I had to change V from the cute onesie i had her in back to her church dress....it was also very cute, but it was dusty and a little smelly and my bathed, freshly lotioned up little girl was so cute in her pink flowered onesie...I didn't want to change her back and take her back. We had to get B's shoes on and then we started back.

B is pretty silly and although she doesn't talk a whole lot, she does like to kind of hop around a little bit and hang on her dad. As we left the Hotel compound I looked down at a very solemn little girl and saw her crying. We stopped and I tried to get her to tell me what was wrong...but she just clamed up....not a single word. She just walked very quietly with tears rolling down her face.

When we got back to the orphanage, we tried to talk to her to see what was wrong, but she just ried to run away, we kept her in the office with us for a few minutes, then we let her run off. So much was running through our heads. Was she attaching to us more than just other white people who come and take them swimming, was she stressed out and depressed because she had to go back to Beacon House after such a fun day, was she worried about not really ever being able to go to America with us, was she feeling guilty about wanting me to be her mom (betraying her bio mom)? Was she just tired and sad about not getting to see the climactic finale of High School musical 2....that crazy Sharpei...what fabulous thing will she do next.

In any case, we talked to Romana about it and she said it is totally normal for the kids to act out like that off and on during the visit so quit being such a worry wort! Ok....it was really, really hard to take the girls back today. It is going to stink in a big way to leave on Friday. Especially since we get them all to ourselves for our trip up to Bolga on Tuesday - Wednesday.

Sorry for the limited pictures...our girls are in almost all of the shots today. Tomorrow morning around 7 am our time (1am in Alabama), Keith and the other Adoptive dad will go in front of the judge to get our adoption judgements. I hope we get good news. If so...there will be some pictures to look at tomorrow!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 3

These are the guys at Simple Brothers, the place we have eaten 90% of our meals. It is so delicious and super spicy...it is like $1.50 to $2.00 for a big old carton of spicy rice with 2 pieces of fried chicken. We totally love it. Here is the building (if you can call it that)
Yummm. I don't know if they are open on Sunday, i am sure we will find out tomorrow. If not, the hotel really does have good food in their restaraunt...it is just pricier and takes a lot longer. We are so fortunate to have so many food options within walking distance. Simple brothers is about a block away and half way between our hotel and Simple Brothers is a little corner store which has a covered area with a little table. We buy soda and cookies there. You have to drink the soda there because of the bottle deposit. It feels very Indiana Jones to be sitting there drinking our soda eating our chicken and rice and listening to the booming African music coming out of these giant speakers. Today Keith started talking to the owner of the corner store...turns out he is from Atlanta! Small world.


Look at my man changing a tire on a landrover. When we got to Beacon House today to pick up the girls to take them swimming, the other adoptive parent was elbow deep in changing a flat tire. He was having some trouble with a stuck lug nut so my strong man took of his shirt and got the lug nut off. A knowledge of levers is my husbands super power. Unfortunately, they had to readjust the jack and he got his finger smooshed. As Keith was coming into the house with his wounded hand, he heard some of the little boys telling B that her dad was super strong. I think that might have made the smooshed hand worth it! I had a small cow...but a little soap and water, IPA, neosporin and band aid later...I stopped hyperventilating. Although, I am still considering starting him on the antibiotics I brought - i just don't think Zithromax will do much for a skin infection!
After the jack accident, I made Keith stop and we left the rest of the tire change to the other AP on scene! We brought the girls back to the hotel for swimming. B loved her new bathing suit. She was a little skittish getting into the water. She didn't want to get in with me she wanted to wait for Dad to finish putting his sunscreen on and get in with him. She is kind of turning into a daddy's girl. She got into a little inner tube and we pulled her around and spun her around. When the other kids got there (the other family brought their 2 bio kids, the 3 kids they are adopting and one other child) we decided to head in to watch movies. We have quickly discovered that when other kids are around, B wants to socialize with them more than us ...and this time is meant for us to bond as a family. So I am really trying to keep us in a family group.
V did great at the pool. I think she hasn't been exposed to a lot of men, she gets upset sometimes when Keith holds her and then immediately calms down when I pick her up. Of course, that makes me feel good...but I think it is more a function of her not having any male caregivers. Although I know it is hard to tell, Ithink I had a breakthrough of sorts with V today. In the past, she just kind of goes to anyone and anyone one person is basically like any other person. I did hear that she had a very special bond with a volunteer that was here for several months but recently left. V has a big, intense, and kind of pensive stare. She always looks like she is suspicious. Today when we were in the room watching movies, I was holding her and I caught her looking up at me with a new look. It was the same look I saw on Zeb, the second day I was there with him, it was the same look I saw on Polina when I held her...it was the inquisitive.."You are someone more than a regular caregiver" I guess it wasn't the "Will you be the one who loves me" look that Polina had...but it was a change, it was an acknowledged look...there was something new in that look. When we dropped them off tonight, V smiled and waved and said bye bye in a new way. All of the nannies in the room got really excited about her behavior and one of them called another nanny in to watch V wave goodbye to me.
B lost her first toy today. We took her doll to the pool, she had asked a million times if she could take her doll in the pool and of course we said no. We said the doll could come to the pool and watch us swim, but under no circumstances could the doll go in the water. She pushed her first boundary, the doll's head ended up gettin dunked in the pool and she lost the toy. I don't know how big of a deal it was to her, but she will find that we do what we say we are going to do and our boundaries are real.
After swimming B got a warm shower and V got a bath and I put some lotion on them and some new clothes. I know, it is shallow, but I kind of made my little girls into my little girls before I had to take them back to Beacon House. We watched Barbie and the Diamond Castle...OK...I really like that movie and I really like the songs...I can't help it...it has good songs - so sue me!
We may have also eaten some M and M's. Oh yeah, before the movie we skyped O and Lilianna, Zeb, and Ben so they could meet their new sisters live and in person on the computer. B was really shy and quiet. Lilianna was sooo excited. Lilianna is just soo excited to have new sisters.
Today was really wonderfull, but it was sooo hard to take the girls back. I just hope they can come home soon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oh the horror...

We don't have cable at home and the Lost season premier was Tuesday night....we thought we would just stream it like usual sometime this week and catch up...we have only been waiting for the premier like a year! But everyplace we go online tells us......

you suckers are out of the country and can't watch lost....nanny.nanny booo booo

Well, the message is something like that.

Oh the horror.

So I told Keith we can stream 3 hours of uninterrupted Lost on Valentines Day with my candy and flowers.

Still.....I would like to see it now. I suppose I should sleep.

No Photos

You may notice a distinct lack of pictures of the girls on my blog! We went to court today. We got dressed up and picked up the girls at Beacon House around 730 this morning. They already had on their super cute court oufits....picked out by an ingenious shopping machine (yes...me). B, V, Keith and I got into a taxi to go to court while the other family rode with the Beacon House escort extraordinaire, Bernard. After about an hour and 15 minutes in a sweltering hot backseat with a baby in my (Ok mostly in keith's) lap I was starting to wonder if the taxi driver actually knew where he was taking us. Finally, we pulled up in front of a building and he said "ok this is it...international health clinic". UM....we are going to court. To which he replied..."Oh the high court or a different court"...I don't know! What the heck! So he drives about 2 more blocks and says..I think this is it.

So we pile out of the car and start looking around for Bernard and the other family. We are the only peach people for miles and we start freaking out just a tad...we don't have any cell phones or phone numbers to call anyone (not because they weren't provided by our awesome coordinator...but because we are stupid).

After about 30 - 45 seconds of panicking, B says..."Mom, this is the right place, we were here last time...I show you". So B saved the day. About 15 minutes later Bernard and the other family show up and we proceed to wait about 2 hours in the sweltering African heat in a 2 story wooden building with a couple of ceiling fans and some slat windows through which we can see the ocean.

Finally, the judge starts calling the adoption cases into her chamber, unfortunately, her air conditioning has gone out, it is Friday afternoon, and she decides that she isn't going to issue any adoption decrees today because well...because she can. The dad's are going back before court starts on Monday to get her verdict. The ladies get to stay at the air conditioned hotel and sleep in. Ain't life grand!

All in all, the girls did so well today. I think that most older children have some unrealistic expectations when it comes to being adopted by an American Mom and Dad...they expect that they will have every toy they could ever imagine....that will take a while to convince her otherwise...especially since Keith and I have a tendency to spoil our kids just a tad! B is a total drama queen and so happy. V is still in her shell a little bit, I think. We got a couple of smiles today, but she is taking a while to come out. She is still very small and a tad lethargic. She is walking, sitting, etc by herself, but she is not a very vigorous little girl. She definitely needs to come home soon.

We went to buy our plane tickets to the North...that is going to be a fun adventure. We are going on Tuesday morning and coming back Wed morning. Tomorrow we have the morning to ourselves and then we are picking up the girls to come play in the pool at our hotel in the afternoon. I have promised B some MandM's...so I guess I better quit eating them and save some for her tomorrow.

This is such a crazy adventure there are so many loving children here...everyone just wants attention and cuddles. We are exhausted, but having a great time....we ate at a road side stand last night for dinner (It was vouched for by American teachers at the American International School)...they have chicken and rice and they have chickens running around the building everywhere. We are going to have to take a picture and post it...because you will not believe this place. Anyhow...the food was awesome and totally spicy...and it DIDN'T make us sick!

I am done rambling for now...I am hoping we can post pictures of the girls on Monday!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beacon House Day 1

Here is theSonant Court Hotel we are staying at. It is the Sonant Court hotel and is literally 3 blocks from Beacon House. We got into Accra right on time at 735 this morning. All of our luggage made it! Yeah! It was a long flight, but the little breakfast croissant they served was primo! Customs was pretty easy, we sailed right through. The Hotel had a minivan waiting for us and the other family we were travelling with. We piled into the very nice air conditioned minivan and rolled on in to Christain Center, East legon. The hotel is nice...I have a picture of keith lounging on the bed while I frantically prepared all of our stuff for the walk to the orphanage. We had about an hour to get things ready. We brought the clothes for the girls to wear in court tomorrow and some of the items we brought for Romana from home. Here is our dusty walk......

Here is Beacon House. Right before we went in. A volunteer from michigan is here for 6 months and she came to the hotel to pick us up and walk us over. We got there about 1030 this morning. Rang the doorbel and came into the little compound. They had secluded our children upstairs so that they weren't runningaround in the playground when we walked in. We met Romana and she told us alittle bit about what to expect tomorrow in court. She is going to talk to each of the families separately at some point soon...likely tomorrow about specifics of their children's background. After we talked to Romana in the office for about 30 minutes. ...


We were led to the volunteer office, the other family was taken to the baby house. Then one of the volunteers brough in our children so we could meet each other for the first time. One of the German volunteer brough in B...she kept peaking around the corner, and then darting away. Then she shyly rolled around the door fram with her face hidden in her hands against the wall. It was a happy, shy, sweet little girl that peered at me over her hands. Still with her face mostly hidden by her hands she said "Hi Mom".
This was a moment I had been worried about, maybe obsessed over a little bit...what would be the right way to introduce yourself to your new 8 year old daughter. Keith had said don't worry you will know what to do....surprise, surprise, Keith was right. I was just as dramatic and excited as could be...."B, come here, you are so beautiful I am just so excited to finally meet you" and gave her a big hug. Then she threw herself on my lap and buried her beautiful little head in my shoulder. We just cuddled while I asked her questions about herself. She didn't answer many of them with much more than a uhhuh or no. At least not for our first visit of the day.
Where was V you may wonder? The volunteer brought her in at the ver beginning nd handed her over to Keith while I was coaxing B into the room. V just sat calmly and snugly in keith's lap. She didn't fidget much...just watching with her ginormous dark brown eyes taking everything in. She came over and sat on my lap a little bit later and went straight to sleep.
We gave B the little photo album we had made and went through it with her. Then she wanted to go show everyone her photo album..so we went back into the outdoor play area where everyone came up to ask us if we were B and V's mom and dad. It got a little bit raucous..but it was good. We met lots of kids.
At noon they had lunch and I fed V...they had some delicious smelling rice, fish, bean concoction...it smelled very new orleans soul food. Then we left so they could take a nap.
We went to exchange some money, then stopped at a corner store..literally on the corner and got a delicious coke in a bottle. Of course, we are not allowed to take the bottle out of the store because of the deposit! So we drank it there and then headed back to the hotel for a quick nap.
Around 3pm we went back to the orphanage. The girls were waiting for us. B alternates playing hard to get and wanting to be the center of attention. We started seeing a much sassier pair of girls in the afternoon. We brought a coloring book and some crayons back to play with B. She wanted to do it outside with the other kids andthat soon became an overwhelming mass of children's hands wanting crayons and pages...it got out of hand rather quickly, so we went back into tht office. We finally got to see V smiling and being silly - making silly faces. That was good. B also started getting more comfortable as Keith rough housed a little with her and we played gang up on dad and tickle him...a favorite for children of all ages.
Tomorrow is court and i hope...hope ...hope that I will be legally able to post the pictures from today...It was kind of surreal but a lot of exciting.
Oooh...we are getting more adventurous. In addition to going to a corner store today, for dinner, we ate at a crazy take out window (which was vouched for my the american teachers and the american international school) called Simple Brothers. We got rice and chicken to go and it was sooo delicious and spicy...wooowie was it spicy! We aren't sick yet so that is a good sign. It was really, really good!

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power